We might say that Daniel had a close encounter with an extraterrestrial being. It startled him so greatly that he became as a dead man and his personal dignity was changed to ruination, as the prophet described. Only after the visiting angel strengthened and reassured Daniel was he able to recover his composure. But what a sight he beheld! A human-like creature with the glory of a god!
Oddly, the Watchtower’s commentary attaches no special significance to the supernatural encounter. But it is well to point out that while angels infrequently materialized to communicate messages to God’s servants, they usually materialized flesh and looked like men. For instance, when three angels descended to inspect Sodom and Gomorrah they looked exactly like men. When they first went to visit Abraham he even prepared a meal for them. He certainly was not convulsed in terror by their very presence. That being the case, surely God could have conveyed his message to Daniel by some other means than what took place. For that reason, the close encounter that Daniel had must have some prophetic significance beyond the message that was conveyed. And, indeed, it would appear that the encounter has the most profound implications; standing as a prophetic drama foreshadowing Jesus’ future presence. The reason the Watchtower fails to recognize that to be the case will become obvious.
The close encounter that Daniel had on the banks of the river Hiddekel is nearly identical to the vision the apostle John had several centuries later. John describes Jesus as having eyes like fire and feet like burnished copper, and his countenance was as the sun. As a result of his visionary encounter of Christ John fell down as a dead man—the same as Daniel had done. And just as the angel strengthened and reassured Daniel, so too, Jesus laid his hand on John and imparted strength to him. Interesting, too, both Daniel and John were in exile at the time of their encounters and both experiences were preliminary to their receiving vital revelations concerning the finale of things.
John had had an earlier experience, along with Peter and James, when they witnessed the transfiguration of Christ. On that occasion Jesus shone like the sun—just as the glorious angel who appeared to Daniel. Years later Peter revealed that the transfiguration was a confirmation of the power and presence of Jesus Christ.
Another similar encounter that Paul experienced helps to shed light upon the significance of these various superhuman manifestations.
Paul also had a close encounter with the glorified Christ. Writing about the experience in his letter to the Corinthians, Paul explained that after his resurrection Jesus appeared to the apostles and later to upwards of 500 disciples. Then, after his ascension back to heaven Jesus appeared to Paul; however, all the other witnesses who saw Jesus after his resurrection saw him in human form, but Paul saw him as a spirit. Paul described the encounter as a flash of light, which left him blind for three days. The significance of Paul’s encounter with Christ is that he is the only human to have seen Christ as a spirit—not in the flesh and not in a vision. In the 15th chapter of 1st Corinthians Paul commented on the uniqueness of his experience, saying: “but last of all he appeared also to me as if to one born prematurely.”
Paul was born prematurely, in a spiritual sense, because he was the first to see Christ as he now exists and how all of the chosen ones will eventually see him. But, contrary to the current expectations of Jehovah’s Witnesses—the anointed in particular—the chosen ones will see Christ before they are united with him in heaven. That, in fact, is the significance of the visionary encounters of Daniel and John and the transfiguration of Christ, as well as Paul’s experience. In all of those experiences, Christ revealed himself to humans.
The fact that both Daniel and John fell down as dead men and had to be carefully revived, and Paul was struck blind for three days, indicates that the glorified Christ is destined to reveal himself to his chosen ones in a similar manner, while they are in the flesh, during Christ’s presence. Surely the glorified 144,000 will not fall down as dead spirits before Christ in heaven, since at that point they will be as glorious as Christ himself. No, but it is during the parousia, after the evil slaves have been thrashed and put out of God’s household to weep and gnash their teeth in the outer darkness, that Jesus will “come alongside” his faithful ones in order to minister to them and reveal himself to them. That is what the revelation of Jesus is all about. It is when he reveals himself to his chosen ones. And in turn they are revealed as the sealed and chosen sons of God.
Another noteworthy aspect of Daniel’s encounter is that the men with Daniel could not see the spirit. However, they were inexplicably terrified and went into hiding. In a similar manner Jesus will not manifest himself to anyone except the genuine sons of the kingdom. This was hinted at during the transfiguration and the fact that Jesus only selected three of his apostles and afterwards ordered them not to tell any of the others what they had seen until after Jesus was resurrected.
(While Jesus will only reveal himself to his true disciples during his presence, the sign of his presence will be manifest for everyone to see.)
It should be apparent why the Pay Attention book omits any comment on the prophetic significance of Daniel’s encounter with the angel. To do so would draw attention to the fact that the Watchtower’s 1914 doctrine is nothing more than an “artfully contrived” false story; since it should be obvious that Jesus has not come alongside to minister to his disciples in any sort of miraculous way. (Parousia literally means to come alongside another. At Luke 12:37 Jesus used that same expression.)
In order to overturn the fraud that has been perpetrated upon Jehovah’s Witnesses in regards to Christ presence supposedly having begun in 1914, the following scriptural texts have been arranged to show how there is essentially no difference between Christ’s presence and his coming, arrival, revelation and manifestation.