Saturday, June 16, 2012

Hold On, It's Worth It!- Pondering Daniel 12


Daniel 12 “At that time shall arise aMichael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And bthere shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, ceveryone whose name shall be found written in the bookAnd many of those who dsleep in ethe dust of the earth shall eawake, fsome to everlasting life, and fsome to shame and everlasting contempt. gAnd those who are wise hshall shine like the brightness of the sky above;1 and ithose who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. But you, Daniel, jshut up the words and kseal the book, until lthe time of the end. mMany shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”
Then I, Daniel, looked, and behold, two others stood, one on nthis bank of the stream and one on that bank of the stream. And someone said to othe man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream,2 p“How long shall it be till the end of these wonders?” And I heard othe man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream; qhe raised his right hand and his left hand toward heaven and rswore by him who lives forever that it would be for a stime, times, and half a time, and that when the shattering of tthe power of tthe holy people comes to an end all these things would be finished. I heard, ubut I did not understand. Then I said, “O my lord, what shall be the outcome of these things?” He said, vGo your way, Daniel, wfor the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end. 10 xMany shall purify themselves and make themselves white and be refined, but ythe wicked shall act wickedly. And none of the wicked shall understand, gbut those who are wise shall understand. 11 And from the time that zthe regular burnt offering is taken away and athe abomination that makes desolate is set up, there shall be 1,290 days. 12 bBlessed is he who waits and arrives at the 1,335 days. 13 cBut go your way till the end. dAnd you shall rest and shall stand in your allotted place at ethe end of the days.”
Here we are back in a passage of prophecy with all the power of apocalyptic numbers and symbolic language.

When you read these passages in Daniel, the other OT books with this type of imagery , the Book of Revelation, and the 'Olivet Discourse' (Matt24/Mark13/Luke 21)- you come away knowing there are some deep mysteries and heavy pronouncements.

I spent close to 2 years studying all I could on the Book of Revelation, developed and taught a Sunday School series, and a 9 week Bible class on the book and I am still amazed in that, the more I glance at it- the less I know.

I wish I could get the confidence of the many big name Bible teachers who dig into the various schools of thought- but there is too much that is pure conjecture.

Bottom line: the greatest Bible scholars in the history of the world did not get right the first coming of Jesus, I am confident we are going to miss the timeline and narrative of the 2nd coming as well.

I have written and blogged on this quite often:
One example is here:
 Saturday, February 12, 2011 Forests and Trees- What We Tend to Miss in Biblical Prophecy
What I would like to do in this post is to comment on a few highlighted points that really stuck with me during this long period where I have thought about this particular chapter.


I: A Coming Time of Trouble

Even if I lean toward a preterist view of Bible prophecy, there seems to be a refulgent wave of turmoil and recovery that seems to grow in intensity and global implications.

If I am honest, I don't like reading this portion of the Bible a lot. No one likes to meditate on the type of promises made in the Bible about the calamity that falls of people, lands, and nations who forever slide into deeper and deeper sin and idolatry.

To make matters worse, my online news source (The Drudge Report) has a unique style of lumping news events in a rather apocalyptic style. Read any prophetic passage and read the Drudge Report  and it will just leap off the page.

It makes me quiet and sober. It makes me prayerful. Living in light of Christ's return has an impact on your life in largely positive ways. We are to be ready for the Master's return, and we do want to be found faithful.

But again, if I am honest- I feel 'troubled' when I see the godlessness growing and pray for revival to delay this great day of trouble. But there are individuals who live in extreme situations even now.


II: Many running to and fro and knowledge increasing.

After the Book is sealed, there is this fun phrase mentioned.

Daniel was told to seal up the Book 12:9 "words are sealed and shut up to the end" but John is told in Revelation 22:10 "Do NOT seal up the book of prophecy because the time is near".

So verse 4 has multiple applications:
  • Those who will increase in knowledge of this Book
  • The world increasing in knowledge- leading to rise of the Enlightenment,industrial age, technology
  • Knowledge does not equal wisdom or understanding
  • People will still act according to their nature regardless. (vs 10)



III: Time, Times, and Half a Time.

We find this same language in the Book of Revelation and shows a key to Biblical Prophecy- BOTH a literal and figurative application. One of my big premises in Biblical prophecy is that there a multiple layers of fulfillment. As history marches on there is a cycle that repairs and groans until the final climax. 

So there is literal meaning to this apocalyptic number:
7  years = 84 months
3 1/2 years= 42 months=1260 days= times, times, and half a time
3 1/2 is a 'cut short' 7.

But there is also a figurative application as well. A long pattern that ends abruptly, but still in a planned cycle.

When we get to the end, we will be able to look back and see that this amazing multiple application measuring tool has been mapped out precisely. We can't see it because A) we are in it, too close to see it from beginning to end and B) Omega will have to happen to understand the Alpha.

The Bottom line- judgement day can happen any day. If someone dies today, they are at their judgement day. We just need to be ready.

IV: Go Your Way- and you shall rest and stand in your allotted place at the end of days

This is where ALL prophecy comes together. The base message is - NO MATTER WHAT, CLING TO YOUR FAITH and even if the storms crush you to the ground, you will find rest and standing.

So YES- reading Revelation and OT prophecy or the 'little apocalypse' in the gospels is sobering- BUT IT HAS A PROMISE OF HOPE!

It keeps us going even in tough times.

Do you ever feel like giving up? Chucking it all away?

Living for Christ in a dark world is hard (but we are blessed) but it is WORTH IT!

Let's help one another HANG IN THERE!

But at that time your people shall be delivered, ceveryone whose name shall be found written in the book

AMEN! Give yourself anew to Jesus today!

2 comments:

Lucas Dawn said...

Regarding the time, times, and half a time, I agree that it is figurative. Because of how it is used in Rev. 12, it seems to symbolize the whole time of church history, from the beginning with Christ until the end when all others who witness to Christ will have their say.

In Rev. 12:14 the time, times, and half a time are when the woman is in the wilderness. In 12:6, she has a place prepared in the wilderness for 1,260 days. This woman is the heavenly woman who "gave birth" to the son (Messiah) in 12:1-5, and then ends up in the earthly wilderness, where she "gives birth" to all the rest of her children, those who keep God's commands and the witness of Jesus (12:17).

What do you think?

Jay Mathews said...

Yes- I tend to agree that it is likely more figurative than literal. There are some who will argue that point, but I tend to be more symbolic when it comes to apocalyptic language.