Chapter 10 of the book of Daniel forms an introduction to a prophetic
vision, a vision which is further detailed in chapter 11 and finally
concluded in Daniel chapter 12.
The key verse in this chapter is;
Dan 10:21 But I will tell you what is noted in the Scripture
of Truth. (No one upholds me against these (prince
of Persia and prince of Greece), except Michael
This verse makes it clear that the identities being represented by these
two kingdoms are to be seen as the enemies of God. (The identities may
not have always been enemies of God, but this is what they became.)
In the web page Ram and Goat Vision - Daniel chapter 8 it was concluded
that the Persian and Greek empires are used in prophecy to symbolise the
religious kingdoms of the Old and New Covenants respectively.
The text of Daniel indicates the vision is placed at a time when there
would be a transition between these two kingdoms.
Dan 10:20 Then he said, "Do you know why I have come to you?
And now I must return to fight with the prince of
Persia; and when I have gone forth, indeed the prince
of Greece will come.
Hence the question arises, "To what period of time does the vision apply?".
At first one may consider the early New Testament era, when God shifted
His emphasis from the Jewish faith to Christianity. However, since the
early apostles guided the Christian faith at that time there is no reason
to consider that endemic religious corruption was present in that faith
at that time.
The other era which needs to be considered is the end-time.
The prophecy may be presenting the viewpoint of the end-time Jewish church
and be also reinforcing the inference of other prophecies that Christianity
will in the future gain control of the Jewish congregation.
[NB: To those who have had their eyes opened it will be apparent
that neither modern Judaism or Christianity are motivated to
truly represent God's Word or serve His flock. Rather, at
this time, issues of church tradition and short-term outward
prestige motivates decisions. ]
There are some indications in chapter 10 of an end-time emphasis;
- verse 1, "... but the appointed time was long, ...
- verse 14, "Now I have come to make you understand what will
happen to your people in the latter days, for the
vision refers to many days yet to come."
However, since these thoughts may only pertain to the text of chapters
11 and 12, one would ideally like to see a further indication in the
Daniel chapter 10 text. With this in mind let us consider the chapters
indications of when the vision was received.
24TH OF 1ST MONTH, 3 WEEKS & 21 DAYS
- The prophetic message of the last three chapters of Daniel,
according to Daniel 10:4, was delivered on the 24th day of
the first month.
- The 2nd and 3rd verses appear to document a period when Daniel
mourned three full weeks.
- Verse 14 mentions the passing of 21 days before the vision is
The following arrangement is initially suggested;
- 4th of first month, mourning started
- Daniel mourns for 3 full weeks, ie 21 days
- Vision given on the 24th day of the first month.
So does the 4th day of the first month carry any importance in the
calendar of the Old Covenant?
Does the 24th day of the first month carry any special relevance?
Actually, neither date has any ritual importance! No ceremonies were
initiated or completed on these days.
Given that this is an important prophetic book, one has to wonder if the
proper understanding of the actual dates has been reached.
The English rendering of the Hebrew does not allow for any other dating
than that which has been discussed.
However, the Hebrew does suggest (or provide scope for) other renderings.
- In verses 2 and 3 the word for 'weeks' is not present
in the common form. Rather, the Hebrew spelling is the
same as that found in the much discussed Daniel chapter
- verse 4 reads "And day twenty and four to month first".
The word 'first" in Hebrew can refer to either 'time' or
- verse 13 reads "twenty and one day". The word 'day' is
[NB: The Hebrew in verses 2 & 3 reads "three weeks of days" and most
translators have interpreted 'of days' to mean 'full', hence
the text is commonly rendered simply as "three full weeks". ]
If the unusual grammatical 'masculine' form of 'weeks' found in
Daniel 10:2-3 is acknowledged, then the period of mourning may be
much longer than 21 days!
Verses 2 & 3 may not be indicating a period of only 3 weeks, but a
period of 3 sets of multiple weeks!
In God's decreed Old Covenant calendar there was specified a period
composed of a series of weeks. This was the 'seven weeks and one day'
which began with the day of the wave sheaf in the first month and ended
with the Feast of Weeks in the third month. This was a period of time
in which God commanded both the counting of days and the counting of
This series of 'seven weeks and one' day spanned a period of fifty days,
therefore three sets of these fifty days would imply a total of 150 days
That is to say, that it could be understood that Daniel mourned for a
fifty day period during each year, over three sequential years.
|Why Was Daniel Mourning?
When Babylon fell and Darius the Mede ruled the combined Medo-
Persian kingdom the decree to free the Jews was not declared.
It was not until later, when Cyrus came to the throne of the
combined Medo-Persian kingdom that the decree was issued.
Daniel 10:1 mentions it was the 3rd year of Cyrus king of
This is indicating that at the time Daniel received the
proceeding prophetic content, the rule of Cyrus over Persia
(at least since the fall of Babylon) had spanned 3 years.
Daniel was mourning because the Babylonian Empire had fallen, but
freedom to rebuild Jerusalem had not been granted.
The following new arrangement is suggested;
1st of Cyrus - mourning 50 days wave sheaf to Feast of Weeks
2nd of Cyrus - mourning 50 days "
3rd of Cyrus - mourning 50 days "
What effect does this awareness have on the other timings,
- 24th of 1st month, vision received, verse 4; and
- 21 days, delayed arrival, verse 13.
A) The 24th day of the first month is now no longer a viable date!
As the vision is given in the 3rd year of Cyrus (king
of Persia after the fall of Babylon) refer Dan 10:1,
and the completion of the third set of 'weeks' meant
the first month of that year has already passed.
Therefore the Hebrew,
"And in day twenty and four to month the prominent"
can not be referring to the 24th day of the first month.
B) The 21 days can no longer be understood to be simply a
repeat of the notion of '3 weeks'.
We are advised in verse 3 that Daniel did not anoint himself until
after the completion of his mourning. However, Daniel did again
eat pleasant food (meat and wine) at the end of this duration.
This indicates that the decree of Cyrus, mentioned in Ezra 1:2-4,
may have occurred on the last day of his mourning.
Counting inclusively 21 days forward could bring us to the 24th
day of the third month.
[ NB: There is some dispute over exactly how the dating of the
Feast of Weeks is derived and whether the biblical months
are fixed or lunar. However, the teaching expressed in
this site allows for the dating of the Feast of Weeks to
fall within the range of the 4th to 10th of the 3rd month.
(The actual dating would depend upon how the days of the
week actually fell within any given year.) ]
In summary, it seems that the 21 days actually refers to the period
between the decree of Cyrus, at the end of Daniel's mourning, on
the 4th of the third month (of the third year) and the day the
vision was given to Daniel on the 24th day of that third month.
This would mean the verse 4 wording often translated 'month first'
should have been rendered 'month prominent'. While indeed, the
third month (in which Pentecost is observed) is an extremely
important month in God's calendar, the reference (in the context
of this chapter) is likely referring to it as being the month of
the decree of Cyrus.
|3rd Year of Cyrus or 1st year of Cyrus
The text of Daniel chapter 10 is stated as occurring in the
3rd year of Cyrus king of Persia, refer Dan 10:1.
Within this chapter we have the implied decree which brings
to an end the mourning of Daniel.
However, when we look elsewhere in Scripture we have the
2Chr 36:22 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of
:23 ... And He has commanded me to build Him
a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah.
Who is there among you of all His people?
May the Lord his God be with him, and let
him go up!
See also, Ezra 1:1-4.
The decree is stated to have occurred in the 1st year
of Cyrus king of Persia. However, clearly, this first
year of Cyrus is a reference to his rule not only over
Persia, but over the entire Medo-Persian Empire.
Hence, the 3rd year of Cyrus as king of just Persia was
the same year he became king over the entire Medo-Persian
Daniel 10:1 alludes to the 3rd year of Cyrus to help
us understand the duration of the reign of Darius
the Mede (after the fall of Babylon) and to also help
us grasp the 3 year duration of the mourning of Daniel.
When we read the text of Ezra we see that first feast
celebrated at Jerusalem occurred in the seventh month,
refer Ezra 3:1,4. This observance occurred even though
the foundation of the temple had not yet been laid,
refer Ezra 3:6.
A subsequent 7th month observance is what would have
been expected if the Cyrus decree was given in the 3rd
PROPHETIC MEANING OF 3 WEEKS & 21 DAYS
We can now consider what the above arrangement is indicating at the
greater symbolic level.
The Daniel verse 3 text indicates that during his time of mourning
Daniel ate no desirable food or meat, and drunk no wine. This mirrors
the duration of the Old Covenant, when the spiritual food given was
[ The 150 days of mourning may be alluding to the 1,500 years of
the Old Covenant (Exodus to Jesus Christ). ]
Ending the period of mourning on a Pentecost day also seems relevant
as in the New Testament the Holy Spirit was first poured out on that
With the mourning apparently representing the era of the Old Covenant
it is apparent that the "twenty and one day" represents the period of
Christianity. In the final days of Christianity 'visions' would be
given, ie 'prophetic understanding'.
[ NB: The predicted coming of the "prince of Greece" mentioned
in Dan 10:20 being a prophetic reference to the end-time
defeat of the Old Covenant faith at the hands of a coming
In conclusion, it should be kept in mind that chapter ten represents
merely an introduction to the prophesied end-time events, events which
are further described in chapter 11.