Daniel 10:1-12:13; Ezra 4:24-5:1; Haggai 1:1-15
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Daniel chapter 10 is fascinating as Daniel interacts with angels, including Gabriel - and we hear about Michael the Archangel and his work. If you are interested in learning more about "angelology" - yes, a real word apparently - check out this link on angelology at bible.org.
Chapter 10 verses 12 & 13 are worth considering: ""Don't be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer. But for twenty-one days the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way." This is encouraging to me that our prayers are heard in heaven. What is maybe discouraging is that our answers or help needed for our prayers can be blocked by fallen angels / demons, as we see in these verses. The spirit prince of Persia being a demon of some sort blocking the angel from getting to Daniel to answer his prayer. A good book that I would recommend to dive more into what this spiritual realm and the spiritual battles between angels might be like is "This Present Darkness" by Frank Peretti. It is a powerful read.
Daniel chapter 11 today is phenomenal when you realize that these prophecies were made in 537 B.C. and covered events for about 300 or so more years following that date. Essentially, we are getting a history lesson in this chapter - in advance of the history unfolding! This chapter really made me realize how "in control" God really is of everything. Which is actually very comforting for me, and hopefully is for you. I look at it this way - if God knows what is going to be transpiring hundreds of years in advance - if not thousands and millions of years in advance - why are we worrying about what's going to happen tomorrow? :) Or why are we fretting over what happened yesterday? A quote I heard many years ago and occasionally bubbles back up into my mind is this: "Let go. And Let God." Let go, and let God. Meaning - let go of your worries and fears about yesterday or tomorrow and let God take the reins. He's got the reins anyway... so why fret & fuss over our worries and fears? Somehow the sweep of this prophecy seemed to make me realize that we often worry too much about really insignificant stuff...
There is a lot going on in this chapter - I'll point out a couple of highlights. Verse 3 & 4 discuss Alexander the Great (336 - 323 B.C.): "Then a mighty king will rise to power who will rule a vast kingdom and accomplish everything he sets out to do. But at the height of his power, his kingdom will be broken apart and divided into four parts." Many of the remaining verses then dive into kings of the line of Ptolemy in the south kingdom, or Egypt , and kings of the line of Seleucus/Anttiochus in the north kingdom, or Syria. Verse 31 covers 168 B.C. when an altar to the pagan god Zeus Olympius is set up in the Temple in Jerusalem by Antiochus Epiphanes: "His army will take over the Temple fortress, polluting the sanctuary, putting a stop to the daily sacrifices, and setting up the sacrilegious object that causes desecration." Tell you what - there is so much going on in this chapter, I recommend jumping over to bible.org at this link to read up more on what's happening. It really is fascinating stuff. Below is a coin from 175 to 164 B.C. with Antiochus Epiphanes image upon it:
Today we finish the book of Daniel! What an amazing read this book has been for me this year. I have been blessed by it. I hope you have too. It is always interesting to dive into prophecies and angels and such. I have to admit that I don't think about these types of things too often in my day to day life. However, I know they are real. And as I read the book of Daniel I am reminded of God's amazing story and where it is ultimately leading. Below is an image of Satan being bound by Michael the archangel, from the John Brown Bible circa 1816:
In Daniel chapter 11 verse 36 onwards we are looking at verses prophesying about the anti-christ and end times. The verses just prior to 36, in yesterday's readings, referred to Antiochus Epiphanes in 168 B.C., but we are looking at the future here in today's verses in chapter 11. To get some more context on these verses today, check out 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 and Revelation 13:5-8. A portion of verse 36 does stand out to me today: "For what has been determined will surely take place." Do you believe these prophecies in Daniel have been determined? Do you believe they will surely take place?
Daniel chapter 12 is called "The Time of the End" or "The End Times" in many Bible descriptors. However, over at bible.org Bob Deffinbaugh calls this chapter "The Hope of Heaven". I like that! Here's an excerpt from Bob's essay: "Daniel 12 is the crowning chapter of this prophecy, as well as its conclusion. It takes the believer to the high-water mark of Christian hope—the assurance of the resurrection of the dead. Let us listen and learn, and gain hope and comfort." Check out Mr. Deffinbaugh's full essay on Daniel chapter 12 at this link.
Verse 2 stands out in Daniel chapter 12: "Many of those whose bodies lie dead and buried will rise up, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt." This is one of the first clear mentions of a resurrection in the Old Testament. The phrase "everlasting life" appears only here in the Old Testament! Pretty fascinating. Seems like this chapter is in some ways bridging Old Testament / Old Covenant theology to New Testament / New Covenant. Do you believe that after death some will rise to everlasting life? And some to everlasting contempt? Below is the famous fresco titled "The Last Judgment" by Michelangelo, which is at the Sistine Chapel in Rome:
Worship Video: Today's readings reminded me of Mercy Me's great song "Here I Am:"
Are you in a relationship with God such that you could reply like Isaiah did, "Here I Am, Send Me?" Click here and get sent!
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
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