One who has ever had to walk in pitch dark or drive in dense fog understands what a blessing light is. How grateful we should therefore be that the Lord created both physical and spiritual light to save us from the serious dangers of darkness. The Scriptures say of the prophetic word: “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” 2 Peter 1:19.
The book of the prophet Daniel, written in the sixth century B.C., contains heavenly messages for the last days–our days. “… Thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” Daniel 12:4. And the writings of the Spirit of prophecy confirm this: “… Since 1798 the book of Daniel has been unsealed, knowledge of the prophecies has increased, and many have proclaimed the solemn message of the judgment near.” –The Great Controversy, p. 356.
The counsel is more appropriate today than ever before: “Read the book of Daniel. Call up, point by point, the history of the kingdoms there represented. Behold statesmen, councils, powerful armies, and see how God wrought to abase the pride of men, and lay human glory in the dust. God alone is represented as great. In the vision of the prophet He is seen casting down one mighty ruler, and setting up another. He is revealed as the monarch of the universe, about to set up His everlasting kingdom–the Ancient of days, the living God, the Source of all wisdom, the Ruler of the present, the Revealer of the future. Read, and understand how poor, how frail, how short-lived, how erring, how guilty is man in lifting up his soul unto vanity.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, p. 1166.
So, let us note carefully what has been written, for the prophetic messages are especially for us: “The light that Daniel received direct from God was given especially for these last days. The visions he saw by the banks of the Ulai and the Hiddekel, the great rivers of Shinar, are now in process of fulfillment, and all the events foretold will soon have come to pass.” –(Letter 57, 1896) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, p. 1166.
Since the seal was removed from this book, important knowledge has been imparted to every humble searcher; and we have the promise that, as the very last events approach, more light will shine from these inspired pages. Furthermore, “When the books of Daniel and Revelation are better understood, believers will have an entirely different religious experience. They will be given such glimpses of the open gates of heaven that heart and mind will be impressed with the character that all must develop in order to realize the blessedness which is to be the reward of the pure in heart.” –Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 114.
As the most awesome events press upon us, it will become increasingly clear what a solemn time we live in. Let us be motivated now to study these heavenly messages and “understand” history in the light of prophecy and also to be among those “many” who will “be purified, and made white, and tried” (Daniel 12:10) for the soon coming of our Lord.
–The brothers and sisters of the General Conference
Sabbath, January 1, 2011
“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” 1 Peter 1:19.
1. What did the Lord do so as not to leave His children in uncertainty? Through whom did He speak to mankind in the past?
Genesis 18:17 And the Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do.
Amos 3:7 Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.
1 Samuel 9:9 (Beforetime in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, thus he spake, Come, and let us go to the seer: for he that is now called a Prophet was beforetime called a Seer.)
“ ‘The Lord God will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants and prophets.’ While ‘the secret things belong unto the Lord our God,’ ‘those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever.’ Amos 3:7; Deuteronomy 29:29. God has given these things to us, and His blessing will attend the reverent, prayerful study of the prophetic scriptures.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 234.
“ ‘The secret things,’ says Moses, ‘belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever;’ and the Lord declares by the prophet Amos, that He ‘will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets.’ Deuteronomy 29:29; Amos 3:7. The students of God’s word may, then, confidently expect to find the most stupendous event to take place in human history clearly pointed out in the Scriptures of truth.” –The Great Controversy, p. 324.
Guidelines for God’s people
2. What is important for us to do immediately when God speaks?
Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
1 Samuel 3:10 And the Lord came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.
“The language of the meek is never that of boasting. Like the child Samuel, they pray, ‘Speak, Lord; for Thy servant heareth.’ 1 Samuel 3:9. When Joshua was placed in the highest position of honor, as commander of Israel, he bade defiance to all the enemies of God. His heart was filled with noble thoughts of his great mission. Yet upon the intimation of a message from Heaven he placed himself in the position of a little child to be directed. ‘What saith my lord unto His servant?’ (Joshua 5:14), was his response. The first words of Paul after Christ was revealed to him were, ‘Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?’ Acts 9:6.” –The Sanctified Life, p. 15.
3. What counsel did the apostle Peter give so one may benefit from the precious light of prophecy?
2 Peter 1:19-21 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
“The apostle was well qualified to speak of the purposes of God concerning the human race; for during the earthly ministry of Christ he had seen and heard much that pertained to the kingdom of God.
“Yet convincing as was this evidence of the certainty of the believers’ hope, there was another still more convincing in the witness of prophecy, through which the faith of all might be confirmed and securely anchored.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 534.
The most essential light
4. Who alone knows and is able to foretell the future? To whom are a great number of wonderful prophecies addressed?
Isaiah 41:21-23 Produce your cause, saith the Lord; bring forth your strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob. Let them bring them forth, and show us what shall happen: let them show the former things, what they be, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare us things for to come. Show the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods: yea, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold it together.
1 Peter 1:10-12 Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.
“The duty to worship God is based upon the fact that He is the Creator and that to Him all other beings owe their existence. And wherever, in the Bible, His claim to reverence and worship, above the gods of the heathen, is presented, there is cited the evidence of His creative power. ‘All the gods of the nations are idols: but the Lord made the heavens.’ ” –The Great Controversy, pp. 436, 437.
“The time of Christ’s coming, His anointing by the Holy Spirit, His death, and the giving of the gospel to the Gentiles, were definitely pointed out. It was the privilege of the Jewish people to understand these prophecies, and to recognize their fulfillment in the mission of Jesus. Christ urged upon His disciples the importance of prophetic study. Referring to the prophecy given to Daniel in regard to their time, He said, ‘Whoso readeth, let him understand.’ Matthew 24:15. After His resurrection He explained to the disciples in ‘all the prophets’ ‘the things concerning Himself.’ Luke 24:27. The Saviour had spoken through all the prophets. ‘The Spirit of Christ which was in them’ ‘testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.’ 1 Peter 1:11.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 234.
5. What prophetic book of the Old Testament contains the most exact information in regard to the time of the end?
Daniel 12:4 But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.
“Ministers should present the sure word of prophecy as the foundation of the faith of Seventh-day Adventists. The prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation should be carefully studied, and in connection with them the words, ‘Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.’ ” –Evangelism, p. 196.
“In view of the testimony of Inspiration, how dare men teach that the Revelation is a mystery beyond the reach of human understanding? It is a mystery revealed, a book opened. The study of the Revelation directs the mind to the prophecies of Daniel, and both present most important instruction, given of God to men, concerning events to take place at the close of this world’s history.” –The Great Controversy, p. 341.
The seal of confirmation on Bible prophecy
6. Who imprinted the divine seal on the book of Daniel?
Matthew 24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand).
Mark 13:14 But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains.
“… Christ directed His disciples to the words of the prophet Daniel concerning events to take place in their time, and said: ‘Whoso readeth, let him understand.’ Matthew 24:15.” –The Great Controversy, p. 341.
7. What is reported about Daniel as a person?
Daniel 1:3 And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes.
Daniel 1:6 Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.
“Daniel was a prince of Judah.” –The Ministry of Healing, p. 148.
“It was their conscientious observance of the commands of Holy Scripture, that in the days of Jeremiah’s ministry brought to Daniel and his fellows opportunities to exalt the true God before the nations of earth. The instruction these Hebrew children had received in the homes of their parents, made them strong in faith and constant in their service of the living God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth. When, early in the reign of Jehoiakim, Nebuchadnezzar for the first time besieged and captured Jerusalem, and carried away Daniel and his companions, with others specially chosen for service in the court of Babylon, the faith of the Hebrew captives was tried to the utmost. But those who had learned to place their trust in the promises of God found these all-sufficient in every experience through which they were called to pass during their sojourn in a strange land. The Scriptures proved to them a guide and a stay.” –Prophets and Kings, p. 428.
“Daniel and his companions were captives in a strange land, but God suffered not the envy and hatred of their enemies to prevail against them. The righteous have ever obtained help from above. How often have the enemies of God united their strength and wisdom to destroy the character and influence of a few simple persons who trusted in God. But because the Lord was for them, none could prevail against them. Only let the followers of Christ be united, and they will prevail. Let them be separated from their idols and from the world, and the world will not separate them from God.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, p. 139.
For personal study
• Jeremiah 1:4-9.
• Revelation 1:1.