27 April 2013

Daniel 12:1-13

“I heard but could not understand; so I said, ‘My lord, what shall be the outcome of these things?’ He said, ‘Go your way, Daniel, for the words are to remain secret and sealed until the time of the end.” (vv. 8-9)


The book of Daniel ends with three chapters detailing a lengthy vision about battles and arrogant kings - a "time of anguish such as has never occurred since nations first came into existence" (v. 1).

The angel explains to Daniel that the demonic "prince of Persia" is in opposition, but that Michael "the great prince of Israel" will save God's chosen people, "everyone who is found written in the book".

The picture is one of continuous warfare in the heavens but one through which Daniel's people will come; not unscathed, but protected by God's Covenant promise always to be on their side.

Daniel's question is a perfectly natural one: what's the end of the story?

Perhaps he asked it in order to know what he should look out for as a sign of the end of warfare or perhaps he was fearful for his life and the life of his community. Either is understandable.

The answer appears to be a pretty blunt one: "Go your way, Daniel…". But read in the context of the encounters with angels it's probably a reminder that he is God's "greatly beloved" (Daniel 10:11) and needs to carry on living his life in the assurance that God has everything ultimately sorted.

What does it mean for us to go our way? One of the deepest encouragements from the book of Daniel is the way a faithful individual is reminded that God sees their actions, hears their prayers and responds in love as soon as necessary.

It's not so easy to hear when the call to us is to endure in faith while there doesn't appear to be immediate encouragement. But faith is like believing in the sun, even when it's hidden behind clouds: we operate on trust that as we 'go our way' God is for us.

To Ponder

  • What part of Daniel's story gives you confidence?
  • What encourages you to "go your way" without worrying?

Bible notes author

The Revd Gareth Hill

Gareth Hill is a Methodist minister with a particular interest in pioneer ministry and fresh ways of being Church. He is​ in circuit ministry in the Winchester, Eastleigh & Romsey Circuit in the Southampton District and has pastoral charge of six churches in Romsey and on the edge of the New Forest.