The People Who Know Their God.
“But the people who know their God will be strong and resist him.” – Daniel 11:32 NLT
The divine messenger sent to Daniel continues to give him news of the future – disturbing news that outlines the various wars and conflicts to take place in the years ahead. He tells him of the coming of Alexander the Great, the various kings over Egypt, and ultimately, the rise of Antiochus Epiphanes, the Syrian king who was so wicked that he foreshadows the coming of the Antichrist. The amazing thing about this message is its unbelievable accuracy. But then, we shouldn’t be amazed, because it is a prediction from the mouth of God. He knew down to the smallest detail what was going to happen, long before it happened. He knew all about the coming wars between the Syrians and Egyptians. He knew who would win and who would lose. And while these great leaders could think that they were in control of their own destinies, in the end, their futures were in the hands of God. Throughout this chapter we read such phases as “the end will come at the appointed time,” “then at the appointed time,”and “the appointed time is still to come.” The rise and fall of nations is under the sovereign hand of Almighty God. He is in complete control. Daniel is reminded, “For what has been determined will surely take place” (Daniel 11:36 NLT).
This entire chapter sets up the rise to power of Antiochus Epiphanes, a conniving, flattering, and powerful king who seemed to have a special hatred for the people of Israel. His actions against them foreshadow the events of the end times, when the Antichrist will target the people of God and persecute them as they have never been persecuted before. At one point, Antiochus Epiphanes, frustrated over a battle lost to the Egyptians, orders his general, Apollonius, and a contingent of 22,000 soldiers to attack Jerusalem on a Sabbath, taking many Jewish women and children captive, plundering the temple, and burning the city. His goal was to completely exterminate Judaism and to Hellenize Palestine. He would forbid the Jews to follow the Mosaic Law or practice the Jewish sacrifices, festivals, and circumcision. He would even install an image of the Greek god Zeus in the Temple and offer sacrifices to him on an altar he had built there – even sacrificing a pig, an unclean animal to the Jews.
Yet, in spite of all these dire predictions, Daniel is told, “But the people who know their God will be strong and resist him” (Daniel 11:32 NLT). The people of God will always be there. There will always be a remnant of God-fearing, God-believing, God-empowered saints to stand against the greatest of enemies. God was calling Daniel and the people of God to remain strong in the midst of coming persecution, because He is strong and in complete control. We must remain strong as well. We should not be shocked at what we see taking place around us. There is a spiritual battle taking place that manifests itself in the material world. Wars and violence should not shock or scare us. They are to be expected and simply part of living in a fallen world that is at war with God. But we can rest in the knowledge that our God is great and He is in full control of the situation. But we must truly know Him and learn to trust in Him. We must continually seek to grow in our knowledge of God and our understanding of His character. Paul even prayed for the believers in his day that God would, “give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better” (1 Colossians 1:9-10 NLT).
May you and I grow in our knowledge and understanding of God so that we might be strong and resist the enemy in our day. As we grow in our knowledge of God, we will come to love and trust Him more – no matter what comes our way.
Father, help me to be one who knows You well. I want to be strong and resist the enemy, but to do so, I must know You. Give me a growing awareness of Your character, so that I will rest in the knowledge of who You really are. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men