I can only imagine what it was like to be the prophet Daniel in the 7th century B.C., in a foreign land, with God’s people captive by an antagonistic kingdom, the mightiest empire of his day. With Jerusalem still reeling from the destruction inflicted by the Babylonians, where could Daniel go to cling to any glimmer of hope that the God of Israel had not abandoned His people? Daniel testifies that in spite of the bleak circumstances all around him, he went to “the books” (Daniel 9:2), specifically the prophetic writings of Jeremiah, to anchor his hope in the promises of God.
Daniel received a series of epic prophetic visions that foretold several millennia of world history. Earthly kingdoms rise and fall, ruling the world with coercion, brutality, and selfishness. Yet through all the apparent hopelessness, Daniel celebrates, “Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others…. He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him” (Daniel 2:20-22, NIV).
To Daniel, Bible prophecy was all about the faithfulness of God in keeping His promises…
The kingdom of God will eventually override the kingdoms of the earth. And why could Daniel have confidence in this reality? Because his God was the “great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy” (Daniel 9:4). There it is. The God of Bible prophecy is a covenant-keeping God whose covenant fidelity will usher in His kingdom of righteousness. To Daniel, Bible prophecy was all about the faithfulness of God in keeping His promises to establish His everlasting kingdom.
Now fast forward some 900 years…
Imagine what it would have been like to be the apostle John writing from a lonely island in the Aegean Sea, forced into exile by an antagonistic kingdom, the mightiest empire of his day. With his fellow apostles martyred by Rome, where could John—the last man standing—go to for a glimmer of hope that God had not abandoned His church? John used his time on the island of Patmos to pen his sweeping epic, a prophetic vision that culminates in the triumph of the kingdom of God over all earthly kingdoms. But before getting to the beasts, the horns, the dragon, and the other ominous symbols, John opens the book of Revelation by grounding the reader on what biblical prophecy is all about. The first verse of the first chapter sets the stage: “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place” (Revelation 1:1).
To John the Revelator the central reality that signaled God’s faithfulness throughout world history was the fulfillment of the promised Lamb, the One who “redeemed us to God by [His] blood” (Revelation 5:6, 9). This manifestation of the covenant faithfulness of God elicits praise and worship from the redeemed, who will one day “reign on the earth” in God’s kingdom (Revelation 5:10). To the apostle John, Bible prophecy was all about the faithfulness of God in keeping His promises to establish His everlasting kingdom.
With so much confusion about Bible prophecy… now is the time to rediscover the relevance, beauty and richness of the prophetic promises of God.
These two prophetic books—Daniel and Revelation—are a treasure for the church of today. With so much confusion about Bible prophecy, with so many distractions in this rapidly changing world, with such a significant need in the church for revival and mission, now is the time to rediscover the relevance, beauty and richness of the prophetic promises of God.
Join us this July for the Light Bearers Convocation, where our theme is Covenant Kingdom, a fresh exploration of the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation.