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Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
January 15, 2012
The Future Foretold
Turn once again to Daniel 11. In our last couple of studies in this book I have pointed out the precise fulfillment of the prophecies that the angel revealed to Daniel from what was “inscribed in the writing of truth” (Daniel 10:21). This is the most extensive and detailed section of fulfilled prophecy in all of the Scriptures. John Walvoord comments on this, “The amazingly detailed prophecies of the first thirty-five verses of this chapter, containing as they do approximately one hundred and thirty-five prophetic statements, all now fulfilled, constitute an impressive introduction to the events that are yet future, beginning in verse 36.” (See: History Foretold & The Despicable Man)
This morning we will examine the last section of this chapter that is still future for us. I will point out why we believe this is still future prophecy in a few moments, but first I want to read Daniel 11:36-12:4 and make some comments about future prophecy in general and this passage in particular before we begin a more detailed examination of the text.
Daniel 11:36 “Then the king will do as he pleases, and he will exalt and magnify himself above every god, and will speak monstrous things against the God of gods; and he will prosper until the indignation is finished, for that which is decreed will be done. 37 “And he will show no regard for the gods of his fathers or for the desire of women, nor will he show regard for any [other] god; for he will magnify himself above [them] all. 38 “But instead he will honor a god of fortresses, a god whom his fathers did not know; he will honor [him] with gold, silver, costly stones, and treasures. 39 “And he will take action against the strongest of fortresses with [the help of] a foreign god; he will give great honor to those who acknowledge [him,] and he will cause them to rule over the many, and will parcel out land for a price.
40 “And at the end time the king of the South will collide with him, and the king of the North will storm against him with chariots, with horsemen, and with many ships; and he will enter countries, overflow [them,] and pass through. 41 “He will also enter the Beautiful Land, and many [countries] will fall; but these will be rescued out of his hand: Edom, Moab and the foremost of the sons of Ammon. 42 “Then he will stretch out his hand against [other] countries, and the land of Egypt will not escape. 43 “But he will gain control over the hidden treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; and Libyans and Ethiopians [will follow] at his heels. 44 “But rumors from the East and from the North will disturb him, and he will go forth with great wrath to destroy and annihilate many. 45 “And he will pitch the tents of his royal pavilion between the seas and the beautiful Holy Mountain; yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him.
12:1 “Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands [guard] over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued. 2 “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace [and] everlasting contempt. 3 “And those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. 4 “But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase.”
First, notice in Daniel 12:4 that there would be an increase of knowledge from the time this prophecy was given. While it is certainly true that there has been an explosion in all fields of knowledge since the sixth century B.C., I don’t think that is what the context here is talking about. The context before and after this verse is concerning future events. Since Daniel’s prophecy there have been all the post-exilic prophets including Zechariah which has an extensive section of still future prophecy. There has also been the first coming of Jesus and His teachings about the future and all the writings of apostles including Revelation. These various prophecies give us additional insight into what is said here in Daniel.
Second, verse 4 also references many going “back and forth” which appears from Amos 8:12 to be a vain quest of running to and fro to know the word of the Lord. There are many that have had a particular interest in future prophecy and present themselves as experts in the subject. The result has been many books and teaching materials seeking to give their particular bent on how it is all going to work out. The result of all this is that the more books your read and seminars you attend on the subject, the more confusing it gets. Every commentary I have on Daniel including those writing from the same theological perspective differs widely in how they think the particulars of the prophecy will be fulfilled.
When I was growing up there was usually a prophecy conference every year. Over the years I developed a dislike for them since so many spent a lot of time weaving their speculations about current news into their presentations. While interesting when presented, their speculations later proved to be wrong which caused a questioning about the rest of what they were saying. Figuring out future prophecy is difficult and there needs to be a lot of humility in our approach to it. There are many things that are very clear, but there are things which could be fulfilled in different ways and time sequences. We will only truly understand them when we can look back at how they were fulfilled.
For example, we are told in many passages that the “day of the Lord” is coming, but descriptions in various passages are so diverse that it is apparent that different events and time periods are called by the same name. It is takes a lot of careful analysis to try and distinguish to which a particular passage is referring and even then there can be uncertainty. We also know that Jesus has promised to return from heaven, but the diversity of descriptions about it show there are at least two events. The relationship between them and the timing in conjunction with other future events is widely disputed among even solid Christian Biblical scholars.
None of this is to diminish careful study of the Scriptures and trying to figure out how everything fits together. That should be done and there are issues in eschatology that we can and should be dogmatic about such as Jesus coming again. However, this is to say that we need to be gracious and humble people. We should allow room for disagreement on the particulars of how all these prophecies will be fulfilled in the future. Churches have split over these things and too often Christians refuse to fellowship with one another over such secondary issues. I think that shows the lack of Christian character and maturity more than anything else.
entire prophecy has been the nation of Israel. We saw that back in Daniel 10:14 when the angel said to Daniel, “Now I have come to give you an understanding of what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision pertains to the days yet [future.]” Here at the end of the prophecy we find that it pertains to what will happen to a very evil individual who will prosper until “the indignation is finished,” which is a reference to the time of the purging and purifying of the Jews. And then we find in Daniel 12:1 that Michael, the great prince, arises to rescue from among Daniel’s people those who are found written in the book.
The major errors in understanding future prophecy revolve around a faulty understanding of whom it written about. Too many Christian theologians and commentators wrongly place the church where only the nation of Israel belongs, and this is another case of that. Daniel 11 & 12 specifically concern the nation of Israel as God’s chosen people and not the church.
Finally, I will be explaining the rest of the book of Daniel from a pre-millennial, pre-tribulation theological position which is the official doctrinal position of this church. We have taken that position because we believe it gives the best overall explanation of the many, many Scriptures that pertain to future events. While we are humble and gracious to those who hold to other positions, we are confident in our own. While arguments from other positions do point out weaknesses in our own, none have yet proven to be superior or cause any serious doubt. If you are interested in this subject, I can recommend several books to you or come to the theology class I teach on Wednesday nights when we get to the subject of eschatology – the doctrine of last things.
The Transition – Daniel 11:35-36
The first thing to note in our textual study this morning is that there is a definite transition between verse 35 which ends the section on Antiochus Epiphanes and verse 36 which begins the section on the anti-Christ. I pointed out last week that verse 35 leaves things open ended with refining, purging and purifying of the Jews taking place “until the end time; because it is still to come at the appointed time.”
Verses 36 begins talking about a king who will do as he pleases. The previous section was careful not to refer to Antiochus Epiphanes as a king because he was an usurper to who seized the kingdom though the honor of the kingship had not been conferred upon him. And though Antiochus Epiphanes was an evil and despicable man, this king goes far beyond that.
In addition, in contrast to the previous detailed prophecies in the chapter which can easily be coordinated with specific historical events, the prophecies from here through chapter 12 cannot be so coordinated though many have tried. The liberal scholars that say that the previous section was too detailed and accurate to be prophecy and so must be recorded history say this section is too vague to clearly identify its fulfillment. This inability has led some to conclude it is fictional and fulfilled metaphorically in other historical figures or systems. However, it is simple. The man so described through verse 45 is not Antiochus Epiphanes, Herod the Great, Constantine the Great, the Pope, the Roman Empire, Hitler, Stalin or any other historical person or system. This is a man who is yet to come and this detailed prophecy about him will be fulfilled in the future. This man is the “little horn” in the prophecy in Daniel 7 and who is often popularly referred to as the antichrist.
The Description of the Antichrist – Daniel 11:36-38
The first description of him in verses 36-38 is that he is a king that will do as he pleases. He regards no law except himself which is why Paul describes him as “the man of lawlessness” in 2 Thessalonians 2:3. In Daniel 7:25 he is described as even seeking to “make alterations in times and in law.” He will be a dictatorial despot. The description of him in these verse is not necessarily chronological with the actions that are described in verses 40-45. It is my own conclusion that it is his actions in the chronology of verses 40-45 that fully reveals his character described here.
He will also be the supreme egotist who disregards all gods and religions in favor of himself. There have been many men who thought of themselves as some sort of god, but they usually recognized other gods. That was true of the Caesars and of Antiochus Epiphanes too. This man will think of himself as above that. There are seven statements in these three verses regarding his relationship to the gods.
*He will “exalt and magnify himself above every god.”
*He will “speak monstrous things against the God of gods.”
*He will “show no regard for the gods of his fathers”
*He will show no regard for “the desire of women.”
*He will show no regard for “any god”
*He will “magnify himself above them all.”
*He will “honor a god of fortresses”
This man will be an atheist set against not only the true God and the promised Messiah, but without respect for any religion. The phrase “desire of women” is interesting. The grammatical construction of the phrase bears this out for it is the same as in Haggai 2:7 and 1 Samuel 9:20 indicating this is what is desired by women and not a desire for women as some have tried to make it. The context here then would make this a reference the desire that Jewish women had of being the mother of the Messiah.
He is called antichrist because he goes beyond just disregarding Jesus Christ but is set against Him. The apostle John said, “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen; from this we know that it is the last hour” (1 John 2:18). John defined antichrist as “the one who denies the Father and the Son” (1 John 2:22), “that does not confess Jesus” (1 John 4:3), and “those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ [as] coming in the flesh” (2 John 1:7).
Other Scriptures also speak of his blasphemous character. In Daniel 7 he is described as one who will utter great boasts (7:8 &11) and who “will speak out against the Most High” (7:25). He is described in 2 Thessalonians 2:4 as the one “who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.” This would be the abomination of desolation spoken about by Jesus in Matthew 24:15 in reference to the fulfillment of Daniel 9:27. The description in Revelation 13 agrees with this. He is the beast out of the sea who opens “his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle.” Those who dwell on the earth will worship him and those that will not are subject to execution.
The only god he recognizes is the “god of fortresses.” This is not a personified god such as the Greek or Roman gods, but war itself is the object to which he devotes himself, his time, abilities, energy and finances. This is different from the gods of his ancestors for he is a complete materialist. The ability to conquer is his god. Daniel 11:38 describes his wealth being spent in the pursuit of war as if it were an action of religious homage – “he will honor” this god of fortresses “with gold, silver costly stones and treasures.” His actions of war are described in verse 39 and verses 40-45.
The Actions of the Antichrist – Daniel 11:39
His blasphemous beliefs lead him to take action against even the strongest of fortresses which he will conquer. He then parcels out honor to those who acknowledge him, and those willing to pay the price he will set up as his puppet ruler
s over the conquered territories. While that price will certainly include wealth and treasure, it will probably also include the price of their souls in the worship of this blasphemous despot.
Other Scriptures also describe these kinds of actions, but there will be a limit to its length. In Daniel 7:25 he wears down the saints of the Highest One for a time, times and half a time before he is judged and destroyed. Here in Daniel 11:36 it is given to him to “prosper until the indignation is finished, for that which is decreed will be done.” In Revelation 17 the peoples, multitudes, nations and tongues are personified as a harlot that the ten horns and the beast will make desolate and naked and which they will eat up and burn with fire. The beast with his allied puppet kings will conquer, consume and destroy other nations in war, but this will only continue “until the words of God shall be fulfilled” (Revelation 17:17)
The Wars of the Antichrist – Daniel 11:40-45
This next section can be confusing because there is some question as whether this is referring to two kings or three and how it coordinates with other future prophecy. The section begins describing that at the end time the king of the South will collied with him. If the him is the king of the North, then it is just two kings and the king of the North is a reference to antichrist. If the him is antichrist, then the king of the North is separate power. I take it there are three kings referred to in this section.
We need to remember a couple of things in examining the actions that take place in verses 40-45. First, that according to Daniel 7, the antichrist is the little horn that arises out of the ten kings that make up a revived Roman empire.(See: The Vision of the Four Beasts) Second, that the focus of prophetic Scriptures is what will have an effect on the nation and land of Israel. The antichrist will be given power to conquer at will, but that does not mean he has conquered every nation on earth nor does it mean that those nations he has conquered and set up with puppet kings will remain loyal to him, for in fact they will not.
Recall as well that the seventieth week of the prophecy in Daniel 9:27 begins with “and he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week,” with the “he” referring to “the prince who is to come” who is the antichrist. It is because of this covenant that he is aligned with the nation of Israel so that an attack against it is an attack against himself. It is assumed that the king of South’s collision with him and the king of the North’s storm against him in verse 40 are toward the direction of Israel since that happened throughout the early sections of Daniel 11 as these two nations battled each other. If so, then it is the antichrist’s covenant with Israel that brings him into action. However, the actions of these two kings may also have been directed against other territories held by the antichrist. The king of the North attacks with a strong force of “many chariots, with horsemen, and with many ships.” This is a major military engagement.
The antichrist’s response is overwhelming. Verse 40 says he “will enter countries, overflow them, and pass through.” Verses 41-43 then add, “He will also enter the Beautiful Land, and many [countries] will fall; but these will be rescued out of his hand: Edom, Moab and the foremost of the sons of Ammon. 42 “Then he will stretch out his hand against [other] countries, and the land of Egypt will not escape. 43 “But he will gain control over the hidden treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; and Libyans and Ethiopians [will follow] at his heels.”
The Beautiful Land is a reference to Israel and from there he continues on to conquer Egypt to the boarders of Libya and Ethiopia. This would mean that he defeats the king of the North first and then overflows south. Apparently his actions are so quick and focused on Egypt that he does not bother with the countries to the east – Edom, Moab and Ammon – modern Jordan. He gains control of the wealth of the areas conquered including treasures of gold and silver that had been previously hidden.
Just as he is victorious in this military action verse 44 describes the next battle. “But rumors from the East and from the North will disturb him, and he will go forth with great wrath to destroy and annihilate many.” I found this verse intriguing for the following reasons which are my own speculations. For a man whose only god is war itself, it would seem unlikely that the prospect of another battle would cause him such a strong emotional reaction. I would think he would relish being able to fight another war and especially if it meant gaining more territory and the wealth of those nations. If this was only an army from the East, then that could be a possibility. There are no indications how far East he had previously conquered though verse 41 states that Edom, Moab and Ammon were rescued from his hand. However, an army from the north would have to be very disturbing because it would have to arise from areas that he had already conquered. An army from the north would indicate rebellion in his kingdom and therefore the cause of great wrath.
Verse 45 – “And he will pitch the tents of his royal pavilion between the seas and the beautiful Holy Mountain; yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him.”
The chronology in verses 40-44 may be the actions that bring antichrist into residence in Israel probably near Jerusalem which would be the place between the seas (the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea) and the beautiful Holy Mountain (Mount Zion).
It is difficult to coordinate the chronology here in Daniel 11:40-45 with passages such as Ezekiel 38 & 39, Zechariah 14, Matthew 24 and the book of Revelation. For example, commentators variously try to coordinate Ezekiel’s prophecy of the invasion of Israel by Gog and Magog with verses 40-41, verse 44 or at the end of verse 45.
I lean to thinking Daniel 11:40-45 occur during the first part of the seventieth week prior to the abomination of desolation. This would coordinate with at least the wars, rumors of wars and nation rising against nation in Matthew 24:6-8 and at least the first four seals of judgment in Revelation 6 of conquering, war, famine and death. The end of Daniel 11:45 would then occur in the second half of the seventieth week coordinating with the rest of Matthew 24:15f, Revelation 7-19, Ezekiel 38 & 39 and Zechariah 14. Ezekiel 38 & 39 is particularly difficult to coordinate because it begins at a period when Israel is dwelling securely (Ezekiel 28:8) and ends with the armies of Gog and Magog and their allies being destroyed by such things as an earthquake (28:19), fighting within the armies (28:20), pestilence, torrential rain, hailstones, fire and brimstone (28:21) so that the Lord is sanctified and made known to the nations (28:22). What is stated in Daniel 12:1 also lends support to this conclusion.
Michael Arises – Daniel 12:1
“Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands [guard] over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.”
While the phrase “now at that time” refers to the “end time” in 11:40 and could be understood to be concurrent with the previous verses instead of subsequent, the statement about a time of previously unknown distress can only fit with the later half of the seventieth week. Nothing in the previous verses begins to compare to the great tribulation described in Matthew 24:21-31 or the trumpet and vial judgments in Revelation 8-16.
This is the same Michael that was introduced in Daniel 10:13. He is an archangel (Jud
e 1:9) who has a specific responsibility toward Israel. This is not Christ or any other human or spiritual person. His specific purpose here is to protect and rescue the remnant of Israel whose names are written in the book. The phrase “your people” occurs twice in this verse so it places emphasis that Michael’s actions concern Daniel’s people, the Jews. Again, there is no reference or allusion to the church in this verse.
There has been some question as to what action Michael takes in this verse because of a misunderstanding of the term translated “arise” in a few Bible translations including the NASB. The KJV, NKJV, Young’s, Darby’s do better translating it as “stand up” in keeping with the related verb, “stand” watch or guard used in the same verse. Both dmo![}y (yaemad) and dme[oh; (haomed) are forms of the same verb, amad. Michael arises or stands up in the sense of appearing or coming on the scene to take his place in standing guard. He does not arise or stand up in the sense of getting up and leaving. He will fulfill his responsibility in guarding and protecting the remnant of Jews whose names are written in the book.
The Hope of Resurrection – Daniel 12:2-4
The next couple of verses jump to the resurrection of the righteous that will follow this time. I will cover that in depth next week. This morning I only want to point out that the angel leaves Daniel with the great hope of the future resurrection. Though terrible things would come, there would also be a wonderful blessing on the other side of it all. We must keep that in mind ourselves for as Jesus said in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) Write down the scripture references and look them up later 2) Count how many times Antichrist is mentioned 3) Discuss with your parents how you can be prepared to be courageous and overcome even when evil things occur in the future.
THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. Why are the fulfilled prophecies in Daniel 11:1-35 important to Christians today? How has knowledge increased since the 6th century B.C.? Why is it so difficult to understand future prophecy? When will we finally understand them? Why then should we study future prophecy now? What should our attitude be towards who disagree with us on secondary issues? What group is the focus of the prophecy in Daniel 11? How do we know that there is a transition in Daniel 11:35 & 36 between Antiochus Epiphanes and the future antichrist? What will his attitude and actions be toward the true God? The Messiah? All religions? What will be his “god”? What is the time relationship between Daniel 11:36-39 and 40-45? How many kings are referred to in Daniel 11:40? Explain. According to Daniel 7, what will be the origin of antichrist? What event begins the seventieth week in Daniel 9:27? What will be his reaction to the attacks made against him? What is the “Beautiful Land”? Why doesn’t he also conquer Edom, Moab and Ammon? What will he gain after conquering Egypt? What will causes him to head north again to make war? Why will he have such great wrath? Where will he set up his residence and government after this? What will be his end? How do you think Daniel 11:40-45 coordinates with the following prophetic passages: Matthew 24:6-31; Revelation 7-19; Ezekiel 38 & 39, Zechariah 14? Explain. Who is Michael, the great prince? What is his specific responsibility in Daniel 12:1? How does his “arising” enable him to fulfill this responsibility? What is the relationship between “arise” and “stand” guard? When does this occur? Explain. How can you take courage and have hope in the future when you know that great evil will occur in it?
Sermon Notes – 1/15/2012
The Time of The End – Daniel 11:36-12:4
Daniel 11:1-15 contains about _____________ fulfilled prophetic statements
Daniel 12:4 – there will be an _____________ of knowledge following the time this prophecy was given
There will be a vain quest to know the Lord – which results in ____________
Figuring out future prophecy is ______________ and we must be humble.
Disagreement on ______________ issues in eschatology is not cause for breaking fellowship
The entire prophecy of Daniel 11 & 12 concerns the nation and land of ______________
We are confident in our doctrinal position, but we are to be ________________ & gracious to others
The Transition – Daniel 11:35-36
Verse 35 leaves things open ended about a purifying that will take place until the ____________
Verse 36 begins talking about a king that is definitely _________ Antiochus Epiphanes
The prophecies from Daniel 11:36-12:4 cannot be coordinated with specific ________________ events
The Description of the Antichrist – Daniel 11:36-38
This description is not necessarily chronological, but may arise from the actions noted in verses ______
He is a supreme ____________ disregarding all gods and religions in favor of himself.
He is set against the true God and the promised ______________ – “The desire of women”
___________denies the Father and the Son and neither confesses or acknowledges Jesus – 1 Jn 2:22; 4:3
His only god is “the god of fortresses” – _________ itself
The Actions of the Antichrist – Daniel 11:39
He ___________strong fortresses and gives honor to those who follow him and territory to puppet kings
The Wars of the Antichrist – Daniel 11:40-45
This is probably speaking of ________kings – king of the South, king of the North and “him” – antichrist
Antichrist is the little horn that arises out of the ten kings of the revived ___________ empire – Daniel 7
Antichrist does not necessarily conquer all nations or able to keep all his puppet kings _____________
Daniel 9:27 – the seventieth week begins antichrist’s firm _______________ with Israel
Daniel 11:40-43. He defends ________conquering the king of the North then sweeping through to Egypt
He skips Edom, Moab & Ammon (modern Jordan), but gains ______________treasures of gold & silver
Rumors from the East and North cause him to return north to ________________
An army from the North would indicate a ______________ in his kingdom – a cause for great wrath
Antichrist sets up his residence and government in ______________ probably near Jerusalem
It is difficult to __________________ other future prophecies precisely with Daniel 11:40-45
Antichrist meets his end – the _______half of the seventieth week: Matt. 24:15f; Rev. 7-19, Ezek. 38-39
Michael Arises – Daniel 12:1
At the end time – could be concurrent, but probably __________________________to Daniel 11:40-44
Michael’s responsibility is protect “your people” – the ____________ who are written in the book
Michael stands up / arises dmo![}y to stand guard dme[oh; (same root verb) – he does ________ arise to leave
The Hope of Resurrection – Daniel 12:2-4
The angel encourages Daniel with the hope of a remnant and the future ______________of the righteous
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