Day 213 – Thru the Bible
Today we complete Daniel. Nice job!
Daniel 10 – Chapters 10–12 form a single vision. Chapter 10 shows that the challenges to God’s people on earth are paralleled by battles in the spiritual realms (Ephesians 6:12). This reality would overwhelm us were it not for the assurance given to us and to Daniel that the prevailing hosts of heaven are with us.
Daniel is in mourning for the plight of his people when an angelic messenger of great glory appears in a way only Daniel can see. With a highly symbolic expression of gracious care, the angel touches Daniel, assures him of love, stands him upright, and offers understanding in response to the prophet’s humility.
Daniel is awestruck that a being of such heavenly power would deign to draw near to him. Daniel’s ability to express his sense of awe is enabled by the touch of the angel, as also are his strength to stand and his breath to speak. Each touch is a mark of enabling grace that allows the humble to know God’s love, peace, and strength.
These last verses of chapter 10 reiterate the truth earlier revealed: there are battles in the spiritual realm that parallel and affect the affairs of humanity. The last two words of the chapter are our great assurance against spiritual opposition. The angelic messenger indicates that his ally against evil is “Michael, your prince.” Thus Daniel learns that he has a champion in heaven who fights for him—as do we (Jeremiah 1:18–19; Hebrews 12:2; Revelation 19:11–16).
How does this great truth–that you too have a champion in heaven who fights for you–uplift you?
Daniel 11 – With the insight and strength with which he had been strengthened in chapter 10, Daniel now strengthens another. Grace received is ours to share. We are channels, not dams, of God’s love (Ephesians 5:2).
As a result of the vision in chapter 10, Daniel here reveals a future succession of empires and rulers with incredible detail. The inescapable conclusion is that our God knows and directs the affairs of this world for His ultimate glory and our ultimate good.
The people of God are swept up in the tide and trials of these world events. Of special concern to Israel is the prediction that a future despot will “profane the temple” and “take away the regular burnt offering.” The wise (presumably the covenant people who still honor God), with others who join them, will resist at the cost of their lives. Most commentators believe these details refer to the Maccabean Revolt (167–164 b.c.) against Antiochus IV Epiphanes. This evil Seleucid king sets himself against “the God of gods” (11:36), but he is ultimately isolated and defeated.
As Daniel was strengthened by knowledge of this ultimate triumph over evil, so we are strengthened in the face of national and global evils by the knowledge that our God’s purposes will ultimately prevail.
How do remember to be a channel for God’s grace to those around you?
Daniel 12 – Chapters 10–12 are a single vision that begins with the assurance of God’s love (chapter 10), continues with a revelation of world empire succession that will include great trials and martyrdom for God’s people (chapter 11), and now concludes with a promise of resurrection and heavenly rest for the faithful (chapter 12). Some commentators place the events of chapter 12 entirely at the end times. The events more likely are primarily a continuation of chapter 11’s description of the period associated with Antiochus IV Epiphanes, but are conflated with details of the final days when all Believers will enter their eternal rest.
After a time of great suffering, God will send Michael to deliver His people (10:1). The deliverance includes resurrection to “everlasting life” (12:2) for all whose names are written in the book of life. Those not in the book of life are raised to “everlasting contempt”– separation from God forever. Daniel is to seal this knowledge in a book until the end comes and there is sufficient basis for its full understanding. By these words God tells His people all they need to know to endure the trials and martyrdom many will face; i.e., life everlasting awaits those who depend on Him rather than their own wisdom or ways.
This is a key Old Testament text undergirding the more explicit New Testament teaching of the resurrection of the dead. The New Testament is so much clearer on this gospel doctrine because it is written on the other side of the life, teaching, death, and resurrection of Jesus (example Matthew 22:29–32). Paul explains that Jesus is “the firstfruits” of the end-time resurrection from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:20–23). That is, Jesus’ resurrected body is the first installment of the coming great harvest of the redeemed (restored in body and spirit)—in which all those united to Jesus will inevitably be included.
Daniel asks how long the time of great suffering will take to be completed. A heavenly messenger clothed in linen says the span will be three and a half times. Even Daniel does not understand precisely what this means, but the messenger urges him to be content with the fact that God has determined the time, despite the future need for some to “be refined” by suffering and death.
To give Daniel further confidence that God remains in control despite the trials to come, the messenger refines the time frame (1,290 days) between the ending of temple sacrifices and the profaning of the temple. Then the angel adds another 45 days to the 1,290 (totaling 1,335 days) that God’s people will have to persevere before their deliverance. The specificity indicates God’s comprehensive knowledge of what will come, and is the basis for Daniel’s (and our) perseverance through trials because of the certainty that we “shall rest and shall stand in [our] allotted place at the end of the days.”
We follow a crucified Savior to a heavenly rest. The path has inescapable pain, but the end is eternal, blessed, and sure.
How does this help you endure whatever today may hold?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
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