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After the angel explained his delayed message, we read in Dan. 10:15,
15 And when he had spoken these words, I turned my face towards the ground and became speechless [alam, “tongue tied”].
The text seems to use terms that fit the situation, both here and in the next verse. In verse 15 above the prophet turned his face (paniym) toward the ground (eretz). I believe that the golden angel who was speaking to him was the angel Peniel, “God’s face.” The word paniym is the plural form of panah, and in Scripture the word always appears in its plural form. It means both face and presence. Often it is untranslatable, such as in the phrase “stand before Me,” because it would read more literally “stand before My face” (Jer. 7:10; 15:1).
There is also a Hebrew idiom that refers to the surface of the earth as “the face of the earth” (Gen. 41:56; Num. 12:3). Even as people have faces, so also does the earth itself. Hence, to harvest a crop from the face of the earth is comparable to a man shaving his face. The law regarding beards reflects this connection. Shaving the corners of the beard on a man’s face (Lev. 19:27) is merely an extension of reaping the corners of one’s field (Lev. 19:9) on the face of the earth.
This brings both a comparison and a contrast between the face of God and the face of the earth. The connecting link is man himself, who was made of the dust of the ground and in the likeness of God. The purpose for man’s creation was to express the character and likeness of God in earthly (material) terms. This is also the purpose of the feast of Tabernacles, where the sons of God are transformed into His image and likeness. Whereas we have borne the image of the earthly in our face, so also are we to bear the image of the heavenly in our face (1 Cor. 15:49).
Peniel, “the Face of God,” is the angel of Tabernacles. He is golden in color, because gold represents the divine nature. Isaiah 63:9 says that Peniel, “the angel of His presence” (paniym), was the angel that redeemed Israel out of Egypt and carried them by His presence in the pillar of fire and cloud until they rebelled by worshiping the golden calf. Peniel was then replaced by Michael, the angel of death and resurrection (Dan. 12:1, 2).
The story of this replacement is told in Exodus 33:2, 3, where God says, “I will send an angel before you… for I will not go up in your midst.” They had already been led by an unnamed angel from the start of their journey (Exodus 14:19), but after worshiping the golden calf, God said He would not go with them personally but would send (another) angel to lead them. Isaiah tells us that the nameless angel was Peniel, “the angel of His presence.” This means God replaced Peniel with another angel, which we know as Michael.
Peniel, the angel of the feast of Tabernacles, had the power (his job description) to lead Israel into the Promised Land alive without going the route of death and resurrection. Peniel might have led them from the south at Kadesh-barnea, but the evil report of the ten spies showed that the people were not ready to go that route. The alternate route, 38 years later, was from the east, passing through the Jordan River. The Jordan River represents death and resurrection (baptism), and so this is the route that Michael took them.
Both Peniel and Michael are awesome angels, each having his own calling or expression of God’s character in the divine plan. Peniel is the angel that brings some into the full manifestation of the sons of God at the time of Christ’s second coming without them having to experience death and resurrection (1 Cor. 15:51). Michael is the angel who raises the dead in order to bring people into their inheritance along with those who are alive at the time of this transformation. Together, they form a team which brings all of the sons of God into one transformed body before presenting them to the Father on the eighth day of Tabernacles.
When Dan. 10:15 uses terminology that draws our attention to the prophet’s “face,” it is a divine signal connecting and contrasting the Face of God to the human face of Daniel. The contrast is expressed in the words of Daniel in the next verses. Dan. 10:16, 17 says,
16 And behold, one who resembled a human being [demuwth beni adam, “in the likeness of the sons of men”] was touching my lips; then I opened my mouth and spoke, and said to him who was standing before me, “O my lord, as a result of the vision anguish has come upon me, and I have retained no strength. 17 For how can such a servant of my lord [i.e., Daniel] talk with such as my lord [the angel]? As for me, there remains just now no strength in me, nor has any breath been left in me.”
The text seems to imply that the one who touched Daniel’s lips was a second angel accompanying the first. The first angel was golden in color, while this second angel more closely resembled a man. It could not have been one of Daniel’s companions, because by this time they had all fled the scene (Dan. 10:7). The single purpose of this second angel was to open the prophet’s lips so that he was no longer tongue tied.
The result was that Daniel was able to open his mouth and speak. He then confessed that he felt unworthy to talk to such angels. In fact, the encounter caused him “anguish” and left him speechless, weak, and breathless. The Hebrew word for “anguish” is tsiyr. The word means “a messenger” and also “distress, tribulation, or birth pangs.”
The double meaning establishes the setting for the prophecy itself. The angelic message, as stated in Dan. 10:14, was to give the prophet “understanding of what will happen to your people in the latter days.” The angel was thus a messenger of understanding that Israel and Judah were to undergo anguish, tribulation, or birth pangs before they could enter the inheritance of the Kingdom.
The underlying implication is that this second angel has to do with strengthening people during times of tribulation. Is this Michael himself? It is possible, but we are not given any information other than what he did with Daniel. If we view resurrection as the ultimate impartation of strength, or perhaps as the reversal of martyrdom during times of tribulation, then it is possible that this angel was Michael himself. If that were the case, then Michael must have accompanied Peniel in order to ensure that the message got through to Daniel.
Daniel 10:18 says,
18 Then this one with human [adam] appearance touched me again and strengthened me.
The wording makes it clear that this was not the same angel that first appeared to Daniel. He has the appearance of man (adam), rather than being golden in color. Yet he remains unnamed. In Dan. 10:19 this nameless angel speaks to Daniel again:
19 And he said, “O man of high esteem, do not be afraid. Peace be with you [Shalom]; take courage and be courageous!” Now as soon as he spoke to me, I received strength and said, “May my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.”
The angel gives Daniel the common friendly greeting, shalom, which is actually a blessing and prayer to impart wholeness, complete health, tranquility, and safety. We can then see the effect of this word upon the prophet himself, for he is strengthened. To speak “shalom” imparts strength to the one being greeted.
In Daniel 10:20, 21 we read,
20 Then he said, “Do you understand why I came to you? But I shall now return to fight against the prince of Persia; so I am going forth, and behold, the prince of Greece is about to come. 21 However, I will tell you what is inscribed in the writing of truth. Yet there is no one who stands firmly with me against these forces, except Michael your prince.”
It is not clear which angel spoke these words. Daniel had been speaking to the second angel who had strengthened him. Then in verse 20 the text continues with “then he said.” It seems to imply that the second angel was again speaking, but his words indicate that this was actually Peniel speaking.
First of all, this angel was preparing to leave Daniel and to “return to fight against the prince of Persia.” Peniel’s “natural enemy” was the prince of Persia. From the archives of my own revelation going back to 1985, I believe that the prince of Persia is Apollyon, the Destroyer, or one who causes something to be lost. His name comes from apollumi, “to lose” (Luke 9:24). Apollyon’s calling was to destroy Israel and to “lose” them. The ten lost tribes were lost on account of Apollyon’s work.
By contrast, Peniel’s work is to find the lost tribes of Israel by means of the feast of Tabernacles. In fact, his job is to transform them—and all men—from “Jacob” to “Israel.” His job is to create Israelites out of fleshly Jacobites by imprinting upon them the face of God. Paul says in 2 Cor. 3:18,
18 But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.
The battle between Peniel and Apollyon will continue until the time appointed for the sons of God to be manifested and transformed by the glory of God in Christ.
Meanwhile, he says, another hindrance is coming. It is the prince of Greece, another prince from the dark side. By this time the picture begins to emerge, showing that all of the princes from each of the beast nations were hindrances to the manifestation of the sons of God. How? Simply because each of those nations had to run its course before the emergence of the Kingdom of God. As we saw in Daniel 7, these beast nations had to hold the Dominion Mandate for a season before the Transferrer of Days would give dominion to the saints of the Most High.
Hence, there must also be a prince of Rome who came after the prince of Greece.
Peniel expresses his intent to return to the battle, accompanied by “Michael your prince.” But first he had to deliver his message to give Daniel understanding of what was to befall his people in the latter days. So far, he has not done this, because the entire conversation has focused upon the 21-day delay and the glimpses of the war in the heavens.
The actual message is given to us in Daniel 11 and 12.