Sermon on Daniel 12:1-3 Companions in Glory!
note – the audio with slides is at the bottom of the manuscript
Companions of the Cross: Companions of Glory
† IHS †
May you know and depend upon the grace, the incredible loving-kindness, and peace that is yours because the God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ did what it took to make it yours!
Times of Anguish
Even though Micha-el stands guard?
If one wasn’t knowledgeable about scripture, one might wonder if these are the days in which the prophet Daniel spoke of when there will be a time of anguish greater than any time since nations first came into being.
The numbers climb, as people in Lebanon, the Sudan, and as we have heard all over the news, France, have been killed this week. The numbers climb as well, as lives are taken here in the US, as violence sweeps over our cities. And less we forget, our state has now mandated that centers that hope to give women an option to abortion now have to advertise those places that will provide them, without offering any option. That was driven home to me this week, as I talked to a Crisis Pregnancy Center director, whose office is surround by 9 of the largest abortion clinics in California.
There are days which are scary, and it was brought home Friday evening as a bomb was found in an Anaheim hardware store.
Certainly these are days of anguish, throughout the world.
Yet the prophets words talk of a messenger, actually “the messenger” standing guard over the people of God.
Where is He? Where is this messenger who is supposed to be standing guard over us?
And what is to come next?
Like the Book of the Revelation, should Daniel’s words today bring us anxiety and fear, or comfort and peace?
I suppose that is determined by the judgment, and what we face for our eternity.
Everlasting Life or Everlasting Disgrace?
But which do we deserve?
There are two options that Daniel tells us,
The first is the for those who will rise up, and enjoy everlasting life because their name is written in the book of life, and they will have been rescued, delivered, and saved. The word for life is incredible, it is not only life but everlasting nourishment, everlasting abundance,
The second is those who will have to experience shame and everlasting disgrace, a word that is far stronger, everlasting abhorrence and scorn. It is reminiscent of the anguish described in the gospels, as Jesus talks of Gahanna, of hades, of the destination prepared for Satan and that which is demonic, which wasn’t intended for mankind, yet in stubbornness and rebellion and self-centeredness is their choice.
It is the place we all deserve, yet in because God loves some are rescued and delivered from that path, that destination.
For that is what the one called Michael does, as this prime messenger comes from God.
So who is this Michael, who is this who stands guard over the nation.
Michael – One Who is Like God.
Well, one of the challenges is whether in Hebrew “michael” is a name or a title. What Michael means in Hebrew is “One who is like God”, or “One who is as God.”
Consider these words from Colossians,
15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, Colossians 1:15 (NLT)
Add to that the term archangel simply means, “the first of all messengers.” In this case, the primary messenger; the primary message of God.
Who then cares for, and guards the people of God, who is the prime messenger of God, who is like God in every way?
If it is, then consider this, the anguish that is greater than any since before the beginning of the nations was His, and He embraced the entire wrath of God to provide and guard our hearts and minds.
It is this anguish that provides our rescue, our deliverance from the power of sin, Satan and death into the presence of God our Father.
It is He whose death and resurrection, as the wrath of God for all of our sins is poured out on Him, that is the cause of our rescue, our deliverance.
And finally, it is united to Him that we see the promise of Daniel fulfilled. The promise that those who are wise and depend on God’s providing Christ for us shine as bright as the sky.
Here the apostle Paul again
27 For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you the assurance of sharing his glory. Colossians 1:27 (NLT)
Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 2 Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. 3 For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory. Colossians 3:1-4 (NLT)
This is too good not to share!
This is so incredible, this Lord, who is the image of God the Father, As we approach the end of the year, the readings all focus on the end the ages and the incredible blessing that is knowing Jesus.
It is so good, how can we not share this hope with all who need to know it!
That is why the Holy Spirit inspires Daniel not just to tell us we will share with the Christ’s glory, but repeats the promise with a slight modification.
and those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever.
For it is natural, as we learn the depth of God’s love, to pour out our praises, praising God with all we are, praising Him to those around us, desiring that they would come to know the love that resonates throughout our lives.
hear it again.
Jesus, the one who is like God, stands guard over us, taking all the wrath we deserve; He has rescued us, and we will rise to everlasting life, shining as bright as the sky, and as we lead people to Him, we will shine like the stars…forever.
For until that day, Jesus stands guard over us, His companions, protecting our hearts and minds as we dwell in God’s peace until we are revealed fully in His glory! AMEN!