Today’s reading is Daniel 8-12 and Psalm 147.
Daniel is one of those strange books where we teach the first few chapters but almost completely ignore the rest of the story. The book is a gem for Sunday school teachers because it has story after story of Daniel and his friends being faithful to God in the most difficult of circumstances. But what do we do with the last half of the book, with the visions of beasts and visits from angels?
Some prophecies in the Old and New Testament are clear, and we know exactly what they are about. Others are not as clear. The visions in Daniel fall into both categories. In the first vision, we know that Media and Persia fell, that Greece rose, and fell, and other nations rose and fell.
But then there is the seventy sevens (Daniel 9:24) which amounts to 490 years. We know that the exile only lasted seventy years as proclaimed by Jeremiah (Daniel 9:2) and this is approximately in the mid 500s BC. Adding 490 to this, it is somewhere in the mid-first century BC. But if we look at after the book of Malachi, when the Temple and Jerusalem are restored, perhaps we get to approximately when Jesus comes. Is that what this prophecy is in regards to? Is Jesus’ work on the cross being referred to when it says, “to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy Place” (Daniel 9:24)? Maybe.
Then at the end of Daniel there are prophecies about the end and there is a mention of the resurrection, “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2). This seems to have similarities to Revelation for sure.
The end of the book of Daniel has a lot going on. There are prophecies that we can be pretty confident have happened and come to complete. There are others that could mean something but possibly are related to something else entirely. Then there are prophecies that are probably wrapped up in Revelation. A more in depth study of commentaries and readings of the Church Fathers would help clear much of this up, but none of it will be known for sure until it has completed.
Without studying this in depth, I feel confident that whatever has happened, is happening, and will happen is in God’s hands. God is the one who made all of these visions known to Daniel. Even if a single one of these visions has yet to come true, we can know that God is true. The first part of Daniel is a story which proves this. We see time and time again that kings and officials are partial to Daniel and his friends because God protects them. We see God close the mouth of lions and protect from flaming fire because He is great. (And we are reminded even if He does not do any of this, He is still great.)
Whatever has happened, is happening, and will happen is in God’s hands. My life and your life is in His hands. Like the angel says to Daniel, we can say to ourselves as well, “As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance” (Daniel 12:13).
Join me in finishing this year by reading through the Bible through a Psalm a Day. Find my reading plan here.
All Scripture used on Oregon Christian Girl comes from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Unless otherwise noted.