Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Daniel 11

Daniel 11:27 (ESV)

[27] And as for the two kings, their hearts shall be bent on doing evil. They shall speak lies at the same table, but to no avail, for the end is yet to be at the time appointed.

 

Daniel 11 is a fascinating chapter because when it was written it was prophecy. Today it is history. I have read incredible historical accounts that exactly align with this chapter, but they happened after Daniel's time. That tells us at least two things: God knows the future; Prophecy can be interpreted literally.

 

Liberal theologians have suggested that because Daniel 11 is so historically accurate Daniel could not have written it. They reason that because of its accuracy it must have been written after the fact. If you do not believe in a personal God that interacts with humanity then their conclusion would be the only reasonable explanation. If you believe in a God who is real and interacts with humanity, but somehow cannot know the future, then you must conclude either that God is a really, really good guesser, God manipulated people in very specific and inconsequential ways in order to make his prophecy come true, or it was written after the fact. If, however, you understand God to be real, personal, and all knowing, past, present and future, then you have no problem accepting the idea that God revealed these things to Daniel before they ever happened.

 

Not only does God know the future, but God's prophecy are often very specific. Even as believers who take the Bible as the inspired word of God we have a tendency, when we don't quite understand, to generalize. The common phrase is, "Well, it's prophecy." That means that because it is prophecy it is therefore somehow less literal. Catastrophic prophecy is somehow interpreted as meaning big but generic problems. "He was bruised for our transgressions" was fulfilled literally. Jesus was actually bruised for our transgressions. "two kings … shall speak lies at the same table, but to no avail," was fulfilled literally. It actually happened. Prophecy that is yet to be fulfilled will be fulfilled just as literally as prophecy already fulfilled. We can trust the scriptures.

 

We live in a time characterized by "wars and rumors of wars." These are uncertain times. Uncertain times are frightening. The good news is that we serve a God who is never surprised by the future. He knows the end from the beginning, and we are in his hands. Bad things may happen, but nothing can touch us without going through his hands first. Nothing can touch us without God's abiding presence in our lives to walk us through it. Living for eternity means understanding that there is more to this world than this world. In the darkest times we need to set our eyes on Jesus and know that he is the light.

 

Father, I confess that there are times when this world seems more real to me than you do and my faith falters. Thank you that you are bigger than my faith. Today I choose to trust you.

 

By His grace,

Rick Weinert

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