Shining as Stars

The focus of biblical history is not on the most sensational world events, but on God's judgments and care toward His covenant people

Sermon Notes:

  1. Daniel chapters 11-12 repeat in more detail what chapter 8 reveals about kingdom history.
  2. Chapters 11 and 12 are a single vision. There are many enigmatic elements in this passage. Daniel himself “heard but did not understand” (Dan. 12:8).
  3. It is by humble meditation on God’s word, prayer and confession that Daniel receives this special insight into God’s plan for the history of his people (cf. Dan. 9:13; 10:12).
  4. The purpose of the exile to Babylon is that God’s people would repent and come back to him. Daniel is grieved that many have not done so (Dan. 9:13).
  5. All the kingdoms of men eventually fail; but Christ’s kingdom continues to fill the whole earth (cf. Dan. 2:35).
  6. Daniel’s vision gives mere passing mention to Alexander the Great (11:3-4). The focus of biblical history is not on the most sensational world events, but on God’s judgments and care toward His covenant people.
  7. More attention is paid to the Seleucid king Antiochus Epiphanes, a major opponent of God’s people, who takes action against God’s covenant (11:28-35).
  8. Daniel is promised that Antiochus’ fury against God and His people will be short (11:24).
  9. Many commentators believe that the king following Antiochus is a ruler still to come (11:36-45).
  10. The story of these kings who oppose God is punctuated by the word “but,” and a promise that they will come to nothing. Kings and empires will rise and fall, the rhythm of history is conducted by God.
  11. Those whose names are written in the book of life will be raised to everlasting glory (12:1-3).
  12. We ought not to ignore what major news outlets tell us about the world, but our view of history and of what matters most should be directed by God’s Word.
  13. Looking at our city, there is much to be alarmed about in society, but there are also many new and growing churches.
  14. Even now we are to shine as lights in the world.  We shine as lights by standing firm, by taking action, and by suffering.
  15. Christians are to stand firm by daily prayer and scripture reading and obedience.
  16. We take action as ministers of God’s Word, helping many to understand and turn to righteousness. We’re to radiate with the light and warmth of Jesus in our lives.
  17. The saints are refined, purified and made white, through suffering. The proving our faith builds us up in sanctification.
  18. Having heard God’s prophetic plan for history, God calls us to go back to steady work, prayer, and reflection on His Word till the end.
  19. Each week, for 2000 years, the church has gathered for worship in Jesus’s name, singing, praying, hearing the Word of the Lord and eating at the Lord’s Table. This regular worship is a witness to the world of the permanence of God’s kingdom.

Application Questions:

  1. Summarize the content of Daniel 11-12.
  2. What is God’s purpose in revealing these future events to Daniel?
  3. What attitudes and disciplines of Daniel should we emulate?
  4. What does it mean for believers to shine as stars?