Daniel 12 The End

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Questions: How will things end? How bad will it get before then? Whom can we trust? Will we be delivered? Are we wise? What should we be doing? What shouldn’t we be doing?

“Read More” to pursue answers from the Prophet Daniel.

Lord, make me a Fountain of your Love.
Draw me into your Presence, and fill me with your Holy Spirit
That I might know you as my Father, and manifest the image of Christ
In this world, and the world to come. Amen.

Daniel 12:1-13

And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people:

Here’s where our previous historical correspondence gets a little dicey. If this is referring to the archangel Michael from Chapter 10, then does the great battle in Chapter 11 just refer to some Greek kings in the last century B.C., or is this looking even farther forward to the final armageddon* After all, there doesn’t seem to be any particular signs of heavenly visitors during any of those historic battles. Though they certainly had their share of trouble:

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.

This seems to be the most important lesson: though there will be great trouble, nonetheless the Jews will be delivered. Which, amazingly, has proved true (on both counts!) many times in the ensuing millennia. But, intriguingly, there is an even greater promise:

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

Whoa. I’m pretty sure no other passage in the Old Testament speaks as bluntly about the idea of resurrection and an afterlife. So who gets to enjoy this?

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.

Powerful words. So what should Daniel do with all this?

But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, [even] to the time of the end:

Grr. Comments like these always bug me. If this is so important, why not tell people? On the other hand, if this is such a secret, why am I able to read it? Should I not? Did Daniel disobey and not safeguard it properly? Or is this merely some rhetorical device I don’t recognize?

Or, did the time for its sealing already come to an end?

many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.

The message translates this as:

In the interim there is going to be a lot of frantic running around, trying to figure out what’s going on

which is certainly true! Maybe the lesson is to not waste too much effort on trying to understand exactly what’s going to happen, but rather to seek God while He may be found.

Fortunately, though, it sounds like someone else is asking the same questions:

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. 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?

Cool! Does that mean we’re about to get an answer?

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.

Doh! Not quite. I count 3.5 times, which in millennia from 600 B.C. would give us 2900 A.D; a safe enough prediction for me to make. 🙂 But of course a “time” might mean anything. No wonder Daniel is confused:

And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what [shall be] the end of these [things]?

I presume he’s asking Gabriel, who at first seems to say “shut up and go away.”

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

But, he does condescend to provide some sort of answer:

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.

Hmm. Again, the emphasis seems to be less on when the end will come, and more on how we should live in the meantime. Though he does offer this tantalizing calendar:

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. Blessed [is] he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.

These (1290 and 1335) are often contrasted to 1260 days, which is what you get if 3.5 times are interpreted as 3.5 years. What does it all mean? There are many opinions:

* Preterists see these as literal days following the desecration by Antiochus IV Epiphanes, but before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.
* Futurists see these as literal days during the Great Tribulation at the end of the world.
* Historicists interpret these more-or-less metaphorically as referring to church history.

Who’s right? How should I know?!? The greatest Christian minds have wrestled with this for centuries, and (for the most part) generated nothing but confusion. 😦

Perhaps it is wisest to simply seal these up for now, and wait until afterwards to make sense of it. In the meantime, are we turning many to righteousness? If not, then does it really matter what time it is*

Prayer

God, I honestly have no idea what most of this means, at least in terms of dates on a calendar. But the bottom line is that you are in control, and that you want us to persevere even in the midst of great difficulty. Further, I acknowledge your command to live wisely and preach righteousness, even when the world seems out of control. Father, may I — and my blog — be clay in your hands, and vessels of your living water, that all the world might know that there is a God in Israel, and that those who trust in Him may never be put to shame. I ask this in Jesus name, Amen.

About the Title:

Today’s title is, among other things, about this being the final chapter of Daniel. In honor of Valentine’s week, I’m thinking continuing straight on to Hosea

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