When one reads the prophetic words in the last chapters of Daniel, it is hard to determine what time period is being described. Portions of Daniel’s prophecy appear to speak of the Greek and Roman empires. Other portions seem to speak of either Christ’s first or second coming. Whether or not Daniel is primarily concerned with the prophetic past or the prophetic future, that is a matter I need to study further.
However, in the final chapter of Daniel, four verses are found which should influence my walk today:
Daniel 12:1-4 At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.
Daniel is describing a Prince and a people. I do not have time to develop this, but many commentators believe Michael is symbolic of Jesus Christ. He is the Great Prince who rules and reigns over his people.
The prophet is also describing a time of tribulation, persecution or trouble. The Prince’s people have suffered much before, but never to this magnitude. Those who hate the Prince are taking it out on his people, and the beloved citizens are not removed from this unrighteous onslaught. No, they must trust, endure and persevere till the end.
However, then comes the glorious rescue. At a certain time, when the Prince determines his people have endured enough, they shall be delivered. According to other Scriptures, those who are alive will first be taken up to paradise after the manner of the risen Lord. Then those who are deceased will follow. For some, this will be glorious as they are ushered into everlasting life. For others, this is a fate worse than death as they will awake to judgment, shame, condemnation and everlasting disgust.
So, who are the fortunate souls? Who are the many beloved by the Prince? Who are those whose best days are before them?
First, they are those whose names are written in the book. I believe this is synonymous with the Lamb’s Book of Life which was penned before the foundation of the earth. These particular sinners have been predestined to receive mercy instead of justice. All these will be captured and kept by the Father’s love; they will persevere till the end and enjoy eternal security.
Second, they are those who are wise. They have heard the Gospel, believed the Gospel, and placed their trust and confidence in the Christ of the Gospel. They have found the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and they have turned from the folly of atheism, agnosticism, pluralism, humanism and legalism. All who exercise their will, repent, and call upon Jesus to be their Savior will persevere till the end and enjoy eternal security.
Then comes a third characteristic. Those who are eternally blessed are they who “turn many to righteousness.” Predestined believers who proclaim Christ “shine like the brightness of the sky above and like the stars forever.” Jesus is their Savior and their Lord, and they prove their loyalty by being engaged in the Great Commission on a daily basis. It could be said that evangelism is another fruit of the Holy Spirit. Those who are found in Christ are found speaking of Christ. So, as they endure tribulation and anticipate the rescue of the Prince, they are intentional and busy in winning souls for Christ.
Therefore believer, here are some practical ways for us to prove our salvation and please our Prince today:
- Sit down with someone and converse about God, Law, Justice, Substitution, Grace, Mercy, and Response.
- Send someone a link with a favorite sermon or devotional regarding the Gospel.
- Have family devotions with your wife and children.
- Invite someone to a church service
- Send Holiday Cards with a personal note of your fascination with Jesus Christ.
- Live your life differently so others take notice, but then look for an opportunity to express the reason for your different way of living. They need to know it is Christ and the Holy Spirit and not you.
- Start a Bible Study at work or in the neighborhood, and then ask your pastor or mature friend to lead if you feel incapable of doing so.
Proverbs 11:30 tells us, “He that wins or captures souls is wise.” Daniel and the Prince agree. May God help us to enjoy eternal bliss with many who were encouraged to join us by our walk and words.