by David Virts

Scripture Text: Daniel 12:5-9 

Question of the Day: What do we now know about the Lord’s Coming that Daniel didn’t know?

As a Bible student begins to study the Scriptures in detail, one thing is clear: the plan and program of God is being unveiled to us one step at a time. In the Garden of Eden it was revealed that man was not eternally lost and there would be no way of deliverance; redemption was first brought up and revealed to Adam and Eve. From that time more and more of God’s plan of redemption and for the final destiny of the world was unveiled. There would always be a “remnant”, or the righteous, or born again Christians—as we are known by today. It was also evident from the beginning that God would judge the wicked and ungodly and unbelieving, and it is in these two main pieces of evidence that we now approach the end of this age and look forward to the reign of Jesus Christ our Lord.

In today’s passage Daniel had just received many important prophecies that would be the outline for what all the other prophets would reveal. Here’s how God’s messenger revealed it to Daniel (the messenger is referred to as “a man” in this passage): “Then I, Daniel, looked up and saw two men standing, one on one side of the bank of the river, and the other standing on the other bank of the river. And one of them spoke to the man who was clothed in linen who was in the middle of the waters and asked this question: ‘How long will it be before these wonders come to pass?’ And the man clothed in linen who was in the middle of the river raised his right hand and his left hand up to heaven and swore by Him who lives forever and ever that it will be for 3 ½ years. And when that wicked one shall have destroyed the power of God’s holy people, then all of these things will be finished.’ And I heard what he said, but I didn’t understand it, so I said, ‘O my lord, when will all of these events be completed?’ And he said, ‘Daniel, go your way because the words have been sealed up until the end time.”

Daniel, in his short book so far, had revealed to him through a number of visions and angelic visitors a broad outline with a sprinkling of details about what the future held for the world, for the wicked in the world, and for the remnant, the righteous, the true believers of all ages. How is the world and all of its problems going to end up? How is God going to judge and destroy the wicked? And how is God going to preserve the righteous through this catastrophic and devastating and cataclysmic time when He comes to set this world straight? After all this is done, will there be a time on earth when righteousness and peace truly reign? By this time in the book, Daniel’s head was in a spin as he contemplated what was going to happen with his people, the Jewish people of the world. He wanted more details, so the question was asked of the heavenly messenger, “What will be the outcome of all of these events?”

The angelic messenger’s answer was simply this: “Daniel, go on with your life for now. These words have been both sealed and unintelligible to you right now, but at the time of the end of man’s rule on earth, more will be understood.” Now that the “latter days” are rapidly approaching, what do we see now 2500 years later happening that lets us know how close we are to the “end of all things”? Here are a few things that we now know, and more is being unveiled every day: Much of what is about to happen in our world is still hidden from us: we do know that the end is coming soon; we know that the preparations are underway; we know that there is “noise behind the curtain” just before the final act of God’s program is unveiled; we know that a number of prophecies have already been fulfilled; we know that preparations for the tribulation temple are under way; we know that the church has a great spirit of anticipation for the Lord’s return; we know that Russia and Iran (known in Scripture as Gog and Magog and Persia respectively) now have a military pact fulfilling Ezekiel’s 2500 year old prophecy; we can see the nations of the world turning against Israel as predicted; we know that many Jews are returning to Israel, and that someday “all” of them will be there; and we know that with every prophecy that is fulfilled (and there are a number of them fulfilled already), we have more and more understanding as to what God’s plan and purpose for this world looks like.

We understand far more detail since Israel became a nation in 1948, and kicked off the final approach to the “last days”. But many things were kept from Daniel’s understanding, and many things are yet to be understood by us and by the watching world as God has decided how to unveil His Son to this world. We will all stand in awe, and we will more fully understand more about our great God and His plan for this world as the events unfold. All we can say is with the prophet John at the end of the book of Revelation: “Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly.” “O God, give me wisdom and understanding as world events of this world unfold before my eyes!”

Prayer: O God, our hearts tingle with excitement when we think that Your coming might be soon because we long to be with You forever; yet at the same time our hearts are heavy for the lost souls of men who have rejected You. As we approach the opening gun of the “latter days”, help us to keep our focus on our earthly task of spreading the gospel around this world in every way by every means and to every person. Reveal to us what we need to know today about what You are doing in this world, and to be content understanding very little, but fully trusting in Your guiding hand on all events of this world—and their final destination. Amen!

David B. Virts has written a book called “Knowing, Seeking Worshiping — a study of the character of God.” It is available by calling 615-945-0611.