Fear Not: Daniel

Fear Not: Daniel

Fear Not: Daniel.

“Only I, Daniel, saw this vision. The men with me saw nothing, but they were suddenly terrified and ran away to hide. So I was left there all alone to see this amazing vision. My strength left me, my face grew deathly pale, and I felt very weak. Then I heard the man speak, and when I heard the sound of his voice, I fainted and lay there with my face to the ground. Then he said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer.’ While he was speaking to me, I looked down at the ground, unable to say a word. Then the one who looked like a man touched my lips, and I opened my mouth and began to speak. I said to the one standing in front of me, ‘I am filled with anguish because of the vision I have seen, my Lord, and I am very weak. How can someone like me, your servant, talk to you, my Lord? My strength is gone, and I can hardly breathe.’ Then the one who looked like a man touched me again, and I felt my strength returning. ‘Don’t be afraid,’ he said, ‘for you are very precious to God. Peace! Be encouraged! Be strong!’  As he spoke these word to me, I suddenly felt stronger and said to him, ‘Please speak to me, my Lord, for you have strengthened me.’  (Daniel 10:7-12, 15-19).

Daniel is a central figure in Hebrew history. Deported from Jerusalem to Babylon, he was a young man of high ability. He was deported to serve in the king’s court, and was included in the group who met the king’s qualifications, “Only strong, healthy and good-looking young men, all versed in every branch of learning, gifted with knowledge and good judgment suited to serve in the royal palace.” (1:4). Because Daniel was so competent in so much, he kept climbing Babylon’s ladder of success. Daniel gave all the credit to God in his powerful tribute to the Lord: ‘Praise the name of God forever and ever, for he has all wisdom and power. He controls the course of world events, he removes kings and sets up other kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars. He reveals deep and mysterious things and knows what lies hidden in darkness, though he is surrounded by light. I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors, for you have given me wisdom and strength. You have told me what we asked of you and revealed to us what the king demanded.” (Daniel 2:20-23).

Eventually the king promoted Daniel to the king’s court to be a ruler over the whole province of Babylon, much like a Prime Minister today. Daniel was a trusted statesman in enemy territory, and continued as a leader in civic affairs for over 70 years. The secret to Daniel’s success was his profound prayer life. He was a prophet who predicted military and political events, and was given visions of the inner workings of the heavenly court. His ancient prophetic insights are still being studied for their contemporary relevance to this day. Daniel was described well in 5:11-12:  “There is a man in your kingdom who has within him the spirit of the holy gods. This man was found to have insight, understanding and wisdom like that of the gods. This man, Daniel, has exceptional ability and is filled with divine knowledge and understanding. He can interpret dreams, explain riddles, and solve difficult problems.” 

Daniel had many visions that only God could interpret, that he didn’t understand. One time later in his life we find Daniel fasting for three weeks (chapter 10). He witnessed an extraordinary sight while standing on the bank of the Tigris River in Babylon. He saw a heavenly Christ standing before him… pure linen clothing, a belt of pure gold, a body that looked like a precious gem, a face flashing lightning bolts, and arms and legs that shone like polished bronze. This figure in the form of a man also had eyes that flamed out like torches, and his voice roared like the sound of a multitude of people. This sight is virtually identical to John’s vision of Jesus in Revelation 1:13-15. This heavenly being in front of Daniel is certainly Jesus Christ. Daniel’s strength understandably failed him, and he fainted with fright.  Even after Jesus touched him and lifted him up, Daniel was still trembling from head to foot.

After Jesus spoke about His experience with spiritual warfare, Daniel once again lost the ability to speak in his terror. After more ministrations from Jesus, Daniel was less overwhelmed and had a measure of peace. In his frightened condition, Daniel was finally mollified.

An Answer to Fear: The astounding conversation between a glorified Jesus and mere mortal Daniel is of course unique and totally unexpected. But we are able to have a conversation with the same Jesus, which is equally miraculous. Everyone has a unique calling, and certainly Daniel’s calling is more unique than most. But nonetheless we all have a calling to Daniel-like prayer, to sharing our heart and mind with God, to listen to the Spirit speak in the quiet corners of our spirit. We are all called to live as prayerfully as Daniel did. We would no doubt have fainted at the sight of the glorified Christ just as Daniel did, and it’s helpful to be reminded that Jesus is not someone to cut down to our size as our little buddy. He is above and beyond us to an unimaginable degree. But He wants us to pray, He wants us to approach Him in awe and reverence, and to be fearless in our approach. Surely He has unlimited power that would frighten any person, but He wants to touch us and lead us to a holy fear that glorifies Him as the Lord. Jesus can touch us and restore peace in our spirit, just as He did Daniel.

Take Heart. “I have told you all this so that trusting me, you may have perfect peace and confidence. In me you will be unshakable and assured. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. You will have tribulations and trials and distress. But cheer up and take heart! Take courage and remain undaunted! I have conquered the world. I have deprived it of power to harm you.” (John 16:32-33).