Scripture: And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of the Ulai, and it called, “Gabriel, make this man understand the vision.” So he came near where I stood. And when he came, I was frightened and fell on my face. But he said to me, “Understand, O son of man, that the vision is for the time of the end.” And when he had spoken to me, I fell into a deep sleep with my face to the ground. But he touched me and made me stand up. Daniel 8:16-18 ESV
Observation: In chapter 8, Daniel once again encounters a vision of soon-to-incur and end-time events that are both disturbing and perplexing. Reiterating most of the prophetic elements of chapter 7 about the succession of world empires and the surprising rise of Antiochus IV Epiphanes (who will desecrate the Temple and usher in his demise), here, uniquely, the voice of God commands Gabriel to explain the vision to Daniel. Thus, hearing God (as the voice of a man) instruct this high-ranking angel, Daniel collapses in fear and falls into a deep sleep.
Takeaway: Similar in outcome to that of the Apostle John, who fell face down when witnessing the glorified Christ during his apocalyptic vision (Revelation 1:12), an angel of the Lord graciously lifts Daniel from his humble state and clarifies his revelation.
In this present age, for those who receive insights from the Lord, we too should exercise humility and wait on the Holy Spirit to deepen our understanding of our insights. And we also need to discern our audience. All too often, well-meaning Christians indiscriminately broadcast signs of the time that are later proven inaccurate, thereby discrediting Scripture to unbelievers. In contrast, the author of the book of Daniel prudently targeted his readers. Unlike chapters 2-7 (written in Aramaic, the widely spoken language of the ruling empire), he records chapters 1 and 8-12 in Hebrew solely for Israel’s benefit.
Prayer: Father God, we thank you that history verifies the reliability of Daniel’s visions of what would come of the ancient empires—once again proving the reliability of Scripture. Would you please help us follow his godly example and exercise humility and patience in waiting on your Holy Spirit to clarify our understanding of insights and our audiences? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling