On the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels today, we focus on the Old Testament Reading with a devotion from Concordia Commentary: Daniel.
Daniel 10:10–14; 12:1–3
Matthew 18:1–11 or Luke 10:17–20
The divine man continues his explanation of the end times begun in 11:36–45, and this eschatological perspective extends to the end of the Book of Daniel. The end times or “latter days” (2:28; 10:14) begin with the first advent of Christ, last throughout the church age, and conclude with Christ’s return, followed by the resurrection (12:2–3).
Michael is the guardian archangel of God’s people. He will arise “at that time” to defend them (12:1). The time to which the divine man refers is the time of the eschatological king (11:36–45), the Antichrist. Michael “stands over” Daniel’s people (12:1).
The rule of the eschatological king will bring “a time of distress” (12:1). This phrase occurs five other times in the OT (Is 33:2; Jer 14:8; 15:11; 30:7; Ps 37:39; cf. Judg 10:14; Neh 9:27), and God is always the source of deliverance from this distress. Jesus refers to this worldwide eschatological distress as existing immediately before his parousia (Mt 24:29–30; Mk 13:24–27; Lk 21:25–27). This distress will be unique, because nothing can be compared to it since nations first came into existence (Dan 12:1). This is similar to Jesus’ description of the distress in Jerusalem before its fall to the Romans (Mt 24:21; Mk 13:19). Therefore, the fall of Jerusalem and its great distress foreshadow the distress at the end of time.
Despite this distress, Daniel is assured that his people—those who believe in God and are heirs of his kingdom through faith—“will be delivered” (12:1). This promise extends to “everyone who is found written in the book” (12:1). This is a reference to the book of life, which is mentioned several times in the OT (Ex 32:32–33; Is 4:3; Ps 69:29 [ET 69:28]). God has a record of his people, and they can be certain that they will not be eternally lost. This is confirmed by Christ in the New Testament (Lk 10:20). It is the same as the Lamb’s “book of life,” which plays an important role in Revelation. Through Holy Baptism and faith in Christ as the Lamb who was slain for the forgiveness of sins (Rev 5:6, 12; 13:8), a person’s name is written in this book. Jesus promises that the name of everyone who “conquers/is victorious” will remain written in his “book of life” (Rev 3:5), and God gives us the resurrection “victory” in Jesus Christ (1 Cor 15:57), and our “victory” over the world is through perseverance in “faith” (1 Jn 5:4).
Lord Jesus Christ, the Author and Finisher of faith, grant us the true and saving faith, and preserve us in the same against all temptations to doubt and unbelief. Blot out our iniquities by Your blood; cover our sins with Your righteousness, and let Your angels be a fenced wall around us against all our enemies, and evermore teach us to know the secret of Your Father’s will. Amen.
Devotional reading is adapted from Concordia Commentary: Daniel, pages 559–60 © 2008 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.
Prayer is from Concordia Psalter, page 211 © 2015 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.