Series on Daniel.
Manuscript of this sermon is available for reading services.
Reading: Revelation 22:10-21
Text: Daniel 12
Revelation of the End
Daniel 12 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
The Time of the End
12 “Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued. 2 Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting [a]contempt. 3 [b]Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the [c]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.”
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 I heard the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, [d]as he raised his right hand and his left toward heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever that it would be for a [e]time, [f]times, and half a [g]time; and as soon as [h]they finish shattering the [i]power of the holy people, all these events will be completed. 8 As for me, I heard but could not understand; so I said, “My lord, what will be the [j]outcome of these events?” 9 He said, “Go your way, Daniel, for these words are concealed and sealed up until the end time. 10 Many will be purged, [k]purified and refined, but the wicked will act wickedly; and none of the wicked will understand, but [l]those who have insight will understand. 11 From the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished and the [m]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! 13 But as for you, go your way to the [n]end; then you will enter into rest and rise again for your allotted portion at the end of the [o]age.”
Manuscript of this sermon is available for reading services.
A Revelation of the End
Reading: Revelation 22: 10-21
Text: Daniel 12:1-4
This final chapter in the book of Daniel is really a continuation of the revelation from the Lord to Daniel which began in chapter 10 and concludes at the end of the book. Again the Main themes which were evident through-out the book of Daniel are reiterated at the end that is , that God’s people need to be prayerful, familiar with the word of God and vigilant because there is constant opposition to the church from spiritual enemies. These enemies manifest themselves in hostile nations or smooth talkers who inveigle their way into the affections of hypocrites like Antiochus Epiphanes who turned the worship God into a terrible farce; and so on. Satan has many schemes therefore God’s people must put on the full armour of God in order to be able to stand our ground.
Here in chapter 12 the Revelation Daniel receives goes beyond the present and to the future to the end times. In fact this revelation is the background of similar prophecy in the New Testament, like that found in Mark 13, 2 Thessalonians 2 and the book of Revelation. Again its intention is to strengthen believers in every age as we face the assaults of Satan and his accomplices and as we pray for the return and final triumph of the Lord Jesus Christ.
So we’ll look at Daniel’s Revelation of the end in three parts, the first being;
1. Unparalleled trouble.
It says in verse 1 that there will be a time of distress such as has never occurred since there was a nation until that time. That is a strong indication that this refers to the end times rather than any other period of persecution in history. Jesus used similar language in Mark 13:19&20 which says” For those days will be a time of tribulation such as has not occurred since the beginning of the creation which God created until now and never shall. Unless the Lord had shortened those day no life would have been saved but for the sake of the elect whom he chose he shortened the days. What might that look like when it comes? A looming nuclear holocaust? At present 9 countries have a nuclear arsenal and other five have a nuclear weapons sharing arrangement with other counties. There is probably a big enough nuclear arsenal around now to obliterate life as we know it.
Unparalleled trouble can come in other ways too. What if Christianity become outlawed in countries like ours or the USA. Already now the Ten Commandments are no longer regarded as the basis for law but law is said to be relative and changing. And then there is the problem of apostasy which was experienced in Daniels day which we see today and which will be far worse towards the end times according to these apocalyptic writings in the Bible.
But why is the church under attack? According to 1 John4:18 its fear. It says there is no fear in love but perfect love casts out fear because fear involves punishment and the one who fears is not perfected in love. So the tribulation is due to the tension and fear that the wicked have of Christ and his certain victory over evil. It is the knowledge of His and the church’s victory and the defeat of evil which brings on the oppression of the church.
Does the tribulation mean that towards the end the evil will have the upper hand and the good all but obliterated? We can think of Jesus parable of the wheat and the weeds. The enemy came and sowed his weeds where the owner of the field sowed his wheat. Any attempt to pull out the weeds beforehand was not permitted. The weeds had to stay. They have a purpose it seems and both the wheat and the weeds are allowed to grow together until the harvest. Only then are they pulled up together. Looking at the field it would have appeared that the weeds had taken over but on pulling up the crop there was the wheat unspoiled and endowed with ripened grain.
The parable tells us something about the growth of both good and evil. It’s not that one gets the better of the other according to the parable. Both grow up together. There is progress in evil and well as in good around the world. Both good and evil progress towards maturity until the end, only then will evil be completely destroyed. This is apparent in the text too in verse 10 the good are refined and purified while the wicked continue to act wickedly, continually adding to their condemnation. Revelation 22:11 says much the same thing. Let the one who does wrong still do wrong, let the one who is filthy still be filthy, and let the one who is righteous still practice righteousness.
And so the growth of the weeds among the wheat symbolising the tribulation will have the effect of purification. It confirms God’s people in their faith and separates true believers from unbelievers and apostates. It will have the opposite effect of making those opposed to the gospel more brazen and confirmed in their godlessness and opposition to the gospel. That leads to my second point.
2. Daniel prophesied about the outcome of the tribulation. In verse 1 & 2 we read about God’s people being rescued, everyone whose name is written in the book, and those who have fallen asleep being raised from the dead to everlasting life. The point Daniel made there is that none of the elect, i.e. those whose names are written in the book will be lost.
This is one of the great Old Testament affirmations of the resurrection in line with Job 19:25 which says “ I know that my redeemer lives and in the end he will take his stand on the earth . Even after my skin is destroyed yet from my flesh I shall see God.” Or Psalm 16:10 “For you will not abandon my soul to the grave nor will you let your holy one see decay.”
The promise of resurrection is even clearer in the New Testament. Many times Jesus spoke of eternal life. Paul wrote about it often too. 1 Corinthians 15:42 tells us, “So it is with the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body it is raised an imperishable body, it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory.” And earlier “If there is no resurrection of the dead then not even Christ has been raised and if Christ is not raised then our preaching and your faith is in vain.”
So there will be deliverance God’s people will be rescued God’s angels will descend from heaven (according to 1 Thessalonians 4) “with a shout with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air”.
So there will be a great rescue. Revelation 11:11 provides more detail. Just when things look grim or the church when the two witnesses representing the church are slain in the street after three and one half days the breath of God entered them and they stood up and heard a voice from heaven saying “come up here” and then they went into heaven on a cloud. So that’s the final outcome; a great rescue of God’s people on an unprecedented scale!
In the meantime we are not left without help in times of trial. As we think about the archangel Michael we are reminded that the Lord has legions of them and they are ministering spirits sent to help those who inherit salvation those whose names are in the book of life. We know that according to Luke 22:43 an angel strengthened Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. Daniel’s three companions were accompanied by an angel when they were thrown into the fiery furnace. Hebrews 1:14 tells us ha they also help us. Exactly how is hard to say. You have to wonder how these invisible beings operate but who knows how many dangers we have escaped or how much we owe them because of inherit intervention. In any case hey watch over us they drive the evil spirit’s away ad keep our eyes of faith fixed in Jesus ad on heaven. When the last battle has been fought he will escort us into heaven where we will see the face of Jesus.
3. In the third place while we wait for that day of deliverance we need Patience and wisdom.
a) Patience. In reply to the question how long in verse 6 Daniel heard two answers. First was given on oath that I would be a time, times and half a time until the power of the holy people is shattered. And the second is seen in verse 11 1290 days and blessed is he who waits 1335 days! Some commentators think that these figures give a basis for working or when he second coming of Christ will be. But that would contradict the Lord’s words; ‘no-one knows the day or the hour except the Father in heaven.. A good explanation is given by Calvin who says “the meaning is very simple, twice means a longer period, times longer again and half means the end or closing period. The sum of the whole is this. Many years must elapse before God fulfils what the prophet declares as if to say while God’s people ae kept in suspense without obtaining a clear answer their question the time will be prolonged or even doubled. With respect to half a time this is added for the believer that time will be cut short.”
So Daniel is given no clear explanation and is told to seal up the words of this book until the end of time. Now as I said earlier the words of Christ and his apostles Paul and John in 1 Corinthians, Thessalonians and Revelation do shed much light on Daniel’s prophecy. However here is still quite a lot to be revealed; a lot that we don’t know and this calls for steadfast patience Daniel is told “Go on your way”
In other words don’t let his prophecy change the way you live your life. That is good advice for us too. A lot of time has been wasted and a lot of damage done to the church by date setters and those who try to read between the lines of the Bible. People have been drawn out of faithful churches into sect and cults because some charismatic type has conned people into believe their lies. Paul’s advice to the Corinthian church is good advice for us “be steadfast, immovable always abounding in the work of the Lord knowing that in the Lord your labour is not in vain. Daniel was to quietly go about his work of devotion to the word and to be steadfast in prayer. He was to continue being a good citizen in Babylon and to encourage his brothers and sisters in the Lord.
The apostle Paul gave much the same advice to the church at Thessalonica. There were some who were speculating about Christ’s return and what happened to those who died in the Lord. Some even stopped work because they believed in the imminent return of Christ. Paul wrote “we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life doing no work at all but acting like busybodies.” These people were urged to “work in a quiet fashion, eat their own bread and as for you brethren do not grow weary in doing good.” So go on your way. Stay the course in keeping good habits, exercising spiritual disciplines, working at your vocations, seeking to be a good Christian witness in your communities and doing good to all especially the household of faith. (Gal. 6:10)
b) Wisdom Then there is also a need for wisdom as we wait for our deliverance. Verse 3 says those who have insight will shine brightly like the stars and verse 10 “those who are wicked will act wickedly, none of the wicked will understand but the wise will have insight. Similarly the description in Revelation 13 of the dragon and his accomplices who attack the church from every which way ends with the succinct remark “This calls for wisdom.”
What does wisdom look like? Well Daniel was noted for his wisdom seen in his regular prayer life his knowledge of God’s word and in his personal and public life. Wisdom also includes an ability to discern between the phoney and the genuine an ability to avoid self-destructive behaviours such as Daniel rejecting the kings food and eating vegetables instead, . Wisdom involves an ability to be critical of popular false god’s that lead many astray and it is an ability to stay the course rather than panic or throw in the towel when there is a delay in justice coming. The foolish are led astray, encouraged in their unbelief and bold in their folly. But the wise shine out as Daniel did in their wisdom. This wisdom in the book of Daniel is of course a divine gift Chapter 1:17 God gave Daniel and his friends, knowledge, intelligence and understanding. However it is also something that we can grow in Proverbs chapter 2 shows us how. “If receive my sayings, treasure my commandments incline your ear to wisdom, cry out for discernment, lift your voice for understanding search for her as silver and hidden treasure then you will discern the fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God for the Lord gives wisdom and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
Stay the course learn wisdom and the promise at the end of Daniel 12 is “You shall enter your rest. In the NT the heavenly rest which follows life on earth is the goal of our lives. Hebrews 4:3 tells us that we who have believed enter that rest and in verse 9-11 it says, “There remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God whoever enters God’s rest ceases from his labours as God did from his.
So the book of Daniel ends with words of great hope for all God’s people “Go on your way and you will enter your rest and you shall rise again for your allotted portion at the end of the age. We are to go on our way, keep fighting the good fight, stay the course, learn wisdom and above all keep trusting in Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord sure of the promise that we will realise our destiny and share in the inheritance of the saints.