Monday, October 27, 2014

The Prophecies of Daniel - Is the End Near? - Session 8 Brilliant End for God's People The Time of the End





The Church of Divine Guidance (CDG) Sunday morning adult bible study group is involved in a study of chapters 7-12 of the book of Daniel. In light of all the things that are going on in the Middle East today many Christians and others are wondering if these things are fulfillment of prophecy and a sign that the end is near. It is not my intent to prove or disprove what people are saying about whether these things are the fulfillment of prophecy or not. My goal is to equip you through study so you can make your own determinations.

Introduction

Last week in Session 7  we talked about some of the details that Gabriel gave Daniel about what was going to happen to his people (the Jews) after the return to their land from exile.  We talked about the kings of the North (Syria) and South (Egypt) and the conflicts of these kingdoms and their affect on  the nation of Israel, culminating with the greatest atrociousness committed by Antiochus-Epiphanes who banned the daily sacrifices and desecrated the Temple.    

In the last part of our session Gabriel told Daniel how this "vile contemptible person" (who has been identified as Antiochus) meets his end.  However when talking about this person Gabriel seemed to be talking about another person also because he talked about things that Antiochus did not do.  The conflicts between the kings of the North and South have been proven by history as have some of the things done by and under the rule of Antiochus however there are other things that Gabriel says he will do that he did not do before his death.  So we concluded that Gabriel was talking about a person that would come at the end of the world, Antichrist.   That person would do evil things like Antiochus but he would do even more evil things.

Now let's get into our study for today.

Daniel 12 The Time of the End


1. The king's defeat and the deliverance of the godly comes through the intervention of Michael, "the great prince"  How do you envision this intervention will take place?

Daniel 12:1 (HCSB) At that time Michael the great prince who stands watch over your people will rise up. There will be a time of distress such as never has occurred since nations came into being until that time. But at that time all your people who are found written in the book will escape.

2. How can this victory and the messenger's description of the resurrection encourage us during times of tribulation or persecution?

If we are believers in Jesus Christ and are saved we have the promise of everlasting life even if we die during times of persecution, tribulation, accidents, sickness, or natural death, in a ressurection of our bodies no matter what condition they were in when we died.

Daniel 12:1-3 (HCSB)1 At that time Michael the great prince who stands watch over your people will rise up. There will be a time of distress such as never has occurred since nations came into being until that time. But at that time all your people who are found written in the book will escape.2 Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake, some to eternal life, and some to shame and eternal contempt.3 Those who are wise will shine like the bright expanse ⌊of the heavens⌋, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.
Saint Michael the Archangel from
 
http://christthekingmilitia.com/

This is prophecy Concerning the Great Tribulation of Israel. It is things done or caused to happen by the Antichrist to Israel.   It is clear in Gabriel's description that this is Israel's tribulation, but  it is a time of divine indignation over all the earth as well; so others will suffer. It is the belief of many in the church that the church will be "raptured"( "seize", "snatch" or "take away"),  will not go through this period.  There is some disagreement in Christianity about this but that is not the object of this study.  For some idea of what the Rapture could be like (although fiction because nobody really know what it will be like if in fact there is a rapture) you might want to read "Left Behind:  A Novel of the Earth's Last Days" by Tim LaHaye, or pre-order the DVD of the movie, Let Behind which is  based on the book.

The period ends in a bodily resurrection to "everlasting life".   Verse 2 is the first scriptural usage of this term (everlasting life) —a common one in the New Testament. It is not, however, the first reference to a bodily resurrection. There are references to bodly resurrection in:

Job 19:26 (NKJV) And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God,

Psalm 16:10 (NKJV) For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. (the second part of the verse is a prophetic reference to the Messiah)

Hosea 13:14 (NKJV) "I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. O Death, I will be your plagues! O Grave, I will be your destruction! Pity is hidden from My eyes.

The resurrection of the ungodly is also spoken of here but not to everlasting life but "to shame and everlasting contempt"

3. Why do you think Daniel is given the instruction to seal the scroll "until the time of the end"?

Daniel 12:4 (HCSB)4 “But you, Daniel, keep these words secret and seal the book until the time of the end. Many will roam about, and knowledge will increase.”
If we look at verse 9 we will see that it has to do with the protection and authentication of the message not an attempt to keep a secret from Daniel or those who will read his prophecy.

Daniel 12:9 (HCSB) He said, “Go on your way, Daniel, for the words are secret and sealed until the time of the end.

The events themselves would reveal the mean of the prophecies or predictions and will confirm their truth.  Gabriel would say no more however we will see that there will be some hints at time or events but they are only hints and the true meaning will not be revealed until the events actually happen.  Remember even Jesus did not know the time of his second advent or Second Coming.

 Mark 13:32 (NKJV) "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.


4. Daniel's natural question after seeing this vision is "How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?". How would you paraphrase the answer he received in?

Daniel 12:5-7 (NKJV) 5  Then I, Daniel, looked; and there stood two others, one on this riverbank and the other on that riverbank. 6  And one said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, "How long shall the fulfillment of these wonders be?" 7  Then I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever, that it shall be for a time, times, and half a time; and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished.

First of all the answer doesn't come from another angel but from someone who is different from them. The man clothed in linen appears to be the pre incarnate Son of God himself and the questions are referred to him by the angels.

The consummation is to take place when the three and one-half times (31/2 years; 1, 260 days, 42 months) so frequently mentioned in Daniel's previous prophecies run out. Refer to Session 5 for a discussion on the "seventy sevens" (490 years) and the apparent gap between the 69th and 70th
weeks.

Here is what the Wycliffe Bible Commentary says about that apparent gap:

Other important reasons for supposing a gap here are: (1) Jesus placed the culminating week, with its "abomination" in the times of final Antichrist, just before His second advent (Matthew 24:15 (NKJV) "Therefore when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place" (whoever reads, let him understand),). (2) Daniel 7:25 (NKJV) (He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, Shall persecute the saints of the Most High, And shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand For a time and times and half a time.), which describes what appear to be the very same events as those of Daniel 9:27 (NKJV) (Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate."), the seventieth week, is certainly a prophecy of the times of final Antichrist. (3) The period of three and one-half times or years (the second half-week of v. 27) is often mentioned elsewhere in Scripture and always in an eschatological setting (Rev 11:2, 3; 12:6, 14). (4) The six things to be accomplished in the seventy weeks, which we talked about earlier, equire the second advent of Christ, and the restoration and conversion of Israel.

Daniel 9:27 (HCSB) He will make a firm covenant with many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and offering. And the abomination of desolation will be on a wing of the temple until the decreed destruction is poured out on the desolator.”

So these things prophesied in verses 1-3 will happen after this 31/2 period.

5. How did the angel respond to Daniel’s concern?


Daniel 12:10-13 (HCSB)10 Many will be purified, cleansed, and refined, but the wicked will act wickedly; none of the wicked will understand, but the wise will understand.11 From the time the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days.12 The one who waits for and reaches 1,335 days is blessed.13 But as for you, go on your way to the end; you will rest, then rise to your destiny at the end of the days.”

The final section of the Book of Daniel seems to give a general chronology of this time of the end.

For more on Daniel 12:10 See 1 Corinthians 2:14 (HCSB) But the unbeliever does not welcome what comes from God’s Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to understand it since it is evaluated spiritually.

Of particular note is the time period of 1,290 days specified in Daniel 12:11, just 30 days beyond half of the last seven-year period of foretold history. Why the extra 30 days? The reason is uncertain, though some have suggested that they refer to the time of judgment for the nations mentioned by Jesus in Matthew 25:31-46, which is the judgement of all the nations, as following the Great
Tribulation period.

Then in 12:12 there's an additional 45 days.  What does that mean?


Daniel 12:11 This carries prophecy from the middle of the seventieth week (1260 days) through the first thirty days of the Millennium to follow, perhaps to the end of some "mopping up" period. Millennium or thousand year reign of Christ is described in Revelation 20:2-7.

Revelation 20:2-7 (HCSB) 2  He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for 1,000 years. 3  He threw him into the abyss, closed it, and put a seal on it so that he would no longer deceive the nations until the 1,000 years were completed. After that, he must be released for a short time. 4  Then I saw thrones, and people seated on them who were given authority to judge. I also saw the people who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of God’s word, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and who had not accepted the mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with the Messiah for 1,000 years. 5  The rest of the dead did not come to life until the 1,000 years were completed. This is the first resurrection. 6  Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of the Messiah, and they will reign with Him for 1,000 years. 7  When the 1,000 years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison

This can be very confusing so let's not get caught up in the number of days or try to figure out if they are actual days or figurative days.  Let's not try to figure out when they have started, if at all, or when they will start.  What is important to us is that when they start we will know them because the very end starts with a covenant between the Antichrist and Israel and once that happens the Antichrist will break it, and when he breaks it the exact time from the time of the covenant and it's breaking will be the time to the end.  If the 31/2 years is actual or not is not important it's the time from the covenant to it's breaking.  

What is more important than trying  to figure out exactly when the end will come is to realize that it will come.  We know that because most of what is in the prophecies of Daniel have already happened and we can document it by history.  Many of the things in Revelation have also happened and can be documented.  If those things which were prophesied so long ago have happened then we can have confidence in those things which have not been fulfilled being fulfilled in the future, not matter how far in the future.

Next week Faith !!!!! 

According to Christian Bible Reference Site the word faith appears in the Old Testament 2 times in the King James Version, and 4 times in the New International Version, and 4 times in the Holman Christian Standard Bible.  There are many instances of faith in the Old Testament, Abraham, David, Job, and the prophets are examples of people with faith and who's actions prove that they had faith
but in Hebrew which the primary language of the original Old Testament the word is only appears a very few times.  In stark contract the word translated faith appears in the New Testament 245 times in the King James Version, 254 times in the New International Version, and 244 times in the Holman Christian Standard Bible.  The New Testament is is the story of the New Covenant under which Christians live so faith was very important to the writers of the New Testament and consequently to us.

We are going to define faith, differentiate it from the kind of faith the both believers and non-believers have, identify the object of the faith of the believer, learn the difference between faith as the world, and many who expose to be Christians, and saving faith which is the faith that results in salvation.  I preached a sermon last year on faith and I have written about it in my blogs and website so we have plenty of material to study biblical faith and how to apply it in our lives.  So come with all your questions about faith next week.  We'll spend as much time as we need to because faith is one of the pillars of Christianity.  


For more on Daniel see below.





Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Prophecies of Daniel - Is the End Near? - Session 7 Another Vision of the Future Cont'd and a Brilliant End for God's People




The Church of Divine Guidance (CDG) Sunday morning adult bible study group is involved in a study of chapters 7-12 of the book of Daniel. In light of all the things that are going on in the Middle East today many Christians and others are wondering if these things are fulfillment of prophecy and a sign that the end is near. It is not my intent to prove or disprove what people are saying about whether these things are the fulfillment of prophecy or not. My goal is to equip you through study so you can make your own determinations.

Introduction

Last week, in Session 6, we started our study of chapter 10 which includes the final vision of Daniel as recorded in the Bible. That vision comes after Daniel has been praying for more than three weeks during the time of the Passover Festival in the third year of the reign of king Cyrus. He was mourning because things were not going well with the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the temple. In that vision we learned that his prayer was heard when he first uttered it but the angel or messenger (Gabriel) we assume was held up because he had to deal with the Prince of Persia, not a man but a spiritual being. When he finally reached Daniel he gave him an understanding of what was in store for his people the Jews and later on what would happen at the end of time. We ended our time together last week with the man giving details of Israel's history under Persia and then we started talking about the breakup of Alexander the Great’s Empire which was prophesied in chapter 8 and the identification of ruler that would severely impact Israel with great persecution.

Today We Will Look at Daniel 11:5-45,  prophecy of Syria and Egypt in Conflict with One Another and with the Jews

Today we are going to continue with some details that the man gives Daniel about two kingdoms, one lead by the king of the North the other led by the king of the South. Both of these kingdoms will directly impact Israel and which will provide some clue to the end times.

The Empire split into four kingdoms, which would retain their sovereignty. In in order from least to longest they were the Seleucids in Asia Minor and the Middle East, the Antigonids in Macedon (an area partly encompassing Greece), the Attalids in Pergamum (Asia Minor) and the Ptolemys in Egypt.

The king of the north is the Syrian Seleucid kingdom, the one that produces Antiochus Epiphanes. The king of the south is the Ptolemies kingdom of Egypt. Egypt is mentioned by name in verse 8 in such a manner as to identify it as the "king of the south". but Syria which is much larger than the country today is not named. This may be because Egypt had long been known as a kingdom in Daniel's time, but the kingdom of the Seleucids (Syria) was not yet in existence.

Here is some detail: Daniel 11:5-20 - *Notes from The Men who were Loyal to God, An EasyEnglish Commentary (2800 word vocabulary) on the Book of Daniel by Robert Bryce

Daniel 11:5 (HCSB)“The king of the South will grow powerful, but one of his commanders will grow more powerful and will rule a kingdom greater than his.

His name was Ptolemy and he was powerful. Another army officer became the king in the north. He was the king of Syria and his name was Seleucus. He was even more powerful.

Daniel 11:6 (HCSB) After some years they will form an alliance, and the daughter of the king of the South will go to the king of the North to seal the agreement. She will not retain power, and his strength will not endure. She will be given up, together with her entourage, her father, and the one who supported her during those times.

Antiochus II Theos, the king of Syria (North), divorced his wife Laodicea. Then he married Bernice who was the daughter of Ptolemy II Philadelphus, the king of Egypt (South). But somebody murdered them. It may have been Antiochus’s previous wife or her son.

Daniel 11:7-12 (HCSB)7 In the place of the king of the South, one from her family will rise up, come against the army, and enter the fortress of the king of the North. He will take action against them and triumph.8 He will take even their gods captive to Egypt, with their metal images and their precious articles of silver and gold. For some years he will stay away from the king of the North,

Later a brother of Bernice became king of Egypt. He was called Ptolemy III Euergetes. He defeated the king of Syria, Seleucus II Callinicus, in a war and there was peace for a while.

Later, Seleucus III Soter, the king of Syria, attacked Ptolemy IV Philopator the king of Egypt. And then he returned home. Then the sons of the king of Syria gathered a large army. One of them died, but the other one led the army to attack Egypt. He was called Antiochus III. The Great.Ptolemy, the king of Egypt, was very angry. His army won the battle although it was not as strong. This made the king of Egypt very proud. He was successful in battle, but only for a certain time.

Daniel 11:13-16 (HCSB)13 The king of the North will again raise a multitude larger than the first. After some years he will advance with a great army and many supplies.14 “In those times many will rise up against the king of the South. Violent ones among your own people will assert themselves to fulfill a vision, but they will fail.15 Then the king of the North will come, build up an assault ramp, and capture a well-fortified city. The forces of the South will not stand; even their select troops will not be able to resist.16 The king of the North who comes against him will do whatever he wants, and no one can oppose him. He will establish himself in the beautiful land with total destruction in his hand.

A few years passed. Then Antiochus III The Great attacked Ptolemy IV Philopator, the king of Egypt. Antiochus had a large army that had plenty of equipment. Many people, even some Jews, helped Antiochus to attack Egypt. Antiochus defeated Ptolemy the king of Egypt and Antiochus became very powerful. He did what he wanted, even in the Beautiful Country (Palestine) the home of the Jews, Daniel's people.
Daniel 11:17 (HCSB) He will resolve to come with the force of his whole kingdom and will reach an agreement with him. He will give him a daughter in marriage to destroy it, but she will not stand with him or support him.

The king of Syria, Antiochus III The Great, tried to defeat Egypt completely. He had a new plan. He gave his daughter, Cleopatra, to marry Ptolemy V Epiphanes, the new king of Egypt. But his plan failed. Cleopatra was more loyal to her husband than she was to her father.

Daniel 11:18-19 (HCSB)18 Then he will turn his attention to the coasts and islands and capture many. But a commander will put an end to his taunting; instead, he will turn his taunts against him.19 He will turn his attention back to the fortresses of his own land, but he will stumble, fall, and be no more.

Then Antiochus III The Great decided to attack Greece. General Scipio led an army from Rome and defeated him. Antiochus returned to his own country. His power had gone.

Daniel 11:20 (HCSB)20 “In his place one will arise who will send out a tax collector for the glory of the kingdom; but within a few days he will be shattered, though not in anger or in battle.

Seleucus IV Philopator became the next king of Syria. He had large debts that he could not pay. He did not rule for very long. His officials killed him.

1.  Now the man introduced as the contemptible person is introduced. What was revealed about the "contemptible person"?


Antiochus Epiphanes (175-163 b.c.) is introduced as a vile person. His wicked persecution of the Jews and desecration of the Temple are described by a contemporary witness in 1 Maccabees, which ought to be read by every student of Daniel. His action is predicted also at;
Bust of Antiochus IV at the Altes Museum
in Berlin


Daniel 8:13 (HCSB) Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to the speaker, “How long will ⌊the events of⌋ this vision last—the daily sacrifice, the rebellion that makes desolate, and the giving over of the sanctuary and of the host to be trampled?”

We studied this in some detail in Session 3 when we were in chapter 8.

His deeds furnish a kind of pattern for those of the wicked "prince that shall come" (Anitchrist).

We talked about that last week.

Daniel 9:26-27 (HCSB)26 After those 62 weeks the Messiah will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the coming prince will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come with a flood, and until the end there will be war; desolations are decreed. 27 He will make a firm covenant with many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and offering. And the abomination of desolation will be on a wing of the temple until the decreed destruction is poured out on the desolator.”

Here is more background on Antiochus Epiphanes revealed by the angel to Daniel from “The Men who were Loyal to God, An EasyEnglish Commentary on the Book of Daniel by Robert Bryce

Daniel 11:21-24 (HCSB)21 “In his place a despised person will arise; royal honors will not be given to him, but he will come during a time of peace and seize the kingdom by intrigue.22 A flood of forces will be swept away before him; they will be shattered, as well as the covenant prince.23 After an alliance is made with him, he will act deceitfully. He will rise to power with a small nation.24 During a time of peace, he will come into the richest parts of the province and do what his fathers and predecessors never did. He will lavish plunder, loot, and wealth on his followers, and he will make plans against fortified cities, but only for a time.

He was called Antiochus IV Epiphanes. His name meant a god who had become a man. Some of his people called him Antiochus Empimanes. That means mad man.We know about the other king, mentioned in verses 5-24, from history. The things that the man told Daniel did happen. But the man told Daniel some things about Antiochus that we do not know from history.He became king because he cheated. And he told lies. Then he defeated other nations for the same reasons. He was a very powerful king who did evil things. He did worse things than the kings before him did. But God only allowed him to do this for a certain time.

Daniel 11:25-27 (HCSB)25 “With a large army he will stir up his power and his courage against the king of the South. The king of the South will prepare for battle with an extremely large and powerful army, but he will not succeed, because plots will be made against him.26 Those who eat his provisions will destroy him; his army will be swept away, and many will fall slain.27 The two kings, whose hearts are bent on evil, will speak lies at the same table but to no avail, for still the end will come at the appointed time.

Antiochus IV Epiphanes had a large army and he wanted to defeat Egypt. Ptolemy V Epiphanes, the king of Egypt, also had a large army, but some of his people were not loyal. So Antiochus defeated him. The two kings met trying to negotiate a treaty but they weren't able to do it because they were both deceitful men.

Daniel 11:28 (HCSB) The king of the North will return to his land with great wealth, but his heart will be set against the holy covenant; he will take action, then return to his own land.


On his way home, Antiochus had to pass through the country that God gave to the *Jews. He hated the real God. He also hated those who gave honor to the real God.

Daniel 11:29-35 (HCSB)29 “At the appointed time he will come again to the South, but this time will not be like the first.30 Ships of Kittim will come against him, and being intimidated, he will withdraw. Then he will rage against the holy covenant and take action. On his return, he will favor those who abandon the holy covenant.31 His forces will rise up and desecrate the temple fortress. They will abolish the daily sacrifice and set up the abomination of desolation.32 With flattery he will corrupt those who act wickedly toward the covenant, but the people who know their God will be strong and take action.33 Those who are wise among the people will give understanding to many, yet they will die by sword and flame, and be captured and plundered for a time.34 When defeated, they will be helped by some, but many others will join them insincerely.35 Some of the wise will fall so that they may be refined, purified, and cleansed until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.

Later, Antiochus attacked Egypt again. This time he was not successful, because the *Romans opposed him. He turned back and went into the country of the *Jews. He hated the *Jews and their God. Perhaps the *Jews had asked the *Romans to help them. Antiochus tried to stop anyone from serving the real God. He was cruel to the people who loved God. But he listened to those people who were not loyal to God. He did not allow the people to make *sacrifices to God. He made God’s holy places so that they were not holy.


Some people stayed loyal to God. They tried to teach other people to be loyal too. Many people died because they were loyal to God. He only allowed Antiochus to do his evil things for a certain time. This lasted for about 6 years as was prophesied in the vision Daniel had in chapter 8.

Daniel 8:13-14 (HCSB)13 Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to the speaker, “How long will ⌊the events of⌋ this vision last—the daily sacrifice, the rebellion that makes desolate, and the giving over of the sanctuary and of the host to be trampled?”14 He said to me, “For 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary will be restored.”


2.  How would the evil king meet his demise? (11:36-45)

He will be successful for a certain time. But then the time that God has planned will come. God will show his anger and he will kill this evil person.

The Things that Follow Antiochus Did Not Do.  Who is the Man Talking to Daniel Talking About?


The man seemed to go on telling Daniel about the same king. But then he talked about things that Antiochus Epiphanes did not do. It seems that he was telling Daniel about another person. That person would come at the end of the world. Paul, who lived a long time after the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, wrote similar things (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4). This person would do evil things like Antiochus Epiphanes did. But he would do even more evil things.

Since the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, many other evil men have lived. Many of them hated God and his people. The man who will come at the end of the world will be even worse. He will say that he is greater than any God, even the real God. He will set himself up in God’s holy place. He will speak against the real God. He will reward those people who do not give honour to the real God. He will attack many countries and he will have power over them. He will also attack the country of the *Jews.

Although all prophecy in Daniel down to 11:35 can easily be related to well-known events of ancient history, after that we can’t relate much of it to ancient history.

The following are the chief reasons for holding that the prophecy shifts from Antiochus to Antichrist precisely at verse 36.

a) Daniel 11:36 (HCSB) “Then the king will do whatever he wants. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god, and he will say outrageous things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, because what has been decreed will be accomplished.

This king is the same as the "son of perdition", who is to appear before Christ's second advent). His career will be short, lasting only until the indignation of God is vented upon mankind in the end time. We call him Antichrist.
Fresco of the Deeds of the Antichrist (c1501) in Orvieto Cathedral 


2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 (HCSB)1 Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to Him: We ask you, brothers,2 not to be easily upset in mind or troubled, either by a spirit or by a message or by a letter as if from us, alleging that the Day of the Lord has come.3 Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way. For ⌊that day⌋ will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction.4 He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he sits in God’s sanctuary, publicizing that he himself is God.

Here's what it says in earlier prophecies in Daniel about this man:

Daniel 7:11 (HCSB) “I watched, then, because of the sound of the arrogant words the horn was speaking. As I continued watching, the beast was killed and its body destroyed and given over to the burning fire.

Daniel 7:25 (HCSB) He will speak words against the Most High and oppress the holy ones of the Most High. He will intend to change religious festivals and laws, and the holy ones will be handed over to him for a time, times, and half a time.

b) Look atDaniel 11:37-39 (HCSB) 37  He will not show regard for the gods of his fathers, the god longed for by women, or for any other god, because he will magnify himself above all. 38  Instead, he will honor a god of fortresses—a god his fathers did not know—with gold, silver, precious stones, and riches.39  He will deal with the strongest fortresses with the help of a foreign god. He will greatly honor those who acknowledge him, making them rulers over many and distributing land as a reward.

Though the phrase may be translated, "gods of his father," surely it is to be interpreted of the Lord God of Israel, for a false Messiah (or Antichrist) of the Jews could hardly be a Gentile.

c) Daniel 11:40 (HCSB) “At the time of the end, the king of the South will engage him in battle, but the king of the North will storm against him with chariots, horsemen, and many ships. He will invade countries and sweep through them like a flood.

Last week we talked about there being a gap between the 69th and 70th weeks with the 70th week being the end.

This verse starts talking about the time of the end. The end is the end of the events prophesied in this book—the arrival of Messiah's kingdom to replace all these others. From here to the close of the prophecies of Daniel, the final events are in view.

Observe that throughout this section this king is a different person from either "the king of the north" or "the king of the south," who both fight against him. With what nations these two opponents will be identified is difficult to say for certain.

Antichrist's success at war is prophesied here. Likely the particular engines of war—whirlwind, chariots, horsemen, ships—are to be interpreted in terms of the engines of that future day. He will have modern weapons. Daniel saw war in terms of his own day, otherwise he would not have recognized it.

3.  Can you trace trace the military career of this future king? Daniel 11:40-43

Daniel 11:41 (HCSB) He will also invade the beautiful land, and many will fall. But these will escape from his power: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of the Ammonites.

This describes an attack on Palestine. Perhaps it should be connected with Antichrist's breaking covenant. We talked about that in Session 5. In review;

Daniel 9:27 (HCSB) He will make a firm covenant with many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and offering. And the abomination of desolation will be on a wing of the temple until the decreed destruction is poured out on the desolator.”

Evidently the covenant is to be made between Antichrist and Israel when the Jews are back in their homeland in the last days. Or is is it spiritual Israel or the church? The exact nature of the covenant is unknown. The evil and destructive events described in the remainder of this verse
should be interpreted as summary information concerning the end;

For some thoughts on the part of that verse naming Edom, Moab and the Ammonites let’s go to another book written by a prophet who prophecies about the Messiah. Remember Isaiah also prophecies about the exile of the Jews, then the punishment of the nations around Israel and of Babylon for it’s treatment of the Jews, and then their coming Messiah.

This commentary from Wycliffe Bible Commentary

The Messianic kingdom will be ushered in by a second restoration of the Jews *(which clearly excludes reference to the return under *Zerubbabel in 537 b.c. (see note below) and yet indicates a national restoration of comparable magnitude). This time the scattered people will come from every geographical direction: east—Assyria, Elam, Shinar; west—the isles of the sea; north—Hamath; and south—Egypt, Pathros or Upper Egypt, and Cush or Ethiopia. Such diverse regions were not involved in the return of 537. Not Jews alone, but the Gentile nations (gôyîm) also will rally to the standard of the cross (v. 12), to form a Jewish-Gentile Church even in the latter days. Furthermore, in that day there will no more be a cleavage between northern tribes and southern, but the Christian Israelites will constitute one harmonious people. God's people, moreover, will triumph over all the not-yet-converted nations surrounding them (as Philistia, Edom, and Moab surrounded ancient Israel). The natural barriers of the Euphrates and Nile will be removed, and communication between all these formerly hostile regions will be easy and unimpeded when the Prince of Peace rules over them all.

*Zerubbabel returned after Cyrus issued his decree in 538 BC. He conquered Babylon in 538 BC. In Ezra we read about who returned and that included Zerubbabel.

Daniel 11:42-44 (HCSB)42 He will extend his power against the countries, and not even the land of Egypt will escape.43 He will get control over the hidden treasures of gold and silver and over all the riches of Egypt. The Libyans and Cushites will also be in submission.44 But reports from the east and the north will terrify him, and he will go out with great fury to annihilate and completely destroy many.

We can’t really identify the nations of the north south or east that are in verses 40 and 44. but it is pretty clear that there are to be at least three strong national powers contemporary with Antichrist.

4.  "Reports from the east and the north" which alarm the king are apparently reports of other armies marching toward Israel ("at the beautiful holy mountain") for a final climactic battle. How would you describe the outcome of this battle from what you are told in this passage and from what you have already learned about the antichrist earlier in Daniel ?

He will have some initial success but will be destroyed. This is also prophesied earlier in Daniel.

Daniel 7:11 (HCSB)“I watched, then, because of the sound of the arrogant words the horn was speaking. As I continued watching, the beast was killed and its body destroyed and given over to the burning fire.

Daniel 7:25-27 (HCSB)25 He will speak words against the Most High and oppress the holy ones of the Most High. He will intend to change religious festivals and laws, and the holy ones will be handed over to him for a time, times, and half a time.26 But the court will convene, and his dominion will be taken away, to be completely destroyed forever.27 The kingdom, dominion, and greatness of the kingdoms under all of heaven will be given to the people, the holy ones of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will serve and obey Him.’

Daniel 11:45 (HCSB) He will pitch his royal tents between the sea and the beautiful holy mountain, but he will meet his end with no one to help him.

Evidently in Palestine to put an end to the perennial Jewish problem by wiping out the Jews, he himself meets his end. We can read prophecy about the consummation of Isreal’s history in the last three chapters of Zechariah.

5.  All of Daniel 11 was future to Daniel. However, Daniel 11:2-35 is past to us. Looking back, we can see how precisely God's predictions came true. One scholar has calculated that, in the first thirty-five verses of this chapter, 135 specific prophecies are made that were literally fulfilled. How does this support the theme of the book—that the Lord is sovereign over history?
6.  How can God's sovereign rule help us to stand firm when evil seems to triumph?

Next week we will finish our study of the Prophecies of Daniel with chapter 12, a brilliant end for God's people.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Prophecies of Daniel - Is the End Near? - Session 6 Another Vision of the Future





The Church of Divine Guidance (CDG) Sunday morning adult bible study group is involved in a study of chapters 7-12 of the book of Daniel. In light of all the things that are going on in the Middle East today many Christians and others are wondering if these things are fulfillment of prophecy and a sign that the end is near. It is not my intent to prove or disprove what people are saying about whether these things are the fulfillment of prophecy or not. My goal is to equip you through study so you can make your own determinations.


Introduction

Last week in session 5 we finished the sections in chapter 9 when Gabriel answered Daniel's prayer to God on behalf of Israel and himself after reading the prophecy of Jeremiah.
In Gabriel's answer he identified six things that will happen for the people of Israel and the holy city of Jerusalem within seventy "sevens" (usually interpreted as 490 years). Those six things were:
  • To finish the transgressions that Daniel had been confessing for his people
  • To make an end of sins
  • To make reconciliation for iniquity
  • To bring in everlasting righteousness
  • To seal up the vision and prophecy
  • To anoint the most Holy (or most holy place)
Some of the things have been completed and others have not.

We determined in our study that it was during the 69th week that the Messiah appeared and was "cut off" and the the final week the 70th was the end times when the Antichrist would be destroyed and the Messiah and his people would have complete and total victory. Meanwhile a lot of stuff would happen to Daniel's people before the 70th week so there is an apparent gap:

(1) Jesus placed the culminating week, with its "abomination" in the times of final Antichrist, just before His second advent

(2) Daniel 7:25, which describes what appear to be the very same events as those of 9:27, the seventieth week, is certainly a prophecy of the times of final Antichrist.

(3) The period of three and one-half times or years (the second half-week of v. 27) is often mentioned elsewhere in Scripture and always in an eschatological setting (Rev 11:2, 3; 12:6, 14). (4) The six things to be accomplished in the seventy weeks require the second advent of Christ, and the restoration and conversion of Israel.


Now on to this week's study of chapter 10:1-11:4 yet another vision and it's explanation


Wars, terrorism, assassinations—so often world events seem out of control. We are frustrated and frightened because of our inability to do anything to stop them. The last of four great visions given to Daniel presents God's perspective on world events.


1. What recent national or international crisis made you feel insecure or frightened? Explain.


Conflicts in the Middle East directly involving Israel, ISIS advances in Syria and Iraq, shows the level of violence and disregard for life and order. Inability of men to solve differences without violence.

Just as it says in Judges 21:25 (NKJV) In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes. There doesn't seem to be any solution outside of God.

The Ebola scare even with the advances in medicine, communication, and transportation we are having difficulty internationally, controlling and containing the epidemic again showing the limitations of man in dealing with disease even with all the advances of today.

Potential for terrorist attacks in the U.S. and those in government who say, quite rightly, that there is no guarantee that they won’t happen. Shows that even with all the technology and weapons that we possess man is capable of harm to man because of the hardness of his heart.

Jeremiah 17:9 (NKJV) "The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?


What are other things, going on in the world, that make you feel insecure or frightened?


2. Read Daniel 10:1-11:1. Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread took place in the first month of the year, from the 14th to the 21st. Why was Daniel mourning and fasting when traditionally Jews feasted and gave thanks for God's deliverance out of Egypt?


The date (Daniel 10:1 (NKJV) In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a message was revealed to Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar. The message was true, but the appointed time was long; and he understood the message, and had understanding of the vision.) explains Daniel's mourning.

It was now three years after Cyrus' proclamation allowing the Jews to go back to their land and to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem and it had not been completed. In fact work on the temple had stopped and Daniel was mourning these things.

Go to Ezra 1:1-4 (NKJV)1 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying,2 Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the LORD God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah.3 Who is among you of all His people? May his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel (He is God), which is in Jerusalem.4 And whoever is left in any place where he dwells, let the men of his place help him with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, besides the freewill offerings for the house of God which is in Jerusalem.

If you read the rest of chapter 1 and chapters 2 and 3 of Ezra there is a record of people who went back to Judah and Jerusalem and how they started restoring the temple and the opposition they got from the people that were there.

Go now to Ezra 4:4-5 (NKJV)4 Then the people of the land tried to discourage the people of Judah. They troubled them in building,5 and hired counselors against them to frustrate their purpose all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.

So by Cyrus' third year, the work begun on the restoration of the Temple had been stopped.

So Daniel was upset and stopped eating. It doesn't say that he fasted he just didn't eat what he may have usually eaten during this traditionally festive time year. Now remember that this was during Passover which would have been a time of celebration and feasting, although nothing that included leaven was to be eaten from the 14th through the 21st. Sort of like us during the holiday season of Thanksgiving through New Years not eating turkey and dressing and all the traditional things.

Daniel 10:2-3 (NKJV)2 In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks.3 I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.


3. Why did the vision cause Daniel to react the way he did?
The Archangel Gabriel Print by Shelia Diemert


He was probably awestruck because of the brilliance of the man’s appearance and the power of his voice.

Daniel 10:4-6 (NKJV)4 Now on the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, that is, the Tigris,5 I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, a certain man clothed in linen, whose waist was girded with gold of Uphaz!6 His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like torches of fire, his arms and feet like burnished bronze in color, and the sound of his words like the voice of a multitude.

He was frightened and so were the guys that were with him because they took off apparently after hear the voice that sounded “like the voice of a multitude” because verse 7 says that Daniel was the only one that stuck around and he was so frightened that he apparently couldn't run:

Daniel 10:7-10 (NKJV)7 And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, for the men who were with me did not see the vision; but a great terror fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves.8 Therefore I was left alone when I saw this great vision, and no strength remained in me; for my vigor was turned to frailty in me, and I retained no strength.9 Yet I heard the sound of his words; and while I heard the sound of his words I was in a deep sleep on my face, with my face to the ground.10 Suddenly, a hand touched me, which made me tremble on my knees and on the palms of my hands.


How would you react if you saw this kind of vision after praying?


The effect of this sight on Daniel should make men cautious about seeking or praying for unusual supernatural experiences of the presence of God beyond those experiences ordinarily granted to sincere believers.


Remember what God told Moses when he ask to see His glory?


Exodus 33:18-20 (NKJV)18 And he said, "Please, show me Your glory."19 Then He said, "I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion."20 But He said, "You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live."

Or Ezekiel 1:4-14 (NKJV) 4 Then I looked, and behold, a whirlwind was coming out of the north, a great cloud with raging fire engulfing itself; and brightness was all around it and
radiating out of its midst like the color of amber, out of the midst of the fire. 5 Also from within it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had the likeness of a man. 6 Each one had four faces, and each one had four wings. 7 Their legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were like the soles of calves' feet. They sparkled like the color of burnished bronze. 8 The hands of a man were under their wings on their four sides; and each of the four had faces and wings. 9 Their wings touched one another. The creatures did not turn when they went, but each one went straight forward. 10 As for the likeness of their faces, each had the face of a man; each of the four had the face of a lion on the right side, each of the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and each of the four had the face of an eagle. 11 Thus were their faces. Their wings stretched upward; two wings of each one touched one another, and two covered their bodies. 12 And each one went straight forward; they went wherever the spirit wanted to go, and they did not turn when they went. 13 As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, like the appearance of torches going back and forth among the living creatures. The fire was bright, and out of the fire went lightning. 14 And the living creatures ran back and forth, in appearance like a flash of lightning.

or Isaiah 6:1-5 (NKJV) 1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a
throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. 2 Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one cried to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!" 4 And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 So I said: "Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The LORD of hosts."


4. What do the angel's words to Daniel tell us about God's response to those who seek him?


They tell us that God hears our prayer immediately and he will answer even if the answer doesn't come right away and I might add in the way we want or expect. Look how he answered Daniel in a way that it frightened him.

Daniel 10:12-14 (NKJV)12 Then he said to me, "Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words.13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia.14 Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision refers to many days yet to come."


5. How might Daniel's experience encourage us to be persistent in prayer?


In Daniel’s case the answer didn't happen right away and it looks like he prayed constantly for 24 days before he got an answer. However he did get an answer from God.

Daniel 10:2 (NKJV) In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks. Daniel 10:4-5 (NKJV)4 Now on the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, that is, the Tigris,5 I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, a certain man clothed in linen, whose waist was girded with gold of Uphaz!


6. When Daniel mentions "the prince of the Persian kingdom" who resisted God's messenger, he probably means an evil spirit who influenced the affairs of the Persian government. What does this "unveiling" of demonic activity in political affairs teach us about our modern world?


That the unrest throughout the world is caused by demonic activity.

It was the prince of the kingdom of Persia. This was not a human prince. This was one of the devil’s servants.

In the OT world men believed each nation had its own special god.

Isaiah 37:37-38 (NKJV)37 So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and went away, returned home, and remained at Nineveh.38 Now it came to pass, as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, that his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer struck him down with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Ararat. Then Esarhaddon his son reigned in his place.

Daniel 4:8 (NKJV) But at last Daniel came before me (his name is Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god; in him is the Spirit of the Holy God), and I told the dream before him, saying:

2 Chronicles 28:23 (NKJV) For he sacrificed to the gods of Damascus which had defeated him, saying, "Because the gods of the kings of Syria help them, I will sacrifice to them that they may help me." But they were the ruin of him and of all Israel.

We are not talking about idols because the scriptures say that idols are nothing but wood or stone. The scriptures do indicate that evil spirits are behind the illusion that the idols have power.


7. If an evil power could hinder an angel in Daniel's day, what does this indicate about our own need for help against Satan's forces?


If it took the angel that came to Daniel three weeks or more to get past the Prince of Persia then we as humans by ourselves don’t have a chance against these powers. But thank God we don’t have to do it because Jesus has been victorious and God has given us, through His Spirit His armor to protect us and then the sword of the Spirit to go in the attack.

Go to Ephesians 6:11-18 (NKJV) 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints--

2 Corinthians 10:3-4 (NKJV)3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down
strongholds,


8.What was the significance of Daniel’s strengthening?


Daniel 10:18-19 (NKJV) 18 Then again, the one having the likeness of a man touched me and strengthened me. 19 And he said, "O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong, yes, be strong!" So when he spoke to me I was strengthened, and said, "Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me."

Because he was strengthened he could understand the explanation that he was given and be able to record it. God had chosen Daniel to see the vision and to write it for his people and for all that these prophecies would affect. That includes us today. The man said in verse 11 and 19 that Daniel was greatly beloved;

Daniel 10:11 (NKJV) And he said to me, "O Daniel, man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you." While he was speaking this word to me, I stood trembling.

Daniel 10:19 (NKJV)And he said, "O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong, yes, be strong!" So when he spoke to me I was strengthened, and said, "Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me."

He told Daniel essentially to be strong because he was chosen to receive the understanding of this vision so that he could record it. He then told him that he needed to get back after talking to Daniel because he had to go back and fight the prince of Persia again and he would defeat but then another evil spirit the prince of Greece would be coming. We know from previous study and the previous visions that the kingdom of Greece would follow the kingdom of Persia. He also told him that Michael, who was the angel who watched over the Jews would support him in the fight.

Daniel 10:20-21 (NKJV) 20 Then he said, "Do you know why I have come to you? And now I must return to fight with the prince of Persia; and when I have gone forth, indeed the prince of Greece will come. 21 But I will tell you what is noted in the Scripture of Truth. (No one upholds me against these, except Michael your prince.


9. What details were given concerning Israel’s history under Persia?


Daniel 11:1-2 (NKJV) 1 "Also in the first year of Darius the Mede, I, even I, stood up to confirm and strengthen him.) 2 And now I will tell you the truth: Behold, three more kings will arise in Persia, and the fourth shall be far richer than them all; by his strength, through his riches, he shall stir up all against the realm of Greece.

The purpose and nature of the angelic strengthening of Darius may only be surmised. Perhaps it had something to do with the benevolent treatment this king of the realm accorded the Jews. The three kings in Persia appear to have been: first, Cambyses, Cyrus' son (accession 529 b.c.); second, Pseudo-Smerdis, an impostor (though Olmstead, History of Persia, argues that he was a genuine Achaemenid, who reigned briefly in 522 b.c.); and third, Darius I, or Hystaspes, also called, the Great, (522-486 b.c.); a truly great monarch. The fourth, far greater than they all was, then, Xerxes, known in Esther as Ahasuerus (486-464 b.c.). The wars of Darius and of Xerxes, by which the Persians infuriated all of Greece, are well known to students of classical antiquity and standard ancient history. Wycliffe Bible Commentary


10, What was the importance of the emergence of "a mighty king"?


Daniel 11:3-4 (NKJV) 3 Then a mighty king shall arise, who shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will. 4 And when he has arisen, his kingdom shall be broken up and divided toward the four winds of heaven, but not among his posterity nor according to his dominion with which he ruled; for his kingdom shall be uprooted, even for others besides these.

The mighty king is Alexander the Great or the goat in Daniel 8:5 (NKJV) And as I was considering, suddenly a male goat came from the west, across the surface of the whole earth, without touching the ground; and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes.

He defeats the Medo-Persian empire and crushes it, then he dies and his empire is broken up into four parts.Daniel 8:8 (NKJV) herefore the male goat grew very great; but when he became strong, the large horn was broken, and in place of it four notable ones came up toward the four winds of heaven.

One of those four kingdoms or empires will persecute the Daniel’s people eventually desecrating the temple and stopping the sacrifices. We talked about that when we studied chapter 8. But the angel talking to Daniel is going to provide greater detail of those events and also give us a glimpse into the distant future the end times.

We will get into those details next week when we continue in chapter 11 starting at verse 5 and read through the last chapter of the book chapter 12.


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