Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
We get so absorbed in studying Daniel’s prophecies that we may overlook his trials and heartaches as a person.
At a tender teen age he is snatched from his home and nation and forced into exile in a pagan land. He could well have already been in love with a girl, a one-and-only for him. But love with marriage is denied him forever--now he only has memories. He is forced into becoming a eunuch--something no man wants to be.
Can you appreciate his life-long loneliness? No woman to love or be loved. No family. No children. No place to go after a hard day’s work except an empty room or apartment. (It does have windows, we know that; Dan. 6:10.)
He is constantly surrounded by oppressive paganism--sights and sounds torturous to the soul of anyone who knows and worships the true God of Israel. (Could that painful paganism be the “continual” ["the daily"] he writes about five times? 8:11, 12, 13; 11:31; 12:11.)
When he discovers Jeremiah’s prediction that the captivity in Babylon would end after 70 years (Jer. 25:11, 12), would he not rejoice? Maybe now for sure our Messiah will come! And then the angel Gabriel gives him a devastating vision: the deliverance from evil he longed to see would wait for 2300 years more! (Dan. 8:11-14; 10:14). And to his greater disappointment, the coming of the longed-for Messiah would not happen for 483 years more! (9:22-25). And to top all his sorrow, his beloved Messiah must be “cut off” (vs. 26). And there must be more “desolations” and “overspreading of abominations” until a tragic end (vs. 27)!
How bitter must be the Old Covenant that has eclipsed the New! How terribly painful has Israel’s history become rather than the joyous one God promised to Abraham’s children (Gen. 12:2, 3)! No wonder Daniel is so devastated that he can’t eat for 3 weeks (Dan. 10:1-3).
At such a personal cost has come the special book that Jesus urges us to “read” and “understand” (Matt. 24:15). You and I can rejoice that we are near the “time of the end”--that all those many centuries of agony are in the past (Dan. 12:4).
“Blessed,” happy (says the angel), are we who live after the “1335” years are over (vs. 12). That’s where we are today. Daniel longed with all his heart to share this “blessedness” that we now enjoy. Let’s share its knowledge with someone else.
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: December 9, 2003.
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