1. The Kingdom and Revelation
Daniel 7:27, 28; Daniel 12:8
We may get help as to the meaning of the phrase which we often pray, "Thy kingdom come", if we seek it in the book of Daniel, for the book is full of kings and kingdoms, as may soon be seen by underlining the related words wherever they appear. We open our consideration with Daniel's last question. The Authorized Version renders it: "What shall be the end of these things?"; but that is not really what Daniel asked. The question has already been put: "How long shall it be to the end ...?" (12:6), but Daniel wanted to know what lay beyond that. What is the issue beyond the immediate end, was what he wanted to know. Here was he, involved in great movements and battles, in testings of faith and great triumphs, too, in messages from Heaven and uprisings from hell, in prayers prayed, yes, and prayers answered: everything seemed to lead up to one great climax. What was it all about? What was the point of it all? "What shall be the issue of these things?"
There is surely a sense with us, in these days, that we, too, are heading up to a climax. The end of this age, so we believe, cannot be very far distant. It is a reasonable and a right question to ask: What lies beyond? We, also are in the midst of conflicts and testings. What does it all mean? As a matter of fact the book of Daniel answers his own question. He could not understand, but as we open his book in the light of the rest of the Word of God we have the answer. And if we keep the book as a whole before us we shall surely avoid the perils which may be associated with studying the future. It is dangerous to be a dabbler in prophecy, being interested only in events that are going to happen. Daniel, however, is an excellent example of a man who had vision and "understanding of the times", and yet who was most practical in living for God in his day; a man who was most instantly in touch with present realities and not just dreaming of the future.
Daniel lived for God in his day in the way in which he did, just because of his insight into the issues involved. His vision made him a big man. How prone we all are to pettiness! How limited our horizons can become, and how localized, personal and often unworthy can be the realms in which we live and are occupied! We have been called to a vocation which is vast and noble, to have a part in the greatest interest of God for all the ages: a right understanding of this will surely do for us what it did for Daniel - make us bigger people. One of the great needs of the Church today is not just for more gifted or more active men, but for bigger men - bigger in heart, bigger in vision, bigger in spiritual responsibility.
(continued with # 2 - (1. The Issue of the World)