Summary: Exposition of the conclusion of the book of Daniel regarding how we should live in light of the truths of prophecy and suffering presented
Text: Daniel 12:1-13, Title: In Light of All of This, Date/Place: NRBC, 6/6/10, AM
A. Opening illustration: “Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?” -2 Peter 3:11. Give the background and thought about this text. “For God’s enemies, that future judgment will be an inescapable nightmare. But for God’s children, it will mean the fulfillment of the Christian’s hope, a dream come true, ushering in the dawn of Christ’s rule…followed by the creation of a new heavens/earth.” -JM
B. Background to passage: this is the final portion of the vision/prophecy that began in Dan 10. We saw the spiritual battle that went on in 10, then the outworking of God’s plan in 11, and now the conclusion in 12. It is also the conclusion of a book that has detailed Daniel’s life and ministry (as well as his companions), and God’s powerful work in his life. In addition to that, the book has dealt with visions of the future by Daniel and others giving light and hope and encouragement. The sovereignty of God has been a comforting theme to an oppressed and weary and spiritually dry group of God’s people in Babylon/Persia. So now having dealt with difficulty and persecution and suffering for the faith, as well as the suffering which is to come as God brings all things to their designed end, this closing is an appropriate end, reflecting back on all this.
C. Main thought: In light of the prophecies of the last chapter, and the book of Daniel as a whole, how then shall we live? 3 Difficult Reminders
A. Content with questions (v. 5-8)
1. So God tells Daniel (through the angel speaking) to shut up the words of the prophecy until the end when everyone is futility scurrying about looking for “knowledge.” The book is reopened in Revelation 22:10. Then Daniel notes that he is back on the riverbank with the angel beside and the Son of God dressed in linen above the waters, as in ch. 10. And the angel asks Jesus a question. There are things that angels don’t know. Jesus lifts up His hands, swearing by the One who lives forever, then gives the answer. Three and a half “times” or years. This is probably speaking for the last half of the tribulation, see v. 11. But Daniel says, “although I heard, I didn’t understand.” And so Daniel asks another way, and the angel gave him an answer, but not much of one, after a little instruction: “Go your way.” This is another way of saying, “don’t worry about it, I have it all under control.” Answers with no explanations is what Daniel must be content with.
2. Job 38:3-11, 42:1-6, Jer 32:17, Rom 11:33-36, Philip 4:11-13,
3. Illustration: like Job, as he was answered without an answer, “God has purposely hidden much of His will from us for good reason. It is beyond our understanding and it is that part of His nature which is unsearchable and we have no need to make investigation of. He has revealed what He wishes to reveal in His Word and that is sufficient for the day...God has given us all we need to know in His Son, Jesus Christ. We will always have questions that remain unanswered for God has not spoken to us of all things.” “It does not matter where He places me or how. That is rather for Him to consider than for me. For the easiest positions, He must give grace; and in the most difficult, His grace is sufficient. So, if God places me in great perplexity, must He not give me much guidance? In positions of great difficulty, much grace? In circumstances of great pressure and trial, much strength? As to work, mine was never so plentiful, so responsible, or so difficult; but the weight and strain are all gone. His resources are mine, for He is mine!” –Hudson Taylor, trying to teach Mack and Kait to be content,
4. We all deal with situations, circumstances, even people, by which our soul cries out for answers. Maybe it’s a tough bible verse, truth, or doctrine; maybe it’s a pain, sickness, or loss; maybe it’s global catastrophe or a personal one. We are not promised answers, nor explanations. We are called to live in the light of the fact that a good, wise, sovereign, loving Father is dealing with us bountifully. We are not exempt from pain and suffering. Note that Paul “learned” to be content. This is unnatural. For the most part we are never satisfied, not content with about anything in life. We have to bring into the submission of Christ entitlement and desire and bitterness and demands, and put in their place faith, trust, hope, and obedience. Suffer well, knowing that you can trust the heart of God even when He may not provide enough information to quell all your worries and inquiries.