Whew. Chapter 11 contains a lot of prophecy in the most common use of that word – prophecy in the sense of predictions of the future. Here, Daniel’s vision moves from the heavenly realm of Chapter 10 to a very active earth. If the unseen spiritual world, filled with angels in combat with one another, is anything like the action Daniel observes on earth, then we can know why Daniel was so shell-shocked in Chapter 10.
The nations were raging. Psalm 2 starts with that phrase: “Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against his Anointed …” (Psalm 2:1-2).
Much of the action in Chapter 11 has nations sweeping back and forth against each other. Jerusalem is an afterthought. Israel seems ignored – until it’s not. One king – probably Antiochus (who likely is a figure for the antichrist) – desecrated the temple. A persecution of the people erupted. A remnant taught God’s Word to the people. And they suffered and were refined.
The nations were raging. To rage means to express violent, uncontrollable anger. Toddlers rage when they don’t get their way. Grown-ups rage for the same reason. Raging is ugly business. We turn our heads when toddlers rage – letting their parents take care of them. We turn our heads when grown-ups rage, hoping they will stay away from us.
As the nations raged back and forth, they seemed intent on destroying or manipulating each other. Eventually, though, their vision settled on Jerusalem and God’s people. It makes me wonder about the raging that exists in our nation today. People are raging. Violence has occurred, and plots are being contrived.
I’ve never seen our own country in such turmoil – between the coronavirus pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests. Some scream “health.” Some scream “freedom.” Some scream “racism.” Some scream “fiction.”
It feels like Daniel 11 is playing out in our own day and time. The nations, the tribes, the political factions, the interest groups are raging. I wonder when their eyes will turn upon God’s people – his church.
We need not fear this. “He who sits in the heavens laughs” (Psalm 2:4). None of the raging nations in our day want anyone to laugh. To laugh is to not take their claims seriously. To laugh is to become a part of some problem in the world.
But God rules over all of this. His is a laughter of control as he watches toddlers rage. God will prevail. It is a comfort in these troubling times, as the nations rage.
A question for your day: How do the daily headlines make you feel? In light of God’s Word – and God’s sovereign control over his creation, and even the “raging” nations – how should a disciple of Christ feel about these current events?