Daniel 11 &12
God of All Nations
Daniels Last Vision pt. 2
Good Morning! Please grab your Bibles with me and turn to Daniel chapter 12. IF you do not have a Bible or do not own a Bible from our table or come see me afterwards and we will give you one as our gift to you.
Today, our journey through the book of Daniel comes to an end. And fittingly, in the last chapter, we see visions, we see symbolism, we see prophecy and we see the unknown.
It starts with the continuation, the end of the vision that was set up in chapter 10 and revealed in Chapter 11. At the point that this last vision started, Daniel would have been around 85 years old. He had lived a lifetime of trusting in the LORD and seeing him come through with his promises and seeing visions and prophecies revealed to him.
He had faith in Gods promises, but he didn’t always see how they were being fulfilled. And so, after the Jews were allowed to go back to Jerusalem from the exile they were in in Babylon, at first, everything seemed to be looking up. But then those who were there to rebuild the temple ran into a whole lot of trouble. The rebuild stopped. Daniel was discouraged.
He started praying and fasting and was visited by a messenger who pulled back the curtain and showed Daniel a glimpse of the spiritual warfare going on around us, every minute of every day. Gods Angels and Satan’s fallen Angels battling over the events of this world.
In the visions that started chapter 11, we see a prophecy of how some of history would play out, history that would, by context, be affected by this spiritual warfare. It went through the rulers of Persia and then Greece. It made much focus of Antiochus IV who persecuted the Jewish people very greatly. And then it gave some prophecies regarding how all these things look towards the end antichrist and the spiritual warfare going on with that.
During all of this, we see the prophecies laced with phrases and statement that continue to remind us and confirm that God is in complete control. Despite the invisible spiritual battles going on and affecting this world, God is completely sovereign, and his will will be done. We see specifically with the antichrist that “He shall come to an end. This is, up to the current time, 2500 years before the end that God promises, prophecies and tells us this.
Now the first few verses of chapter 12 continue and finish the vision of Chapter 11 and that’s where we will start this morning. Ill be reading out of the English Standard Version. Please follow along in your preferred translation, whatever that may be.
Daniel 12:1-4, the messenger of the visions continues to speak to Daniel, saying:
“At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. 2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above;[a] and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. 4 But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”
May God Bless the Reading of his Word.
So, we see that Michael is involved in the battles at the end. Very little is actually, for sure known about Michael. We know he is an archangel. WE know he is a warrior angel. He is a commander of Holy Angels. And in the context of Chapters 10 & 11, he may be the prince angel of Israel. We know that he will be heavily involved in the spiritual battles going on, especially getting closer to the end.
And we see that those battles, that spiritual warfare, the powers and principalities that are at work, these things will only get more intense and they will continue to have a stronger impact on the world around it. This impact will play out in ever increasing tribulation, in ever increasing rebellion and in ever increasing depravity.
One of the roles we do see Angels filling is that of ministering to and protecting those who belong to God. The messenger here tells Daniel that many of Gods people shall be delivered. This is not deliverance from troubles, not deliverance from pain, and certainly not deliverance from death. But this is deliverance from Satan’s Grip, this is deliverance from unbelief. This is deliverance from Hell, from what we truly and fully deserve.
God is faithful that, if we, in the words of Jesus, repent and believe the Gospel, he is faithful to forgive, to justify, to sanctify and to glorify. He is faithful to deliver us from his own justice and wrath.
And we get a testimony of the one and only resurrection of the dead to take place at the end. Hebrews 9:27 tells us: it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.
It is at that time that the wheat will be separated from the chaff. It is then that the goats will be separated from the sheep. This is when the righteous will be separated form the unrighteous for all eternity. And it won’t happen until then unfortunately.
This is where some Christians have a different view on what is going to happen as we move ahead into the future. Some see the world becoming more and more Christianized and the church growing strong. I don’t see this any where in scriptures. Some see the world going down the drain and the church following close behind. I don’t think this is entirely accurate either, though I can see why some believe this. I see the world going down the drain, and some who think they are a part of the church, but who are truly part of the world going with the world. But the church will continue on and grow strong. Gods people will stand firm in perseverance, they will rise to the occasion and they will be a great witness to this broken world about the good ness, the faithfulness, the forgiveness and the holiness of God.
One commentator reminds us, despite what we see around us, God has got this, writing:
The apocalyptic parts of the Bible, like the book of Daniel, remind us that we live in a world that cannot simply be fixed. It needs to be recreated. To be sure, God will eliminate all evil in the end, but sin and sickness will be defeated according to his timetable, not ours. In the end, the broken shall be made whole and all tears will be wiped away. But until the coming of Gods kingdom, brokenness and suffering, pain and persecution will continue to be the normal state for believers. We live in a world that is profoundly broken.
The messenger tells Daniel to shut these words up, to seal the book. Not to keep it unopened, but to keep it unaltered as it awaits fulfillment. We are to make sure that Gods Word stays as Gods Word. We treat it as Gods Word. We believe it as Gods Word. We preach it and proclaim it as Gods Word.
And many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase. Very similar wording to our scripture reading this morning, from Amos 8. There he says, they shall seek the Word of the LORD, but they shall not find it. Here we see that knowledge shall increase. Some may not understand how both can be true. Knowledge isn’t wisdom. Intellectual knowledge is good. It should be strived for. But knowledge of things without the knowledge of the God is vanity.
Proverbs says that fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge. Ans so we can have knowledge outside of God, but any knowledge worth having is based on and started with God.
Think of it like this. If someone is studying biology, geology, and the like. If they study these things without knowledge of the LORD, where does it lead them? Down the road to Evolution, Darwin, and the like. But to study it with a foundation of the Word of God, to study these things already having a knowledge of the LORD, you get to see the beauty of Gods handiwork through the Earth, through the animal kingdom and throughout all of Creation.
The Messenger has finished the vision he is relaying to Daniel. We pick up the last part of this chapter, as we read the follow up to the vision, Chapter 12, verses 5-13:
Then I, Daniel, looked, and behold, two others stood, one on this bank of the stream and one on that bank of the stream. 6 And someone said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream,[b] “How long shall it be till the end of these wonders?” 7 And I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream; he raised his right hand and his left hand toward heaven and swore by him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time, and that when the shattering of the power of the holy people comes to an end all these things would be finished. 8 I heard, but I did not understand. Then I said, “O my lord, what shall be the outcome of these things?” 9 He said, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end. 10 Many shall purify themselves and make themselves white and be refined, but the wicked shall act wickedly. And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand. 11 And from the time that the regular burnt offering is taken away and the abomination that makes desolate is set up, there shall be 1,290 days. 12 Blessed is he who waits and arrives at the 1,335 days. 13 But go your way till the end. And you shall rest and shall stand in your allotted place at the end of the days.”
The scene shifts back to Daniel on the banks of the river with the angels and what not. Some one asks the messenger, When? When will all this take place? That’s is an interesting question, isn’t it? Its an answer we all want to know. But Jesus tells us, when the disciples asked this very same question. He said that not even the angels in heaven know the time. Angels are powerful and the know a lot, but they are not omnipotent, and they are not omniscient. They too are curious to the events that are going to take place. They too want to be witnesses to these events.
I think that’s an important context to this. Mark 13:32, “But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
To be clear, the angels are answering this question with limited, unclear knowledge. And so, this messenger answers, but first he swears with two hands, by the holy God.
Again, we see this time frame, a time, times and a half a time. Some will see a specific frame of time here, maybe three and a half years. Some will see and general view of a long time. Most will at least agree that this is a period of time that is shortened because God intervenes. God has a decreed when all things will take place and those times will be adhered to.
The messenger also says, when the shattering of the power of the holy people comes to an end all these things would be finished. There could be a lot of things that this means. In my studies, I don’t think I came across too many of the same thoughts.
I like best what Iain Duguid says, as he writes: Was there ever a greater display of brokenness than what we see at the cross? At the cross we see the brokenness of this fallen world that would take its own creator and crucify him. On the cross we see the brokenness of Gods True Israel: there Jesus Christ personified the holy people of God, and there his true power was thoroughly broken. In fact, it was so broken that he needed a stranger to help carry his cross up to Golgatha, and then someone else to carry his lifeless corpse down again. Was there ever a greater display of weakness and brokenness than the cross?
Now, we know of course that that power was restored after his death, with his resurrection. Sinclair Ferguson reminds us: When the powers of darkness have done their worst against the kingdom of God, and the truth of God has been set at a final devaluation, God will act.
We don’t know when the end will be, but God does. And he tells us that’s enough. And here’s the thing, What Does Daniel say in response to this? He says, I heard but did not understand. We are going to live with unanswered questions. God tells us in Deuteronomy 29:29 that the secret things belong to the LORD. We can’t and we won’t know everything we want to. God gives us enough to trust in Him and to act in his will.
The messenger tells Daniel, hey now. Go your way. Stay in your lane. Focus on Gods purpose for you. Don’t worry about the things he doesn’t have for you. Worry about the things he does have for you. Think about. There is so much sin and so much brokenness, so much injustice in this world, we can’t fight every fight there is to fight. We can’t campaign against every single wrong there is. But God brings some causes, some injustices, some sins to our attention. Those are the ones that we can fight against.
In this way, the wicked and the righteous will each make themselves known and in the end all will become clear. The messenger mentions an amount of days that no one can quite sure what they mean. The numbers don’t quite add up to any specific amount of time. So, are they literal days? Are the symbolic for years? There are any number of options and nobody knows. What we do now is that this is an unknown but very specific amount of time. Again, God knows his timetable, even if we don’t.
The last verse, Daniel is told, Go your way. Stand Firm. BE strong. Persevere to the end. Stay faithful. Do this, do what you are told to do. Trust in God and believe the Gospel and you will spend eternity in your allotted place.
We see the world as it is. We see the world as it will be. We eagerly live for that world to come. But we live in this world and are to act accordingly.
Ferguson again, says: In Every epoch of revelation, Gods people have been encouraged to live in the light of what God has promised for the future.
2 Peter 3:11-13, Peter writes:
Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! 13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
The way we live today, is because of what we know about in the future. IF we are consistent in how we see this world, it is because of our faith and because of our beliefs that we do good for those around us. That we take care of the widows and orphans. That we treat all people equally, as created in the image of God. That we desire to see all come to repentance and faith in Christ and spared eternity if wrath and justice.
Duguid reminds us: We must remember that the primary biblical image for the saints is not that of crusaders but martyrs. It is not our task to come along on a white horse and save the world. That job belongs to some one else.
This world is our temporary home, but our citizenship is in Gods Kingdom. We work for the welfare of where we live, but ultimately our allegiance is to God. And so, we live for him, and him alone. We should make a difference in this world, but the results are out of our hands. Our faithfulness is what is in our hands. Faithfulness to a Holy God and his Holy decrees.
This has been an incredibly eye-opening journey for me as we have walked through Daniel. A lot of resources for how to act, how to live, how to react to what’s going on in the world today. As we continue to try to make the world a better place and reflect the glory and holiness of God, I leave you with one last passage from Duguid before I close us in prayer. He writes:
The Day is coming when Jesus Christ will ride out to conquer and to recreate, a day when the kingdom of this world will become the kingdom of our God and of his Christ. In the meantime, our task as martyrs is simply to testify to the LORDS greatness and grace by our words and by our sufferings. As we cling to God in the midst of trials that we do not understand, we testify of God’s grace to a watching world and to the heavenly beings. Like Jacob, who wrestled on with God at the fords of the Jabbok even after he had been crippled by the encounter, we testify not by our strength and might but simply by our persistence in clinging on to God in the midst of our brokenness.
And when the final triumph sounds for us, bringing to an end our earthly conflict, then at last we too will hear our redeemer say to us: “As for you, Go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.” We will rise with Daniel- the same Daniel who endured the trials of the lions den and the challenges of living in an alien land, who prayed daily for the consummation of Gods kingdom and who prospered throughout the exile- and with all the saints, to receive our final reward in Christ.
Amen, Lets Pray.