(If you would like to download the PowerPoint presentation for this sermon, Click here)
Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
January 29, 2012
The Time of the End
This morning we come to the end of our study of the book of Daniel. We will begin a series of studies in the book of Proverbs starting next week. This morning’s message is actually a good transition between the two because a study of the prophecies concerning the end times is a call for us to walk in wisdom. It is very easy for us to get so caught up in day to day life that we forget the promises of God concerning what the future holds – both good and bad. It is not that the present time is unimportant, for it is important for quite a number of reasons. However, we cannot live properly in the present if we are not mindful of where we are heading. Our priorities get skewed in the wrong directions.
In Ephesians 5:15 the apostle Paul calls on us to “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” Living with the future in mind directs us in the present to set our priorities in the right place and work toward the proper goals. Those who place their priority in living for the pleasures of the moment and amassing wealth in the here and now are not wise.
There is nothing wrong in enjoying the godly pleasures that the Lord grants to you in this life. Those are things for which we should praise Him. But when pleasure becomes the pursuit of life or when the pleasures sought are sinful themselves, then there will be consequences and punishments that will come due. Proverbs 21:17 warns that “He who loves pleasure will become a poor man.” 1 John 2:15-17 warns that we should not love this world nor the things in it – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life – for they are all passing away. And when it comes to sinful pursuits, even when it seems someone manages to minimize or avoid the consequences in this life, they will not escape God’s courtroom (Psalm 73; Revelation 20:11-15). Hedonism is not wise and understanding the future will prevent that pursuit.
The amassing of wealth is good as long as the means of its gain is righteous and its purpose is godly. I must necessarily say that because there are many that have taken the view that “the wealthy” are evil – of course, “wealthy” is always defined by such people as those who have more than they do or they are the one exception. If you have a warm and safe place to sleep at night, have a couple of changes of clothing that fit, and have had a good meal that filled you up within the last 24 hours, then you are wealthier than more than three quarters of the world. Neither wealth nor being wealthy is evil itself. Abraham was wealthy and Job’s wealth was immense and both men were also righteous. However, when the means of acquiring wealth is sinful or wealth becomes the goal, then there is evil. Jesus warned that we should lay up our treasures in heaven and not on earth where moth and rust destroy and thieves steal (Matthew 6:19-21). 2 Peter 3:10-14 describes the future destruction of the heavens and this earth before the coming of new heavens and a new earth and gives the challenge “Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness . . .”
As we consider the future prophesied here in Daniel 12 and other Scripture passages, we should be motivated to walk in wisdom with the Lord. Do not let the pressures of this world conform you to its priorities, but instead be transformed by the renewing of your mind as you consider what God has revealed in His word.
Before we examine Daniel 12 I need to briefly review chapters 10 and 11 to set the context. Daniel 10 begins with Daniel praying and fasting for three weeks. At the end of that time Daniel is by the Tigris river and an angel comes to him in answer to Daniel’s prayers. (See: Angelic Ministry) In Daniel 11 the angel begins to reveal to him what is “inscribed in the writing of truth” about what will take place in the future. Daniel 11:1-35 give detailed descriptions of people and events that are now past history for us living in the 21st Century. The focus of these prophecies is on the nations that have a direct effect on Israel. Daniel 11:1-20 covers a large amount of time very quicky. (See: History Foretold) Daniel 11:1 & 2 cover the last two centuries of the Medo-Persian empire and verse 3 & 4 cover the rise Alexander the Great and the division of his empire following his death in 323 B.C. Daniel 11:5-21 then cover the next 127 years of conflict between the Seleucid dynasty operating out of Syria and the Ptolemaic dynasty centered in Egypt. Since Israel was in between them, their wars with each other always had a direct effect on the Jewish nation. Daniel 11:21-35 describes the 10 year reign of Antiochus IV Epiphanes who usurped the Seleuced throne in 174 B.C. (See: The Despicable Man) He was a despicable man who prefigures the antichrist to come. Daniel 11:35 ends without a time closure only stating that the refining, purging and purifying of the Jews could continue to take place “until the end time; because it is still to come at the appointed time.” Daniel 11:36 then transitions to a future individual that is so evil that even Antiochus Ephiphanes is pale by comparison. This is the “little horn” that arises out of the revived Roman Empire in Daniel 7 and often referred to as the antichrist. See: The Future Foretold) The rest of Daniel 11 concerns him as does the time references in Daniel 12 as we shall see in our study this morning.
Preservation of the Remnant – Daniel 12:1
To this point, what the angel had revealed to Daniel would have been very disturbing. The future would hold some very bad things that would happen to Israel during the time of the indignation. Their continued rebellion against God would result in being oppressed by the Gentiles until the time of the end. The people would suffer for centuries because their land would be between two nations that would over run it in the wars between them. Then there would come this despicable man that would commit atrocities and blaspheme God and he would be followed at some point in the future by someone even worse. The fact that he would come to his end and there would be no one to help him would have been little comfort (Daniel 11:45). If the revelation had stopped there, Daniel would have been left as disturbed as in the previous two revelations. But the revelation did not stop there. The angel continues in Daniel 12 and reveals God’s protection of a remnant that would then be part of the everlasting kingdom God will set up at the end.
Daniel 12:1 reveals that God will protect in the midst of horrible persecution. “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.”
This is the same Michael that was introduced in Daniel 10:13. He is an archangel (Jude 1:9) who has a specific responsibility toward the nation of Israel. This is not Christ or any other human or spiritual person. His specific purpose as revealed in this verse is to protect and rescue the remnant of Israel whose names are written in the book. That this is referring to the Jews is emphasized by the phrase “your people” which occurs twice in this verse. Michael’s actions concern Daniel’s people, the Jews.
It is important to point out that there is no reference or allusion to the church in these verses despite the effort within certain theological traditions to try to put her there. The nation of Israel and the church are very distinct from each other, and the church has not replaced Israel in God’s prophetic plan for that nation which is revealed throughout the pages of the Hebrew prophets. That is a serious error that has had serious ramifications in the past in anti-Semitism and persecution of the Jews, and its is foundational in the resurgence of anti-Semitism in the present. Even now there are “evangelical” leaders who deny Israel’s God given right to the land and instead promote the claims of the Islamic Arabs who do not have a valid claim either historically or by right of war.
It also must be pointed out that Michael’s activity spoken about in this verse concerns a particular period of time. The phrase “now at that time” at the beginning of this verse could refer to the “end time” in Daniel 11:40 and it could be understood to be concurrent with the previous verses instead of subsequent. There are those that advocate that position. However, 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. Those will be events of proportions unknown in all previous history. Jesus specifically describes it as “a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall.” The references later in this section of time, times and half a time and number of days also correspond to the later half of the 70th week prophesied in Daniel 9:27.
Now 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. That is the good news that would encourage Daniel. Yes, things will get very bad, but God is faithful to His promises and He will have Michael the Archangel active in protecting a remnant whose names are written in the book. The one third of Jews that will survive this period is also spoken about in the prophecies of Jeremiah 30:7, Zechariah 13:8, Matthew 24:22 and Revelation 12:6.This remnant will survive and flourish afterward.
Resurrection – Daniel 12:2
The next verse would also be very encouraging to Daniel. “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. Resurrection is the great hope God has given to man. Without it, death, which is the consequence of sin, is the victor and the grave is final. Job, which is probably the earliest book in the Bible, expresses this hope in two places. In Job 14:12-15 he expressed his hope of waiting until his change comes and God calls him. Job laments in despair for his life which had become so unbearably miserable, yet he had a hope beyond his present life. He expresses this in Job 19:25-27 saying, “And as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth. 26 “Even after my skin is destroyed, Yet from my flesh I shall see God; 27 Whom I myself shall behold, And whom my eyes shall see and not another. My heart faints within me.” His flesh was weak, but he had a hope beyond his flesh.
Resurrection was also the hope of Abraham. In Genesis 22 God called on Abraham to sacrifice Isaac even though all the promises that God had made to Abraham were bound up in Isaac, his only child by Sarah. I realize that the Arabs, who are descendants from Ishmael and others, want to claim God’s promise goes through them, but the Lord was very clear in Genesis 17:18-19. Abraham even pleaded with God saying, “Oh that Ishmael might live before Thee!” 19 But God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.”
How then was Abraham willing to offer Isaac as a sacrifice? First, as Genesis 22:8 indicates, he believed God would provide the lamb. But he had to believe something far beyond that after he had arrived at Mt. Moriah still without a lamb. He bound Isaac, placed him on the altar and had even raised the knife to kill him before the angel stopped him and showed him the ram that the Lord had provided caught in the thicket. Hebrews 11:17-19 tells us that “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac; and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten [son]; 18 [it was he] to whom it was said, “In Isaac your descendants shall be called.” 19 He considered that God is able to raise [men] even from the dead; from which he also received him back as a type.”
Resurrection is a crucial issue for those who follow God and believe His promises. For Daniel this was a great comfort. Not only would God preserve a remnant that would populate the future kingdom, but the righteous would be resurrected to join them.
Let me also quickly add here that resurrection and reincarnation are mutually exclusive. The soul will either receive an immortal, incorruptible resurrected body or it will migrate from corruptible body to corruptible body. It cannot do both, yet surprisingly there are professing Christians that say they believe in both. That shows weakness of their Biblical knowledge and the degree to which they have been influenced by the Eastern mystical religions.
Resurrection is so important for Christians that Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:12-19 that if there is no resurrection then “we are of all men most to be pitied.” But there is a resurrection, in fact, there are several of them.
During His earthly ministry Jesus raised several people from the dead as a sign that He was indeed the Messiah. Luke 7 records Jesus stopping a funeral procession, then commanding the dead young man to arise and then giving him back to his mother alive. Matthew 9, Mark 5 and Luke 8 all record Jesus raising up Jairus’ daughter from the dead. John 11 records the story of Jesus calling Lazarus from out of his tomb after he had already been dead for four days. All of these would have been temporary resurrections since they would have died again at some later time. The same would be true for Eutychus, the young man that Paul raised from the dead after he had fallen from the window of the building in which Paul was preaching (Acts 20:9-12).
There are also the resurrections that followed Jesus’ death on the cross at Calvary. Matthew 27:50-53 records that there was an earthquake which opened the tombs and “many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many.” Since there were “many bodies” involved, it is reasonable to think that this included those who had been dead for sometime. Since these people “appeared to many,” it is reasonable to conclude they had died in the somewhat recent past since they were recognized as those who had previously died. It is possible that they may have died again at a future time. It is also possible that they received resurrected bodies that were translated to heaven as had occurred with Enoch and Elijah.
Then there is the resurrection of Jesus. He received a glorified resurrection body that is immortal and incorruptible. 1 Corinthians 15:20, 23 describes His resurrection as the “first fruits” which will be followed by “those who are Christ’s at His coming.” Jesus’ resurrection is the basis of our hope in being resurrected ourselves as His redeemed followers. According to 1 John 3:2, we do not know exactly what our resurrected bodies will be like, but we do know we will be like Him for we shall see Him as He is.
Some theologians believe there will only be one future resurrection, but there is enough solid Biblical evidence to conclude there will be at least three. There may be additional ones in besides these that will add specific groups of the righteous to those who will make up God’s eternal kingdom.
The first resurrection is described in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and it occurs in conjunction with the translation of the living saints at the return of Christ to rapture (catch up) His church. There was concern that those who had “fallen asleep in Jesus” would miss Jesus’ return. (Remember that references to sleep in these passages is a euphemism for being dead). Paul explains starting in verse 15, “For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, and remain until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of [the] archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
Here in Daniel 12: 2 there is a resurrection of the righteous to everlasting life and a resurrection of the unrighteous to disgrace and everlasting contempt. This occurs after this final period of the 70th week. While there is not a clear time separation in this verse, there is a very clear separation in Revelation 20:4-15. The righteous are brought to life at the beginning of the Millennial reign and this is specifically called the first resurrection. The unrighteous are not resurrected until the end of the Millennial reign after which they are judged by God at the Great White Throne according to their deeds which condemned them.
Wisdom & Knowledge – Daniel 12:3-4
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.”
There will be those during the time of this Great Tribulation that will have “insight” that God will use to bring many to the truth and righteousness in Jesus Christ. Certainly among these will be the 144,000 mentioned in Revelation 7 and 14. They will be a blessing and glorified.
Daniel is told to “shut” or “close” up these words and seal the book. This is not the sense of hide this revelation so people cannot know what is in it, but rather to make sure it is preserved so that it is available at the end time when it will be the most needed. This was a revelation given to Daniel for the sake of those who would come in the future and not for Daniel himself. While there has been an increase in knowledge about future prophecy since more prophets, Jesus and the apostles have all given additional revelation concerning it, there has also been increased confusion. People run back and forth to learn all they can and end up confused by the many diverse and often contrary opinions by those claiming to be prophecy experts. The truth is that prophecies of the future will be like those already fulfilled. The details will be understood only after they come to pass.
The Time to the End – Daniel 12:5-7
Starting in verse 5 the scene changes from the angel revealing what is inscribed in the writing of truth back to what Daniel sees while he is on the bank of the Tigris river. 5 Then I, Daniel, looked and behold, two others were standing, one on this bank of the river, and the other on that bank of the river. 6 And one said to the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, “How long [will it be] until the end of [these] wonders?” 7 And I heard the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, as he raised his right hand and his left toward heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half [a time;] and as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people, all these [events] will be completed.
Daniel notices two more angels standing on either side of the river. One of them asks the angel who is above the river a question about the length of time of these events. The specific reference is to the time of distress mentioned in Daniel 12:1. The angel raises both hands toward heaven and swears by the eternal God. This adds to the solemnity and assuredness of his answer that it would be for a time, times and half a time. This is the same phrasing as used in Daniel 7:25 of the length of time the little horn would blaspheme God and persecute the saints before he is judged and destroyed. This is a period of three and one half years and corresponds to the last half of the seventieth week of Daniel 9:27. It also corresponds to the forty-two months the temple and Jerusalem will be trampled by the nations in Revelation 11:2. It will be a time of severe persecution of the holy people, another reference to the Jews, who will be shattered. That is why Michael the archangel has to be present to preserve the elect. When this persecution is finished the antichrist will then come to his end with no one to help him (Daniel 11:45).
The Time of the End – Daniel 12:8-12
Daniel does not understand and so asks one final question. 8 “As for me, I heard but could not understand; so I said, “My lord, what [will be] the outcome of these [events?]” 9 And he said, “Go [your way,] Daniel, for [these] words are concealed and sealed up until the end time. 10 “Many will be purged, purified and refined; but the wicked will act wickedly, and none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand. 11 “And from the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished, and the abomination of desolation is set up, [there will be] 1,290 days. 12 “How blessed is he who keeps waiting and attains to the 1,335 days!
The angel answers Daniel’s question with a reminder and then with some additional revelation. First, he tells Daniel again that this revelation is not for him but rather for those who will live in the future so he is to preserve the prophecy for them. Daniel was faithful in that endeavor which is why we have the prophecy today. The angel then reminded Daniel that there would be a great time of purging in the future that would separate the righteous who would be wise and understand and the wicked who would continue in their wickedness and remain ignorant. That is another reminder to us that while we have more insight into these prophecies than those who lived in Daniel’s time, there will be even greater understanding of them by those w
ho are righteous that will live through these events. At the same time, the wicked do not change and they will continue in their evil oblivious to the meaning of what is happening around them.
The angel then gives Daniel some additional time references which establish the outcome of these events that would comfort Daniel, but which also leave us with additional unanswered questions. Daniel 9:27 states that the stopping of the regular sacrifices and the abomination which makes desolate occurs at the middle of the 70th week – 3 ½ years. The angel had just said the length of time of the great distress would be time, times and half a time – 3 ½ years. Revelation 11:2 & 13:5 both give the length of time as forty-two months – 3 ½ years – that the Temple and Jerusalem would be trampled by the nations and the beast would speak blasphemies and have authority to act. Three and a half years is 1,260 days. What is the reason for an additional 30 days and then another 45 days beyond that for the blessing to come upon those who wait? While the time of the antichrist is strictly limited to the 3 ½ years at which point he is brought to his end, the additional 30 days may be for the mop-up operations and purging out the remaining wicked (Matthew 13:41?). The additional 45 days may be for the establishment of the Millennial kingdom and perhaps even the celebration of the first Feast of Booths in that kingdom – but all that is speculation.
Daniel’s Rest – Daniel 12:13
The angel then tells Daniel, 13 “But as for you, go [your way] to the end; then you will enter into rest and rise [again] for your allotted portion at the end of the age.” Daniel could be at peace in facing his own approaching death with confidence. The extra 30 days followed by the additional 45 days would have only increased that confidence that there would be Jews that would survive the Great Tribulation to enter the Millennial kingdom that would be established at its conclusion. For himself, he would end his days on this earth in peace and be at rest waiting to be resurrected at the proper time to receive his allotted portion in that future kingdom.
Future prophecy for us can be both terrifying and comforting at the same time. While the events described in Daniel’s prophecies are focused on the nation of Israel and the Jews, the whole world will be effected by them. The terrible events that we know will take place are frightening both in terms of any persecution we may suffer as we approach the end and for what may happen to those we love who may live into the 70th week. At the same time, the prophecies are comforting for we also know what follows. God is still control even while antichrist reigns. God has already provided for the protection of those written in His book and there will be a godly remnant that will survive to populate the Millennial kingdom, and they will be joined by the righteous who will be resurrected from the dead.
To paraphrase the apostle Peter, seeing these things will be so, then what manner of life should you be living now in holy conduct and godliness looking for and hastening the coming day of the Lord?
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 resurrection is mentioned 3) Discuss with your parents how you should live in view of what will happen in the future.
THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. How does prophecy of the future effect the manner in which you live? When do pleasures in life become evil? When is wealth and being wealthy good and when is it evil? Summarize what occurs in Daniel 10. Summarize the point of Daniel 11:1-35. What future period is being described in Daniel 11:36-45? Who is Michael, when does He arise and what is his purpose in Daniel 12:1? Why is the promise of resurrection so important to those who follow God? What was Job’s hope in resurrection? What was Abraham’s hope in resurrection? Whom did Jesus raise from the dead during His earthly ministry? What similarities and differences are there with those who were raised from the dead at Jesus’ death and those Jesus’ had raised previously? What is the significance of Jesus’ resurrection? Describe the nature of the resurrection body. How many resurrections will there be in the future? Explain. Who is resurrected according to 1 Thess. 4:13-18 and when does this occur. Who is resurrected in Revelation 20:4-6 and when does this occur? Who is resurrected in Revelation 20:12-13 and when does this occur? Who will have “insight” during the Great Tribulation and what will they accomplish with it? How long is a time, times and half a time and what occurs during that period? What Scripture passages speak of the same time period? Why will those who live during that period have greater understanding than we do at present? What significance might there be to the 1,290 and 1,335 days? What will happen to Daniel in the future? What will happen to you in the future? How are you living now?
Sermon Notes – 1/29/2012
The Time of The End – Daniel 12:1-13
Ephesians 5:15 – walk as ___________ men
Wealth is good if the means of acquisition and its purpose are ____________- consider Abraham & Job
Daniel 10 – an angel appears to Daniel in response to his _____________ and fasting
Daniel 11:1-35 The angel reveals what will happen from then until the end of Antiochus ____________
Daniel 11:36-12:13 The angel revels what will happen during the time of the still future _____________
Preservation of the Remnant – Daniel 12:1
The refining, purging and purifying of the ____________ would get worse under the antichrist
Michael the archangel (Jude 1:9) will rise up to protect and rescue those __________written in the book
Daniel’s prophecies concern the nation of Israel and the Jewish people without reference to the _______
Michael __________at the time unprecedented distress – the “Great Tribulation” of Matthew 24:21-31
Michael “arises” to stand ____________ and rescue those written in the book, not to leave.
Resurrection – Daniel 12:2
Resurrection is the great _____God has given to man for without it sin, death & the grave are the victors
The righteous will be resurrected to be part of the future _______________of God – a comfort to Daniel
Resurrection and reincarnation are mutually _____________ – both cannot be true
Resurrection is piv
otal to the Christian faith – without it we are to be most __________- 1 Cor. 15:12-19
Paul raised ______________ from the dead – Acts 20:9-12
Matthew 27:50-53 – a resurrection of the righteous following ____________ death at Calvary
Jesus was raised from the dead as the “________” of those who will be raised at His coming (1 Cor. 15)
Our resurrection bodies will be like ____________ – 1 John 3:2
There will be at least _____________ future resurrections – possibly more
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 – those “asleep in Jesus” will be raised at the _____________ of the Church
Wisdom & Knowledge – Daniel 12:3-4
There will be those during ________who will understand what is happening and lead others to salvation
Daniel is to preserve the prophecy for those who will need it in the _____________
The Time to the End – Daniel 12:5-7
Two more angels appear and one asks the time length of the ________(12:1) – Time, times & half a time
Daniel 7:25; 9:27 – the ___________ years of the last half of the 70th week
Revelation 11:2; 13:5 – The _____________ Jerusalem will be trampled & antichrist will have authority
A time of severe persecution of the ___________ – which is why Michael must protect the remnant
The Time of the End – Daniel 12:8-12
Daniel is reminded the revelation is not for him, but for those in the ___________. He is to preserve it.
The great purging would separate the _______________ who would understand from the wicked
The references of 1,290 & 1,335 days show time & life _______after antichrist and into the Millennium
Daniel’s Rest – Daniel 12:13
There would be ________that would survive the Great Tribulation and populate the Millennial kingdom
Daniel would finish his days in peace and then be _________________ to join in that future kingdom
Prophecies about the future are both terrifying and ________________ .
God is still in ______________ and carrying out His plan even while evil flourishes
If you would like to receive Pastor Harris’ weekly sermons via e-mail, Click Here)
For comments, please e-mail Church office