Daniel’s understanding of events that were to take place hundreds, and in some instances, thousands of years in the future was the result of a spiritual gift he received from the angel Gabriel. It talks about Daniel’s encounter with Gabriel in Daniel 9:22-23, where it says, “And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.” Prior to this, Daniel had already demonstrated his ability to interpret dreams, so the gift of understanding he received from Gabriel must have been a type of supernatural awareness or divine discernment that went beyond Daniel’s human capability of perception.
The best way to describe Daniel’s understanding would probably be to say he had God’s perspective of things. Daniel was able to comprehend what God intended to do with and for his people in the future. Through divine revelation, Daniel was able to see Jesus Christ in a similar form to what was recorded by the apostle John in Revelation 1:12-16. Daniel said, “Then I lift up mine eyes, and looked, and behold, a certain man clothed in linen whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz: his body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude” (Daniel 10:5-6). Daniel does not say who the person was that he saw. He does not even let on that he had actually seen the face of God. Daniel’s miraculous vision had such an impact on him that he was left speechless.
Daniel was not alone at the time of his vision. His encounter with Jesus was similar to that of the apostle Paul on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:7). Daniel said, “And I Daniel alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw not the vision; but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves. Therefore was I left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength” (Daniel 10:7-8). Daniel was transformed by his experience. The Hebrew word Daniel used, haphak (haw – fak´) is translated turned, but it also means to change (2015) and refers to the transformation of king Saul after his encounter with the Spirit of God in 1 Samuel 10:9. The interesting thing about Daniel’s conversion was that he went from glory to shame. In the presence of Jesus Christ, Daniel understood that he was a dead man. He was completely corrupted and ruined by sin.