Who would have thought that the fear of being thrown into a lion’s den would pale in comparison to seeing dreams of the end times? 

I’m preaching through the book of Daniel on Sunday mornings at First Baptist right now. We started this series back in September, and I took a break after chapter 6 as we hit the Christmas holidays, taking a chance to focus in on what we celebrate during Christmas: the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. 

If I’m honest, I was really tempted, and yes, I told my church this, to shift directions and go to an easier book to preach after the new year. If you don’t know much about Daniel, chapters 1-6 are historical narrative, and chapters 7 through 12 are prophecy, much of which is apocalyptic in nature. 

Well, I’ve always been intimidated to read apocalyptic prophecy, and much more so to preach it. But God wouldn’t let me avoid it. Over the past couple months of studying Daniel 7-12, I’ve grown to really appreciate passages like these. 

One commentator wrote: “Daniel 1-6 give the prophet’s resume, while 7-12 gives his message.” That’s a convicting statement for someone like me who would typically breeze through those difficult-to-understand chapters. 

What I’ve really come to appreciate in Daniel 7-12 is the fact that, though it’s easy to get mired in all the detail and unknown relevance as to how what we read is literally going to play out in the end, the message is really very simple. Despite how terrifying things are, in the end, Jesus saves. 

Even after being saved from the mouths of hungry lions, Daniel walked away from dreams on numerous occasions saying something like, “my color changed.” I love the line in 8:27: “And I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for days. Then I rose and went about the king’s business…” 

I’m afraid that far too often, those who are called by God’s name get distracted, even sometimes by good things like wrestling with difficult passages of Scripture, and we forget that we have the “King’s business” to attend to. Christians have purpose, a sovereign focus, in this life: To make disciples of all nations. 

Are there frightening times around us? Absolutely! Is there reason to fear according to earthly logic? Sure! But we know who is ultimately in control. We know who wins in the end. We know that He has called us to a greater purpose in life. When you know who’s in control and when you focus on your God-given purpose, fear somehow vacates and faith permeates. 

If you don’t know this God, you can. Romans 10:9 gives instruction on how to obtain a relationship with Him: “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” 

Relationship with God doesn’t erase trials from life, as sometimes it is the trials that deepen our walk with Him. But it does give us eternal life, as well as hope in this one. 

Brett Myers is the senior pastor at First Baptist Church on Hilton Head Island. FBCHHI.org