Sorrowful Yet Joyful
I [John] took the little book out . . . and ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth. But when I had eaten it, my stomach became bitter. -Revelation 10:10, emphasis added
When Daniel saw what it would be like in the end times, it was so overwhelming-so absolutely incomprehensible-that, like John, it made him sick. Look at what this author has to say about Daniel 10:14:
While in exile in Babylon, the prophet Daniel was given a vision of the future of Israel, up to the coming of the Messiah. Up to this point in the vision, those things that Daniel saw were relatively familiar cities, events, and people in a context that were not too far removed from his concept of reality. But then he was shown the things to come in the last days. The angel told him in Daniel 10:14, "Now I am come to make them understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days; for yet the vision is for many days."
Daniel was so staggered by what he saw it made him faint, and verse 18 records that "one like the appearance of a man" touched him, and strengthened him, so that he could go on. Daniel tried to describe those things he saw using terminology that made sense to him, but it comes to us as a series of baffling symbols, images and beasts. The things he saw terrified him. Because the visions were so completely removed from his understanding of reality, he was unable to describe them in terms that even he was able to comprehend. And so it remained, for thousands of years.
Great Bible commentators like Calvin and Luther did not even attempt to interpret the books of Daniel, or the Revelation, for that matter, saying they were allegorical or symbolic books. Matthew Henry, writing in the eighteenth century, did not fare much better. Even commentators on these books in the early twentieth century admitted they had trouble fitting the pieces together. After all, they dealt with a restored Israel, a revived Roman empire, and a one world government. Such things were deemed to be impossible, therefore to be interpreted as allegories. The revealing angel understood what Daniel did not.
Even with our limited but more enlightened understanding, the holocaust of the Great Tribulation to come is indeed extremely sorrowful! We therefore need to get ready to meet Jesus, and warn others to do the same. So then, Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering. . . . And let us . . . stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, . . . but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching (Hebrews 10:24-25, emphasis added).
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