Turn with me in your Bible to the twelfth chapter of Daniel. Come to the end of a wonderful glorious study in this book. In another sense, maybe we’ve just established the beginning because I hope and pray that you will go back to this book again and again to be enriched with its tremendous truths. We’re looking at the last portion of the book, chapter 12 verse 4 through 13, 12:4 through 13. It is obvious, I think, to all of us that man is curious about his future.
We have in human society, and I suppose we’ve always had, people who look into the future or attempt to do so or offer themselves as those that are able to do that. And they have held the fascination of man throughout his existence: stargazers, fortune tellers, wizards, palm readers, tea bag tale tellers, seers, prophets, predictors, mediums, on and on. But they’ve always had a wide and lucrative response from people. Why? Basically because deep down within man is tremendous curiosity about the future.
But why? Why is it that man so desperately seems to want to know the future? Well, maybe three reasons. Number one is just curiosity. We – we just want to know because we don’t know. And there’s a certain amount of anxiety about what you don’t know. And I think man just would like to end the anxiety about the unknown and so he’s curious about the future. But there’s more than that. I think men want to know the future in many cases in order to capitalize on what is coming. If men could know the future, they could know how to play the stock market; they could know about all the things that are going to come in the world and they could hedge against it. In other words, greed, ambition or selfish fulfillment might be a reason people want to know the future.
Thirdly, and I think most significantly, people want to know the future because of fear. Because, you see, basically we live in the fear of the unexpected. It is what we don’t know that scares us. It is what might happen. And man has always wanted to eliminate the unexpected and, therefore, eliminate his fear. So, whether it’s curiosity or a certain amount of self-serving greed or fear, there has always been an amazing curiosity about the future.
We have in our own time a tremendous interest in futurism. Science fiction and all of the amazing films and books that continue to come out that want to take us into the future have shown us how man’s curiosity is peaked in this area. Even a book like The Late Great Planet Earth sells over 20 million copies. People want to know about the future and it also spawned hundreds of other books that people bought in the millions.
Now, the only true source of knowledge about the future is the Bible. I’ll say that again. The only true source of knowledge about the future is the Bible. There is no other true source. And Daniel is one of the great prophetic books of the Bible. In this book, we learn about the future. God gives us glimpses of future events, future personalities, future judgments, future blessings. And thus, this is a remarkable book. Now why does God tell us about the future? Just to deal with our curiosity? To give us the ability to sort of hedge against what’s coming in a self-serving way? No. I believe basically there are four reasons God tells us about the future and I tried to think this through this week, and I think you’ll agree with me.
First of all, God tells us about the future to authenticate His Word. One of the great authentications of the veracity of the Bible is that it predicts the future. And then when the thing it predicts come to pass, it’s a convincing argument that God wrote it. So in terms of God, Himself, it authenticates His Word.
Secondly, God tells us about the future in order to reveal His sovereignty. He wants us to know that He is charting the course of human history. Thirdly, I believe that God tells us about the future in order to both motivate and comfort His people. When we know the Lord is coming, we get busy living for Him. John says, “He that bath this hope in him, purifies himself.” When we know He’s coming, we are comforted that no matter what happens in the world, it’s all going to come out in the end with the Lord Jesus Christ reigning as King of kings.
So God tells us the future to authenticate the truth of His Word, to reveal the sovereignty of His person and to comfort and motivate His people. And there’s one other reason. I believe God reveals the future in order to admonish the wicked and sinful, to warn them of coming judgment. God wants us to know something about the future, enough to let us know the Bible is true because it can predict and when – when it is fulfilled it shows its truthfulness. He wants us to know that He is sovereign. He wants us to be motivated and comforted. And He wants the lost and the wicked to be warned about coming doom.
Now, all four of these purposes have been seen remarkably in the book of Daniel. We have seen God give history before it happened. We can look back and see that it all came to pass exactly as He said it would. We have seen that God is sovereignly controlling all of history. We have seen God make great effort to comfort and also motivate His people Israel through these prophecies as well as to warn the wicked and the lost.
And so, these have been marvelous and thrilling and comprehensive and sweeping prophetic statements. But with all of the remarkable and amazing detail of the book of Daniel, with all of the accuracy of the Word of God revealed here about the future, even after we’ve studied all of these twelve chapters, we are left with the fact that there’s still a lot of mystery, isn’t there? For the more we know, the more we know we don’t know. And so, as we come to chapter 12 and we say to ourselves, “We’re already at the end of the book? You mean there’s no more? I’m not sure I understand it all.” That’s right. Don’t feel bad, I don’t understand it all either. The only thing that I can understand is what God says and He hasn’t said it all.
There is mystery involved. There is much that is unsaid. And that is not only my problem and your problem but would you believe that was Daniel’s problem? He didn’t get it all either. In fact, if I may be so bold, he didn’t understand it as well as we do. You say, “Now wait a minute. How come?” Because he had only to deal with Daniel. Fortunately, we also have Revelation. And the book of Revelation adds much to our understanding.
So Daniel in chapter 12 is still somewhat mystified. At best, the prophecies are sketches, not full-color scapes. At best, the figures are stick figures. And we really don’t see the fullness of all of the future, even those of us who have the benefit of hearing the Olivet discourse of our Lord in which He spoke more details, even those of us who have the marvelous promises of the book of Revelation. Even having all of that, we don’t understand it all. And Daniel, minus those things, certainly didn’t. They were so far away from the end times that they were limited in their perception.
Peter speaks of this in 1 Peter in a most interesting passage, chapter 1 verse 10. He says that “the salvation the prophets have inquired and searched of,” the very salvation they prophesied regarding the grace. And that has to do with the coming of Christ and His provision for a gracious salvation. The thing the prophets spoke of, Searching,” – verse 11 – “what person,” – literally, or – “what manner of time the Spirit of Christ who was in them did signify when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow.”
In other words, what it’s saying is they actually were getting the prophecies and then going back and studying the meaning of the very prophecies they were receiving about Christ. Because, verse 12, “Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you.” In other words, just to give you the idea here, the prophets read it but they didn’t fully understand it, they looked into it but it was not clear to them in its totality, it is more clear to us, says Peter, who have seen Christ than it was to them.
And the details yet of His Second Coming, await a full understanding. They had a thirst to know more than they could understand. In Matthew 13, verse 17, “For verily I say unto you, that many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.”
Jesus is saying, many of the prophets and many of the righteous men wanted to see the coming of Messiah. They wanted to see His arrival and to see Him and to hear Him. Verse 16, “Blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear.” They didn’t have that privilege. And so, when they wrote about Christ, they had to search to see what person and what time and what events could bring this to pass. And so, what Peter is saying is that there was a certain amount of mystery even about the first coming of Christ. Ah, how much more mystery even about the Second Coming.
Now, in this final section, the Lord deals with Daniel and also with a couple of angels who express some questions about the details of what is coming to pass. Even after all of the information of the book, there is still much mystery. But all of this revelation has managed to peak their interest and they want more. And so, in the closing section from verse 4 to 13, the Lord clarifies some final features. And even after the clarification, leaves an abundant mystery for the future. Now, let’s see these final words and we’ll take them just as they flow in the text and move right on through.
First of all, the content sealed; secondly, the chronology set; then the confusion stated; the cleansing secured; and the commendation sworn.
First, the content sealed. The content sealed, verse 4. But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end.” We can stop there for the moment. Now, the angel says to him the vision that began in chapter 10, or the revelation that began in chapter 10, the revelation of the history of Israel from Daniel’s time to the time of the Antichrist, all of that sweeping revelation is over. I’ve given you the final words of this last revelation. Now roll up the scroll and shut it. That’s all. That’s the end. Seal it until the time of the end.
Now that is a very specific period of time. Let me just work up to that. The verse begins “Shut up the words,” close up the words. And what really is being said here is the idea of preservation. Don’t let this thing get away, shut it up, preserve it, seal it, make it secure. And it could even apply with an authenticating stamp so people treat it with seriousness. Seal it up so that it is secure and preserve it.
Preserve it till when? The time of the end. Preserve it to the time of the end. Now the word “book” there, seal the book, has reference to written material. The word sepher in the Hebrew usually refers to a rather substantial material, that is in length, a large amount of material. So the instruction from this glorious angel who has given him the revelation is now to seal it up and preserve it for the time of the end.
Now what does he mean by this? Well, what he is saying is a reference – mark this – to the time of the great tribulation. It is best to interpret the phrase “the time of the end” as a reference to the tribulation time. It is not a new term. It is a term used in chapter 11, verse 35. Over in verse 40 of 11, it says “And at the time of the end, the king of the south shall push and the king of the north,” and there we’re into the battles of the tribulation.
So it is best to see “the time of the end” as a reference to the period of the tribulation. Now what is it saying? Now mark this now. You preserve that book, seal it up until the time of the great tribulation. Now, the sealing does not mean the message is hidden. It only means that it is safely preserved for those who come later, especially those in the great tribulation. Now we’re not in the great tribulation yet and we, as it were, unrolled the scroll of Daniel and we are reading it.
And we understand it better than Daniel did because we have all of the intervening history and because we have the addition of the book of Revelation and the commentary of our Lord in Matthew 24 and 25 in which He comments on the book of Daniel. So we have a lot more understanding. But the fullest understanding of Daniel will not come until the great tribulation. That’s a very important truth. During the time of the tribulation, I believe the book of Daniel will be reopened by the people of God and studied all over again. And they’ll understand it as clearly as if they were reading the daily newspaper because all of the events will come to pass. In fact, we talked last time about how is it that so many people are going to be saved? It says an innumerable number of Gentiles; it says all Israel will be saved. And we talked about that and we'll say more about that tonight.
But what is going to be the instrumentation? Well, certainly the ministry of the 144 thousand. But I also believe that added to that, the book of Daniel and also, no doubt, the book of Revelation will be two books that the world will focus on because they will chronicle blow-by-blow, detail-by-detail every single event occurring in the tribulation. So, Daniel, to begin with, just recognize this. You can’t fully understand it, preserve it until the last time, the time of the tribulation, when it will be able to be fully understood.
Now, let’s go to the rest of verse 4. At that time, “many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” Now this is a most interesting phrase, been interpreted many ways. Let me give you what is the basic interpretation, the words, the context that I think makes real sense. It is not talking about the increase of scientific knowledge primarily, although that may be an allusion or an implication that could be drawn. What it is talking about is this. Many people in the tribulation, the – the time of the end, are going to run to and fro, trying to find out answers to what’s going on. And they’re going to find the book of Daniel and at that point, their knowledge will be increased. It is used many times in the Old Testament of a person in search of information. Chasing and running and looking for answers. And I really think that’s what it is here.
In Jeremiah 5:1 you have the same word. It is the word shuṭ. In the Hebrew in its Polel form, for those of you who are Hebrew students. “Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in its broad places, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth justice, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon.” In other words, run around and try to find somebody. That – that seems to be its use. And the same is indicated in Zechariah 4:10.
And you get the idea of someone running around trying to find an answer. And I believe that when the time of the end comes upon the world, the Jews are going to run around and try to find an answer. Why is this happening? Why is this holocaust again upon us? Why are all these disasters coming? Why are these events taking place? Painstakingly, they will study to find the answers. And I believe when they come to the unrolling of the scroll of Daniel, knowledge will be increased. They’ll get their answers. They’ll understand.
Leon Wood, in his extremely helpful commentary, gives us the paraphrase of the thought in these terms. He says, “Many shall run to and fro in their desire for knowledge of the last things and finding it in Daniel’s book, because it will have been preserved to this end, their knowledge shall be increased.” In other words, Daniel has to preserve his book so that people of all time, from his day until the end, may have knowledge of these events. And the most-clear understanding will come to those who are living through it.
And you know what’s especially wonderful about that? Go backwards to verse 3, “And they that be wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament and they that turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars forever and ever.” You know something? Daniel will be used by God to turn many to righteousness, centuries, millennia after he’s dead because he was the human author of this book which will give them answers in the time of the tribulation. The angel is then saying to Daniel, “Look, the content is sealed, Daniel. As far as the immediate future is concerned, any attempt to fully understand will be impossible, but in the end. it will all become clear.”
Now, the obvious question is this. When is this going to happen? When is the end? When is everybody going to read it and understand? When is it going to happen? Now I know Daniel wanted to ask that question because he asks it similarly later in the chapter. But before Daniel can ask that question, two others butt in and they ask it. You know who they are? Two angels. That’s right.
Verse 5, we go from the content sealed to the chronology set. The chronology is here set. When is it going to happen? I’ll give you the chronology. “Then I Daniel looked, and behold there stood two others,” – two other whats? Well, what was he talking to, or who? An angel. Two other angels. – “Two other angels appeared, one on this side of the bank of the river and the other on that side of the bank of the river.”
Now, he was near, according to chapter 10 verse 4, the river Hiddekel, which is another name for the Tigris. This is where he was when the whole thing began. And all of a sudden, he looks and on either side of the river he sees two other angels, other than the glorious angel to whom he has been speaking. Now, why do these two appear? Why two angels? Well, most Bible commentators feel that God, when He wanted to confirm some great revelation, confirmed it in the mouth of two witnesses. And so they are there as witnessing the proclamation that’s about to be made.
Now, again we see angelic involvement in the proclamation and execution of the plan of God. This to me is one of the most fascinating studies. If you haven’t ever listened to the series we did on – on the angels, you should. It’s thrilling to see how the angels are involved. Just because you don’t see them doesn’t mean they’re not there. They’re involved in the plan of God, carrying it out. And here they appear. And in verse 6, watch what happens. “And one said to the man clothed in linen,” – ohoh, somebody else appears – “who was above the waters of the river.”
Now there’s one on one side, one on the other and a man clothed in linen in the middle on top of the river, over the river, up in the sky. And what did one say? “How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?” You want to know something. The angels are just as curious as Daniel. Apparently, they don’t have the whole thing either. In fact, if you remember the words of Jesus when they said to Him, you know, when shall these things be? And He made the statement that no one knows, “not even the angels of heaven,” – not even the Son of Man in His humiliation, but – “only the Father.”
There’s mystery with them. And they’re curious. In fact, in 1 Peter 1, it says, “These things the angels desired to look into.” They’re just as fascinated by the prophecies as we are. And they beat Daniel to the punch. So, he sees a man clothed in linen over the top of the river. He sees an angel on either side of the river and one of the angels, perhaps the one nearest to him whose voice he could hear, says to the man clothed in linen over the middle of the river, “How long is it going to be till the end of these wonders?”
Now, who is the man clothed in linen? Well, in order to know that you go back to chapter 10, verse 5, when the whole thing began. He says, “When I was there on the twentieth day of the first month by the side of the great river, I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen.” Now, who is this man clothed in linen? Well, His “loins are girded with fine gold of Uphaz, His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet in color like polished bronze, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude” – or the voice of a sea.
And that description is almost an identical parallel of the description of the Lord Jesus Christ in the first chapter of Revelation. You can just take it step by step. The man clothed in fine linen, as we showed you in that text at that time, was none other than the preincarnate Christ. It is a Christophany, a theophany, the uncreated Christ appearing in preincarnate manner. And He is clothed in linen because linen was the garment of the priesthood, and white linen was the symbol of holiness and purity. And so, here He appears again.
And isn’t it marvelous that in the conclusion of Daniel’s life as he approaches 90 years of age and the conclusion of all of his revelations and prophecies, his last and final vision is a vision of the one who is to come to bring it all to pass? What a glorious thing. And so he sees this majestic marvelous man clothed in linen. And you can be sure that all of those things that were true of His appearance in chapter 10 are equally true of His appearance again in chapter 12. And the angels, you see, ask Him for the information. And that indicates to me that this is, in fact, God the second person of the trinity, for He has information angels do not have. And the angels are seen in subordinate places down on the edge of the river, He is seen in the middle, elevated.
It’s kind of reminiscent of Psalm 29:10 where it says the Lord sitteth upon the flood, or the waters. Now, the angels ask the question, how long is it going to be till the end of these wonders? When is the time of the end? Now, what wonders? Well, the ones he’s just been talking about, the wonders that are connected with the reign of Antichrist. They’ve just given him all of these things that Antichrist is going to do at the end of chapter 11 in this time of great tribulation, or trouble in chapter 12 verse 1. “How long is it going to be” – now watch this phrase – “to the end of these wonders?”
He’s not talking about all the history from Daniel’s time to Antichrist, but just the end of it, just the end of these things. How long till the Antichrist is going to do these things? They want to know the duration of time. They want to know when it’s going to come to pass. Well, why would the angels want to know that? Well, I think the angels are probably, even in Daniel’s time, pretty sick of fighting demons and they just soon get it over with, don’t you think?
They must have gotten a little bit weary like those angels earlier in the book who had to constantly fight up in space to get the work of God done. Michael’s been defending the people of Israel for a long time. And they’re just as anxious to see the redemption as you and I. How long is it going to be until the end, till all of these things come under the Antichrist in the great tribulation? How long will the time of trouble last? It kind of interests me that they were still asking this even though chapter 7 verse 25 had given them a pretty good answer. You don’t need to turn to it but the Lord had told them there it was going to be three and a half years and it was long in the future.
I think they probably knew that there was going to be three and a half years in a sense but maybe they just needed an affirmation, or maybe they didn’t really understand that He meant that literally. That’s very hard for me to know. Because He gives them the answer here that it’s going to be three and a half years. And He had already said that in 7:25. I don’t know why the angels needed an answer, or maybe they asked a question already knowing the answer but just to pose the opportunity. Tell us again, Lord, in that sense, how long is it going to be? We really don’t know. But the question had been answered in chapter 7 verse 25 when the vision there had indicated to them three and a half years it was going to last. But nonetheless they ask it again.
Verse 7 comes the answer. “And 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 unto heaven, and swore by him that liveth forever.” – now, this is fascinating. Whenever a Jew wanted to make an oath, he raised his right hand. And we do that, don’t we? Go to court to testify, you raise your right hand, promise to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. You raise your right hand. That’s a sign of a swearing. When you raise both hands, that’s – that’s about as far as you can go. And that’s an utter absolute binding affirmation. And here the Lord puts up both hands and swears by Him who lives forever. Who’s that? That’s God. God, who alone has immortality, 1 Timothy 6:16.
God alone lives forever. And He swears by the everlasting God. And what does He swear? “That it shall be for a time” – that’s one, a time – “times,” – that’s two, plural – “and an half” – that’s one, plus two, plus a half; three and a half. Three and a-half years. How long is the Antichrist reign of terror? How long is it going to be that the end of these wonders will exist? Three and a half years. That’s very explicit, people. Very, very explicit. It’s exactly what was said in chapter 7 verse 25, three and a half years.
And then the Lord gives a purpose for the activity of Antichrist in verses 7. Look at it. “And when he shall have accomplished,” – What? What are those three and a half years to accomplish? – “the breaking up of the power of the holy people, all these things shall be ended.” Do you know what the tribulation is to do? It’s to utterly devastate the holy people. Who are they? Who were the nations set apart unto God? Israel. The Antichrist is going to come. And he is going to come, it says literally, to break up the power or, literally, to shatter or dash to pieces the power of the Jews.
Now, we have to tell the people of Israel, bless them and love them, that it isn’t going to get better; it’s going to get a lot worse. And there is coming a future world ruler. They’re going to put their faith in him, they’re going to put their trust in him. Daniel 9 says they’re going to sign an allegiance with him for seven years. But in the middle of that seven years, at the beginning of the three and a half that end it, he is going to turn against them and he is going to devastate them and he is going to shatter them and he is going to dash them to pieces. He will break their power utterly and totally. He will bring such persecution as they have never conceived. He will bring a time of trouble like no other in the history of the world, it says in verse 1.
And you know what will come out of it? Instead of destroying the people of God, he will crush them to the point where they will be so broken and so lost and so devastated that they will look to their Messiah. And as Zechariah puts it, “they’ll look on Him whom they’ve pierced and mourn for Him as an only son.” And they will accept the Lord Jesus Christ as King and Messiah and Savior. They will be so crushed, they’ll have nowhere to go but to Christ. And it will take the Antichrist three and a half years to bring this crushing, this breaking up to pass.
If you’ve wondered what the tribulation is for, it is for the judgment of an evil earth, it is for the punishment of the nations, but in this part of the revelation, the writer focuses by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit on what will happen to Israel. Now, we know this three-and-a-half-year period is to come. From the book of Revelation, it is repeated over and over again. There’s just no question about this. Chapter 11, it says there will come two witnesses who will preach and “prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days.” That’s 1260 days. That is three and a half years on a 30-day month basis. And that’s the Jewish calendar. So again, whether it’s three and a half years or whether it’s twelve hundred and sixty days, it’s the same thing.
You have it again in chapter 12 verse 6, “The Lord is going to protect the remnant of believing Israel for twelve hundred and sixty days.” In verse 14 of chapter 12, “They’ll go into the wilderness and they’ll be cared for a time, times and half a time” That’s another way to say it, three and a half years, same idea. Chapter 13 verse 5 says, “Power will be given unto the Antichrist 40 and two months.” Forty-two months, that’s three and a half years. So it’s just repeated in every possible way you could repeat it.
The ending of history is going to be the Antichrist crushing the holy people. And then, they will become genuinely holy. Their sin will be so deep, their destruction so utter that they will look to their covenant-keeping God who will be faithful to redeem them through the Messiah. There will be a glorious, marvelous salvation.
Our Lord spoke of this in Matthew chapter 24 in verse 29. Listen to what He said. “Immediately after the tribulation, immediately after the three and a half years, the sun is darkened, the moon doesn’t give its light, the stars fall from heaven, the powers of the heavens are shaken and then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. Then shall all of the tribes of the earth mourn and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory,” – but watch – “and He’ll send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet and they’ll gather together His elect from the four winds from one end of heaven to the other.”
When He comes in utter judgment at the end of the tribulation, He also comes to gather together His gloriously saved people. And that will encompass Israel. They’ll turn to their Messiah in the terrible destruction of the tribulation. So, we see the content sealed in verse 4. In verses 5 to 7, the chronology is set.
Now in verses 8 and 9, the confusion is stated. Daniel heard all this and he’s still confused. Now remember, he doesn’t have all the knowledge we do. And in the other side of the coin, he probably had a lot more that we don’t because he maybe understood the depths of some things that we can’t perceive because we’re so cluttered with the world.
But look at verses 8 and 9. And Daniel is confused. “And I heard,” – he said. I mean I heard it all, “but I was not understanding it.” The idea of the – of the imperfect use of the verb is that he was struggling along to try to figure it out but he couldn’t quite get it. And “then said I, O my Lord” – and that’s another reason I believe the man clothed in linen was a Christophany, a preincarnate appearance of Christ – “O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?” Now, the angle said when and how long. That was their thing. How long does it last? He says what is it going to be like. How severe? What kind of things are going to take place. I really don’t think I understand.
Daniel wanted to know the kind of events, how severe. And how much would his people suffer to bring them to holiness? How much would it take? Tell me the degree of severity? Tell me the kind of events at the climax? Now, he knew it was going to be a disaster. But he wanted some specifics. What did he get as an answer? Verse 9, “And He said,” – that is, the man in linen said – “Go your way, Daniel.” You know what kind of answer he got? He didn’t get any answer. He said, Go away. Go away, Daniel, “For the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.”
He says to him again, “I can’t help you, Daniel, because you can’t understand them until you see the things begin to come to pass.” In fact, in effect He said stop asking questions. You got all the information you’re going to get. The information is preserved. It’s sealed. It will be made clear in the future to those who live in the time in the end.
Now, those are words of rebuke in a way. But they’re also words of comfort. The comfort consists in the fact that Daniel doesn’t need to worry because God’s in control. And the events are way far in the future. And the truth that he has been used by God to pen will be preserved for that future and become a source of knowledge and a source of salvation and comfort. In other words, there’s a great principle here, beloved. He’s saying be content with what God has revealed, rest content in that and stay away from meaningless speculation.
That’s a good word for us. You know, I think there are so many people today who are trying to figure out every little nook and cranny in prophecy that they really muddied the waters. Let’s accept what God has told us and leave the rest to mystery. We don’t have to have every single prophetic detail catalogued and every event fully explained.
I think a lot of us are going to get our eschatology rearranged in the end anyway. But I – I think what he’s saying here is you can’t fully understand it until you get to the tribulation time and those will understand it then. And Daniel wasn’t going to be there, and frankly, folks, neither are we. But the people then will see it all. Sometime in your life and mine I have to learn to say, “I don’t know, I don’t understand.” That’s not bad, that’s good. That’s not weakness, that’s faith.
So Daniel’s somewhat confused, but God gives him two glorious closing realities. The next one is the cleansing secured, verse 10 to 12 and I’m going to go by this rapidly so listen. This is great. He doesn’t want to leave him on a negative note. He doesn’t want to say go away, Daniel, that’s the end. That would be a terrible ending, wouldn’t it? Wouldn’t it be awful if it ended in verse 9? Go away, Daniel? Poor fellow, all I put into this deal. I mean, do you know what I’ve been through for 90 years? Go away?
No, He doesn’t leave him there, He’s got something to add. And there’s a cleansing secured. Verse 10, “Just know this, Daniel,” – you don’t need the details – “but many shall be purified and made white and tested.” In other words, the same statement exactly made in verse 35 of chapter 11. Just know this, Daniel. That there will be a redeemed remnant born out of that time. That’s all you need to know. There will be a time when the people turn to Me and to the Messiah.
“It will come to pass,” – says Zechariah 13:8 – “that in all the land, says the Lord, two parts in it shall be cut off and die and the third shall be left.” Not all, it doesn’t say all shall be purified, it says what? Many. Only a third according to Zechariah. Two thirds will be destroyed. “But I’ll bring that third part through the fire,” that’s the testing, “and refine them as silver is refined and test them as gold is tested and they will call on My name and I will hear them, I will say, He is My people and they shall say, The Lord is my God. That’s the salvation of the remnant, the many. Not all, the many. Then the many of Daniel becomes the all of Paul in Romans 11:26. They constitute the redeemed nation.
So, Daniel, there’s a cleansing secured. Souls will be saved in the midst of an abominable wickedness. Look at verse 10 again, “But the wicked shall do wickedly.” Isn’t it amazing? These are the worst of times and yet these are the best of times. You know, I – I can honestly say that based upon the principle of the Word of God, you don’t need to fear that the more wicked the world gets the more difficult it is to – to see men redeemed. That’s not necessarily true.
The most wicked time in the history of the world will be the tribulation and it may be the greatest time of revival the world has ever seen. Because when men are left with nothing but evil, they have little difficulty recognizing their sinfulness. And that’s a prerequisite to salvation. The wicked, they’re going to go on doing wickedly. It’s like Revelation 22 where it says, “Him that is filthy, let him be filthy still.”
I mean, they’re going to go on with their vile evil, but in the midst of it all, many will be purified, made white and tested and they’ll come out, as Zechariah 13:8 and 9 says, “as gold and silver.” The tribulation is the apex of evil. All hell’s fury is poured out, evil unrestrained, all the demons running across the earth. And in the midst of it all, glorious salvation. It’s just like God to take all the fury that Satan can throw when he’s at his full power and turn it into revival.
Now notice also in verse 10, “None of the wicked will understand but the wise will understand.” The wicked won’t know what’s going on. They may even pick up the book of Daniel but they won’t understand it because the natural man understandeth not what? The things of God. They won’t be able to understand it. They won’t see it at all. It’s like today, we’ve been preaching a lot about the existence of the nation Israel and we say it’s the great proof that the Bible is true, that that nation still exists. People hear that message and they just go on about their business and ignore it. They just ignore it.
And in those days, it says the wicked will never understand what’s going on no matter how many preachers. Why? Because no one of his own human understanding perceives the truth of God. Great truth. If you’re going to understand the Word of God you have to understand it by the Spirit of God. The truth is always unavailable to the wicked, it’s “hidden from the wise and the prudent,” – Matthew 11:25 says – “and revealed unto babes.” No man ever can understand the Word of God unless he is enlightened by the Holy Spirit to discern its true meaning.
So, Daniel says, “Well, what’s going to happen?” The Lord says you don’t need to know that. All you need to know is that many are going to be saved. Even though it’s a time of consummate wickedness and even though the wicked won’t understand what they’re reading, the wise will understand, it will be clear to them. And then the Lord gives him a little more truth about the cleansing of the people. Verse 11, “And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.” Now get that.
Now what is this? The time the daily sacrifice is taken away. Well, for the seven years, Antichrist makes a treaty, right? They establish their worship in their temple. They’re having a great time making their sacrifices, doing their thing in their temple. In the middle of that seven-year period, the Antichrist says that’s the end. He desecrates their temple, probably sets up an image of himself there. He abominates their worship. And from that time begins the fiery blazing persecution.
And look what it says. “From that time shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.” Every other time, it’s a thousand two hundred and sixty days, twelve hundred and sixty. How do we get 1290? Where does this come from? In Revelation 12, it’s twelve hundred and sixty. How come we’ve got an extra month? Well, the purpose of what the Lord is saying here is to tell Daniel the time involved in the purification, verse 10, “Many will be purified, made white,” and so forth. And it’s going to take twelve hundred and ninety days. Why?
Well, I believe the best explanation is this. You have twelve hundred and sixty days until the end of the tribulation, the return of Christ. And then, apparently, you have 30 days. Thirty days for what? Thirty days for the remaining purging. And if you want to see that purging, all you have to do is open your Bible and read the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew. It’s called the judgment of the nations, or the judgment of the sheep and the goats. And I believe in a 30-day period, the Lord Jesus Christ finishes the purging. Twelve hundred and ninety – 30 days to finish the purging, to determine who has a right – mark this – to enter the millennial Kingdom. Who has a right for the blessedness of Christ’s Kingdom?
And then verse 12, and here’s a positive note, “Blessed is he that waiteth and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.” Now wait a minute. Twelve hundred and sixty, now we’ve got 30 days more for cleaning up the judgment as defined in Matthew 25. And now we’ve got thirteen hundred and 35 days, that’s 45 more days. You say, “What’s that?” Well, it’s not 45 more days for purging, but it’s 45 more days for – what’s the first word? Blessing.
So if it takes Him an extra 30 days for the purging, it apparently will take an extra 45 for the full establishment of the Kingdom of blessing. I guess the best way to see that is the set up and if a man endures through the tribulation by the grace of God and is a part of that living remnant and if he is a part of the sheep who are told you on My right hand inherit the Kingdom, he’ll pass by the twelve hundred and ninety days and as He goes through that 45 days, he will enter into the blessedness of the establishment of the Kingdom.
Folks, that’s pretty accurate stuff, isn’t it? Pretty specific. The climax of the book then, in verse 12, the Kingdom comes. “Blessed is he who waits and comes to the completion of the thirteen hundred and thirty-five days. Now, I had people say, “Well, you just can’t believe the Bible when it tries to be specific.” That is such an asinine comment that it hardly deserves an answer. I mean God is good at generalities but He has trouble with specifics? You can believe the minutiae as well as you can believe the general things. So, the climax of the book is the final restoration and blessedness of Israel. Blessed is he that waiteth.
Beloved, can I just add a footnote to that? Blessed are all of those who will enter the Kingdom. Blessed is everyone who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ. We’ll be there. We’ll be there. We come back with Him, I believe, in our glorified bodies to reign in His Kingdom. It will be a Kingdom of blessedness. You say, “Well, what makes it so blessed to be there?” Let me just give it to you as fast as I can. Because Christ will rule. Satan will be captive. Saints will have authority. Truth will dominate. Righteousness will flourish. Peace will reign. Joy will abound. Justice will pervade.
The Holy Spirit’s power will be revealed in fullness. There will be a new temple, a purged earth. The curse will be lifted. Plenty of food, health and healing, the exaltation of the city of Jerusalem. And so it goes. The blessed Kingdom. It’s kind of good, isn’t it, that the book of Daniel ends in blessedness? It began with a sad captivity, didn’t it? It began with a people of God ripped out of their land, slaughtered, taken captive. It sweeps us clear through all of human history to the time of their blessedness.
Finally, the Lord gives a commendation in verse 13. We’ve seen the contents sealed, the chronology set, the confusion stated, the cleansing secured and now the swearing of a commendation. I love this. “But go thou thy way till the end, for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.” This is a blessed benediction, a sworn promise by God to Daniel. Oh what a man Daniel was. Nearly 90 years old, always faithful, God’s man in a pagan land, devout, uncompromising, godly, loyal, courageous, prayerful, humble, zealous, compassionate, wise, bold, every good thing you could say about a man.
He had been given thorough revelations of the history of the times of the Gentiles. He had been given insight into all of the destiny of Israel. He had seen the time of the end. He had seen the Antichrist, the great tribulation and the Kingdom of blessedness. And he knew that in the meantime, Israel, his beloved people, would suffer horribly. So God gives him a glimpse of the preincarnate Christ, the man in linen who gives Daniel great comfort. He gives him three things, three great features to this verse.
Number one is responsibility. I think this speaks to us. He says to him, “Go your way.” What does He mean by that? Live your life, Daniel. Go about your business and leave the future to Me. You live according to My Word and My will. You go your way, you do what I’ve told you to do. It’s kind of like the New Testament where it says, “Occupy till I” – What? – “come.” Live the life. It’s like Peter who said, “Seeing you know all these things shall come to pass, what manner of persons ought you to be?” You ought to be holy, and godly.
Go your way, live your life. That’s a message to us. What is your response to the fact that all this is coming to pass? You get your pajamas on and sit on the roof and wait for it? Do you panic? No, you just go your way. You just live the life so that when He comes you’ll not be ashamed at His appearing. So the first feature is responsibility.
The second is a promise, resurrection. I love this. “For you shall rest and stand.” In other words, go your way till the end. The end of what? The end of your life. Go your way till you die. And when you die, you’ll rest and then you’ll stand. What does that promise? Resurrection. One of the great Old Testament statements of resurrection. Daniel, you’ve got two things. Responsibility – go your way – and resurrection. You’re going to rest and then you’re going to stand.
And a third thing, Daniel. Reward, reward. You’re going to receive your lot at the end of the days. What is the lot? It’s his inheritance. The corresponding Greek word is used in Colossians 1:12 for the inheritance of the saints. It is that inheritance laid away uncorruptible and undefiled and reserved for us in heaven. Daniel, I promise you this. You have responsibility as long as you live and when you die you’ll rise again. And when you rise again, you’ll be rewarded eternally. You’ll inherit your lot in the Kingdom.
Well, it’s thrilling, isn’t it, to look at the future with that kind of view? I don’t worry about dying, frankly, because I’m going to rise again. In fact, when we die, our spirit goes immediately to be with Jesus Christ and it’s only the body we wait for anyway. And in that day when we rise again, we’ll be rewarded. But until that time we have responsibility. I’m so thrilled that at the end the Lord came face to face with Daniel and told him these things.
A father tells about being awakened in the night by his little boy. Apparently, he was having a nightmare and he was just panicked. And he cried out, “Daddy.” His father ran in the room. It was dark. And he said, “Daddy, are you here?” “Yes, son, I’m here,” the father said reassuringly. “Daddy,” said the little fella, “is your face looking at me?” The father answered, “Yes, son.” The little fella lost his fear and went to sleep.
You know what the great hope of the future for us is? That the face of the Savior is looking at us, isn’t it? He has us in His heart. He’s not indifferent. He’s there. All these things are going to come to pass. “Till heaven and earth pass away, not one jot or tittle shall in any wise pass from this law.” But we don’t fear because the Savior is looking at us and he has us in His heart.
He had Daniel in His heart. He wouldn’t let that man close out his life without stepping out of glory and speaking personally with this saint. What a great, great confidence that you and I have this same Christ who has His face toward us, who cares. We have responsibility, we have the promise of resurrection and eternal reward. With those things in mind, God, help us to live like Daniel lived, to be the kind of man he was.
Father, thank You for our time in Your Word tonight. What a great, great book. How thrilling it’s been to have the adventure of going through its truths. Bless these precious people, every one, every man, woman, young person and child.
Oh God, may they fulfill all the good pleasure of Your will. May they live a life of responsibility in obedience, going their way to walk according to Your will and someday know that glorious resurrection when we stand with You in Your Kingdom, to be rewarded throughout eternity.
Oh God, as we look at the future and know that it’s all in Your hands, we are comforted and we are motivated. And Your Word is affirmed to us and Your sovereignty is made manifest. And we pray, too, Lord, that as those who hear who are lost, recognize these things to come, that they may be admonished to be sure that their lives are right with You. For that will be a day of judgment for those who know You know not.
Father, may we be sure that we are ready for the inevitable day. Thank You for giving us all we need to anticipate blessedness because of Your grace in Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.
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