Daniel 12:1-3 - 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.
The Scripture above begins the last chapter of the book of Daniel -- a complex book in the Bible. The geographical context here is Babylonia, a longtime rival of Israel -- as well as many other nations in the ancient Near East. Daniel arrived in Babylonia as an exiled Jew from Judah following Nebuchadnezzar's conquest there in the early sixth century B.C. Daniel came from a royal or noble status in Judah and thus was slated from the git-go for preferential treatment as a Jew in Babylonia.
Now things would have gone very well for Daniel and his buddies (Shadrach, Meschach, and Abed-nego) had they toed the line and got in step with their new Babylonian overlords. Why not eat the king's choice food or drink (probably offered to their gods)? Why not bow down and worship golden images when the music starts? Why not make it easy on yourself?
After all, when in Rome ....
The book of Daniel records a number of things -- all pretty spectacular -- that showcase Daniel's and his friends' resistance to cave in and do as the Romans do. You may recall the story of the three guys in a fiery furnace (the same guys mentioned above) who, because of their devotion to God, didn't even get singed. Then there was the episode of Daniel getting tossed into a lions' den for his insubordination to the king -- and living to tell about it!
At the end of the book of Daniel, we get to the passage above, in particular, those words spoken to Daniel by a man of mysterious origin, who's referring to the future: "But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book (of life). ... 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."
What beautiful imagery! What a hopeful future for those whose names are "found written in the book"! Here is a faith invitation to join this blessed assembly. In that place you will find your Savior, Christ Jesus the Lord, who gives you rest and peace and the forgiveness of your sins.
Jesus says, "Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30).
THE PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, You alone know the time when all things will come to an end. Make us ready to stand before You -- forgiven for the sake of Your Son Jesus. In His Name we pray. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Paul Schreiber.
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