How will the world finally find peace? What will happen before that finally comes to pass? The Bible reveals mans’ details about end-time events and the major trends that will lead up to Jesus Christ’s return. Read carefully this study on the book of Daniel and 1 believe it will lead you, at least in some small way, to a better understanding of God’s plan for the future of this planet and will therefore give you to know that peace which passes all understanding. When we realize that He, God, has the whole world in His hands and He knows what He is doing and has planned what would be done eons ago it surely brings us greater contentment.
We strive for security, long for stability and dream of a glowing and predictable future for our posterity and ourselves. But for most of us these hopes and desires are far from certain to be realized. Our world is filled with rapid and often perilous change. We could easily fall victim to an accident, act of violence, debilitating disease or natural disaster. The turbulent winds of economic and social change threaten our financial stability. Wars and acts of terrorism threaten to endanger the fabric of society and make even more elusive the security we seek. Uncertainty is a way of life. I have lived in the province of Northern Ireland all of my life, some years ago a peace formula was set out by our politicians, it was to be the panacea for all our ills, fears and doubts but here we are years on from what was to be a new beginning for our little island and still in turmoil. What on earth is happening? Well, let me tell you what is happening, first of all:
Our Confidence Is Eroding!
Consider today’s youth. A lack of confidence in the future is a major cause of anxiety among teenagers. Thousands are convinced the good life will evaporate before they’re old enough to enjoy it. They crave assurance and purpose. Nihilism—the absence of confidence and hope in anything—is epidemic. The staggering number of teen suicides illustrates their disillusionment. Some vent their anger and frustration by setting up an alternative society of gangs or pier groups. I would therefore encourage all in that age group to make a sincere study of the book of Daniel and see what God can do with young people totally given over to Him. I believe it is as true today as it has ever been that our God is looking for men and women who will surrender all and serve Him with all their heart, mind and soul. Isaiah reminds us, “but to this man (generic term meaning male or female) will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembles at my word” (Isaiah Ch.66v2b). God is looking for people totally dependant on him, who have a humble, contrite heart before Him and who will respect and apply His Word to their way of life for His glory. John in the book of the Revelation puts it like this under instruction of the Spirit of God, “Behold I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelation Ch.3v20). Here Jesus, through John makes clear He is still looking for individuals who will allow Him full control of their lives and there will be a working together that will glorify God. Take this very young man Daniel and his young friends to heart and see what God did with them and know that a life fully surrendered to the power of the Triune God is a life rich and increased with blessing to be a blessing to all with whom we come in contact. Young person, a life hid with Christ in God is a life lived with power for God.
Our Culture Is Eroding!
Teens aren’t the only ones anxious about their future. Adults turn to psychics and astrological readings in unprecedented numbers, attempting to peer into the murkiness of the future. Books about the future are best sellers. Millions of people long for reassurance where some kind of light shines at the end of their tunnel. King Solomon’s observation, that man is greatly troubled by ignorance of the future “For he knoweth not that which shall be; for who can tell him when it shall be”(Ecclesiastes Ch.8v7). Here is a text that still holds true today.
Why is our world so uncertain? Have we no alternative? Is nothing predictable? Must we live in ignorance of our future? Can we discover a source for information about where this world is headed? Indeed we can, and it tells us a great deal about what lies ahead. We can also know the cause of our uncertainty and the amazing turn of events that could change it for the better. Where can we find answers? The answers have been waiting for us all along. They’re in the pages of the Bible. The Bible is unique among all literature. Though penned by many writers from varied cultures over a span of 15 centuries, it is the masterpiece of a single author, the Creator of the universe.
Bible students for centuries have marveled that so many writers, from strikingly dissimilar backgrounds, could maintain the consistent message and purpose to be found in the pages of Scripture. No other compilation of writings from such varied authors could compare with the Bible’s continuity and harmony. This consistency gives the Bible unrivaled distinction among literary works. This constancy is one of the proofs of its divine inspiration. As the Bible itself powerfully proclaims about its origin: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, (mature) thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy Ch.3vv16-17). Much of this remarkable book, the Bible, is prophetic. Its prophecies reveal crucial information about the future of mankind, none more so than the book of Daniel thus, my continual encouragement to read this wonderful book and especially, when read in conjunction with the book of the Revelation brings to the reader such clarity of all God plans for the future. To be living in these days, in which we are seeing first hand, so much of the prophetic Scriptures fulfilled, rather than erode our confidence it will strengthen our confidence. When we realize that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, then we begin to realize the significance of its prophecies. They are reliable because God Himself inspired them, surely this if nothing else will strengthen our resolve to be amongst those who like the noble people of Berea in Acts Ch 17v11 studied the Scriptures daily.
Our Confidence and Culture Should Be Exciting!
What does the Creator tell us about Himself and the future?
“Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executed my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it” (Isaiah Ch.46vv9-11). God not only claims to reveal the future, He has the power to bring to pass what He has predicted! The apostle Peter advises us to pay attention to the words of the biblical prophets. “We have also a more pure word of prophecy, unto which ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shinned in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts, knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not at any time by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter Ch.lvvl9-21).
Jesus Christ: The Prophet Of Prophets!
Let me simply highlight here for the reader the one whom God uses for recording prophetic truth. A prophet is one through whom God speaks, one appointed to reveal the will of God to His people. One of the greatest of these prophets was God’s own Son, Jesus Christ: “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds” (Hebrews Ch. lvvl-2). People seldom think of Jesus Christ as a prophet, but a prophet He was. Luke Ch.13v33; 24v19; John Ch.6v14. His message “the Gospel of the Kingdom of God” Mark Ch.1v14 is filled with prophecy. His message explains and clarifies the destiny of mankind, revealing the way God will accomplish His master plan. The record of Jesus Christ’s birth, life, ministry and death is one of history’s most powerful confirmations of the reliability and accuracy of Bible prophecy. Precise details about Jesus’ birth, ministry and crucifixion were accurately foretold hundreds, even thousands, of years before He was born. Specific events and circumstances foretold centuries earlier came to pass exactly as the Hebrew prophets had predicted, providing compelling evidence of their credibility and substantiating the accuracy of their messages. Could their words hold meaning for us today? Did you know those same prophets tell us what Jesus Christ has planned for the future— your future? You probably already know that Jesus promised to return to earth. That promise is an excellent example of prophecy. He also promised to finish the work He began at His first coming. Throughout the Bible the life and mission of the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, are depicted as examples of His devotion to the welfare of people. Many prophecies yet to be fulfilled are directly related to the future work and mission of Jesus Christ. Realizing the reality of Jesus Christ as a prophet of prophets would therefore lead us to understand that when Jesus speaks, He speaks the truth, something we should think carefully about, because it was none other than Jesus who verified the existence of the prophet called Daniel. “But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not. (Let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judea flee to the mountains: And let him that is on the housetop not go down into the house, neither enter therein, to take any thing out of his house: And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment. But woe to them that are with child, and to them that gives suck in those days! And pray ye that your flight is not in the winter. For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation, which God created unto this time, neither shall be. And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect’s sake, which he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days. And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not: For false Christ’s and false prophets shall rise, and shall show signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things” (Mark Ch.13vv14-23).
Many people regard prophecy as mystical, strange and unreal, with no relevance to their lives not lease the book of Daniel. They have almost no understanding of what prophecy is all about. Others, having encountered grossly distorted interpretations of Bible prophecy, have grown skeptical and disillusioned. However, when properly understood, the Bible speaks with a clear, consistent and reliable message that is just as appropriate for us as it was for the people of Daniel’s day and beyond. Whether you are unsure of the value of the Bible’s prophecies or regard them with deep respect, this study “The battleground for truth” or (An Examination of the Book Of Daniel) is meant to help you accurately understand prophecy. We want you to see the true scope of prophecy and how it links mankind’s past, present and future, such knowledge of prophecy can provide you with a balanced perspective revealed by the Creator something which should be so very important to all of us in theses days of great uncertainty. When the way is dark the thing to do is, turn on the light of His Word.
Gods Promises: Foundation Of Prophecy!
Prophecy is not merely a series of unrelated predictions randomly scattered throughout the Bible It has a structure, it is set on a firm foundation. To understand the foundation, we must realize the overall purpose of the Bible, its themes and the threads of its stories. One overall theme is that the Bible is the tale of two families. The first is the family of Adam, the human father of all mankind. The second is the family of Abraham, the father of those who are faithful to God (Romans Ch.4v9-11). God regards people, who become, in a spiritual sense, like faithful Abraham as His own personal family, His sons and daughters “And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians Ch.6v1 8).
The Bible begins with the creation of the universe and a world fashioned to support Adam’s, and then all humanity’s, existence. The story of Scripture will not be complete until all of the descendants of Adam receive an eternal inheritance in refashioned heavens and earth or, if they unequivocally refuse God’s way of loving others as themselves, eternal death in the final judgment (Revelation Ch. 20vv14-15).
It is to Abraham and his descendants that God gave the promise of an eternal inheritance. Only members of the family of Adam whom God grafts into the family, or “seed,” of Abraham (through the sacrificed Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth) may partake of that eternal inheritance (Galatians Ch.3v29).
Between the creation of Adam and God’s final judgment is the story of God’s relationship with us, His creation. The Bible, in its account of Adam, explains the reason for our nature. It tells us how and why sin, evil and suffering entered the world and reveals God’s solution to that problem. It reveals the purpose of our existence while explaining why God made human beings and the incredible future He has in store for them. At the heart of God’s plan for us are many amazing, faithful promises.
In a greater sense, God offers us one magnificent promise, which He first expressed to Adam and Eve and amplifies and expands throughout the Bible. God promises He wi1l make available everything we need to establish and maintain an eternal relationship with Him as His children—that our salvation will always be His greatest Concern.
May I remind you once again as I have been doing constantly in these final words in this study of Daniel, you will learn how prophecy fills in the details of God’s wonderful plan for humanity. You will discover the reason people suffer and the lessons they should learn from it. You will see that God, who inspired prophecy, cares for people, that He has designed a logical and realistic master plan for solving the suffering and dilemmas that (as history well shows) we cannot resolve on our own.
You will also learn why the life, work and mission of Jesus, as the Messiah, was planned even before the universe itself was created—and why His continuing efforts are crucial to the success of God’s plan and purpose for our future.
I am very acutely aware; many look upon the book of Daniel as a kind of religious novel drawing and relying greatly on the background of history written about 164 B.C. in the troublesome times of the Maccabees and written with the noble intention of encouraging the faithful in the height of the persecution of that day to be over corners. So it is that they see much in the book of Daniel, which meets with their approval, and are fully alert to its literary beauties. In their eyes this is simply a work of the imagination, very ingenuously put together, but in fact containing a number of historical inaccuracies, which they attribute to it being written some three or four hundred years after the times described. To many therefore, the great truths contained in the book of Daniel are mere fantasy conjured up in the mind of the author for the purely mercenary desire of selling copy. If such a view be the correct one, the question must be asked and seriously answered, how did the man Daniel and what he said have the commendation of the Lord Jesus Christ as we quoted earlier by Marks Gospel, why would the Lord Jesus Christ give such credibility to such a man and what he had written?
I would dearly recommend this work to you and indeed other such writings for your personal study and trust the wonderful light of truth will captivate your mind, heart and very soul to the degree, it will be your deepest desire to share that truth with all who willing listen or read what you preach or publish or indeed loan the work of others to others for their personal instruction.
Canon Farrar, one time Dean of Canterbury Cathedral, said, “There is but one failure, and that is not to be true to the very best one knows.” Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997).
We need to keep close to the ancient simplicity of the original Christian faith, and build our foundation on its original unity. We must abhor the arrogance of those who harass and tear apart the church of God under the pretense of correcting errors and holding to “the Truth.” The sufficiency of Scripture, of course, must be upheld; but do not let others add anything to it.
Richard Baxter, “The Reformed Pastor”. Christianity Today, Vol. 30, no. 8.