Hindsight is perfect sight. I had some people work at our home yesterday. Halfway through their labor I was saying to myself: “If only I had known.” Taking that saying through to the end it means … “If only I had known I would not have!” There is one place in life where we cannot say that … and it is with God because God has given us the Bible and everything we need to know for all of life and eternity. It’s all contained in the Bible. Some may question that statement … but it does deal with Church life, family life, marriage, employment, business, morals and ethics, sin and holiness … it even has a manual on intimacy! I almost want to say … “What have I left out!” In a way, we have hindsight. We have what Daniel and his people before and after him did not have … the full and complete Bible. We know what went on in Israel before their exile, we know about their exile, we known about their deportation after exile, we know about their persistent failure to live by faith and we know all about the promised Messiah who came … and who is our Messiah. We know about obedience, service and preparation for glory. Hindsight is perfect sight. Daniel did not have what we have … and so in response to Daniel’s spiritual practices of prayer and fasting, seeking God’s face for insight and understanding, the Angel of the Lord came to provide Revelation to Daniel.
1) Revelation was for the future.
Da 10:14 “Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.”
Again, there is no problem that the Angel of the Lord Himself came with the Revelation. Jacob relates an experience of a Divine Visitation to Rachel and Leah
Ge 31:10 “In breeding season I once had a dream in which I looked up and saw that the male goats mating with the flock were streaked, speckled or spotted. 11 The angel of God said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob.’ I answered, ‘Here I am.’ 12 And he said, ‘Look up and see that all the male goats mating with the flock are streaked, speckled or spotted, for I have seen all that Laban has been doing to you. 13 I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar and where you made a vow to me. Now leave this land at once and go back to your native land.’
Some theologians call this a Theophany … a Visitation from God in the shape of the Angel of the Lord … whom we believe is the Lord Jesus, God the Son. The Revelation (vision), although having references to Antiochus, is Messianic … dealing with the age to come as we will see in chapter 11. The Angel of the Lord’s business at hand was to explain to Daniel what would happen to the people of Israel in a future age … the Messianic Age. As said above, hindsight is perfect sight!
(1) We have the complete and Final Scriptures … the Word of God. It is true we may read it and it is also true the Holy Spirit will help us with understanding … but why had God given pastor teachers? The following passage lists four teaching offices. Only two remain because we have God’s final Word in written form.
Eph 4:11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Evangelists and pastor teachers remain … why? Evangelism is teaching the Gospel and the need for the Gospel. Pastor teachers head up the teaching ministry of the Church. God has given them and gifted them to explain, expound and reveal the meaning of Scripture. As an example, if you have been with me throughout the Daily Notes on Daniel, you will have to agree that together with me, you have learnt much because of correct Biblical interpretation. Where the Angel of the Lord come to Daniel to explain the future of the Israeli people, pointing to the Messianic Age, pastor teachers explain the Bible so that the people of God … and unsaved people hearing might understand the Word and respond correctly as God intends them too. True believers need to pray that God will raise up men who will be prepared to study the Scriptures to gain a true understanding of what God is saying and then explain it to the people under his care. Jenny and I were on a game drive on Monday past. Nearing the end of our journey we came across a couple walking. They had just spotted some buck and we excited. As we chatted it came out that they were believers. He was an American belonging to and participating in a ministry in California. He seemed to love expositional teaching … yet questioned the state of the Church in general today. I offered my two cents saying I felt the pastors today give the people what they want to hear and not what God wants them to hear. A light went on and he agreed. This is vital. Pastor teachers are not there to entertain, manipulate or seduce the people with what the people want to hear and about what they want the people to hear. Their sole ministry is to study the Word prayerfully to teach the Word expositionally. Failure here is failure to “explain” (Daniel 11:14) and failure to “prepare” God’s people for works of service (Ephesians 4:12-13).
(2) Expositional preaching must not only focus on man’s sin and God’s redemptive plan at Calvary. As Daniel needed to know the future of his people, so our people need to know their future. Far too many Christians are living for the here and now. Where this is good on the one hand if it entails seeking Kingdom growth through evangelism and personal preparation for heaven … few tend to focus on the reality of Jesus’ Second Coming, the Day of Judgment and the end of this world as we know it. A proper understanding of the there and then will help us to prepare effectively for our future and that of our loved ones and friends.
(a) Jesus is coming again. That is not just a doctrine. That is a certainty because the future of the Church of God depends upon and hinges on our Lord’s return. The end will not come if Jesus does not return as promised.
(b) Jesus will issue in and conduct the Judgment. He will be the Judge … and according to James, He is ready!
Jam 5|:9 The Judge is standing at the door!
If He is standing He is ready to be seated on the Throne of Judgment!
(c) Jesus will change the face of existence as we know it. He promised the world will burn ushering in a New Heaven and New Earth, the Home of Righteousness.
O God, how we long for Jesus’ return because we believe Glory will follow. Help us prepare properly for that great day. Amen.