The prophet Daniel was exiled from Judah at the time of King Jehoiakim (609–597 B.C.). He was of noble blood, a young man who was captured by the Babylonians (along with three friends) and then brought back to live and serve at the Babylonian court. After the fall of the Babylonian Empire, he was then placed into service for the Medo-Persian Empire, which had taken it over.
Digging Into The Scriptures
During his entire time in exile, Daniel would not only be given the ability by God to interpret the dreams of the Babylonian leaders, but while he was under the captivity of both empires, Daniel would also be given visions from God about the future of the world. Such visions would give him great distress. Some things he would be able to grasp, and others he would not…
Daniel 8:27 (NASB)
Then I, Daniel, was exhausted and sick for days. Then I got up again and carried on the king’s business; but I was astounded at the vision, and there was none to explain it.
For answers, Daniel would turn to the scriptures in order to gain clarity…
Daniel 9:1-2 (NASB)
In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of Median descent, who was made king over the kingdom of the Chaldeans— in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, observed in the books the number of the years which was revealed as the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years.
The Encouragement of Resurrection
Despite experiencing these trying revelations, Daniel would also in the end be left with encouragement. A celestial being, who had helped him to understand what the later visions were about, gave Daniel these final words which closes the book of Daniel…
Daniel 12:13 (NASB)
“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.”
What would keep Daniel from losing hope in light of the distressing visions that he was told to chronicle?
That he would, “…enter into rest and rise again for your allotted portion at the end of the age.”
The hope of resurrection would strengthen him, and the same is true for us. The hope of resurrection is the only thing which can keep us going.
Peter opened his first epistle with this same theme…
1 Peter 1:3-13 (NASB)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.
As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look.
Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
May we also, “greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,” fixing our hope, “completely on the grace to be brought to you [us] at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
Godspeed, to the brethren!