“Look you scoffers”
Today we read how the missionary work of the dramatically converted Paul began in earnest. Many of the Jews however, are jealous of his popularity and this blinds their minds to the message he is preaching. He warns them,
“Beware, therefore lest what is said in the prophets should come about, ‘Look you scoffers, be astounded and perish; for I am doing a work in your days, a work that you will not believe, even if one tells it to you’” (Acts 13:40,41; he is quoting from Habakkuk 1:5).
It is exactly the same today, but with different motivations. People are scoffers – but when Christ comes and divine power is clearly evident, they will “be astounded and perish”. And how thought challenging is what we read in the last chapter of Daniel today! The prophet us told to “shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro and knowledge shall increase” (verse 4).
It is remarkable how knowledge has dramatically increased in the last century or two – and now – almost yearly! It is the same with travel, the running to and fro! Some sixty-five years ago we were travelling (by ship) from the UK to Australia – it took 30 days! Today you can fly in less than 24 hours; it took five days to fly sixty-five years ago, staying in hotels overnight – and cost a small fortune!
Daniel’s prophecy ends in him being told he is to “rest” until you “stand in your allotted place at the end of the days”. Jesus tells us this in Revelation 14:13,
“Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord … that they may rest from their labours …”.
At the beginning of the chapter Daniel is told,
“… there shall be a time of trouble such as never has been … at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book”.
This is “the end of the days” of human rule. At that time, which seems so near, we may feel inclined to say “look you scoffers” to the many disbelievers; but it is far more important to look to God’s word and be faithful to the Lord ourselves so that we can
“stand in (our) allotted place at the end of the days”.
Many of us today, can expect, by the grace of our Lord, to be “changed” (see 1 Corinthians 15:51-54) after being “astounded” at events and witnessing the “scoffers” perishing as we start to
“shine like the brightness of the sky above” (verse 3).
The reality of this is far beyond present comprehension, how earnestly we must pray.