On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river, the Tigris, I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist. His body was like topaz, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude. Daniel 10:4-6 (NIV).
Who did Daniel see that day along the river? Was it Jesus, or an angel? In the end, does it really matter? As long as God’s vision was given to Daniel, does it really matter who he saw?
The description of the man in these verses us similar (in some ways strikingly) to the description of Jesus, given by John in Revelation. Face like white light, eyes flaming, feet like bronze, and the voice of every man. Jesus also appears to John suddenly, unexpectedly, whereas the man here appears to Daniel after being announced. In both Revelation and Daniel, John and Daniel are in a state of mourning, Daniel for unknown reasons and John while exiled as a prisoner innocent of a true crime. In both cases, both men were old, assumably near the end of their lives. And they were both given visions that would change history though they couldn’t know that yet.
Does it matter whether this visitor to Daniel was an angel or Jesus? I suppose not. But it’s exciting to know that the pre-incarnate Christ would have visited Earth before His prophesied time. This wasn’t the first time this happened. Such Old Testament appearances by Jesus are called “Christophanies;” see https://www.gotquestions.org/theophany-Christophany.html. As this site points out, two of the most well-known likely Christophanies were the visitors who met Abraham, and when Jacob wrestled with God.
But is that same Jesus the person who met with Daniel? http://christology101.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Christology-101-Lesson-4-Christophanies.pdf provides a good litmus test. By asking the five questions that site proposes, the person Daniel met is probably not Jesus but, instead, one of His angels.
Does that change the meaning of the message the angel would deliver? Of course not. Still, reading more about the verses helps to understand them better, and to get a better picture of who Jesus is and how He works His word and His mission through people like Daniel, you, and me.
For further reading: Genesis 2:14, Genesis 18:1-33, Genesis 32:22-30, Exodus 28:20, Job 41:19, Jeremiah 10:9, Ezekiel 1:7, Ezekiel 9:2, Matthew 17:2, Revelation 1:12-15, Revelation 15:6, Revelation 19:12, Daniel 10:7
Lord, thank You for the words Daniel left for us to study. Thank You for appearing to Your people, and for sending your angels to do Your good work as well.
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