“The living know they will die; but the dead do not know anything, nor have they any longer a reward, for their memory is forgotten” (Ecclesiastes 1:2; 9:5). Anyone with such a philosophy would come to the same conclusion Solomon did: life under the sun is empty. But is this really true of God’s servants? Daniel, as he comes to the close of his book, received a vision of four groups of people who will have significant lives in the future and on into eternity—not forgotten by God.
Brought to the very edge of prophecy, the angel showed Daniel the cruelty of war between the successors of Alexander the Great on into the demonic warfare of the Antichrist. For us, what we see in history shows us the grim picture of what is to come for those who will enter the tribulation—inescapable worldwide war—without Christ.
The ancients were comfortable with the truth that reality exists in two worlds—the physical and the spiritual. Yet we moderns sneer at such ancient mythology, while our hobgoblins whisper, “The ancients were right.” Daniel understood that two realities exist. And with another angelic visitation he would come to know how real the unseen world really is.
When the calendar turns and we face a new year, many of us ask ourselves common questions. What changes will take place in my life this year? What difference will I make in the next 12 months? Since Jesus offered His people abundant life, it makes sense for His people to reflect on such significant thoughts. What better time for reflection on the big questions than at the start of a new year?
When was the last time you gave a gift to a loved one expecting a payment in return? Probably never because if you receive payment for a gift, it ceases to be a gift! Likewise, God’s gift of salvation has been freely given. We can’t earn it and He doesn’t expect payment for it. God wrapped His indescribable gift in eternity, equality, deity, and humility. Open it today!
Christ didn’t arrive with the flare of trumpets or with flags flying. He didn’t demand an announcement for whole the world to hear, though He deserved it. Jesus just walked in. Take some time to reflect on the nature of Jesus Christ’s Incarnation—born to peasant a girl in a smelly barn in an obscure town and worshipped by a few people. This humble story reveals the character of our Messiah, who humbled Himself to save the people He loved.
Zacharias, Mary, Joseph, and Herod all heard God’s message. So what accounted for their different reactions? Zacharias doubted, Mary and Joseph believed, and Herod rejected the message. And each of their responses had significant results.
God doesn’t rush. Carefully and sovereignly He works to reveal His glory. From the morning sunrise, which slowly spreads its rays across the face of the earth, to the unfolding of His plan in each of our lives, God takes His time to achieve His will. How unlike us! We are impatient, anxious, and impulsive, wondering why things haven’t happened as quickly as we wish.
The last four verses in Daniel 9 are not difficult to read but pose a challenge to understand. Daniel had Gabriel to help him. We’ll rely on the Holy Spirit and the rest of God’s Word, not only to help us understand this prophecy of the 70 weeks but also to help us apply some principles to our lives.
The gradual eroding of the Judeo-Christian ethic to reveal a more secular society does not bode well for any nation, not just Canada. Daniel understood that national sins—forgetting God—lead to discipline, so at the dawn of a new administration he prayed for his nation, Israel. And he left us an example to follow.