The Church's Future Hope

Peter Moore describes the impressive sunken garden in front of the Beinicke Rare Book Library on Yale University's campus. It is meant to simulate the universe. A large marble pyramid stands in one corner, symbolising time. Another corner sports a huge doughnut shaped structure standing on its side. It signifies energy. In a third corner stands a huge die perched on one tip as if ready to topple any which way. It is the symbol of chance. This, Moore says, is the world view of modern man: 'a self-existing universe consisting of energy, time and chance.' And those in Babylon, ancient or modern, don't know which way the die will fall. Chance is opaque. It is the world of whatever.

Bible Christians think the Yale garden is a lie. They hold that there is a God who knows and orders the course of history down through the rise and rubble of nations until the days when he sets up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed. This is no brilliant insight of theirs; they only hold this because there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries - and has done so. He has given them revelation material like Daniel 2. But we who hold this kingdom-view can easily forget how unbearably sad Joe and Jane Pagan might be, for they go out their front door in the morning and have no idea where history is heading, or if it is. Maybe it's all too cerebral; but I can only say that if I didn't believe Daniel 2:44, I couldn't find the energy to place one foot in front of another.

To have a God who reveals mysteries, however, does not mean we have a God who reveals everything. He doesn't show us which stocks will profit or whether you can avoid cancer till you're eighty-nine, or whether one's nation will still exist twenty years hence. He only reveals what we need to have. And yet Daniel's praise helps us here, because he assures us that even what God doesn't tell us he knows: he knows what is in the darkness. You can walk into the future with a God like that - who shows you that history is going toward his unshakable kingdom and who assures you that even though you have many personal uncertainties you follow a God who knows what is in the darkness. So you can keep going with hope and without fear.

Extracted from The Message of Daniel by Dale Ralph Davies (Published by IVP, 2013)