“And I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for some days. Then I rose and went about the king’s business, but I was appalled by the vision and did not understand it.”
Daniel 8:27 ESV
Even though Daniel was overcome and sick and appalled by the visions he had seen, he still “rose and went about the king’s business.”
This is a great lesson for those of us who get obsessed with end times prophecy.
When we see the world as it is, spinning out of control as it seems to be, with a sigh we say, “Come, Lord Jesus! Let it be today!” And we come to Daniel 7-12, with its beasts and horns and kings of the south and the north, and its seventy weeks and its times, times, and half a time; and, like Daniel, we can be overwhelmed.
But Daniel had a job to do. He was one of the three high officials under King Darius (see Daniel 6:2). So no matter how mysterious and fascinating these visions were, he still had the king’s business to attend to.
It made me think of a similar scene from the New Testament. We read in Acts 1 that after Jesus’ resurrection, Jesus spent the next forty days with His disciples, teaching them about the kingdom of God. It must have been pretty heady stuff, full of signs and proofs and portents (see Acts 1:3). At one point, they got so excited about all of it that they blurted out, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” Look at Jesus’ response:
He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.””
Acts 1:6-8 ESV
Then, Jesus ascends to heaven, and the disciples are left on the hillside, staring, slackjawed, at the sky. I think maybe they would have stayed there staring until they went blind; because it took two angels appearing and saying, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven?” before they snapped out of it and returned to Jerusalem (see Acts 1:11).
End times prophecy can be endlessly fascinating. But there is still the King’s business to attend to. All of our charts and interpretive graphs and Left Behind books and studies on the four blood moons may be the equivalent of staring at the sky and waiting for Jesus to return. And perhaps we need to be reminded that, like the disciples, it is not for us to know the times and the seasons.
Because at the bottom of the hill lies Jerusalem. And beyond its borders are Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the earth. We’ve been given a commission to be His witnesses. And we have the Holy Spirit’s power to accomplish the Heavenly father’s purpose, all the while assured of the risen Son’s presence.
Don’t stand staring at the sky. Go about the King’s business.