In this chapter, Daniel is visited by a man dressed in linen, who closely resembles Jesus as he revealed himself to John in Revelation 1. The chapter introduces a book of truth whose contents are revealed in chapters 11 to 12.
This chapter serves as an introduction to the revelation of chapters 11 and 12, which it describes as a true message about a great war (v1). It also gives an important revelation of the pre-incarnate Christ.

It was received in the third year of King Cyrus of Persia. Cyrus ruled Persia from 559 to 530 BC, but conquered Babylonia in 539 BC. As discussed in relation to chapter 9, Daniel indicates that Cyrus appointed Darius the Mede as ruler of Babylonia, and according to Daniel 5:31, Darius was 62 years old at that point. Darius features as king in chapter 6, in the story of Daniel and the lions' den. Daniel 6:28 tells us that Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and during the reign of Cyrus. Given that there are no historical records of Darius outside of the bible, it is possible his reign was short. The third year of Cyrus is generally assumed to be 536 BC, but that could be later, depending how long Darius ruled for.

Verse 1 says that Daniel received a true message about a great war. Some people understand this to be a reference to the spiritual conflict that is described in verses 13 to 14. However, it makes more sense to me if the 'message about a great war' is a description of the message of chapters 11 to 12, in particular the message of 11:36 to 12:13, which describes the 'time of distress', as named in 12:1. During that time, there will war on earth as described in 11:40-45, as well as in the heavenly realm, as indicated by the Archangel Michael arising (12:1). Daniel received this revelation after fasting from luxuries for three weeks (v2).

In verses 4 to 6, Daniel sees a vision of a man clothed in linen. Comparing these verses with Revelation 1:12-18, it is clear to me that Daniel and John saw the same person. Both were dressed in linen, with a gold belt around their waste or chest. Daniel says his eyes were like blazing torches; John says they were like a fiery flame. Both describe his feet as gleaming like polished bronze. Daniel says his voice thundered like the sound of a large crowd; John describes it as the roar of many waters. Daniel fainted from the vision and entered a trance-like sleep with his face to the ground; John fell at his feet as though dead. A hand reached out and touched Daniel, raising him onto his hands and knees, and then onto his feet. Similarly, he placed his right hand on John. He then identified himself to John, as the first and the last, who was dead but is now alive. John saw Jesus clothed in his heavenly majesty. Clearly, Daniel saw Jesus in his pre-incarnate majesty. This is Jesus who, according to Philippians 2:6-11, pre-existed in the form of God, but humbled himself, taking on human nature and dying on a cross, to then be re-exalted and given the name that is above every name (Jehovah). The fact that he looked like a man even in his pre-incarnate form reflects the fact that human beings are created in God's image (Genesis 1:26). The Son of God looked like a man, because humans have been made to look like God. In chapter 12:5-7, Daniel reveals that this man in linen was accompanied by two others. Similarly, in Genesis 18, Abraham received three visitors who looked like men. One of them turned out to be God (18:13) and the other two turned out to be angels (19:1). In his pre-incarnate form, Jesus revealed himself to several Old Testament characters as though he were an angel.

Many commentators identify the man in linen simply as an angel. They struggle to identify him with Christ because of his involvement in spiritual warfare with the Princes of Persia and Greece, as revealed in verses 13 and 20. According to verse 13, he was delayed for twenty one days in coming to Daniel because the Prince of Persia opposed him, and he only broke through after the Archangel Michael came to help him. According to verse 20, after giving this revelation to Daniel, he had to return to engage in battle with the Prince of Persia. Such a portrayal of Christ as a warrior, engaging in spiritual battles, and limited by the opposition of demonic principalities, is a foreign concept to many Christian commentators. In Luke 4:5-7, the devil led Jesus to a high place and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and said to him, "To you I will grant this whole realm – and the glory that goes along with it, for it has been relinquished to me, and I can give it to anyone I wish. So then, if you will worship me, all this will be yours." Jesus did not deny the devil's claim, which suggests the devil and his demons hold a lot more power than many Christians give him credit for. The devil's authority is delegated authority, but he is powerful nonetheless, even to the extent that he can limit the fulfilment of God's will on earth, at least at some levels. His power was seriously compromised by Christ's death on the cross which provided a solution for sin, the devil's most powerful weapon. After Christ's death and resurrection, Ephesians 1:20-22 tells us that Jesus was seated at God's right hand and exalted far above every rule, authority, power and dominion, and that God has put all things under his feet. In doing so, the Apostle Paul is referring to Psalm 110, in which Jesus is described as a warrior who will one day lead his people into a great battle. So identifying the pre-incarnate Christ to be the man in linen here in Daniel 10:5 is consistent with the rest of scripture, even though it leaves many theologians squirming.

In verses 15 to 21, Jesus strengthens Daniel, and tells him that his purpose in coming is to reveal to Daniel what is written in a book of truth, after which he must return to fight the Princes of Persia and Greece, and to strengthen and protect Michael, the angelic Prince of Israel. The contents of the book of truth are revealed in chapters 11 to 12.
Places: Persia, Greece, Israel
Tags: Jesus as the man in linen, Jesus as the Angel of the Lord, Jesus as a mighty warrior
An Angel Appears to Daniel
1 In the third year of King Cyrus of Persia a message was revealed to Daniel (who was also called Belteshazzar). This message was true and concerned a great war. He understood the message and gained insight by the vision.
2 In those days I, Daniel, was mourning for three whole weeks.
3 I ate no choice food; no meat or wine came to my lips, nor did I anoint myself with oil until the end of those three weeks.
4 On the twenty-fourth day of the first month I was beside the great river, the Tigris.
5 I looked up and saw a man clothed in linen; around his waist was a belt made of gold from Ufaz.
6 His body resembled yellow jasper, and his face had an appearance like lightning. His eyes were like blazing torches; his arms and feet had the gleam of polished bronze. His voice thundered forth like the sound of a large crowd.
7 Only I, Daniel, saw the vision; the men who were with me did not see it. On the contrary, they were overcome with fright and ran away to hide.
8 I alone was left to see this great vision. My strength drained from me, and my vigor disappeared; I was without energy.
9 I listened to his voice, and as I did so I fell into a trance-like sleep with my face to the ground.
10 Then a hand touched me and set me on my hands and knees.
11 He said to me, “Daniel, you are of great value. Understand the words that I am about to speak to you. So stand up, for I have now been sent to you.” When he said this to me, I stood up shaking.
12 Then he said to me, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel, for from the very first day you applied your mind to understand and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard. I have come in response to your words.
13 However, the prince of the kingdom of Persia was opposing me for twenty-one days. But Michael, one of the leading princes, came to help me, because I was left there with the kings of Persia.
14 Now I have come to help you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision pertains to future days.”
15 While he was saying this to me, I was flat on the ground and unable to speak.
16 Then one who appeared to be a human being was touching my lips. I opened my mouth and started to speak, saying to the one who was standing before me, “Sir, due to the vision, anxiety has gripped me and I have no strength.
17 How, sir, am I able to speak with you? My strength is gone, and I am breathless.”
18 Then the one who appeared to be a human being touched me again and strengthened me.
19 He said to me, “Don’t be afraid, you who are valued. Peace be to you! Be strong! Be really strong!” When he spoke to me, I was strengthened. I said, “Sir, you may speak now, for you have given me strength.”
20 He said, “Do you know why I have come to you? Now I am about to return to engage in battle with the prince of Persia. When I go, the prince of Greece is coming.
21 However, I will first tell you what is written in a dependable book. (There is no one who strengthens me against these princes, except Michael your prince.