What Shall be the End of These Things? – Daniel 12:1-13

 As it stands right now, this will be our last message from the Book of Daniel – the finale. “Finale” is a musical term, used to describe the last movement of a multi-part composition. For example, there is a finale to a symphony and to many cantatas. I enjoy classical music and have listened to hundreds and hundreds of pieces. There are some that I have instantly liked, and some which I haven’t considered hearing ever again. Some grow on a person, and we begin with disliking them, but after time we get to really enjoying them. Sometimes I like one movement of a symphony, but not another movement. I have learned over the years that the finale can come in a variety of forms. Some of them are rousing. The symphony has brought our emotions up and down again, but the finale rises and rises until it leaves us so excited that there isn’t any air left in our lungs. But then other finales are designed to be so soothing that we are almost unaware that the composition has come to an end. It all depends on the piece whether or not I like either variety. The Book of Daniel is a great symphony, with peaks and valley’s of emotion and revelation. We expect to find that the finale lifts us up to Heaven and leaves us there for the rest of eternity, but what happens is exactly the opposite. “Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days. But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou...

Shining Ones – Daniel 12:1-4

 This is a chapter which accentuates the preacher’s opportunity to take verses out of their context. For example, I once heard a message taking the last words of verse 4 and seriously abusing them. “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” The point of the sermon was that we are living in the last days, and recent advancements in knowledge and technology are proof. The preacher went on to describe the computers and mobile phones of the late 80’s and early 90’s. He spoke about the ability of television to broadcast to all the world the deaths of the two witnesses of Revelation. He described some of the radical advancements in medical procedures – all of which are passe today. Not only is the technology of this moment incomparable to that of 20 and 30 years ago, if we stay within the context of these verses, the angel was not talking about iPads, Blackberries and Space Shuttles. The running back and forth has nothing to do with highspeed trains, supersonic flight or Smart cars. This is a description of God’s people striving to understand this and other prophecies about the end-times. Another example of Bible abuse is something that we will consider this evening. Before we finish the chapter, there are references to 1,290 days and then to 1,335 days. I have no doubt that the great experts who lecture and preach about prophecy can tell you exactly what those time periods mean. But the fact...

Principles of the Resurrection – Daniel 12:1-3

 One of the major problems that readers have when it comes to prophesy is trying to determine specificity. One prophesy is meant to be understood exactly as it is written, while others – not so much. In looking at prophesies about Antiochus Epiphanes, there have been details which cannot be denied. But then we move on to the future Antichrist, and we wonder about some of those prophetic details. “And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.” Is this reference to chariots and horsemen, to be understood exactly or is this figurative? And so it is even within our text tonight. Verse 1 begins with “and at that time” which is dealing with an exact point of time. This is speaking about Tribulational protection. During the Tribulation, there will be a great many of God’s elect who will be delivered from the disasters of that period. But then in verse 2 it is much more difficult to be specific. It’s not that what is said is not true, but there are details which are left unsaid. And as a result, it is a problem to point to specific dates – but is that really important? There will definitely be a resurrection – when both God’s saints and Satan’s dupes will be raised from death. We aren’t looking for a date necessarily, but a general timetable might...

Those Written in the Book – Daniel 12:1-3

 Picture a desperate criminal – a man who has often taken human life – a thoughtless, heartless beast of man. Picture such a man cornered by the police, and now has no where to run. Since he knows what will happen to him, he decides to resist his arrest with every ounce of his strength. He fights like the man that he is – possessed by the devil and by sin. Or perhaps you could picture a wounded lion or bear, who is similarly trapped and knows that he is doomed. He doesn’t fight like a lion or a bear, but like ten lions or ten bears. The last verses of Daniel 11, followed by chapter 12, are speaking about the very last days of life on earth – when sin is still permitted to reign. These and related verses describe the end of the power of Satan and the end of his Antichrist. And as verse 1 tells us,“there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was…” The last days prior to the glorious return of the Lord Jesus Christ will be the very worst in human history. Not only will man turn against man, but it will seem the very elements of nature will turn upon man as well. Satan, the trapped bear, will pour out his fury against everything related to God – including creation. But the worst of it all will be the wrath of God poured out upon the world – and even on his elect nation. God has ordained all of this to bring to their knees, those who are written...

Antiochus, the Antichrist – Daniel 11:31-45

 I apologize for being so mentally disorganized last Sunday afternoon. I should have spent an hour reacquainting myself with my notes, rather than spending that time in fellowship with you. But I’m not going to repeat what I had tried to say. We must move along. In verse 29 it is prophetically declared, and historically attested, that the Seleucian king, Antiochus Epiphanes returned to Egypt with a desire to rid himself of his nephew, the new Ptolemy, son of Cleopatra I. That return was orchestrated by Jehovah himself, and it was by God’s appointment that Antiochus returned. Oh, but it wasn’t as before, and it wasn’t as the wicked king expected. When he reached Alexandria he was met with by the reunited sons of Cleopatra and the entire Roman navy. Verse 30 – “For the ships of Chittim shall come against him.” Alexandria is the Mediterranean port city of Egypt. Rome didn’t want her shipments of Egyptian grain to be interrupted. Antiochus had no choice but to comply with the demands of Rome or to die, so he acquiesced and left. But of course this also made him furious. “Therefore he shall be grieved, and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant: so shall he do; he shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant. And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.” It was on this, another trip across Israel, that Antiochus’ wrath was fully poured out on the...

Indignation against the Holy Covenant – Daniel 11:27-30

 I know that I have complained about this before, but it makes for a good introduction to our message, and I need to hear it again, so please bear with me for a moment. There are a great many things in professional sports which should discourage Christians from their participation and their fanaticism. Such things as the immoral, wicked life-styles of so many of the elite athletes, their drug abuse, and their disgusting pride and blatant arrogance in the midst of their sins. A lot of sports involves a constant desecration of the Lord’s Day and of the Lord’s Name. Then there is the desire of so many for blood and to inflict pain on another person. There is little difference between the Roman Coliseum, the bull-fight ring and the modern football stadium or the basketball court. A peripheral problem with sports is that it can grow beyond recreation into an all-consuming waste of time. It is a really sad thing to see that for so many people, sports – the playing of games – or even worse – the watching of others playing – is the primary component of their lives. It can be as addicting as drugs, alcohol, soap operas, and video games. And like most addictions, not only is it a waste of time, but it’s a waste of hard-earned money as well. Ultimately the waste of time and the waste of money means the waste of a person’s life. The Lord is not pleased with such things. But the thing about which I am thinking right now is what the sports world teaches about promises...

Antiochus Epiphanes – Daniel 11:21-45

 There is no more obvious place in scripture which proves the comment that “prophecy is history pre-written.” The parallel between the two is obvious. In fact the expositor may become torn between emphasizing the scriptures or the history. Last Sunday night we looked at what the angel told Daniel about the early aspects of the coming Kingdom of Grecia. Tonight we finish the Greek’s domination over Israel, looking at one particularly infamous king. Some Bible scholars want to make a division after verse 35, and some do so at verse 31. They want to say that the first section refers to the Greek Antichrist, and rest of the chapter deals with the Antichrist of the Tribulation. As far as I am concerned those people have a very strong case. And here is the point – Everything from verse 21 to verse 31 has been authenticated by secular history. Following that we have reason to believe that these events took place during the lifetime of Antiochus, but more precisely, other scriptures indicate that they will occur during the Tribulation. For the sake of brevity and since this is another hot Sunday afternoon, I have decided to follow that opinion at least as far as our outline is concerned. We will stop with verse 35. Verse 21 – “And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.” If you will remember Antiochus the Great, in 190 AD, lost a major battle to the up-and-coming Romans. Those Romans...

The Confusion, Danger and Blessing of Peace – Daniel 11:21-27

 This afternoon we will return to study this scripture in detail, but for our message this morning, I’d like to take one thought and magnify it into a wider lesson. Scripture tells us that the Antichrist will solidify his power in the world through the stratagem of “peace.” But as we all know on a smaller scale, humanly-speaking “peace” is a constantly moving target. We have it one moment, but then something comes along and it vanishes like uncollected manna in the desert. As we have already seen from earlier prophesies in Daniel, there was a Grecian ruler who should be considered as a type of the future Antichrist. History tells us that his name was Antiochus Epiphanes. As more and more detail of Israel’s future was given to Daniel in the closing chapters of this book, we are reintroduced to this Greek ruler of Selucia – that is Palestine, Israel and the surrounding areas. We have already been taught that this man will work his political wiles disguised in the cloak of “peace.” If the final Antichrist comes to Israel and the rest of the world peaceably, then we should expect his spiritual grandfather to do the same. But it’s not so much the Antichrist who is my concern this morning, but the subject of peace itself. I would like to look at the words “peace” and “peaceably” in a broader and more practical way. For example in the scripture which we read a few minutes ago, Ezekiel was condemning those pastors whose message was a sugary, syrupy, imitation-maple-flavored false peace. We have ten thousands of their grand-children...

The Empire of the Greeks – Daniel 11:1-20

 We are approaching the conclusion of the Book of the Prophesies of Daniel. Chapters 11 & 12 take some of the things that have already been seen, and they put a little more meat upon the bones. There are a few dividing lines in these chapters, but I couldn’t see how to make them into sermon divisions. A few verses deal with the Persians, then there are the Greeks and finally the Romans. Some of these verses originally spoke of future events, but now we can see that they have been fulfilled. And some of these verses are yet to be fulfilled. Perhaps those divisions could be arranged into a sermon outline, but it would obviously be too large. And therefore, I’m going to turn this into a verse by verse exposition from here to the end of the book. If I see a verse of doctrinal significance, I’ll develop that into next Sunday’s morning message, but if not, then we may have a sermon taken from elsewhere in the scriptures. Once again in these verses, we are faced with so much detail that the enemies of the Word of God declare that their penman was not Daniel. Since these people are determined that these are not divine scriptures, they say that it must be that these chapters were written after the rise and fall of Alexander and the Greek Empire. But there is ample archeological and manuscript evidence to prove that these verses contain prophecy, not history. This evening we shall look at verses 1-21 – the Persians and some of the Greeks. “Also I in the first...

I will Shew Thee that Which is Noted in the Scriptures – Daniel 10:21

 Five months ago, we had a message about the Word of God, taken from the scripture which we read a few minutes ago. Daniel 5:5 – “In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king’s palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.” There can be no doubt that the words written on the wall of Belshazzar’s banquet hall were from God. The hand which carved them into the plaister was miraculous, even though it looked human. It was a disembodied hand – it wasn’t connected to an arm, shoulder or human body. What I wanted to do in that message was to make a comparison. There is a parallel between the words which God’s hand wrote on the wall and the words which the Lord has recorded throughout all His Holy Bible. In order to refresh your memories, let me remind you of that outline – Both the writing on the wall and the writings of the scriptures are God’s words. They are both gifts of the Lord’s grace. We don’t deserve any sort of revelation from the Lord – not even His warnings against our sin. Both revelations involved the hand of man, even though the words were divine. “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” “The Holy Ghost spake by the mouth of David“ and by the hand of Samuel, Moses, Daniel and others. Yes,...

The Latter Days – Daniel 10:14

 As I often try to do on these warm Sunday afternoons, and after big, heavy meal, I will try to keep this short. Sometimes this is difficult, because I have to take a big subject and bring down into a little package. On other occasions it is easy, because I have a little subject in the first place. But today is somewhat different – My chosen subject is one about which it is really difficult to be dogmatic, and so spending a long time on it might not be appropriate. Additionally, I can not remember ever hearing a message or read an article on this theme. So I can’t go to dozens of scholars gleaning lots of a amazing things to share with you. All that I have is about sixty different scriptures. If there were a dozen, I might be able to develop a rational, concrete message, but as verse is applied to verse, the subject gets more complex and open to more debate. And perhaps you know how much I hate to debate. Our question for this afternoon is – “What are the latter days?” The angel strengthened Daniel and then told him that he had been sent by God to tell him about what the Lord was going to do in the “latter days.” Nearly every preacher is willing to tell you exactly what the “latter days” are, but very few of them will point you to scriptures in order to prove their thesis. Exactly what are the latter days? Let’s begin at the usual starting place – definitions.I noticed that one well-known writer dogmatically declared...

Be Strong, Yea, be Strong – Daniel 10:5-12a, 18-19

 When I hear the exhortation found in Daniel 10:19 my mind automatically goes back to the Book of Joshua. God’s angel said, “O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong.” In many ways, I identify with Joshua. When the Lord called me to preach and pastor, despite my excitement, I was quite confused. I couldn’t figure out why the Holy Spirit would choose to bring such a person as I am into His ministry. But that God had chosen and called me was something that I couldn’t avoid, so here I stand. After Bible school, Judy and I moved to Lethbridge, Alberta and then on to Calgary. One of the first books of the Bible that I chose to study after I became pastor was the Book of Joshua. I felt a kind of kinship with that man of God, who was thrust into leadership after the departure of his powerful predecessor. Over and over again in the first few chapters of Joshua, we hear God encouraging him. It was as though the man who was willing to take up a sword and to run upon the enemy, felt intimidated about leading his own people into the promised land. “Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the...

Daniel Chastened Himself – Daniel 10:10-12

 Daniel was not a great and important man simply because it was divinely ordained that he be great. It was ordained that David and Solomon would also be great and important men. But remember that David fell far short of Daniel in character and honor, and Solomon fell even farther. Perhaps a part of the difference between Daniel and just about everyone else in the Word of God can be found here in these verses. I am not referring to Daniel’s vision of the pre-incarnate Son of God, as important as that may have been. For example, Isaiah was an ordinary, run-of-the-mill prophet of God until Isaiah 6 – “In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.” At that point Isaiah became the MVP of all the Old Testament prophets. But in some ways he still couldn’t hold a candle to Daniel. Daniel, too, saw the Lord high and lifted up, but that is not the thing which made him particularly great and important. There is a sense in which you and I can see the Lord, even more precisely than either Isaiah or Daniel – through the pages of God’s Word – scriptures which were not available to those great men. Daniel was not a great and important man because an angel came to visit him. The blessings of God, such as these sorts of things, need to be sustained in some way. For example, we have all been moved by a sermon preached by some powerful man of God,...

A Man Greatly Beloved – Daniel 10:10-12

 In a vision, as Daniel was facing one who appears to be the Son of God, his strength failed him. He fell prone to the ground – flat on his face. In this position and condition, he was forced to focus on the words which the Lord gave to him. And then an angelic hand effortlessly lifted him from the ground and set him on his hands and knees. At that point the angel addressed him as: “Daniel, a man greatly beloved.” This was not the first time, nor will it be the last that one of God’s holy angels, called Daniel “greatly beloved.” In chapter 9 it was Gabriel who called Daniel “greatly beloved.” “At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.” And then again toward the end of chapter 10, we hear the same angelic voice saying, “O man greatly beloved, fear not; Peace be unto thee; be strong, yea, be strong.” Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you and I could hear some angel speak those words to us? What is involved in such a declaration? What do these words mean? Let’s begin with the Hebrew word.“Greatly beloved” is one word in the original language, whereas we might think of them as two. Perhaps the first lesson is that in the language of God there is no difference between “greatly loved” and simply “loved” or “simply loved.” In the Lord’s relationship toward his elect people, there are no levels of affection or nearness. To be...

Causing the Sacrifice and Oblation to Cease – Daniel 9:25-27

 Whenever the subject of the Antichrist is raised, people who are ordinarily not interested in the Bible can quickly become very interested. The Antichrist is someone who can consistently sell tabloid newspapers. He is someone about whom lots of people have opinions, but few people know any of the facts. And although the Bible tells us a few things about him, it’s not enough to make his identification easy. Some of the things which we know are given to us in these few verses. He will be a prince of the people who destroyed Jerusalem and cut off the Messiah – a Roman. This is one reason why so many scholars in the past have said that he must be a Roman Catholic Pope. He will broker and confirm some sort of seven-year peace agreement with Israel. But then in the midst of that seven-year week, he will break that agreement. Somehow he will cause the Jewish sacrifices to come to an end. And other scriptures seem to suggest that he will do that by walking into the temple and claiming it as a place for the worship of himself. We looked at the Antichrist a little bit last week, and we will do so some more as we continue through the prophecies which were given to Daniel. But there is something mentioned here, which I’d like to expand and multiply. “And in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.” The “sacrifice” and the “oblation“………. In Hebrew words “sacrifice” and “oblation” are different, but they mean essentially the same thing. “Sacrifice”...