It has been two years since the first wave of exiles returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. The rebuilding has stopped because of opposition from the people surrounding them. During this time, Daniel is in Babylon mourning for God’s people. At the end of his three weeks of mourning, he receives a vision – “Suddenly, a hand touched me, which made me tremble on my knees and on the palms of my hands. And he said to me, ‘O Daniel, man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you.’ While he was speaking this word to me, I stood trembling. Then he said to me, ‘Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words.’”
The angel tells Daniel about a spiritual warfare occurring in the heavenly realms. He says he would have been there sooner to encourage Daniel, but he was held up for twenty-one days by the evil prince of Persia until Michael, one of the chief angels, arrived and helped him. Daniel knows that we not only face earthly battles that we can see, but there is also much more going on behind the scenes that we can’t see. However, we can trust that the Lord is always fighting for His people, and His ultimate victory will come in His perfect timing.
“Then again, the one having the likeness of a man touched me and strengthened me. And he said, ‘O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong, yes, be strong!’” After Daniel is strengthened by the Lord, the angel gives Daniel insight about future conflicts between the nations. Then the angel speaks of a final world dictator, the Antichrist – “he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done… yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him.”
“At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.”
David Guzik from Enduring word explains this passage – “The Jewish people have known many a time of trouble through their history. From the horrors at the fall of Samaria and Jerusalem to the terrors wrought by Antiochus Epiphanes, to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, to the persecutions from the church during the Dark Ages, to the pogroms of Europe, to the 20th Century Holocaust, it often seems that all Israel’s history has been a time of trouble. Yet this time of trouble will be different. This will be a worse time of trouble than Israel has ever seen before.” And although there is going to be a great time of trouble, deliverance is assured for those who trust in Christ as their Savior.
We end the Book of Daniel with the Lord instructing Daniel to seal the words that were given to him in this book. Daniel doesn’t understand all that was revealed to him, so the Lord tells him not to worry about trying to figure it all out. God simply says to Daniel, “But you, go your way till the end; for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days.” And the same is true for me and you. We can’t begin to know all that the Lord is doing behind the scenes to accomplish His plans and purposes in His perfect timing. We must stay the course and focus on what God has specifically called us to do until the end, looking forward to the day that we will receive our eternal inheritance.
Over in Judah, the Lord sends Haggai and Zechariah to encourage the people to continue rebuilding the temple. The Lord says he has sent a drought on the land because the people have neglected rebuilding His house while they rebuilt their own homes. “So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the Lord of hosts, their God, on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month, in the second year of King Darius.”
Tomorrow the people continue rebuilding the temple as they are called to return to the Lord. Keep reading. (Daniel 10:1-12:13, Ezra 4:24-5:1, Haggai 1:1-15)