He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High ... (Daniel 7: 25)
Was it oppression by a king or a kingdom that Daniel the prophet was predicting, those hundreds of years ago, when writing as a prisoner of the Babylonian empire? In the last analysis it can mean both…. and more.
For God’s people across the ages have never been far away from the oppression that will always confront those men and women whose hearts are locked into following and serving their divine Creator and Redeemer. Could it have been Rome – seemingly the last of the four mighty kingdoms prophesied in Daniel chapter 7? Certainly; but to that can be added the Spanish Inquisition, the reign of ‘Bloody Mary’ in England, the slaughter of Huguenots and other believers in Europe that led to the religious exit to America of The Pilgrim Fathers … and right up to the intolerances imposed on humble disciples of Christ in country after country around today’s world.
After the time of Daniel, it would be the notorious Antiochus Epiphanes, the Syrian ruler of Greece, who would make life impossible for the Jews, living under his reign. For ever after, he would be identified as The Abomination of Desolation – a title reserved by Jesus for an end-time figure of oppression who, similarly, would do everything possible to ‘wear out the saints.’
Christian reader! Do you and I feel under such pressures to some degree - in these early months of a New Year? It won’t be too surprising. Indeed, if you sense yourself right now to be in the middle of a great storm, place yourself in that rocking reeling 27 foot-long fishing boat on Lake Galilee with the other disciples of Jesus – the wind blowing them everywhere; the waves cascading into the boat … and with your leader apparently asleep, his head on a cushion, at the back (Mark 4: 35-41).
But no, He’s truly in charge. Keep your eyes on Him; He knows what he intends to do! If we keep our eyes on Him – He will show US what to do. It is only if we have eyes for the storm itself, that we could be worn down to nothing.
“Heaven fights for those who pray”
(Pastor Reynolds of the seventeenth century)