Summary: Daniel was known for his wisdom and abilities to make things known. But when he asked a certain question of the Lord, he didn't get the answer he was expecting!


The Book of Daniel is a favorite book for many people. The story of how he stood for God in a pagan land is familiar to most believers. Some of my relatives used to read from “The Bible Story” collection stories about Daniel and his friends, many times over. I’ve never forgotten those times, and rejoice that people cared enough to read to a little boy.

We can remember, too, how at least twice Daniel explained a dream and its meaning to the king; how he refused to give up when it meant certain death, and how he prayed for the people of Israel. Chapter 9, for example, has a beautiful prayer that clearly came from Daniel’s heart. God heard the prayer, and answered.

And God answered powerfully. The Hebrew captives were allowed to return home, out of the Babylonian Captivity, which to many must have been a dream come true. The books of Ezra and Nehemiah give glimpses of life in those days. The books by the prophets Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi give us additional portraits of life after the returnees had come home.

Yet, there is one thing that Daniel isn’t given a lot of credit for. He asked questions, and most of them God answered. As we’ll see, God didn’t answer one of Daniel’s questions.

The text is found in Daniel chapter 12:

[Dan 12:1-13 KJV] 1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation [even] to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. 2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame [and] everlasting contempt. 3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. 4 But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, [even] to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. 5 Then I Daniel looked, and, behold, there stood other two, the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river. 6 And [one] said to the man clothed in linen, which [was] upon the waters of the river, How long [shall it be to] the end of these wonders? 7 And I heard the man clothed in linen, which [was] upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that [it shall be] for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these [things] shall be finished. 8 And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what [shall be] the end of these [things]? 9 And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words [are] closed up and sealed till the time of the end. 10 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand. 11 And from the time [that] the daily [sacrifice] shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, [there shall be] a thousand two hundred and ninety days. 12 Blessed [is] he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days. 13 But go thou thy way till the end [be]: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.

Our focus is on verse 9, repeated below:

Dan 12:9: And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.

What did Daniel hear?

The narrative for this event actually begins in Chapter 10. Daniel told us when he received this prophecy, and he recorded in detail what God’s messenger told him. This flowed over into chapter 11, giving details about events that would happen many years, hundreds of years, in the future—and all were fulfilled to the letter.

Other parts of those prophecies have not, repeat not, been fulfilled as of yet, but we can be sure that if the other prophecies were fulfilled, the rest will be as well. Allowing that there is some room for debate as to when, exactly, these prophecies will be fulfilled, we have every assurance that what God promised, He will deliver.

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