Daniel 10-12 – Advent Joy

View More: http://breannamariephotography.pass.us/marineparkOver the last 3 weeks I have been very anxious about a few different things. The details of these situations do not matter, but I have not had very good emotional boundaries these last 3 weeks. I have been owning things that are not mine. Every time the phone rang my heart would sink, wondering what was going to happen next. I was carrying weight on my shoulders, unnecessarily. I was living like I was responsible to solve these situations, like a little lordling, owning something that was not mine to own. Can you relate to that? Have you ever owned something, metaphorically, that was not yours to own? I think we all have to some degree or another, and as a result we become weary, anxious, and fearful. And this time of year it may feel like we are just trying to get through the season, for our sake or for those who are on our hearts.

So I have been in that spot over the last 3 weeks, during this Advent season. The advent question we have been asking has had some real significance to me. This advent, we have been asking: Why is His coming good news? Why is the birth of our messiah something to celebrate?

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We have been asking this question and looking at the latter half of Daniel. Today we are looking at Daniel 10-12, so grab a Bible and turn to Daniel 10. It has seemed fitting to look at this apocalyptic book of the OT in this season of expectation. In Daniel we get visions of the future that were given to help those in despair find hope.

So as we look at Daniel 10, remember that Daniel is in exile, away from his homeland, longing for restoration, and God blesses Daniel and his people w/ this vision. Look at Daniel 10 w/ me, starting in v. 4:

4 On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river, the Tigris, 5 I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist. 6 His body was like topaz, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude. 

All these descriptions show us that this man was heavenly, either an angel of God, or God Himself.

7 I, Daniel, was the only one who saw the vision; those who were with me did not see it, but such terror overwhelmed them that they fled and hid themselves. 8 So I was left alone, gazing at this great vision; I had no strength left, my face turned deathly pale and I was helpless. 9 Then I heard him speaking, and as I listened to him, I fell into a deep sleep, my face to the ground. 10 A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. 

Here Daniel sees this being and is overwhelmed, so much so that he falls to the ground, but Daniel is about to encouraged.

11 He said: Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have now been sent to you. And when he said this to me, I stood up trembling. 

Daniel fell and this heavenly being picks him up

12 Then he continued: Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. 13 But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. 14 Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come. 

These words are encouraging to those who are weary, crying out for God to hear their prayers. This angel says: you are precious and your humble prayers have been heard, and not only heard, but also answered. The angel battled against spiritual darkness to bring the answer of these prayers to Daniel. For those who are weary, know your humble prayers are heard.

15 While he was saying this to me, I bowed with my face toward the ground and was speechless. 16 Then one who looked like a man touched my lips, and I opened my mouth and began to speak. I said to the one standing before me: I am overcome with anguish because of the vision, my lord, and I feel very weak. 

Overwhelmed, Daniel was unable to speak. So the angel touches his lips and Daniel confesses his anguish.

17 How can I, your servant, talk with you, my lord? My strength is gone and I can hardly breathe. 18 Again the one who looked like a man touched me and gave me strength. 

Daniel is weary; his strength is gone, but the angel speaks and Daniel is strengthened. God is encouraging his anxious servant. The angel continues this encouragement and says in v. 19:

19 Do not be afraid, you who are highly esteemed, he said. Peace! Be strong now; be strong. When he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said: Speak, my lord, since you have given me strength. 20 So he said: Do you know why I have come to you? Soon I will return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I go, the prince of Greece will come; 21 but first I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth. (No one supports me against them except Michael, your prince. 11:1 And in the first year of Darius the Mede, I took my stand to support and protect him.) 

The Book of Truth, mentioned in v. 21, figuratively refers to Gods plan for Israel and the world,[1] but overall these verses set up the actual message of the vision. Daniel enters the vision weary, anxious, and w/o strength, but in response to each of his shortcomings, the angel enlivens him. When he falls, God picks him up. We he cannot speak, God gives him a voice. When he is weak, God strengthens him. And what an encouragement this would have been. What an encouragement in the moment for those of us who are weary!

The angel has strengthened Daniel so he can now receive the meaning of the message, which comes in chapters 11-12. In chapter 11, the angel gives Daniel a series of historical visions. If you remember from a couple weeks ago, we saw a vision that included Alexander the great and how his empire was divided into 4 kingdoms after his death. In chapter 11, many scholars believe vs. 2-20 have to do w/ a conflict b/t 2 of those kingdoms. These scholars believe that vs. 21-35 have to do w/ the Seleucid king, Antiochus IV, who looted the temple in Jerusalem, and set up Greek worship there. Then somewhere b/t 11:21-12:2, the vision transitions from Antiochus IV to antichrist and the end of the age.

Daniel 11:36-12:13, I believe, is the meat of this final vision given to Daniel. This angel of God has strengthened the exile Daniel so he could hear these words of encouragement. The king in these verses refers to the antichrist at the end of the age.

11:36 The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place. 37 He will show no regard for the gods of his ancestors or for the one desired by women, nor will he regard any god, but will exalt himself above them all. 

This anti-Christ will blaspheme God, believing he is greater that God and anything. He is the opposite of the humility we saw in Daniel.

38 Instead of them, he will honor a god of fortresses; a god unknown to his ancestors he will honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts. 

Honoring a god of fortress, means that the only thing he has regard for is military power and might

39 He will attack the mightiest fortresses with the help of a foreign god and will greatly honor those who acknowledge him. 

In other words he is making attacks against God Himself

He will make them rulers over many people and will distribute the land at a price. 40 At the time of the end the king of the South will engage him in battle, and the king of the North will storm out against him with chariots and cavalry and a great fleet of ships. 

The kings of north and south simply represent the alliances of nations at the end of time

He will invade many countries and sweep through them like a flood. 41 He will also invade the Beautiful Land [The Promised Land]. Many countries will fall, but Edom, Moab and the leaders of Ammon will be delivered from his hand. 42 He will extend his power over many countries; Egypt will not escape. 43 He will gain control of the treasures of gold and silver and all the riches of Egypt, with the Libyans and Cushites in submission. 44 But reports from the east and the north will alarm him, and he will set out in a great rage to destroy and annihilate many. 45 He will pitch his royal tents between the seas at the beautiful holy mountain. Yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him. 

  1. 45 is basically saying that at the very end of the antichrist will he sets himself up as God, but that will be the end of him. God wins.

The vision continues in chapter 12.

12:1 At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people -everyone whose name is found written in the book- will be delivered.

Given to a people in exile v. 1 says, at that time Michael will arise, and Gods people will be rescued. What good news to those who are weary and anxious – freedom from oppression, Freedom from anxiety and the unknown.

2 Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. 

This is one of the only blatant references to the resurrection of the dead in the OT. And it speak to the final judgment, when things will be made right again and the righteous will shine – again, good news to the weary. In the remaining verses, Daniel dialogs about the timing of the end of time. And typical to apocalyptic writing, it happens in highly symbolic language. But the bottom line about that is in v. 9, where it says the answer of timing is sealed up. We are reminded of the words of JC in Matthew 24:36, when He said: But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. The angel concludes his vision to Daniel w/ another encouragement, saying in v. 13, 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. To a weary exile, the angel encourages Daniel to keep truckin. To the tired exile, the angel gives a promise of rest. To the foreigner living away from home, the angel promises life and inheritance.

In chapter 10, Daniel is strengthened after his weariness to that he can properly receive the vision for his people and for us. The good news is that God is Lord. He is sovereign and powerful. And, this sovereign God rescues the faithful, lifting them into salvation. What an incredible message to those in exile!

Today

The problem however for those living in exile is the problem of waiting. Waiting is one of my biggest pet peeves. 12:13 tells Daniel to go his way, to live w/ purpose, to live in humility, and live in hope of the coming of messiah. It was only after waiting w/ purpose that he received the rest and inheritance promised to him. But waiting is something we are not good at. And so we live as little lordlings, trying to create solutions on our own. We have imaginary conversations in our minds, imagining uncounted scenarios of how things could play out. As a result, we become weary, and anxious, even fearful, living as a lordling over property we do not own. This was my issue these last 3 weeks. I was living like a little lordling, emotionally owning things that were not mine to own. As I wait for the Lord to move in these anxious situations, I worried, paced the floor, waiting for the next disaster. Not waiting in confidence in the sovereign God. Can you relate to this? Much of the greater church does not help. Instead of calling Gods people to focus on messiah and growing in Christ-likeness, we are often given tips on healthy living. Instead of calling Gods people to humble ourselves before the Lord of the universe, we are encouraged to be better lordlings of lands that are not ours to own. And so in all of this we find ourselves weary, anxious, and fearful. That is how I have felt these last 3 weeks. And so you can see why this advent’s question has been personal for me.

This advent we are asking: Why is His coming good news? In the face of my feelings of anxiety, why is the coming of messiah reason to celebrate? And in the face of it all I rest in Daniel 12:1: But at that time, your people will be delivered. The good news is that the powerful God of the universe, who is greater than anything you face, that God rescues the faithful, lifting them into salvation, giving them rest, and a peaceful inheritance. That is good news.

So what shall we do? Here, we are invited to rest in His lordship, and not settle for lame answers. 2 Peter 3 says: But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. And asks: What kind of people ought you to be? And answers: You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. My last 3 weeks have been tiring. Its exhausting being a little lordling, owning other peoples stuff. The good news is that HE is Lord, not me. I can do what I can do for my friends, w/ His help, but I am not called to own what is not mine; it’s tiring. I would rather rest in the knowledge of knowing that He Lord, that He is working for the good of my friends, and will call me to help. But He is Lord, not me.

So, may we be found as 2 Peter says: Looking forward to the coming of messiah, making every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with God, not being carried away, but growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 

Amen.

[1] Miller, S. R. (1994). Daniel (Vol. 18, p. 289). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

One Response to “Daniel 10-12 – Advent Joy”

  1. Amanda Bates December 22, 2015 at 4:54 am #

    I think that all of us, as humans, have found ourselves carrying burdens that are not ours. I struggled with that very thing for a long time-particularly with my family. It took literally fighting for my life to realize I needed better boundaries all around. I think self- awareness is the first step. I believe that we can be present and emotionally open
    to others, without taking on their burdens as our own.

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