I assume, if you’re reading this, that you probably already have a passing interest in the subject of Bible prophecy and the future. In these times, more and more people are beginning to have at least some curiosity about this subject and are trying to find out more about it.
But once you start searching around, you can really find some different, even opposing ideas about it all. So much of it can even engender fear or confusion. Often folks just give up trying to grasp any constants or absolutes that can be found about the subject of Bible prophecy.
Some have even said, “Why study the book of Daniel? Hasn’t it all already been fulfilled? Isn’t it only written for Jewish people?” That’s what some say.
Currently I’m meeting with a group of people who are studying the subject of prophecy in the Bible. The main thing we’ve been reading is from the book of Ezekiel. It’s being taught in this group that Ezekiel chapter 38 is in the process of being fulfilled right now in current events playing out daily in the Middle East, as a precursor to the final events leading up to the coming of God’s kingdom on earth. Then I have other friends talk to me about verses in Isaiah which they say predict an atomic attack on the city of Damascus in Syria. And they look for that to happen, soon. So why am I doing a series on the book of Daniel? Shouldn’t we be studying Ezekiel or Isaiah?
The authority of Jesus
Here’s why. If you are looking for authority in the Bible, there’s no greater than Jesus Himself. Did He talk about the future, the time before His return and His coming Kingdom? Absolutely. The two main chapters where He talked about this were Matthew 24 and Mark 13. He’s quoted as saying this in both chapters but I’ll quote from Matthew 24:15. “When you shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand).”
When asked about the future, Jesus didn’t refer to Ezekiel, or Isaiah, or any other book in the Bible. But He did refer specifically to the book of Daniel and even to a specific passage of Scripture in that book. Then He went on to say, “Whosoever reads it, let him understand.” Jesus both emphases that book and made it unusually clear, highlighting the importance of understanding that particular passage.
Admittedly, that verse, Matthew 24:15, is not very easy to understand at first glance. That’s one of the reasons why in my series on Daniel, I start with the first prophetic chapter in Daniel and then build on it. The series begins with Daniel chapter 2, then goes on to chapter 7 and 8, before we are really ready to look at this emphasized statement that Jesus made about certain passages in what turns out to be Daniel 9 and 11.
Then if we look at what is considered the most specifically prophetic book in the New Testament, Revelations, it is full of material that refers back to characters and events first introduced in Daniel’s visions and prophecies some 600 or more years earlier than the date of Revelations.
If we are to look for instruction from the Bible as to what the future holds, there’s no clearer or more unambiguous book in the Old Testament than Daniel. And no, definitely, it has not all been fulfilled. Numerous things that are first clearly spoken of in Daniel, and further clarified and defined in Revelation, just haven’t happened yet.
With so much speculation nowadays having to do with fulfilled prophecy and possible events soon to come, I’m convinced that a solid understanding of Daniel’s prophecies offers the best hope of establishing a foundation of understanding future certainties. And it seems Jesus Himself pointed us to this beginning point when He referred to specifics in Daniel yet to be fulfilled and said, “Whoever reads, let him understand.”
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