I think it was a heavenly encounter of the Divine kind. I think Daniel had a one-on-one with the pre-incarnate Christ. Can’t say that I’m really well studied in such things, but as I read Daniel’s description of the Man he encountered on the banks of the Tigris (Dan. 10:4-6), it reminds me a lot of the description of the man John saw on the island called Patmos (Rev. 1:12-16).
Can’t be dogmatic about it. After all, if it was a the Second Person of the Trinity, the Omnipotent God, then how could the demonic prince of Persia have withstood Him 21 days (or even 21 seconds) and why did He need an assist from Michael the archangel? Have a couple of thoughts, but gonna need to noodle on that a bit more. For now, though, I’m going with it was Jesus manifest before He was Immanuel.
And here’s what seals the deal for me this morning. Here’s the thrice-repeated thought that confirms it’s Christ. Daniel says, three times, “He touched me.”
Then I heard the sound of His words, and as I heard the sound of His words, I fell on my face in deep sleep with my face to the ground. And behold, a hand touched me . . . When He had spoken to me according to these words, I turned my face toward the ground and was mute. And behold, one in the likeness of the children of man touched my lips. . . . I said to Him who stood before me, “O my lord, by reason of the vision pains have come upon me, and I retain no strength. How can my lords servant talk with my lord? For now no strength remains in me, and no breath is left in me.” Again one having the appearance of a man touched me and strengthened me.
(Daniel 10:9-10a, 15-19 ESV)
Not only does Daniel’s vision of “the Man” sound a lot like John’s description of the risen and glorious Christ in Revelation 1, Daniel’s reaction to the “the Man” is pretty much the same, as well. For John too went facedown at the site of the glorified Christ on Patmos. And as with Daniel, the majestic Son of Man also touched John with His right hand saying, “Fear not” (Rev. 1:17).
Pretty similar to when John saw the glorified Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration. John, along with Peter and James, were on the mountain when Jesus’ appearance was transformed before them and they were given “the Daniel view.” Jesus’ face “shone like the sun, and His clothes became white as light” (sounds familiar?) and then a voice from heaven spoke. And upon their encounter of the divine kind, John & Co. did just what Daniel did, they go facedown “and were terrified.” And what happens next?
But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.
(Matthew 17:7-8 ESV)
The touch of His hand. That’s the third “witness” testifying that Daniel encountered the pre-incarnate Christ. The first witness is His appearance–awesome, as would be expected. Then, there is the testimony of His holy presence driving someone to their face–a natural reaction to such a supernatural encounter. Finally, there is the witness of the touch of the Master’s hand–unexpected, God up close and personal with man.
“He touched me,” Daniel says. “Amen, me too!” I echo.
Whether it’s facedown in reverent fear and worship, or bowed down because of trial and testing, when His people are humbled before Him, it is the oft-repeated response of the Shepherd, and the frequently testified to reality of the sheep, that He touches them.
Fear dispelled. Lips open again to speak to Him and praise Him. Strength renewed in the inner man to keep on seeking and serving Him. Sometimes through other followers of Jesus, sometimes through the living and active word of God, sometimes directly through the active agency of His abiding Spirit. But always resulting in the fresh experience of His divine touch.
He touched me.
Because of grace. For His glory.