“At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book.”The Prophet Daniel — 12:1
It is worth taking closer look at Daniel 12:1. Here we read two contrasting outcomes in this one verse. On the one hand, there will be unprecedented tribulation and distress resulting in the hardship, persecution, and death of many faithful saints, but on the other hand God makes a promise to deliver His people “at that time” — those whose name is written in the book.
So which is it? Does God allow His people to suffer through the great tribulation or are they delivered out of it?
The answer is both. That is the essence of what it means to be delivered — redeemed — ransomed — rescued — saved! God is our Deliverer in every respect of the word, and He has promised to deliver His people from peril, bondage, evils, dangers, and great distress.
Obviously we must acknowledge the multiple layers, concepts, and applications of deliverance. Clearly the core of our Christian faith emphasizes the spiritual application, such as being saved from the wages of our sin and death and from the satanic bondage of this present age. Our spiritual deliverance is an immediate reality to all who believe in Christ. We possess eternal life the moment we trust Christ and are “saved.” This is only one form of deliverance, however, as salvation also is a process that plays out in real time!
We cannot forget that the Biblical accounts of Scripture did not take place in a vacuum, but rather in literal space and time. The Bible provides true eye-witnesses testimony about God’s mighty acts of deliverance for His people within the bigger story of redemptive history. These serve both as examples and foreshadows of things to come in the last days. Consider …
- Noah delivered through the flood
- Lot saved from Sodom
- Joseph delivered from captivity
- Moses and the Israelites protected from the plagues and delivered from Egypt
- Joshua at Jericho and his long-day at Gibeon [Joshua 10]
- David delivered from Goliath
- Daniel saved in the Lions Den
- Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego saved through the fiery furnace
- Paul rescued from all his trials and tribulations
“If by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly;7and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked 8(for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard);9then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment.”2 Peter 2:6-9
Our ultimate deliverance, therefore, is the completion of our salvation on THE Day of deliverance — a Day yet future — a unique Day when Christ returns from heaven to wage war against the wicked and simultaneously rescue His glorious bride in triumph!
This is the Day of deliverance that Daniel and all the prophets ultimately envision and emphasize. All things prophetically culminate on this Day — aka the Day of the LORD — a Day both of fierce vengeance and sweet deliverance.
“For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and my year of redemption had come.”Isaiah 63:4
There is no contradiction here in Daniel 12:1. It is a broad brush stroke of the last 3.5 years of Daniel’s 70th Week, which is also known as the great tribulation.
And someone said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream, “How long shall it be till the end of these wonders?” 7And I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream; he raised his right hand and his left hand toward heaven and swore by him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time, and that when the shattering of the power of the holy people comes to an end all these things would be finished.“Dan 12:6-7
There will be great tribulation and trouble for God’s people followed by great deliverance and salvation at the coming of the Son of Man. Many of God’s people — both Jew and Gentile alike — will suffer and die during the great tribulation as faithful witnesses for Christ, while also a believing remnant will be preserved and endure to the end. So whether we endure and remain faithful to the end of our lives or we endure to the end of the age — it remains true that God’s people will be saved, or delivered, in the end.
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. 10And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. 11And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 13But the one who endures to the end will be saved.“[Matthew 24:9-13]
OUr DELIVERANCE IS ALREADY HERE and NOT YET
We know that Jesus says, “whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life” [John 5:24], which means that salvation is an immediate reality and possession for those who believe. We also know, however, that the God’s ultimate plan of redemption will not be accomplished until Christ returns from heaven to establish His eternal kingdom on earth.
This is why we must acknowledge our salvation as being already here in one sense but at the same time not yet! We have been saved. We are being saved. We will be saved in the end.
“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.”1 Corinthians 15:1-2
“Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.”1 John 3:2
And it is that Day — the Day Jesus appears in all His glory — that we will be changed and will receive resurrected bodies and become like Christ, seeing Him as He truly is!
I will leave you with some foundational passages that speak of this Day of Deliverance and provide some details to Daniel’s prophecy.
“For these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written … And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, 26people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”[Luke 21:22, 25-28]
“Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring. This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering—6since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you,7and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 8in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.”2 Thessalonians 1:4-10
Next time we will discover more about the book of life and how it ties into the prophetic word and the end of the age. Until then, I will leave you with Isaiah’s mention of the book of life.
“In that day the branch of the LORD shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and honor of the survivors of Israel. 3And he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem, 4when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning.”Isaiah 4:2-4