Blessings await those who persevere to the end…this is the message and promise that Daniel gives to his people. There will be very difficult times along the way, but the end result will be worth it. “Can’t we just skip the pain and difficulty and just move straight to the blessing! “ Our society in modern day has the same mindset…we do not want to go through heartache in order to arrive at blessing. We want immediate reward…’take out blessing’ that is available right now.
Somewhere along the way, God’s people have gotten the idea that if we are obedient to God and have enough faith, everything in our life will be positive. We will not experience any heartache or trials and we will always be prosperous and successful. This model does not fit with biblical teaching…Daniel’s vision tells us that just the opposite will be true. When hard times come though, we have God’s promise that blessing awaits those who persevere to the end. Hold tight…it will be worth it!
How do you respond to a wrenching vision of the advance of a culture-shattering sweep of geopolitical occurrences that will involve the suffering of untold billions of souls and usher in the climactic end of history as we know it? You respond by…going about your business? That’s not the same thing as acting as if coming events don’t matter. To the contrary, the nature of such a vision has everything to do with how one lives now. There are two ways of life from which to choose. One way involves believing that you are at the mercy of world-historical events. That way of life requires you to take or be taken, rule or be ruled, kill or be killed. The other involves understanding that someone other than you clothes the lilies, feeds the sparrows, and cares for you.
Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. Vs. 2-3
I love the poetry of these verses. There is enough mystery in them to fire the imagination, but still they are filled with the promise of hope. I love these verses because the point to a moment where those resting redeemed will shine are receive the reward of the righteous. Not often in the Old Testament do we read about what happens after death. Our greater understanding of eternity comes from Jesus and what he taught, and further from the great Revelation. In the midst of what must come, the war, the rebellion, and all the accompanies those, this is an oasis to the faithful. A life lived for Jesus is worth it.
Join us as Senior Pastor Chris Johnson, Associate Pastor Aaron Hufty and Associate Pastor Bryan Richardson walk us through Daniel 12:1-13 in our Spring Sermon Series: “Faith Under Fire” A Study in Daniel.
“Some of those who have insight will fall, in order to refine, purge and make them pure until the end time.” vs 35
Daniel was given a word that would shape the future of God’s people. It wasn’t a word of fear but of hope. It was a word that would influence the events surrounding the Maccabean Revolt. Those who remain faithful to God may fall, but their persecution will make them stronger. This word would influence first century Christians as they encouraged the early church, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” (James 1:2-3) These words would shape millions of Christians in the next 2,000 years, many of whom did fall, but God’s people always came out stronger. From the words of Joseph in Genesis 50:20, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result.” From the beginning of time, God has taken what others meant for evil and refines, purges, and purifies it for His good. That is hope!
“The king’s demand is impossible. No one except the gods can tell you your dream, and they do not live here among people.” -Sorcerers, Magicians, and Chaldeans. Daniel 2:11 (NLT)
There are many Old Testament scholars who argue that Daniel is not real history simply because the historical details match up too nicely. No one could have written with that kind of detail in the sixth century BC, they would say.
They draw the same conclusion as Nebuchadnezzar’s sorcerers and magicians, gods don’t reveal mysteries to men. Their practical atheism deny God’s ability to handle the details of human history. The irony is, the purpose of Daniel is to prove the opposite; the only true God is the revealer of mysteries and riddles.
God is in all the details, present and distant future, guiding them to certain ends.
Re:Verse passage – Daniel 11:1-45 (day four) “And now I will tell you the truth:” Chapter 11 is distinctively different than the rest of the book. No visions. No dreams. No pictures. Just words. Did reading Daniel’s spoken apocalypse (chapter 11) feel different without any visual content? Our culture has shifted to place for more importance on the visual rather than the verbal. Perhaps the influence of TV and computers. In fact, a nickname for a younger generation is “digitals”. Have we come to value what is seen more than what is spoken? Sounds like Thomas (unless I see, I won’t believe). In God’s economy, the verbal (words) matters more than the visual (visions, pictures). “Faith comes from hearing”. Pictures, visions, and examples are all important, but not more than the words that accompany them. Words bring clarity and certainty. God please speak to us that we might hear, trust, and obey!!
To read this passage in Daniel could have been very discouraging in his day. One king after another, one nation rising after another, one kingdom overthrowing the last…there seems to be an endless parade of wars and conquerors, intrigue and deception, death and destruction. All of this narrative seems to read like today’s headlines.
In just a few days, we, as a nation, will celebrate Memorial Day. This holiday is a time to remember the men and women who have given their lives in war so we can have the freedoms we enjoy. Wars are a part of the fabric of life. Wars have continued from Daniel’s time, even until today and there seems to be no end in sight. Scripture tells us that until the end of time, there will be wars and rumors of wars.
To find encouragement and comfort in the middle of all this conflict, remember who controls the outcome. God is our strength, our very help in trouble!
“He will go forth with great wrath to destroy and annihilate many.”
It wasn’t for nothing that Daniel’s contemporary Jeremiah said, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” One will always – always – seek to bend the world to one’s own ends. If you have a little power, you’ll do so in little ways: You’ll surround yourself with people who will not resist you. If you have vast power, you’ll do so in bigger ways: You’ll destroy people who resist you. All while issuing denials. History can expect a succession of ever more tyrannical overlords who will refine and hone despotism to unimaginable potency. It’s what we do; it’s how we treat each other. And there would be no end of it were it not for God, mighty to save. To the oppressor he will finally say, “No more.”
And now I will tell you the truth. Behold, three more kings are going to arise. Vs. 2a
So, you’re saying there’s going to be war? I have tried to read this chapter as Daniel would have read it. We have some indication who these kings of the North and South were as we have layered history on top of prophecy, but Daniel did not. In that sense, I get frustrated. North, South, kings and kingdoms, battles and false gods; doesn’t it seem like a world spinning out of control. What is a prophet to do? Then I realize, I’m not Daniel, and that is an indictment on my spiritual formation. Tough words were not new to him or his faith journey. He delivered them to Kings all his life. He was put in a place to speak truth to power, and to withstand the changing regimes of godless men. Daniel may have been wearied by these words, but his faith was not shaken. If the Lord continued to allow kingdoms to rise and fall, that didn’t change Daniel’s assignment in a greater Kingdom design. We cannot change our place in history, but we can accept where God has placed us and get to work.