Read-Through-The-Bible [09.24.19]

Today we finish reading Daniel (10-12), concluding with a final vision that is difficult to interpret without a lot more time and space than we would give to a Facebook post! I studied through Daniel using Beth Moore’s Bible study (probably 10 years ago). She agreed with most Bible scholars that the chapters contain both historical fulfillments of the rise and fall of the Persian, Greek, and Egyptian kingdoms, as well as references to the future antichrist, the one who will exalt himself above all gods and set himself against the God of gods.
 
One thing that stood out to me in these chapters were the references to the spiritual warfare going on. In Daniel 10, an angel appears. He is described as a man dressed in linen, with a gold belt, a body like topaz, a face like lightning, eyes like flaming torches, arms and legs like burnished bronze, and a voice like the sound of a multitude. He doesn’t give his name, but it’s possible this is Gabriel, who we know is at least one of God’s special messengers to Israel.
 
“Gabriel” tells Daniel that he received his orders to come before Daniel’s prayers for understanding were even verbalized, but he was delayed by the “prince of the Persian kingdom” resisted him for 21 days. Michael, another of God’s finest angels, came to assist in the battle, giving him time to break away. After he gives Daniel the message God has for him, he will be going back to that same battle, where the “prince of Greece” will join in.
 
What are we to make of this? “Gabriel” calls Michael the “great prince who protects your people.” God has assigned specific angels to protect certain people groups, and Satan has his own strategic forces in line as well. There is a spiritual battle between angels and demons (fallen angels) all around us, and we are unaware. As wickedness increases, Satan’s armies will grow stronger, and if there is indeed a pre-Tribulation rapture on God’s calendar when all believers are removed from the earth, those wicked forces will be unleashed on those left behind with a vengeance.
 
You can’t read prophetic chapters without at least considering the “what ifs” and unanswered questions. Daniel’s vision gives us both a historical timeline (prophecies made centuries ago that have been fulfilled in detail by the kings and kingdoms of history) and a glimpse into the future. Past fulfillments demonstrate that future prophecies will also be fulfilled and should open our eyes to the spiritual warfare going on right now.
 
To the people returning to Jerusalem from exile, Daniel’s words provide hope and assurance that God is still sovereign and still unfolding His eternal plans and purposes. Where do you fit in? Will you be counted as a believer by faith, or wait until you see it with your physical eyes? By then, it may be too late.

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