“Now on the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, that is, the Tigris, I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, a certain man clothed in linen, whose waist was girded with gold of Uphaz! His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like torches of fire, his arms and feet like burnished bronze in color, and the sound of his words like the voice of a multitude.” Danil 10:4-6
The place of the vision is declared to be “by the side of the great river, which is Tigris.” Here we learn for the first time that Daniel did not accompany the pilgrims who returned to Jerusalem.
The obvious explanation of Daniel’s failure to return is that he was quite old, probably eighty-five years of age, and, according to chapter 6, had been given a prominent place in the government and was not free to leave as were the others. Probably he could do Israel more good by remaining at his post than by accompanying them in the limitations of his age to Palestine.
Apart from the prophetic significance, there is a sense in which Daniel’s experience by the Tigris River conveys a lesson to all Christian leaders. There is a price to pay if we’re to see what God wants us to see and hear what He is saying to us. Daniel did not have this vision early in his ministry but at the end of a long and faithful life. “God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.” (Matthew 5:8) Spiritual leaders often see what others can’t see and hear what others fail to hear. They must stand when others flee, and must receive God’s message even if it makes them feel weak and helpless. By seeing the greatness and the glory of God, Daniel was prepared to accept and record the prophetic message the angel brought. The angel had come to give Daniel a special revelation concerning the Jewish people and what would happen to them in the latter days. This complex prophecy is for Israel, not the church.