DARE TO BE A DANIEL

A Place in Heaven

Daniel 12

Jerry A Collins

12/5/04

SCC

 

*               How distressful will the time of the end become?

*               What is to be the length of the time of the end?

*               What is to be the outcome of the time of the end?

 

We spend an awful lot of time waiting and anticipating things to happen. We do this for the possible promotion we may receive. We wait for an answer to our prayers. We are waiting right now for the holidays to arrive. We are still waiting for the Detroit lions to win the super bowl. We wait for the doctors appointment we have scheduled. Like many others we also find ourselves waiting for and anticipating the end of things. In Daniel 12 it is anticipating the time of the end. What is going to happen in the end? What will it be like when the end of all things approaches? In this passage Daniel leaves a record of a message he received about the time of the end when history will culminate in the grand scheme of Gods sovereign plan for the ages. Everything here is about that end.

(1) It is the time of the end between distress and deliverance vs 1. Lets look at the character of this period of time. First, with the presence of Michael, the time of Israels troubles begins. Apparently, Michael, the guard of the nation of Israel, will arise to carry out this great distress or tribulation period. Second, this tribulation is something which has never happened before. This seems to coincide with what Matt 24:21 calls a great tribulation not occurring since the beginning of the world. This also seems to be the same period described in Revelation 12:7ff with Michael casting Satan out of heaven and 3 and a half years of great tribulation fall upon Israel. Third, people found in the book will be delivered or rescued. We know at least that this includes the 2 witnesses and the 144000 Jewish evangelists who will be preaching during this time of distress in Israel (Rev 11-14). Notice these are in the book in heaven at the writing of Daniel when they wont even be born for thousands of years. This then will be a period of contrast between distress and deliverance.

(2) It is the time of the end for the wise and the wicked vs 2-3. It is a contrast between those who have insight and those who are disgraced. Between those resurrected to everlasting life and reward and those resurrected to everlasting contempt. Many will lose their lives during these events but they are promised a reward in vs 3 that will be theirs forever and have them stand out as special in Gods everlasting kingdom. This may be referring to those killed during this unprecedented time of distress, the great tribulation just before Christs second coming. The resurrection of the church happens at the rapture 7 yrs before this (1 Thess 4:13-18; 1 Cor 15:50f). We also know of an eternal damnation judgment in Rev 20:11-15 when everyone ever born not found in the book of life will be cast into everlasting contempt. There are only two alternatives. The Bible is consistent with this message. This has to be one of the clearest references in the Old Testament to everlasting life and resurrection. And it is still the message today. There is a separation here for sure. It begins in this life. The real issue is how did we respond to his message, the gospel? What it is you are going to be resurrected to? Glorification or judgment? Jesus said in John 5:28-29 that this would be so for an hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs shall hear his voice and shall come forth; those who did good to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil to a resurrection of judgment. The answer Jesus said in Jn 6:28 is This is the work of God that you believe in Him whom he has sent! So it matters how you respond and what you believe.

(3) It is the time of the end between that which is hidden and that which is revealed 4ff. First, Daniel is to conceal the words and seal them up until the end times. This is the opposite of what John was to do in Revelation 1:3 & 22:10. There the words are to be read and heard and heeded for the time is near! So the idea of Daniels writing is that the time is not near. At Johns writing the time is near. So at the time of Daniel the events of this great period of tribulation will not take place during his age, the OT period. For John, this period of distress will take place in his age, the period of the church age so there is no longer a need to conceal and seal up this prophecy since it will now be fulfilled. These last days will be characterized by a rapid increase in knowledge going here and there to seek knowledge but the book of Daniel will prove to be a great value to those living during this period for it gives insite into the events taking place around them. Second, Daniel sees a figure clothed in linen 5-6. One with this figure asks a question. What will be the length of this period of incredible distress? The answer is two-fold. It includes the duration of time but also the purpose for the great tribulation. First, the time is stated at a time, times and half a time vs 7. This is generally understood to mean a period of three and a half years. This same phrase was used in Dan 7:25 and in Dan 4:16-32 where it is used of years. In Rev 12:13 a time, times and half a time refers to the great tribulation equaling 1260 days in Rev 12:6 and the 42 months in Rev 11:2 al referring to the same period of time. This final ruler will reign for 7 yrs, the 70th week in Dan 9:27, the 1st half or 3 and a half yrs peaceful for Israel because of a firm covenant he makes with them. But in the middle of this week he will put a stop to sacrifice and make desolateeven until a complete destruction is poured out and the last 3 and a half yrs a great tribulation. Second, the suffering will end when its purpose has been fulfilled vs 7b. Israels power will be broken by Antichrists ruthless power and then all these events will be completed. Like all sinners unbelieving Israels self-righteousness and sufficiency turns them from God but God will use this unprecedented distress to press them beyond limits of their own sufficiency to turn them back to God for deliverance. 3 and a half years is the measure of Israels final stubbornness that turns the nation back to God broken and repentant in faith and hope in Messiah. A second question is now asked by Daniel what will be the outcome? He is not told everything but something. First, there are 2 kinds of peoplethose purged & refined & understanding (the ones rescued and shining brightly in vs 1-2). The others are wicked and even more so. Tribulation tends to make good people better and bad people worse. During the great tribulation for instance, men are scorched with fierce heat and later huge hailstones come down from heavenyet in both cases it says and they blasphemed the name of God..and they did not repent so to give God glory. The wicked confirmed in their wickedness when they should have cried out to God for deliverance! Second, when Antichrist breaks the treaty and stops sacrifices 3 and a half yrs later (vs 11), will be 1260 days plus 30 possibly announcing this 30 days before it happens. Then an additional 45 days later (1335 total days in vs 12) this period officially over with Christ beginning his reign on the earth. A time worth waiting for and a blessing for Israel and all the earth (Eze 40-48). Daniel did not understand it. We understand ir more because we have Matthew and Revelation but we dont see it very clearly either. As for Daniel: (1) go to the endlive out rest of your life (2) then you will die, enter your rest (3) but you will rise again and (4) you will be rewarded at end of age.

(1) God rules in affairs of men. Pilate was exasperated with Christ and defiantly said I have authority to release and crucify but Jesus told him his authority was only given to him from above Jn 19:10-11.

(2) God delegates his authority to angels, Satan people. God sets the parameters. Antichrists authority is given to him Rev 13

(3) God holds all responsible for the evil he lets them do.

(4) History will end according to Gods plan.

(5) We can rest on wisdom of Gods ways.