Focal Passages: Daniel 9:20-27; 12:9-13
“I don’t know” are some of the most significant words I have ever said in a ministry context. It is a phrase that brings a humanity and equality to the relationship between pastor and church member. For example, our ladies group had been immersed in a Precept Bible Study on Revelation in early 2011. At the same time, the “Arab spring” was occurring in Egypt and Libya. Standing in the breezeway of the church, one of the ladies in the class asked me if I thought the events in Egypt were tied to end-times biblical prophecy. My response was “I don’t know.” I think the same principles I shared with them apply to the passages under consideration this week.
First, pray for understanding. I don’t mean to pray that God will show you all of the details of the future or to pray that you will understand how all of the events in world history fit a prophetic timeline. It is doubtful that any of us could handle such knowledge. Which may be why God has kept it under wraps. Rather, do what Daniel did in Daniel 9:20-23. He confessed his sin and the sin of his people and prayed for understanding.
Second, prepare for difficulty. Regardless of your understanding of the end times, the universal witness of the scripture is that mankind grows more sinful, not less sinful. As mankind grows more sinful, those who embrace a biblical worldview become more marginalized (at best) and more persecuted (at worst). Do not focus on marginalization, but become familiar with and pray for your brothers and sisters around the world who are facing genuine persecution and death for their faith. Pray for their faith to be strengthened.
Finally, keep living for the life of faith. Don’t quit. Because so many who speculate on the “times and seasons” prove to be wrong, it can become easy to question whether the Bible is true at all. Though we don’t know all the details, Jesus is returning. In the meantime, we keep serving Him. Just as Daniel was told to keep living (Daniel 12:9-13) until God brought the events of His prophecy to pass, so should we.