Those without hope of eternal life try to avoid the reality of death. They are, in fact, enslaved by the fear of death. Great amounts of money and effort are spent to conceal the ugly face of death.
Death prompts each of us to get to the “bottom line” of what life is all about and what comes after death. Daniel chapter 12 speaks of death and of the believer’s hope beyond the grave.
No doubt, those in the Old Testament who received promises of God and those who spoke the word of God must have struggled with the idea of a suffering and ultimately dying Messiah. How can the promised blessing of biblical prophecy bring hope to the believer who will die before they are fulfilled? There is only one way—resurrection. The promises of God which are not fulfilled in this life are fulfilled in the next. Resurrection is the means by which people pass from time to eternity.
Daniel 12 takes the believer to the high-water mark of Christian hope—the assurance of the resurrection of the dead.
Of Daniel’s own prophetic word, he would be agitated by none of these troubles – disturbed by none of these changes, for he would peacefully slumber in the hope of being awaken in the resurrection.
The hope of such a resurrection soothed the mind of Daniel in view of all the troubles which he then experienced, and of all the darkness which rested on the future, for what we most want in the troubles and in the darkness of the present life is the assurance that, after having “rested” in the grave – in the calm sleep of the righteous – we shall “awake” in the morning of the resurrection, and shall “stand in our lot” – or in our appropriate place, as the acknowledged children of God, “at the end of days” – when time shall be no more, and when the consummation of all things shall have arrived.
But you, go your way, and rest; you shall rise for your reward at the end of the days. Daniel 12:13
Paul says (Rom. 7:6) that the law held us in bondage. It did so by putting us under a curse because of our failure to obey it perfectly (Gal. 3:10). Peter refers to the law as “a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear” (Acts 15:10). The law closes every mouth and makes us all accountable to God (Rom. 3:19). No one is able to be justified by keeping the law; rather, the law brings the knowledge of sin (Rom. 3:20) and puts us under God’s wrath (Rom. 4:15). The law increased our transgressions and held us under the reign of sin and death (Rom. 5:20-21). Attempting to be right with God by law-keeping is doomed to failure. The only benefit of the law with regard to salvation is that it shows us God’s impossible standard of holiness and thus drives us to Christ as our only hope, so that we will be justified by faith (Gal. 3:24). – Stephen J. Cole
The law, as it was the ministration of death, and subjected the transgressors of it to the curse, and to condemnation, without affording any hope or remedy, is also happily abolished. But on the other hand, the law of Moses is not abolished; first, as it contains the moral law; as such it must stand under every dispensation—the Gospel, as well as any other,—in its full force and extent; that is, requiring and obliging us, so far as our capacities reach, to perfect obedience: for God can never require imperfect obedience, or by his holy law allow us to be guilty of any one sin, how small soever: and if the law, as a rule of duty, were in any respect abolished, then we might in some respects transgress the law, and yet not be guilty of sin. The moral law is truth, everlasting and unchangeable, and therefore, as such, can never be abrogated. On the contrary, our Lord Jesus Christ has promulgated this law anew under the Gospel, and having added to its precepts the sanction of his own divine authority, and the powerful and attractive motives of the law of God, and of his own love to mankind, with the brightest hopes and prospects of eternal life, he has hereby enforced and secured the observance of it, infinitely beyond any thing that the wisest philosophers ever could find in the law of nature, and far beyond any thing plainly and expressly offered in the Mosaical constitution. – Thomas Coke Commentary
Do you not know, brothers and sisters —for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only during that person’s lifetime? Thus a married woman is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives; but if her husband dies, she is discharged from the law concerning the husband. Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man, she is not an adulteress. In the same way, my friends, you have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead in order that we may bear fruit for God. While we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are discharged from the law, dead to that which held us captive, so that we are slaves not under the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit. – Romans 7:1-6
If there is hope for those who are on trial for insulting God – there is hope for you and I. We are only to believe.
Hope in such times can only come from the One who can give hope.
Here are three truths —
- Command – “call on me in the day of trouble”
- Promise – “I will deliver you”
- Purpose – “and you shall glorify me”
Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me. – Psalm 50:15
The way to forget our miseries, is to remember the God of our mercies. David saw troubles coming from God’s wrath, and that discouraged him. But if one trouble follow hard after another, if all seem to combine for our ruin, let us remember they are all appointed and overruled by the Lord. David regards the Divine favour as the fountain of all the good he looked for. In the Saviour’s name let us hope and pray. One word from him will calm every storm, and turn midnight darkness into the light of noon, the bitterest complaints into joyful praises. Our believing expectation of mercy must quicken our prayers for it. At length, is faith came off conqueror, by encouraging him to trust in the name of the Lord, and to stay himself upon his God. He adds, And my God; this thought enabled him to triumph over all his griefs and fears. Let us never think that the God of our life, and the Rock of our salvation, has forgotten us, if we have made his mercy, truth, and power, our refuge. Thus the psalmist strove against his despondency: at last his faith and hope obtained the victory. Let us learn to check all unbelieving doubts and fears. Apply the promise first to ourselves, and then plead it to God. – Matthew Henry
I think we do not ask ourselves enough times why we are feeling depressed or anxious. When we rehearse the why we usually do not find sufficient reason for being so. But in case we find that our fears are as bad as they are and maybe as overwhelming as we seem to feel, then, as always, we have to put and then keep our hope in God. There are many promises we can remind ourselves of including God being faithful and loving – two good reasons for hope. Our faith will kick in, victory is anticipated as we put our fear into His hands and we wait for Him to rescue us.
“For yet I know I shall him praise
Who graciously to me,
The health is of my countenance,
Yea, mine own God is he.” – Presbyterian Church of England Hymnal
So our active praise and worship allows us to declare God as God – we will wait for Him! and we will hope in Him! This is not mindless and is not passive but rather a spiritual confidence that God will participate because He always has.
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God. – Psalm 42:11