And I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for some days. Then I rose and went about the king’s business, but I was appalled by the vision and did not understand it. Daniel 8:27
I cannot imagine how seeing what Daniel saw would affect a person. He saw terrible things, empires rising and falling and rulers seeking to wage war with God. It is no wonder that after all that Daniel took ill for a few days. I would think that just from a mental perspective it would take time to recover.
Some might pick up the last words in chapter eight to question either God or Gabriel in their explanations to Daniel. After all, Daniel admits he did not understand what he had seen and heard. Were the explanations somehow lacking?
I guess in a broad sense you could answer yes. After all a better explanation should have made Daniel understand completely. I think God gave Daniel the explanation he needed and no more. After all a vision of the end times would have of necessity included many things a person from Daniel’s time could never comprehend. Daniel lived in a time when wind power on the seas and horses on land were the fastest mode of transportation. How could Daniel possibly understand 21st, 20th or even 19th century technology? He did not possess the basic knowledge to do so.
This problem runs throughout the Bible. God gave us His Word when Israel was a herding culture and even first century Judaism and Christianity existed in and basically and agrarian society. God explained himself to us in terms that the people of the day could understand. That is why we don’t find mention of germs, atoms, steam engines or powered flight. God doesn’t mention the Americas as they have nothing to do with understanding God’s plan.
When it comes to prophetic vision that looks far into the future this problem is doubled. I feel sure that God showed Daniel what was to happen and most likely in detail. Daniel however had not base knowledge to interpret these events back to his own time. We can see this in John’s writing in Revelation. They are describing events and things that have yet to be. So they describe them in terms and things they do understand.
For me I equate their problem to mine when I read on article or book about quantum physics. I just do not have the math background not to mention the physics background to understand. I tend to over simplify and try to equate it to things I know. I have been guilty of the same thing when trying to give an example of the Trinity. I just do not have the words to do either justice.
If I came face to face with the things Daniel saw I doubt I could do as well in my description. We just do not have the capability to describe completely the things of God. God however, is able to give us the information we need, not want, in order to reclaim a relationship with Him.
Have a blessed day,