Chapter ten begins the final prophecy in Daniel, which spans the last three chapters of the book. This vision took place “in the third year of King Cyrus of Persia…on the twenty-fourth day of the first month” (Daniel 10:1, 4). This is not only the last prophecy of the book but also the last chronologically. By this time, the first return to Israel had already taken place, and the Temple was under reconstruction. Daniel would have been in his mid-80s, which may explain why he did not return to Israel.
Daniel said that he had been mourning and fasting for “three whole weeks” (Daniel 10:2). Although there is no explanation why, it is possible that word had reached Daniel of the troubles the Jews were having in Jerusalem (Ezra 4:1-5). Later, the angel mentioned that for those three weeks Daniel had “applied [his] mind to understand and to humble [himself] before God” (Daniel 10:12).
This chapter essentially sets up the prophecy given in the next two chapters and can be divided into two parts: the vision and the explanation for why it took so long for Daniel to receive an answer to his prayer. In his actual vision, Daniel “saw a man clothed in linen” (Daniel 10:5-6). This man said something that Daniel did not record, but it had to do with Israel’s future and the end times (Daniel 10:14). Although he is never identified in Daniel, and there is some debate about his identity, the description of the man is strikingly similar to Jesus, who John saw in Revelation 1:12-16. He was probably the pre-incarnate Christ. Some have tried to link the man in the vision with the angel who talked with John starting in Daniel 10:11, but this is unlikely. Seeing the man and hearing what he said physically and mentally exhausted Daniel (Daniel 10:15-17), but the angel strengthened him so he could understand its meaning (Daniel 10:18-19).
The rest of this chapter contains information about the unseen world of angelic warfare that is not detailed anywhere else in Scripture. There are at least three key points found here that round out our doctrine about angels. First, God sometimes allows Satan’s angels to hinder his own angels from carrying out his mission on this earth, including answers to prayer (Daniel 10:13; see 1 John 5:19). Second, human governments and nations are influenced by both good and evil angels (Daniel 10:13, 20; 11:1). Third, although Michael is called “the archangel” in Jude 9, here he is also “one of the leading princes” among God’s angels (Daniel 10:13), showing that there is a hierarchy among the angels.