“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. 29 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. 30 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. 32 “But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. 34 It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. 35 Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning— 36 lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. 37 And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.”
So many Christians have a lackadaisical view of the End Times. They say, “I know how it turns out, that’s all that matters. I can’t understand what Daniel, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Revelation and the rest say, so I’ll just hang out until the rapture.” But that is not what Jesus has told us to do. In the passage above Jesus said, “learn its lesson…know…be on guard…stay awake….” In fact He says “stay awake four times in just four verses. There are numerous commandments throughout scripture to understand, watch, be aware, and know the signs and prophecies of the End Times, the nearness of Jesus’ Second Coming and the arrival of The Day of the LORD.
Consider this, Brothers and Sisters, how can we open blind eyes with knowledge to this vital truth and Gospel if we are ignorant and blind ourselves? How can we choose to remain deaf to the warnings and promises of scripture and preach the Gospel, baptize, teach and make disciples? Jesus’ Second Coming on the Day of the Lord is just as significant to the Gospel as Jesus first coming, life, Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension is.
Yesterday’s devotional ended with what Revelation refers to as The Harvest described in Daniel 12:1-3. Let’s read those verses again.
At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. 2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.
Michael is the princely archangel who has been with Jesus battling Satan throughout the ages until the end (Daniel 10:10-21, Jude 1:9, Revelation 12:7). The vision Daniel had been given was intense and filled with information for us. His record of it began in Chapter 10 and continued through Chapter 12, that is 80 verses. Daniel 12:4 reads,
But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.
The people alive during the time that the prophecy comes true are commanded to stand firm, help others understand and be refined through the fire of tribulation and turn many to righteousness, then they will receive the great reward awaiting them, they will shine like the stars forever and ever. But Daniel was commanded to shut up the words and seal the book until the end of time. The visions he recorded will and are helping those alive now as we seek to increase our understanding and knowledge of the end, and God has promised that it will. Don’t miss this, it is in our increasing knowledge and using that wisdom, understanding, and knowledge to bring many to righteousness that we will shine. It is through standing firm through the hardship and suffering of the tribulation that we will be made pure (Daniel 11:35). In Luke 21:17-19 when explaining the signs of the end times, Jesus said, “You will be hated by all for my name's sake. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your lives.”
Please, do not choose to remain laissez-faire, halfhearted, and even apathetic about what Scripture is saying, your eternity and the eternity of millions, perhaps billions depend on it. We are children of our Father in Heaven, saved by Jesus Christ, and sealed with the Holy Sprit, are we really afraid of suffering? Do we have anything to fear in trials and tribulations? James said to count it all joy! James 1:2-5 reads,
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
Daniel wanted to know, how long from the time of the start of these tribulations until the end. And Jesus answered him. And When Daniel didn’t understand he asked for clarification and Jesus gladly explained it. Daniel 12:5-12 reads,
Then I, Daniel, looked, and behold, two others stood, one on this bank of the stream and one on that bank of the stream. 6 And someone said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream, “How long shall it be till the end of these wonders?” 7 And I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream; he raised his right hand and his left hand toward heaven and swore by him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time, and that when the shattering of the power of the holy people comes to an end all these things would be finished. 8 I heard, but I did not understand. Then I said, “O my lord, what shall be the outcome of these things?” 9 He said, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end. 10 Many shall purify themselves and make themselves white and be refined, but the wicked shall act wickedly. And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand. 11 And from the time that the regular burnt offering is taken away and the abomination that makes desolate is set up, there shall be 1,290 days. 12 Blessed is he who waits and arrives at the 1,335 days. 13 But go your way till the end. And you shall rest and shall stand in your allotted place at the end of the days.”
When Daniel questioned the answer he received and when he wondered what the outcome would be, he was told not to worry, to go about his business and the answer would be revealed at the right time. But still he was given elucidation. Verse 11 explains that from the time that the abomination of desolation set up in the Temple there will be 1,290 days. That is just over 3 and half years. Then he is told that whoever makes it through the 1,335 days will be blessed. There are forty-five days difference from the end and what believers will be expected to persevere.
These three and half plus years will be difficult but endurable with knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. We will not have to go through it blindly. We will go through it with knowing about the hope we have and becoming more and more like Christ. We are being prepared as the Bride of Christ, ready for His arrival. On an upcoming day, we will study more about being ready for our Husband and Maker to come for us. Today, remember that through the tribulation that awaits will be considerable and very difficult, we have the ability to persevere with joy and hope.