Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan
is Numbers 11-12, Psalm 59, Luke 15
Today's scripture focus
is Daniel 12:4-13
English Standard Version (ESV)
4 But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”
5 Then I, Daniel, looked, and behold, two others stood, one on this bank of the stream and one on that bank of the stream. 6 And someone said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream, “How long shall it be till the end of these wonders?” 7 And I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream; he raised his right hand and his left hand toward heaven and swore by him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time, and that when the shattering of the power of the holy people comes to an end all these things would be finished. 8 I heard, but I did not understand. Then I said, “O my lord, what shall be the outcome of these things?” 9 He said, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end. 10 Many shall purify themselves and make themselves white and be refined, but the wicked shall act wickedly. And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand. 11 And from the time that the regular burnt offering is taken away and the abomination that makes desolate is set up, there shall be 1,290 days. 12 Blessed is he who waits and arrives at the 1,335 days. 13 But go your way till the end. And you shall rest and shall stand in your allotted place at the end of the days.”
"What shall be the outcome?"
How many times in our life do we ask these questions? How long is this going to take? How long do I have to wait? How long will it be before I know? What will the outcome be of this choice I am making? What shall the outcome be if I make a different choice? What shall be the outcome of my life...the lives of my family members...what does the future hold?
MacArthur explains it this way
It is obvious, I think, to all of us that man is curious about his future. We have in human society, and I suppose we've always had, people who look into the future or attempt to do so or offer themselves as those that are able to do that. And they have held the fascination of man throughout his existence: stargazers, fortune tellers, wizards, palm readers, tea bag tale tellers, seers, prophets, predictors, mediums, on and on. But they've always had a wide and lucrative response from people. Why? Basically because deep down within man is tremendous curiosity about the future.
But why? Why is it that man so desperately seems to want to know the future? Well, maybe three reasons. Number one is just curiosity. We just want to know because we don't know. And there's a certain amount of anxiety about what you don't know. And I think man would just like to end the anxiety about the unknown and so he's curious about the future. But there's more than that. I think men want to know the future in many cases in order to capitalize on what is coming. If men could know the future, they could know how to play the stock market, they could know about all the things that are going to come in the world and they could hedge against it. In other words, greed, ambition or selfish fulfillment might be a reason people want to know the future.
Thirdly, and I think most significantly, people want to know the future because of fear. Because, you see, basically we live in the fear of the unexpected. It is what we don't know that scares us. It is what might happen. And man has always wanted to eliminate the unexpected and therefore eliminate his fear. So, whether it's curiosity, or a certain amount of self-serving greed or fear, there has always been an amazing curiosity about the future.
I think about the future. I worry about the future. I wish I knew what was going to happen in the future. But do I? Would I really want to know everything that is going to happen in my life...I don't know....maybe not.
MacArthur goes on to say:
Now, the only true source of knowledge about the future is the Bible. I'll say that again. The only true source of knowledge about the future is the Bible. There is no other true source. And Daniel is one of the great prophetic books of the Bible. In this book we learn about the future. God gives us glimpses of future events, future personalities, future judgments, future blessings. And thus, this is a remarkable book.
Now why does God tell us about the future? Just to deal with our curiosity? To give us the ability to sort of hedge against what's coming in a self-serving way? No. I believe basically there are four reasons God tells us about the future and I tried to think this through, this week, and I think you'll agree with me.
First of all, God tells us about the future to authenticate His Word. One of the great authentications of the veracity of the Bible is that it predicts the future. And then when the thing it predicts come to pass, it's a convincing argument that God wrote it. So in terms of God Himself, it authenticates His Word.
Secondly, God tells us about the future in order to reveal His sovereignty. He wants us to know that He is charting the course of human history.
Thirdly, I believe that God tells us about the future in order to both motivate and comfort His people. When we know the Lord is coming, we get busy living for Him. John says, "He that bath this hope in him, purifies himself." When we know He's coming, we are comforted that no matter what happens in the world, it's all going to come out in the end with the Lord Jesus Christ reigning as King of kings.
So God tells us the future to authenticate the truth of His Word, to reveal the sovereignty of His person and to comfort and to motivate His people. And there's one other reason. I believe God reveals the future in order to admonish the wicked and sinful...to warn them of coming judgment. God wants us to know something about the future, enough to let us know the Bible is true because it can predict and when it is fulfilled it shows its truthfulness. He wants us to know that He is sovereign. He wants us to be motivated and comforted. And He wants the lost and the wicked to be warned about coming doom.
God reveals His plan to us in His time. We can take comfort in the promises of the past and the sovereignty of in the God of the past, the present, and the future. He has it all worked out.
MacArthur closes his message with these awesome words:
You know what the great hope of the future for us is? That the face of the Savior is looking at us, isn't it? He has us in His heart. He's not indifferent. He's there. All these things are going to come to pass..."Till heaven and earth pass away, not one jot or tittle shall in any wise pass from this law." But we don't fear because the Savior is looking at us in His heart. He had Daniel in His heart. He wouldn't let that man close out his life without stepping out of glory and speaking personally with this saint. What a great, great confidence that you and I have this same Christ who has His face toward us who cares. We have responsibility, we have the promise of resurrection and eternal reward.
With those things in mind, God, help us to live like Daniel lived, to be the kind of man he was.
Father, thank You for our time in Your Word tonight. What a great, great book, how thrilling it's been to have the adventure of going through its truths. Bless these precious people, every one, every man, woman, young person and child. O God, may they fulfill all the good pleasure of Your will, may they live a life of responsibility in obedience, going their way to walk according to Your will and someday know that glorious resurrection when we stand with You in Your Kingdom, to be rewarded throughout eternity. O God, as we look at the future and know that it's all in Your hands, we are comforted and we are motivated. And Your Word is affirmed to us and Your sovereignty is made manifest. And we pray, too, Lord, that as those who hear who are lost, recognize these things to come, that they may be admonished to be sure that their lives are right with You, for that will be a day of judgment for those who know You know not. Father, may we be sure that we are ready for the inevitable day. Thank You for giving us all we need to anticipate blessedness because of Your grace in Christ in whose name we pray. Amen.
Tomorrow's scripture focus
: Ephesians 1:1-2
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage
passage: Numbers 13-14, Psalm 60, Luke 60