Today’s Bible Reading:
Today’s Bible Verse(s):
Daniel 12:2–3 (CSB): “Many who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake, some to eternal life, and some to disgrace and eternal contempt. Those who have insight will shine like the bright expanse of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.”
Reflections on Today’s Bible Verse(s):
Honestly, if we didn’t know any better, we would assume that the verses that I have chosen for today were written after Jesus’ 3-year ministry, not before it. They ring of New Testament theology even though they were written sometime around or after 606 BCE.
Let’s spend a few moments reflecting on the wonderful truths in these two verses.
V. 2 “Many who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake…”
We understand the Scripture to say that when a Jesus-follower dies, they are immediately ushered into the presence of the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8). Yet, our bodies are laid to rest. When Jesus comes back in the Rapture, our dead bodies will rise from the grave, or wherever they have gone back to the dust (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), to be reunited with our spirits forever.
V. 2 “Many who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake, some to eternal life, and some to disgrace and eternal contempt.”
Every physical body left behind at death will be resurrected to be reunited with the spirit that is already in its eternal home. Some will enjoy eternal life (enjoying life with the Eternal One) and some will experience the horrific life apart from the blessed presence of God.
To understand just how bad Hell must be, we need only look to Jesus who bore our Hell on the cross. He didn’t cry out because of the nails in His hands. He didn’t mention one single word about the horrific beating He had received that literally ripped His body to shreds and exposed some of his internal organs and skeleton (Psalm 22:1, 17; Isaiah 53:4-7). The only thing He expressed that lets us know what grieved Him is found in the following text…
Matthew 27:46 (CSB): “About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out with a loud voice, ‘Elí, Elí, lemá sabachtháni?’ that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?’”
Jesus cried out in agony as He was temporarily experiencing the absence of the Father’s presence. That, my friend, is Hell and it is worse than we could ever possibly imagine.
V. 3 “Those who have insight will shine like the bright expanse of the heavens…”
The wisdom and insight of the people mentioned in this verse, while it may refer to other things, is ultimately speaking of a relationship with the Lord. That is essentially what salvation is – a deep knowledge and experience of and with the Lord.
John 17:3 (CSB): “This is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and the one you have sent—Jesus Christ.”
The fact that we will “shine like the bright expanse of the heavens” should be taken figuratively and probably physically. The light of God’s presence speaks of His holiness. The fact that we “are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14) means that we reflect and live in accordance to God’s glory and His righteous standard.
In Matthew 17:1-2, we observe that Jesus’ internal holiness was demonstrated outwardly when He radiated a powerfully bright light. It may be that we also reflect and radiate God’s glorious light one day in Heaven.
V. 3 “…and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.”
The Hebrews loved to state things twice. If what they were saying was important, they would say it and then say it again in a slightly different way. As you reflectively read through the Psalms and other books in the Old Testament, you’ll see this literary device used over and over.
So, when we read “those who lead many to righteousness,” it is simply a restatement of what the writer said a few moments earlier. It is another way of referring to “those who have insight.”
This makes it clear that the one who will enjoy the light of God’s presence forever, who has a deep, experiential knowledge of God, is the one who is leading others in the way of righteousness. Jesus would say it refers to people who “Go … and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19).
How do you know you will be in Heaven one day? Well, are you saved? Good! But are you demonstrating that you are truly born again by making disciples, people who will pursue a righteous life in Christ (Matthew 6:33). I surely hope so.
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Lord Jesus, with all of my heart I want to know and enjoy You in this life and in the life to come. I have placed my trust in You and what You did for me on the cross. Now, I want to spend each and every moment of my days knowing You more and becoming more like You. I know that You will help me in this endeavor because this is what You have called me to. I pray this in Your Name, Amen.