“In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.” (Heb. 1:1-2) As we will see as we complete our study of this wonderful book, God has revealed Himself in many ways, through His creation, His prophets, dreams, visions, His Word and most clearly through His Son – the Lord Jesus Christ. As we respond in loving obedience to God’s revelation of Himself and His truth, we receive His salvation (by grace through faith) and His ongoing transformation into Christ-likeness and ultimately His resurrection and eternal rewards. Daniel, from his youth to his old age responded in loving and reverent obedience to God even in the midst of an evil and pagan land and challenges us to do likewise. “Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.” (Phil. 2:14-16)
Revelation through dreams and visions – [“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. I believe basically there are four reasons God tells us about the future: 1) 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 comes to pass, it’s a convincing argument that God wrote it. So in terms of God Himself, it authenticates His Word. 2) 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. 3) 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 hath this hope in him, purifies himself.” (1 John 3:3) 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. 4) 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 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 the coming doom.” http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/27-31/the-great-tribulation-part-2]
V. 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.” This refers in particular to the final revelation God gives Daniel in chapters 10 through 12 which is all about the end times, particularly the Great Tribulation – the last three and half years of the tribulation. The angel that began giving this revelation to Daniel (Dan. 10:11) is speaking to Daniel here. To “conceal these words and seal up the book” does not mean to keep this message hidden but it means to preserve this prophecy so it can be available and instructive for those who will be living through the Great Tribulation. Thus the phrase “many will go back and forth and knowledge will increase” means people will be searching for knowledge and wisdom trying to understand what’s going on in this time of great trial and the book of Daniel (along with the book of Revelation) will be particularly helpful. Though this will be true for all people living at this time, this prophecy is directed to the Jewish nation.
Vv.5-7 – “Then I, Daniel, looked and behold, two others (angels) were standing, one on this bank of the river (the Tigress) and the other on that bank of the river. And one said to the man dressed in linen (the preincarnate Christ), who was above the waters of the river, “How long will it be until the end of these wonders (the destruction that occurs in the Great Tribulation).” (Angels are not omniscient. And since they are involved in this great battle in the heavenlies against the fallen angels under Satan as seen in Daniel 10, they long for the day when the battle is over.) “I heard the man dressed in linen (the preincarnate Christ), who was above the waters of the river, as he raised his right hand and his left toward heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever (God the Father) that it would be for a time (1), times (2), and half a time (=31/2 years); and as soon as they (the unholy trinity or “he” KJV – the Antichrist) finish shattering (dash to pieces) the power of the holy people (Israel), all these events will be completed.” [“Do you know what the Tribulation is to do? It’s to utterly devastate the holy people. Israel. The Antichrist is going to come and he is 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’s going to get a lot worse. And there is coming a future world ruler and 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. 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 no where 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.” http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/27-31/the-great-tribulation-part-2]
V. 8 – “As for me (Daniel speaking), I heard but could not understand; so I said, “My lord (or “My Lord” – KJV), what will be the outcome of these events?” The prophet Daniel did not fully understand what God was showing to him, nor did the angels there with him. And though we have the full counsel of Scripture today with the book of Revelation and the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24) from our Lord Jesus about the Tribulation, we still cannot fully grasp all that will happen in the Tribulation. Peter addresses these mysteries from the OT prophets as he speaks to us in the church age: “This salvation was something even the prophets wanted to know more about when they prophesied about this gracious salvation prepared for you. They wondered what time or situation the Spirit of Christ within them was talking about when he told them in advance about Christ’s suffering and his great glory afterward. They were told that their messages were not for themselves, but for you. And now this Good News has been announced to you by those who preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. It is all so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen. So think clearly and exercise self-control. Look forward to the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world (be ready for Jesus’ second coming). So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires.” (1 Peter 1:10-14) Since we know Christ will come again we need to live our lives in light of His return and/or our death if we should die before His second coming. “People are destined to die once (not reincarnated as some religions teach), and after that to face judgment.” (Heb. 9:27) Unbelievers will face the White Throne Judgment (Rev. 20:10-15) and believers will face the judgment seat of Christ. (1 Cor. 3:10-15).
Vv. 9-10 – Here is Christ answer to Daniel’s question: “He said, “Go your way, Daniel, for these words are concealed and sealed up until the end time. The Lord Jesus reiterates what the angel told Daniel in V. 4: to preserve this prophecy for the end times as this book (Daniel) will be especially helpful to the unsaved Jews and all the Gentiles who are left behind after the church is raptured. Jesus then adds this: “Many (one-third) will be purged, purified and refined, but the wicked will act wickedly ( i.e., more wickedly); and none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand.” This fits with what the Lord said in V. 7: “and as soon as they (the unholy trinity or “he” KJV – the Antichrist) finish shattering (dash to pieces) the power of the holy people (Israel), all these events will be completed.” This is when the one-third remnant of Jews spoken of in Zech. 13:8-9 and Romans 11:26 will turn to Jesus as their Messiah as a nation. But the wicked (the two-thirds who refuse to repent even in the worst of the Tribulation) will actually curse God, act more wickedly. (Rev. 16:21)
Vv. 11-12 – “From the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. How blessed is he who keeps waiting and attains to the 1,335 days!” How do we account for the extra days beyond the 1,260 days we have seen throughout the book of Daniel and is also seen in Revelation? [“I believe the best explanation is this. You have 1260 days until the end of the Tribulation, the return of Christ. And then 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 to determine who has a right to enter the millennial Kingdom. “How blessed is he who keeps waiting and attains to the 1,335 days! And now we’ve got thirteen hundred and 35 days, that’s 45 more days. You say, “What’s that?” 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 1290 days and as He goes through that 45 days, he will enter into the blessedness of the establishment of the Kingdom.” http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/27-31/the-great-tribulation-part-2]
V. 13 – “But as for you, go your way to the end; then you will enter into rest and rise again for your allotted portion at the end of the age.” [“The Lord gives Daniel three things in this verse. 1) Responsibility. 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 come.” (Luke 19:13) 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. 2) Resurrection. “You will enter into rest and rise again.” 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 enter into rest and then rise again. What does that promise? Resurrection. One of the great Old Testament statements of resurrection. 3) 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 incorruptible 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.” http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/27-31/the-great-tribulation-part-2]
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION AND APPLICATION
Revelation – God wants to be known and has revealed Himself in many ways. Read Psalm 19:1-6 then 7-11 and finally Heb. 1:1-3 and lists three ways God has revealed Himself. Do you behold these revelations of God regularly?
Responsibility – God calls us to respond to His revelation by admitting we fall short of His glory (Rom. 3:23) and to call upon Him to save us through the merits of Jesus’ perfect life, sacrificial death and glorious resurrection. (Rom. 1:1-4; 3:24) He then calls us to grow into the likeness of Jesus (Rom. 8:29) as we read and obey His Word by the power of the Holy Spirit. “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (freedom from the power of sin, death, and the condemnation of the law). But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” (2 Cor. 3:17-18) Our responsibility is not to change ourselves but to behold Jesus through His Word by reading it and obeying Him and as we do this God transforms us more and more into Christ-likeness. Even as children become like their father or mother through the powerful effect of modeling, we as God’s children do the same as we fix our eyes of Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. How do you or how can you behold Jesus more and more?
Resurrection – “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2:11-13) Here and in other verses we hear Paul’s longing for that Day when he will be face to face with the Lord he loves so, in his sinless glorified body in the glories of the new heaven and new earth. “And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, (including the new (sinless) bodies he has promised us. We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it). But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently (and eagerly).” (Rom. 8:23-25) “I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far.” (Phil. 1:23) “We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” (2 Cor. 5:8) “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day-and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” (2 Tim. 4:6-8) We see in all these verses Paul 1) looking for, 2) longing for, 3) groaning for, 4) desiring, and 5) preferring to be with the Lord. Even Abraham and the OT saints longed for heaven (Heb.11:16) and John by the Spirit urges us to pray for Christ’s soon return. “Even so, come Lord Jesus.” (Rev. 22:20). Are you like Paul 1) looking for, 2) longing for, 3) groaning for, 4) desiring, and 5) preferring to be with the Lord? These are strong emotional words. If you feel this way you would know it. Why do some believers not have these strong emotions to be with the Lord (i.e., death after we complete our work here) or to see Jesus’ return?
Reward – Eternal rewards – “Those who lead the many to righteousness, (will shine) like the stars forever and ever (eternal rewards).” (Dan. 12:3) “But as for you, go your way to the end; then you will enter into rest and rise again for your allotted portion (reward) at the end of the age.” Scripture teaches that some believers will receive greater rewards than others. Although this passage refers specifically to the Jews saved in the Tribulation, we know from other Scriptures that believers of all ages are resurrected and their works will be judged when Jesus comes again. This is not a judgment to determine if a person goes to heaven or hell. It is a judgment that determines which rewards they will receive. “According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s man builds work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” (1 Cor. 3:10-15) As you reflect on your daily walk with the Lord, does the Biblical promise of eternal rewards effect the way you relate to God and people? How could this motivator be more compelling in your belief and behavior?