Daniel’s world is overwhelming. He is living in a foreign land, enslaved and removed from his homeland as a teenager, his entire life remaining faithful to God in the courts of the most powerful kings on earth. Daniel has discovered life is not a fairy tale. The new super-power has allowed Jews to go back to Israel, but Daniel never returns. Now, at this moment in time, Daniel is hearing rumors the homeland is desolate, the walls are destroyed, the people who returned are discouraged. Life is supposed to be poetry. More than one couple has looked forward to retirement years, traveling, togetherness, good health, and death/sickness cuts the dreams short. Children make hard to understand decisions and you thought your days of worry were behind you. We were supposed to have an election and get the right political leaders, the right judges appointed, and the downward spiral continues.
Daniel an incredibly faithful man who withstood so much in his 80 years is still seeking answers, seeking confidence, seeking wisdom and guidance from God. I love it at the end of the book, READ Dan. 12:8. And the final answer of the book: READ Dan. 12:13. In other words, you don’t have to understand everything Daniel, just go about your business and trust the Lord. Live in peace. Live with confidence.
Even the verses before are fascinating with mysterious numbers. By the way, nobody knows what the 1290 days and the 1335 days are about in Dan. 12:11-12. If anyone tells you they know, they don’t! The numbers in Daniel are symbolic. The most important word in Daniel 12:12 is not the number, it is the word WAIT. Blessed is the one who WAITS. Daniel has asked what it this means and the answer is WAIT. 1335 days gets all the attention…, but the important command is WAIT. Go about your days Daniel.
Daniel is a big picture book. One of the newer people I enjoy talking to in the church is Ivan and Anne. Ivan is a big picture guy as he talks about governments and faith, big business and character. I love talking to him but he can be so frustrating because he keeps asking about reintroducing Christian values into society and big picture questions about creating an environment for youth to be able to get back to the basics of what’s important in life. I get frustrated with those questions because I really do want to know the answers but I don’t know how to solve these big problems. We talk about the need to help people with safety net programs but not becoming dependent on government, and the massive fraud and inefficiency of the system, and if the hole we are digging as a nation is already too deep. Ivan rightly wants to know how we as conservative Christians can help turn the world around again with a renewed focus on the things of God. I wish I knew, I wish I knew. I think Daniel in his day was asking the same questions: how to turn the world around, how come the Jews were not living a wonderful ever after life back in the home country, why are the Lion’s still at the door. And the answer to Daniel is the same answer to us: when you get frustrated and overwhelmed in your personal life and in the state of the world: WAIT. Go your way till the end. Rest. The greatest days are coming. Be faithful as you wait. Be a person of character as you wait. Be a person at rest. I love the quote in the bulletin, "The waters are rising, but so am I. I am not going under, but over" (Catherine Booth). Rise with the waters, Daniel!
Let’s go back to the beginning of Daniel 12. How to rise above the flood waters.
#1 ~ Assurance that the Resurrection is coming. “There will be a time of distress” we are told in Dan. 12:1. We are living in overwhelming days. We are living in the last days. God’s word says it will happen. What God has said will happen some has come to pass already with amazing accuracy, some we are living in the present day.
One of the great resurrection passages of the Bible is Dan. 12:2 READ. This is a description of the last days when the dead in Christ will rise. I believe this day can take place at anytime. God knows the day and the hour, but we do not. We are called to wait with anticipation, like a child waiting for Christmas morning. We wait with joy and hope. We wait because the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the greatest promise of all.
#2 ~ You have a choice: Accept or reject the promise of resurrection and eternal life.
Everyone whose name is written in the book of life will be delivered it says in Dan. 12:1. this is the same word used when Daniel was pulled out of the Lion’s Den, a picture of the greater deliverance when we are raised with Christ and the promised new life comes to completion. To choose Jesus Christ means as we wait we will “shine like the brightness of the heavens” it says in Dan. 12:3, “like the stars that shine forever and ever.” To choose Christ, to expect the resurrection, is to be bright, optimistic, full of hope, that’s how we arise above the floodwaters of this world, that is how we have hope. Our calling is not to wait in fear and dread, but in hope and expectation.
We have a choice. Some will awake to everlasting life at the resurrection it says in Dan. 12:2 and some to “everlasting contempt.” Let me be clear, there is heaven and there is hell. Some will face eternal death. Those who reject Christ will face everlasting separation from God. The exact nature of what hell looks like can be debated for hours and hours, many books have been written, but the essential truth is that hell is to be separated from God forever and ever.
#3 ~ Daniel 12:4 is a simple instruction for Daniel to be content. READ. There is always more knowledge to gain. We would all love greater insight into the details of the final days, what to expect, what to look for… Dan. 12:4 is saying to be content with the knowledge you have. You have enough. Many will never find contentment!
There are two ways to solve your money problems: try to get more more money, or find contentment with what you have. It is the same with faith, you can try to calm your fears by acquiring greater understanding, or you can be content with what you have. Here is an absolute principle central to the Christian faith: God does not tell us everything, but he tells us and gives us everything we need.
How do you rise above the waters?
- Focus on the Resurrection.
- Choose Christ so that you shine like the stars.
- Be content with the measure of knowledge the Lord has given you.
Go your way. You’ve been faithful. Now stay the course. You’ve been through the lion’s den. Keep standing strong and you’ll be all right. Be faithful until God calls you home.
You will rest. REST as a way of life. Rest as a response to the crazy world around you. There is a calmness to the person who rises above the floodwaters. I heard a statement recently, “Christians should be the most calm people on earth.” I agree. No reason to panic. No reason to worry.
You will rise. This is a promise of the resurrection. You will rise again. For those who keep their head above the rising waters in this life, the promise of the fulfillment of the resurrection is coming.
You will receive your allotted inheritance. This is a meaningful promise to a man who had lived his whole life in a foreign land. For 70 years he had been far from his home. Surely Daniel never lost a yearning for the homeland, a yearning for the land of Abraham, the land Moses saw from the mountaintop, the Promised land of abundance. While other Jews returned to Israel, Daniel died in Babylon. He died as an exile in exile. But God promised him that one day he would receive his promised inheritance.
In this life all your dreams will not come to pass. You will face disappointment. But for those who accept Jesus Christ, the day is coming when you will receive far more than you deserve, the fullness of life with Christ. A promised inheritance! Be faithful till the end. You will be raised and will live again!!
How will we survive the continual onslaught of the world in our day? The same way Daniel did. By putting our hearts in the right place. How do you rise above the flooding waters? Even though our bodies are on earth, our hearts must continually be in the coming day of salvation. Put your heart in heaven and no flooding waters on earth can drown you! “Go your way…at the end of the days you will rise.”
Have you ever been saved by the blood of Christ? Have you trusted him and him alone as your Lord and Savior? If you are unsure, I urge you to run to the cross of Christ and lay all your sins on Jesus. In your heart confess like Daniel did in Dan. 9:5, “I have sinned and done wrong...” With all your heart come to Christ, and as you come, you will discover that your sins are forgiven and that your name is written in the Book of Life. With the help of Christ you can keep your head above the rising waters. You will overcome. I believe in the Resurrection! Jesus Christ is coming Again!
May God help you to trust Christ right now. Amen.