A couple of thoughts about reading futuristic Bible prophecies (like today’s reading):
- Often a prophecy speaks of more than one time period. For example, Old Testament passages pointing ahead to Jesus often spoke of both his first coming and his now future coming in the same section. Today too we read Daniel’s “description in advance” of Persian, Greek, and Roman political events but, at the end, we read of events that haven’t yet happened.
- It is amazing how specific is Bible prophecy and today is an excellent example. Daniel’s account can be mapped precisely to the detailed histories of figures such as Alexander the Great, Antiochus, and Judas Maccabeus. More so, though, the implication is that we can expect future prophecies to be fulfilled with the same precision and detail … and that is worth a second look.
- There are also general messages communicated through these prophecies. The future is known by God and under his sovereign control. Therefore, as we look towards an uncertain future (and really, the Bible makes the world’s future much less stable than we might like to think), we are reminded of what is truly solid. The message of Bible prophecy is that God is building his kingdom and the kingdoms we see around us are simply temporary steps towards that. It begs the question … where are you and I investing our lives?