Reading: Daniel 7, 8
Summary: Chronologically speaking, the record of the events and visions of Daniel are not placed in order in the Bible. Today’s reading involves two visions dated during the reign of Belshazzar, the final king of Babylon, and thus also the last king of Israel’s captivity.
Silence Does Not Mean Inactive
Four hundred years is quite a long time; especially when one is waiting.
That’s how many years transpire between the Old and New Testaments. The Old closes with great anticipation of the return of Elijah (Mal. 4:5), the emergence of the Lord’s Messiah (Isa. 61:1-3) and the rise of the God’s mighty kingdom (Micah 4:1-4). But a year must pass four hundred times before it finally begins to happen.
All the while God is silent–no message, no prophet, not a sound from heaven. That does not mean, though, that God is not at work. Daniel, more so than any other, prophesies about the work of God during this time of silence. His prophecies speak of the rise and dominance of Alexander the Great (though he mentions only his kingdom, not the king) and also the aftermath of that kingdom being divided among his generals since he had no sons to be heirs (see Daniel 8).
Daniel confessed to not understanding what all these prophecies meant (Dan. 8:27) yet from our perspective looking back through history, they make perfect sense. God was bringing about through the nations—as He’s done before—His will; He’s setting the stage for the arrival of His Son and His kingdom.
Just because God isn’t speaking, does not mean He’s not working. That’s good to remember even today.