Daniel 12 (from The Message)

Again we switch to The Message to get a more modern day reading of these verses. This is the last chapter of Daniel and the summary of the vision in Chapter 11. Daniel, a captive from Jerusalem about 600 BC is taken to Babylon for what he hears through prophecy will be a 70 year exile. He is trained in government work as a wiseman and climbs the political ladder as he interprets dreams for the king. A giant statue, a giant tree, a hand writing on the wall. We read of the fiery furnance with his friends Shadrack, Meshack, and Abendigo, and of his trial in the lion’s den. The book then shifts to his personal prayer life, his seeking to understand the trajectory of this exile and the fate of his people there. He has visions, visits from angels and possibly a visit from the pre-incarnate Christ, a man clothed in linen who speaks with God. Theologians have given explanations for all this through the centuries, seeking to understand the prophecies of what we call “end times.” This chapter makes some sweeping comments as we seek to understand how God is going to bring justice to a world torn apart by evil, human and spiritual.
12 1-2 “‘That’s when Michael, the great angel-prince, champion of your people, will step in. It will be a time of trouble, the worst trouble the world has ever seen. But your people will be saved from the trouble, every last one found written in the Book. Many who have been long dead and buried will wake up, some to eternal life, others to eternal shame.
3 “‘Men and women who have lived wisely and well will shine brilliantly, like the cloudless, star-strewn night skies. And those who put others on the right path to life will glow like stars forever.
1. The first thing we see is that “good” stands out like stars on a dark night. Evil is going to escalate but good will shine. Can you think of stories of people who have shone like stars in the midst of trials e.g. Corrie Ten Boom in German concentration camps, Helen Keller blind and deaf?? ____________________
2. Have you ever seen a cloudless, star-strewn night? If good is the stars, what adjectives might we use to describe this image? ____
4 “‘This is a confidential report, Daniel, for your eyes and ears only. Keep it secret. Put the book under lock and key until the end. In the interim there is going to be a lot of frantic running around, trying to figure out what’s going on.’
3. Why might Daniel be advised to keep the book secret? ________
4. Does this offer us guidance as people seek to understand end times?
5-6 “As I, Daniel, took all this in, two figures appeared, one standing on this bank of the river and one on the other bank. One of them asked a third man who was dressed in linen and who straddled the river, ‘How long is this astonishing story to go on?’
7 “The man dressed in linen, who straddled the river, raised both hands to the skies. I heard him solemnly swear by the Eternal One that it would be a time, two times, and half a time, that when the oppressor of the holy people was brought down the story would be complete.
8 “I heard all this plainly enough, but I didn’t understand it. So I asked, ‘Master, can you explain this to me?’
5. How often do we hear but do not understand! We say “I do” but we don’t really know what that means. The doctor describes and we walk out and reflect on the diagnosis. But we do see that “the oppressor” will be brought down and “the story” will be completed. Closure. How do we bring closure to our challenges? ____________
6. Closure takes time. True, False
7. Closure is needed for conflict but not blessing. True, False
9-10 “‘Go on about your business, Daniel,’ he said. ‘The message is confidential and under lock and key until the end, until things are about to be wrapped up. The populace will be washed clean and made like new. But the wicked will just keep on being wicked, without a clue about what is happening. Those who live wisely and well will understand what’s going on.’
11 “From the time that the daily worship is banished from the Temple and the obscene desecration is set up in its place, there will be 1,290 days.
8. Many think this refers to the Temple in Jerusalem that is now claimed by three major world religions. It could refer to Tribulations. It is cloaked in prophecy. Perhaps we might ponder if there are landmarks that have gaged our lives like a wall where we mark how tall our kids are. What landmarks have guided your life? _______
9. Those who persevere are blessed. What might that look like?
12 “Blessed are those who patiently make it through the 1,335 days.
13 “And you? Go about your business without fretting or worrying. Relax. When it’s all over, you will be on your feet to receive your reward.”
10. What a beautiful promise to end this study with. Don’t fret. Don’t worry, relax. We will be standing to receive our reward!
11. Think back over the book of Daniel. Was there something that especially touched your heart? _________________
12. Was there something that challenged you to study further? How might that be done?
13. How might we better pray for Christians in government?
14. How does God work outside our boxes?
15. Perhaps close by singing, “He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands.”

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