I found a handout that I had made in 2006 detailing the structure of the Book of Daniel as having an introductory chapter followed by a double chiasm. After studying Daniel yet again over the last couple years this outline is the best there is as far as I am concerned. Since I have already given you a handout comparing Daniel 2 and 7 and then supplemented that last time with suggestions to add for Daniel 8, I have also created handouts regarding the parallels between Daniel 2, 7, 8, 11:2-39 and 11:40-12:13 and a comparison/contrast of the little horns. I could write further someday drawing out the comparisons and contrasts that you yourself will have to mine using these handouts. Perhaps another fruitful future post might be to compare the judgment of Nebuchadnezzar (ch.4) and the judgment of Belshazzar (ch.5) respectively with the prayer of confession of Daniel (ch.9) and the prayer for understanding chapter of Daniel (ch.10). Until teaching on the structure of the book with the outline linked above I had not really thought to do so but it is obvious that the chapter on the judgment of Nebuchadnezzar is being contrasted by the author with the chapter on the prayer of confession of Daniel and likewise for the judgment of Belshazzar and Daniel’s prayer for understanding chapters. In any case, with the pdfs linked above there is much that will aid you greatly in your study of Daniel. In addition, I offer the following below as you ponder in particular Daniel 10:1-11:1, Daniel 11:2-39, and Daniel 11:40-12:13.
Daniel 10 shows us Daniel’s Prayer for Understanding. The setting is the third year of Cyrus king of Persia (Daniel 10:1) and the first year of Darius the Mede (Daniel 11:1). Sections in Daniel often begin and end with such a reference to the timing.
In Daniel 10 he describes seeing a vision of a man clothed in linen with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist, his body like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a multitude (i.e., an army marching). Daniel had prayed (cf. Daniel 10:12) for understanding. In response to this prayer, the angel Gabriel came to Daniel and told him that Michael came to help Gabriel against the prince of Persia. Schwab interprets then the vision of this man clothed in linen as a vision of the angel Gabriel. Yet then he is quick to note how similar this is to the vision of Ezekiel 1. The vision in Ezekiel is one of God Himself. Indeed, this is what the description of this man clothed in linen sounds like in Daniel 10. Thus the angel Gabriel reflects the glory of God Himself.
Thus Daniel 10 follows the same format that we saw in Daniel 9. In Daniel 9, he offered a prayer of confession and the angel Gabriel came in response to the prayer and interpreted for him the meaning of 70 years in the prophet Jeremiah. In Daniel 10, Daniel offered a prayer for understanding and the angel Gabriel came in response to this prayer and told him that Michael came to help Gabriel in the battle with the prince of Persia. Michael is called ”one of the chief princes” (Daniel 10:13) and also ”your prince” (Daniel 10:21).
The apocalyptic vision here shows us the invisible dimension. The angel Gabriel is fighting the prince of the kingdom of Persia who is able to withstand for 21 days or 3 weeks until Michael came to help Gabriel. 3 weeks is a symbolic number, significant because it is not four. The prince of the kingdom of Persia we might think of as a fallen angel who fights for that nation against the angels who are faithful to God. Michael is the prince of Israel – He is the Messiah/Christ in Angelic form. After all, Daniel has already called the coming Christ the prince of Israel.
Note also that Daniel was mourning for three weeks (Daniel 10:2-3). So Daniel was humbling himself, praying, and mourning for three weeks. During the same time period Gabriel was fighting the prince of Persia. Since Michael arrived, Gabriel was able to go and tell Daniel words of comfort. Michael is called ”the great prince who has charge of your people” later in Daniel 12:1. He is the archangel (chief angel) that Jude describes as having fought with the devil over the body of Moses (Jude 9) and is the angelic Christ described in Revelation 12.
Daniel 11:2-39 brings us back again to the earlier horn Antiochus IV Epiphanes. You can tell this because of the setting being near the end of the Greek Empire. The parallels with Chapter 8 are undeniable. I mentioned in the sermon on this passage that the title ”the king of the south” in these verses refer to at least six different kings as it would unfold in history and that the title ”the king of the north” likewise refers to at least four different kings. Thus the text is vague enough that one could not predict what would happen, but recognize that the prophecy was fulfilled after the fact.
I gave the example of the alliance and agreement made between the king of the south and the king of the north. You might have guessed correctly that this was a marriage alliance. The daughter of the southern king married the northern king in 250 B.C. And the agreement was that their son would become king of both. But what you would never guess is that the alliance came to an end historically because the northern king reconciled with his first wife who then poisoned the king, his second wife, and their son. Thus predicting the details of the future is not possible with this kind of prophecy.
Any modern commentary will take these verses to describe what took place in history. In fact, they are so accurate that theological liberals assume that they must have been written after the fact. Antiochus IV was not an heir to the throne of the northern kingdom and thus he was an illegitimate ruler (see Daniel 11:21). Antiochus IV did the original abomination of desolation – putting what we think was a meteorite from Zeus worship in the temple and sacrificing a pig to it. The liberal assumption is that you can date the book to the time when the prophecy no longer fits the history.
Schwab charts out the verses and references to the kings this way:
It is common for interpreters to simply keep reading Daniel 11:2-39 through the end of the book and miss the textual clues that we have just fastforwarded to the end of time with the phrase, ”At the time of the end” (Daniel 11:40), which is then answered by ”At that time” (Daniel 12:1). This passage describes the final apocalyptic battle – the anti-Christ being called ”the king of the north.” He is the king of the north because he is the antitype pointed to by Antiochus IV. The battle itself is dismissed in a verse, but what happens is Michael wins as He brings in the final judgment and resurrection.
We have already discussed the time, times, and half a time and what that means. However, there are a couple other numbers here at the end of Daniel 12 to explain. These are 1,290 days and 1,335 days. Both numbers are symbolic. The first represents the period between the taking away of the regular burnt offering and the crisis of the abomination of desolation. Both numbers are not much more than 3 years. Here again the meaning is that they are less than 3+1. Thus the people would be able to endure to the end and be saved rather than face the fatal punch of a +1 time.