Monday, December 2, 2013

The theme of endurance & healthy faith in Daniel & 3 John

Daniel 12:13 "But as for you, go your way to the end; then you will enter into rest and rise again for your allotted portion at the end of the age.”

3 John 11 "Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God."

Some thoughts on the book of Daniel in general and Daniel 11-12 in particular
As we close out our time in the Book of Daniel today, we need to make a general observation about the book and then say something specific about Daniel 11-12. First, the Book of Daniel functions as a padlock, meaning that at the end God through an angel tells Daniel that the vision is sealed and must wait and appointed time. When read in concert with the Book of Revelation, the message and contents of the book open up, being that Revelation functions as a perfect key to unlock Daniel. 

With regards to some specific observations about Daniel 11-12, we are seeing the most detailed prophecy of God's Word. 

1. Daniel 11:1-2 begins by predicting four Persian Kings that would follow Darius that history defines as being from Cambyses (529-522 b.c) all the way to Xerxes I who ruled Persia in the days of Queen Esther in 480 b.c. Remember Daniel was writing this portion of his prophecy in along 515 b.c. 

2. As you do down through Daniel 11:3-45, prediction is made concerning the Greek Empire that would be led by Alexander the Great in 333 A.D and that would divide into four parts given to each of his generals following his death. Those four divided kingdoms in their detail and description of leadership are remarkably detailed and completely accurate as they lead you to an evil king in Daniel 11:29-35. 

This evil King would be known in history as Antiochus Epiphanes who ransacked the temple in Jerusalem in 168 b.c but was overturned by a group of Jews called the Maccabees. The Jewish holiday known as Hanukkah commemorates that event. God through Daniel then uses the predicted events of history as patterns for what will be a prediction of the Anti-Christ in Daniel 11:36-45. 

3. When will the Anti-Christ arise? Daniel 12 gives the timing of his rise, as well as God's faithfulness to preserve the Jewish remnant who will had believed upon Jesus the Messiah in the event of His second coming. 

4. Daniel 12 closes with reference to the resurrection of the righteous at the beginning of His earthly reign and then that of the wicked dead which, in comparison to other scriptures, will occur at the end of Christ's millennial or 1,000 year reign in Revelation 20. 

How the Book of Daniel aims to encourage the believer in the present to endure with prophecies of things to come
Daniel's book closes with an encouragement, much like his intent at the beginning of Daniel 11. The encouragement is for Daniel and those of like precious faith to endure to the end. 

The Book of 3 John is all about cultivating a healthy Christian faith that will endure to the end
When you turn to 3 John, the theme has to do with having a healthy Christian faith. 

1. We see the encouragement to healthy Christian faith (3 John 1-8)

2. We see warnings about unhealthy faith (3 John 9-10) 

3. Then we see a final section on the importance of having a good testimony (3 John 11-15). 

As Daniel and John's writing teach us, through the grace of God and His word, we can endure to the end and have this promise that He Who begins a good work in us will bring it unto completion unto the day of Christ.

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