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Sermon 2/25/07 –
To the End – Daniel 12:13

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To The End

But as for you, go your way to the end; then you will enter into rest and rise again for your allotted portion at the end of the age” (Daniel 12:13)

We’ve been so busy recently that we've unfortunately not had the time left for prison ministry. It's a very good ministry to be a part of, and I definitely recommend it, if indeed the Holy Spirit leads you in that direction. You can learn much about life from those who are imprisoned and you have much to offer them, although you may not recognize your usefulness at this time. Scripture encourages us to “remember the prisoners as if chained with them” (Hebrews 13:3), and Jesus told us that when we visit prisoners, He accepts it as though we had visited Him (Matthew 25:36).  What you do for others really MATTERS.

Life can be full of joy, and yet there are aspects of life that can be like prison. It is a human tendency to want to have fun, but much so-called “fun” leads us into “prisons” of our own making. Sometimes it is NOT our fault that we have problems, but at all times we are to remember the God of our fathers and trust in Him, for He will be with us in the worst and best of circumstances. We do not seek to have a difficult life, though difficulties help us to grow in faith, and faith in the Lord is what we really need.

Daniel the Prophet was a prisoner. As you read Daniel Chapter One and other related Scriptures, you discover that he was taken in chains from his home in Israel and he likely saw the death and destruction of all he loved, as he was taken to far-off Babylon. They took away his freedom, his language, his manhood; even his name. Instead of calling him “Daniel” (God is my judge), they referred to him as “Belteshazzar” (Bel is my judge). But though they changed Daniel’s name, they could not remove God from his heart, any more than it can be done to you and me, when we belong to the Lord.

At the time of today’s Scripture verse, Daniel had lived a long, productive life, in which he had “witnessed” for the Lord and served Him, before kings, princes, governors and other notables in the Babylonian and Persian Empires. God had chosen His man carefully and Daniel was just right for the task. Now he was going to die and his life appropriately concluded with visions sent by the Lord, in which he saw the future of nations and his own destiny as well. The angel of the Lord told him, “But you (Daniel), go your way to the end... you will rest and rise again for your allotted portion at the end of the age” (Daniel 12:13).

There are those who believe in “soul sleep.” When we die, it is said, we will “sleep” until the Lord’s return to this earth, and it is at that point we will be awakened to life. Scriptures are cited for that belief, such as our verse for today, which includes telling Daniel that he would essentially enter a state similar to sleep and then wake up "at the end of the age…” Others believe we will be with the Lord immediately at the moment of death, as Paul indicated by his statement that to be “absent from the body (is) to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). Life is more than theology - we WILL meet Daniel in eternity.

Precisely WHEN we are taken up to be with the Lord is not an issue, for this reason – there is no time in eternity. We are going to a place where there is no beginning and no end. On earth, we are from somewhere, sometime. I think of myself as being from Portland, Maine, where I was born, even though I lived much of my life in California, thousands of miles away on the other side of the American continent. Micah the Prophet told us where the Messiah, the Christ would be “from.” It was stated clearly that the Christ would be from “Bethlehem,” but He would also be “from the days of eternity” (Micah 5:2). This “eternity” is not only a place. It is also a state of being – where time as we know it does not exist.

Paul observed that, without Christ, we were “dead in our transgressions,” but we are “made alive together with Christand raisedup with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 1:5-6). In other words, by trusting in Christ and what He has done for us, we are already there; or if you prefer, we are already here – right now.

Since there is no time in eternity, the Cross, the Judgment and the Resurrection all are – right now! Paul said “we died with Christ” (Romans 6:8) and “we were buried with Him” (Romans 6:4). We tend to view those statements only in relation to baptism, and indeed we are baptized into the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. But it is also true that baptism is a “picture,” a parable of something even more that He wants us to understand. Our sins were LITERALLY on the cross with Christ, and when He went into the tomb, WE went WITH Him – and so did our sins. When He rose from the dead, we did, too. Our sins are eternally dead in that tomb, but in Him, we are made alive – forever.

We can ENTRUST our whole lives to the Lord and we don’t ever need to fear death. Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD), who lived and taught in Roman North Africa, said, “Of this I am certain, that no one has ever died who was not destined to die some time. Now the end of life puts the longest life on a par with the shortestAnd of what consequence is it what kind of death puts an end to life, since he who has died once is not forced to go through the same ordeal a second time? They, then, who are destined to die, need not be careful to inquire what death they are to die, but into what place death will usher them.” Will you go to be with the Lord, if He calls your name today?

Daniel the Prophet had both a terrible and wonderful life. He gave himself utterly to the Lord and to God’s purposes for him. He suffered greatly as a result, as some do, but then, when you think about it, suffering is a part of life whether we trust in the Lord or not! Daniel’s life had purpose and meaning that touches the world and its inhabitants in an incredibly positive way, right to this very day. Not only does he show us that the person who is committed to God will have a useful, productive life, no matter WHAT the outward circumstances, but the Lord also revealed future history through this man of God.

Would you like to never be afraid of death again? Do you want to have a life that contains lasting purpose? Do you want to meet Daniel someday, along with Noah, David, Abraham, Peter, Paul and God’s holy angels? Would you like to meet the Lord, face-to-Face, and see Him smile as He says to you, “Well done, good and faithful servantenter into the joy of your Lord” (Matthew 25:21). You will, for He is your destiny.

Father, as we go “to the end,” as Daniel did, we trust in the Son of God and thank You for salvation in His Name. We give You praise and worship You. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries

www.FirstChurchOnTheNet.org
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Write to:
Ron@FridayStudy.org
"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8)
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Friday Study Ministries
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