Thursday, October 31, 2013

Daniel 10-12 The Final Resurrection


Dan 12:1-7 "At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people — everyone whose name is found written in the book — will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge." Then I, Daniel, looked, and there before me stood two others, one on this bank of the river and one on the opposite bank. One of them said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, "How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?"  The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, "It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed."  I heard, but I did not understand. So I asked, "My lord, what will the outcome of all this be?" He replied, "Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end. Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand. From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days. As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance."

In Daniel 10, Daniel describes his encounter and experience when he saw the vision of an Angel. Some scholars believe that this is the pre-incarnate Christ. When he saw the Man, he fell and became very weak and unable to get up. Daniel's experience parallels closely to what is now known as "falling under the Spirit's power" or "slain by the Spirit." If there is a biblical precedent for the experience of falling under God's power, this must be one of the most obvious. 

From Daniel 11:2-35, Daniel was given a very detailed account of something that was to happen in the near future, roughly from 323-168 BC. It describes the conflicts and battles between the Ptolemies who ruled over Egypt ("the kings of the South") and the Seleucids who ruled over Syria and Mesopotanmia ("the kings of the North"). In fact, Daniel's descriptions of the conflicts were so accurate that some critical scholars believe Daniel's prophecy was written after 168 BC. (The details of this period can be found in Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews). This period ended with the Maccabean revolt (described in the books of the Maccabees). 

However, from Daniel 11:36-45, the focus shifted to the future: "the king" seems to refer to someone else than Antiochus IV. Most scholars believe it is a reference to the future Antichrist which has yet to appear. A description of what happens when he reigns is given in this chapter. It brings us right to the end of time and the resurrection of the dead in Daniel 12: "Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt" (12:2). The most comforting verse in Daniel is the last one: "As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance" (12:13).

The hope of all believers is the resurrection from the dead in a new body that will be immortal. So, Daniel will "rest" (die) and at the end of the days, "will rise to receive your allotted inheritance" (bodily resurrection). The ultimate hope of all believers is not some disembodied existence is a place called heaven ("somewhere in outer space") but a re-embodied existence on the new planet Earth where the redeemed humanity and restored nature and animal life will again fill the earth. God himself will come down to dwell among His people in this new Eden.

That will be our inheritance--a new physical reality where Heaven and Earth fused into one. And those who put their faith in Christ will be resurrected with immortal and spiritual bodies to live in this new Eden again--forever. What we spend our lifetime collecting (gold) will be used to pave the streets of Eden! 

Father, thank You for Your assurance in Daniel, that You know the end from the beginning. Thank You for the inheritance and allotment You have prepared for us as believers, so that though we die, we will yet live again in Your New Eden. Amen.

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