From Hideaway To Headlines
Series: An Eschatological Mix
FROM HIDEAWAY TO HEADLINES
The Daniel we read about in the Old Testament book bearing his name has long captured out minds and hearts. As children our young hearts pulsated to hear the story of Daniel in the lion's den. What bravery! Happily, this tale of woe revealed that no injury whatever was found on him, because he had trusted God (Dan.6:23). This same book once brought us to the edge of our seats listening closely to the account of Daniel's friends being thrown into a fiery furnace (Dan.3:8ff). With great confidence they proclaimed: our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire...but even if He does not, let it be known to you, O King, that we are not going to serve your gods or wor-ship the golden image that you have set up (Dan.3:17-18). How thrilled we were to discover that the fire had no effect on (their) bodies...nor was the hair on their head singed...nor had the smell of fire even come upon them (Dan.3:27).
As adults our minds continue to be enthralled and somewhat mesmerized by Daniel's various end-time oracles. His vision of the four beasts tells of the coming of the Ancient of Days (Dan.7:9). Daniel speaks of a time yet future to his own that would feature a decree of seventy weeks related to the work of the Messiah (Dan.9:24ff). His prophecy peers into the future in witnessing the arrival of the abomination of desolation (Dan.11:31). Any attempt to ascertain the precise meaning of Daniel's prophetic words presents a formidable challenge. Interpreting Daniel's many portends correctly requires due diligence and some much-needed help from the Lord Jesus. In His momentous Olivet discourse Jesus pinpointed the arrival of the abomination of desolation as an event heralding the impending destruction of the temple and fall of Jerusalem in the AD 70 - - preceding the passing of that first-century generation (Mt.24:12 & 34).
What is noteworthy in the study of eschatology is the contrast that is delineated between Daniel's prophecy and the book of Revelation. Daniel predicted events that would unfold some 600 years in his future, yet he is told to keep the vision secret, for it pertains to many days in the future (Dan.8:26) and to conceal these words and SEAL UP THE BOOK until the time of the end (Dan.12:4). On the other hand, the Apocalypse closes with with John being told: DO NOT SEAL UP THE WORDS of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near (Rev.22:10). Like Daniel's prophecy, the book of Revelation is meaty, requiring meticulous analysis. Nevertheless, this distinctive contrast in the handling of prophetic material has to be recognized. That which was to be hidden away in Daniel's day becomes headline news in the first century! To push John's revelation into some still-remaining future is to fail to recognize “the imminency factor” that is so clearly apparent in the book of Revelation. It is book-ended by affirmations of things which must shortly take place (Rev.1:1 & 22:6) and underscored by prophetic claims that the time is near (Rev.1:3 & 22:10b).
Terry Siverd / Cortland Church of Christ