DANIEL 10      Other translations  -  previous  -  next  -  Daniel  -  BM Home  -  Full Page

CHAPTER X. THE VISION BY THE RIVER HIDDEKEL

  1. In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing was revealed to Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar; and the thing was true, even a great warfare : and he understood
  2. the thing, and had understanding of the vision.
  3. In those days I Daniel was mourning three whole weeks. I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole
  4. weeks were fulfilled. And in the four and twentieth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, which
  5. is Hiddekel, I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with
  6. pure gold of Uphaz: his body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in color to burnished brass, and the voice of his words like the
  7. voice of a multitude. And I Daniel alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw not the vision; but a great quaking fell upon them, and they fled to hide themselves.
  8. So I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength.
  9. Yet heard I the voice of his words: and when I heard the voice of his words, then I was fallen into a deep sleep on
  10. my face, with my face toward the ground. And, behold, a hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon
  11. the palms of my hands. And he said to me, O Daniel, you man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright; for to you am I now sent: and when he had spoken this word to me, I stood trembling.
  12. Then said he to me, Fear not, Daniel; for from the first day that you did set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard:
  13. and I am come for your words' sake. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days; but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me:
  14. and I remained there with the kings of Persia. Now I am come to make you understand what shall befall your people
  15. in the latter days: for the vision is yet for many days. And when he had spoken to me according to these words, I
  16. set my face toward the ground, and was dumb. And, behold, one like the similitude of the sons of men touched my lips: then I opened my mouth, and spoke and said to him that stood before me, O my lord, by reason of the vision my sorrows are turned upon me, and I retain no strength.
  17. For how can the servant of this my lord talk with this my lord? for as for me, straightway there remained no strength
  18. in me, neither was there breath left in me. Then there touched me again one like the appearance of a man, and
  19. he strengthened me. And he said, O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be to you, be strong, yea, be strong. And when he spoke to me, I was strengthened, and said,
  20. Let my lord speak; for you have strengthened me. Then said he, Know you wherefore I am come to you? and now will I return to fight with the Prince of Persia: and
  21. when I go forth, lo, the prince of Greece shall come. But I will tell you that which is inscribed in the writing of truth: and there is none that holds with me against these, but Michael your prince.

 

REFERENCES

Verses Numbers
1-6 P. P.
1, 7, 8 D. Lord, 52; D. P. 134; AR 36, 945; TCR 157
2, 3 AC 2788
2-4 AR 505; AE 532
3 AC 9954; AE 375
4 and following AE 79
5. AC 7601, 9881; AR 671; AC 951
5, 6 AC 425, 2162, 3021, 6135, 8813, 9406, 9872; AR 49, 468, 775; AE 69, 504; Dict. P. 50
5-12 AR 56; AE 77
6 AR 830
7-2 P. P.
10-12 AC 5376
10,16,18 AC 10130
12, 19 AE 80
13,21 AC 1664; AR 548
14 Dict. P. 13
14, 15 D. Lord. 4
20 AR 34; AE 50
Chapter cited AC 1664; HH 171

COMMENTARY: The Vision by the River Hiddekel A Man Clothed in Linen.

A new revelation is made to Daniel; the captivity is nearly ended, and it is revealed to Daniel, after he has passed through a period of mourning and fasting, "what should befall his people in the latter days."

The chapter opens with this statement:

In the third year of Cyrus, King of Persia, a thing was revealed to Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar; and the thing was true, even a great warfare: and he understood the thing and had understanding of the vision.

Daniel is again called by the name that was given to him at first by the prince of the eunuchs (chap i.).

The vision now recorded is said to have been given in the third year of Cyrus, King of Persia. Cyrus was the deliverer of the Jewish people. He was a great conqueror, first overcoming the Kingdom of Media, and uniting it with that of Persia, and then subduing and bringing under his dominion several other nations of Eastern Asia, including Babylonia, and at the same time breaking up the old religious customs. Nearly all Asia was thus subdued. Afterwards his son Cambyses conquered Egypt, which then became tributary to Persia, so that the latter became the most powerful kingdom of the East. There is much obscurity about the origin and history of Cyrus, but no doubt of the main facts above stated. In his character of deliverer of the Jewish people from their captivity to Babylon, he represents the Lord. The return from the captivity was not only permitted by him, but commanded by an edict. (See ezra 1:1-4.) This was done as some have supposed in recognition of the services rendered to him by the Jews, and also that Palestine might serve to protect his territory on the West. The Jews hailed him as their deliverer when he entered Babylon.

The return of the Jews to Jerusalem was carried out by Zerubbabel and Joshua, the son of Josedech.

Cyrus is mentioned in isa. 44:28 and isa. 45:1-3:

That says to Cyrus, He is my shepherd and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying of Jerusalem, She shall be built, and to the temple, Your foundation shall be laid.

Thus says Jehovah to His anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings; to open the doors before him and the gates shall not be shut; I will go before you and make the rugged places plain; I will break in pieces the doors of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: and I will give you the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I am the Lord, which call you by your name, even the God of Israel.

In these passages Cyrus is called the "Shepherd" and the "Anointed," names which clearly refer to the Lord. In this prophecy of Isaiah, as in Daniel, he represents the Lord in His Divine Human life as the Saviour of the world. (See AE 298.)

Daniel understood the vision not as to its prophetic character and spiritual import, but in relation to the return from captivity, already decreed, which was to him a great deliverance for which he had constantly hoped and prayed; and also with reference to the restoration of Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the temple. Just previous to the vision Daniel mourned and fasted. He says:

In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three whole weeks. I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine into my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled. (Ver. 2, 3.)

This mourning and fasting was on account of the evil impending and the fear lest his people would be destroyed. In relation to the Church and the individual man, it represents a full state of humiliation and a fear of damnation which precedes the manifestation of the Lord. The Church mourns when the Lord seems to be absent, and she rejoices when the Lord comes again to reveal Himself anew as the Divine Saviour and Redeemer. The vision which is now described in the succeeding verses fourth and sixth represents the coming of the Lord to restore the Church and to reveal Himself anew, first as a Divine Man, the "Word made flesh," and then in the Word transfigured or glorified by the unfolding of its spiritual meaning.

Daniel said:

And in the four and twentieth day of the first month as I was by the side of the great river, which is Hiddekel (Tigris), I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, a man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with pure gold of Uphaz. His body, also, was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in color to burnished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude. (Ver. 4-6.)

We are at once struck with the similarity of this vision to that of John, recorded in the Book of Revelation. This has no doubt been noticed by every attentive reader of the Holy Scriptures. It is commented upon by Swedenborg as follows:

That it was the Lord who was thus seen by Daniel, plainly appears from the Revelation, where He was manifested before John in a manner nearly similar, concerning which it is said: "And in the midst of the seven candlesticks, one like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and His hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and His eyes were as a flame of fire. And His feet like to fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace." (rev. 1:13-15.) And again: "These things says the Son of God, who has His eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like fine brass." (rev. 2:18.) From the similarity of the description of the Son of Man seen by John in the midst of the seven candlesticks, and of the man clothed in linen, likewise of the Ancient of days seen by Daniel, it is evident that it was the Lord whom they both saw. His face being seen as lightning and His eyes as a flame of fire, signify, the Divine love of the Lord; for the face with man is a representative image of the affection of his love, and especially so are the eyes, for from them the love shines forth, whence they sparkle as it were from fire. (AE 504.)

Now as to the nature of this manifestation it must be understood that the Lord does not appear to men or angels in His own Divine glory, but in a form accommodated to their state. He appeared before His incarnation, generally, in the form of an angel whose own individuality was laid aside, while he was filled with the Divine Presence, so that the angel himself knew not, for the time being, that he was not the Lord. (See AC 1925; HH 121; and DLW 97.) Although it is expressly said by Swedenborg that it was the Lord who appeared to Daniel, it must be understood, we think, that the man clothed in linen was an angelic appearance, according to the general teaching in the writings of the New Church. In the common version we read, "His body was like the beryl," but literally it is "like Tarshish," which is the country from which the shining gem called the beryl, supposed to be the chrysolite of the ancients and the topaz of the moderns, was obtained. The appearance of the man clothed in fine linen must be taken to represent the Lord as the Word, in which he manifests His glory at His Second Coming. The linen, as the Lord's clothing, denotes the Divine Truth with which He is forever arrayed. The Lord is to be thought of objectively, but also as to His essence and quality, especially as to His Divine Love and Wisdom. These, as they are manifested to our human thought, are denoted by the wonderful appearances spoken of. The gold of Uphaz or Ophir with which His loins were girded, His body like the beryl, His face having the appearance of lightning, His eyes as lamps of fire, and His arms and feet like in color to polished brass all these are significative of the good of the Divine Love, which is manifested in the Truth, revealing His glory.

In AC 6135, where the above explanation is substantially given, it is also said:

By Tarshish, as the rest of the body appeared, namely the middle of the body between the head and loins, is signified the good of charity and faith, for Tarshish is a sparkling precious stone.

The polished brass which shines brightly from the arms and feet is significative of the Divine Love manifested in good deeds the works of charity; while the eyes which shone as lamps of fire denote the Divine intelligence filled with love. Daniel saw this great vision as he stood by the side of the great river, the River Hiddekel, or Tigris. This river denotes the stream of Divine Truth as it proceeds from the Word and is seen by man in rational light.

Daniel says that he alone saw the vision. Others did not see it because their spiritual sight was not opened. Who those were who were with him we do not know. It is probable that as Daniel was now advanced in age he did not go about without attendants. These men who were with him were affected, however, by this spiritual presence, so that they quaked and fled to hide themselves. Daniel himself was so affected by the "great vision" that there was left no strength in him. Then, when he heard the words spoken to him, he had fallen into a sleep with his face toward the ground. We have only to refer to the account of the Transfiguration to find a parallel to this scene. The effect of the near presence of an angel is to produce fear and trembling. Instances in the Old Testament are familiar. The spiritual idea is that when the Lord comes to reveal the light of Divine truth, the effect is to produce a state of fear on account of the evil in the world. With the good, however, this is only temporary, for the Lord imparts strength to those who love Him. While man is in a merely natural state, he is filled with fear at every manifestation which comes to him from the spiritual world, but as soon as the spiritual degree of his mind is opened he passes out of sleep, he awakes to righteousness, and is touched by the influence of the Divine Love.

The Christian world was in the stupor of naturalism when the truths of the New Dispensation were revealed. Swedenborg was struck with terror at first at the wonderful things that were revealed to him, but he was raised to a state of spiritual illumination in which he was kept under the Divine guidance. It is hardly correct to say that the Jewish prophet represents the Swedish seer, but there is an analogy here. Every servant of the Lord, who, like Daniel, has kept the Lord's testimonies, is raised from the sleep of naturalism and is strengthened by the touch of the Divine spirit, so that he can hear the Divine voice calling to His beloved to stand upon his feet. It was told Daniel by the Lord when He thus appeared to him that He had been with him from the first day that he had set his heart to understand and to chasten himself. The Lord is always present with every one who is in the effort to know His will and do it, but He does not reveal Himself fully to the man of the Church, or to the Church as a whole, until there has been a full period of vastation and humiliation. Without the effort to learn the truth, and without sincere humiliation of the heart before the Lord when evil is made known, there can be no spiritual elevation. Daniel had prayed many times to the Lord, he had desired light in the darkness, and now the Lord answered his words. As a prophet, Daniel represents at one time the Lord, as when he interpreted the dream of Nebuchadnezzar, but now he represents the man of the Church to whom the Divine Truth is revealed. All the prophets sustained this double representation, standing as representatives of the Lord when they taught and prophesied, and representing the state of the Church when they were in suffering and humiliation. Moses also in the Word has a similar duality of representation. And, indeed, the Lord Himself passed through two distinct states, one of humiliation on the human side of His life in which He "bore the sins of many," and one of Divine glory in which He revealed the will of the Father and was "mighty to save." In verse 13 we read:

But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the Kings of Persia.

This language is descriptive not of an earthly conflict but of a spiritual one. It relates to "war in heaven," that is, on the spiritual side and not on earth. The Kings of Persia simply represent and signify the forces of evil and falsity which make war against the truth. Michael represents an angelic society, which is in the acknowledgement of the Divine Humanity and from which strength is derived. When the Lord was tempted and suffered, angels came and strengthened Him. (luke 22:43.) This portion of the prophecy seems to point clearly to the Lord's Second Coming, and Daniel's attitude represents a state of profound humility, which will be the state of all who receive the revelations made to the New Church. He "set his face towards the ground and was dumb."

Then we are told: "And behold, one, like the similitude of the sons of men touched my lips." It is said in verse 10 that a "hand touched him," when he first saw the vision, and there remained no strength in him. By the touch of the hand is signified the communication of power. Here by the lips being touched is meant the communication of truth. Isaiah declares that his lips were touched with a live coal from the altar, which signifies that the prophet was gifted with a degree of inspiration by the communication of the Divine Love. Daniel's mouth was then opened and he spoke and said to Him that stood before him: "O my Lord, by reason of the vision my sorrows are turned upon me, and I retain no strength. (Ver. 16.)

The effect of the opening of the spiritual degree of the mind to the light of Divine Truth, is to render man's lower nature weak and to bring him into the acknowledgement that of himself he is altogether nothing. This confession which Daniel made is that of every humble believer in the Lord, when the truth is clearly manifested. And then new strength is imparted by a new communication from above. (Ver. 18.) The form of the address to Daniel: "O man, greatly beloved, fear not: peace be to you, be strong, yea be strong" (ver. 19), shows how those who are faithful to the Lord's teachings are conjoined to Him by love and made strong in their faith. In every new revelation and in every consequent elevation of the understanding to receive it, there is necessarily a resistance from opposing forces. The spiritual combats against evil and falsity in which man must engage, do not cease with the reception of the highest truths, truths of a celestial kind; these truths cannot be ours, in fact, until the opposite falsities are removed, especially the great falsity which would lead us to believe that we have knowledge or power from ourselves, or that we are wise or good from ourselves. The combat will go on until this false idea which is signified by the prince of Persia is overthrown. And then, when the Lord has "gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come." By the "prince of Grecia," in this passage, we do not understand an antagonistic force or power. On the contrary, these words represent those who are remote from the Church, but who will receive the truths which the Lord reveals at His Second Coming. Greece has the same signification as the "isles," because of those who inhabited the islands in the Grecian Archipelago. "He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till He have set judgement in the earth: and the isles shall wait for His law." (isa. 42:4.) John received a revelation from the Lord in the isle called Patmos, which was in the Aegean Sea.

The last verse of this chapter contains a promise of the New Revelation, and the teaching that those only will receive it who acknowledge the Lord in His Divine Humanity. What is said to Daniel here is said to those whom he represents, that is, those who in states of humility look to the Lord and desire to know the truth. To these He is constantly saying: "But I will tell you that which is inscribed in the writing of truth." And of those in the heavenly societies who are especially in the love of communicating the idea that the human life of the Lord was made Divine while He was in the world, it is said: "And there is none that holds with Me against these, but Michael your prince." Michael, which means "like God," represents, as before, those who are in this love and faith. "Michael and his angels fought against the dragon." (rev. 12:7.)

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