Wow. Both Daniel and Peter talked about the end times in today’s readings. Lots to mull over. Not much to understand. As Daniel said after the second of his prophetic dreams in chapters 8 and 9:
I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for some days. Then I rose and went about the king’s business, but I was appalled by the vision and did not understand it. (Daniel 8:27 ESV)
Sometimes I wonder why God has the prophecies in Scripture when so much is undecipherable. But then I think how encouraged we are for the Old Testament prophecies that we now know were fulfilled in Jesus. One day all those oblique prophecies will encourage us, too!
Daniel has these two dreams about nations. I know there are many different views of these nations and how they relate to the end of time. But I thought I’d take a look at my handy dandy online ESV Study Bible to see what they say. Right back!
It just amazes me to read these prophecies that were fulfilled 500 years later. There’s a horn in Daniel’s two visions that in at least one case represented Antiochus Epiphanes – a Greek tyrant who slaughtered thousands of Jews 150 years before Jesus appeared.
But not all was lost for Israel, because Daniel also had a vision like this:
… behold, with the clouds of heaven
there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days
and was presented before him.
And to him was given dominion
and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one
that shall not be destroyed.
(Daniel 7:13-14 ESV)
That kingdom – the one that cannot be destroyed – came spiritually with Jesus, the Son of Man. What hope for Daniel in the midst of his despair.
In chapter 8, Daniel talks about a time when the temple will be restored – and the time frame is measured in days. But we know that the temple has yet to be restored – at least not physically. But our Temple, our means to God, Jesus WAS restored after 3 days.
Daniel points to the reign of Jesus in a spiritual kingdom. And Peter points to the end of the earth – and it’s clear that just as prophecy itself isn’t always clear – God’s timing is a puzzle too!
…do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day…. the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. (2 Peter 3:8, 10 ESV)
What happens next? That spiritual kingdom is replaced by a physical kingdom in the new heavens and new earth! Then we’ll truly understand what all the prophecies have been about.
And we’ll marvel!
Today’s Readings: Daniel 7:1-8:27, Psalm 137:1-6, Proverbs 29:14, 2 Peter 3:1-18. See About for what I’m up to with these daily posts. Your daily blogger, Holiday Longing (Reproduce with permission only).