Special ServiceNovember 8, 2020 - 10:50 AM - 12:00 PMExpect a very special time during this service. Jesus said, "Do this in remembrance of me." Interactive Lord's Supper, sharing from some of your friends, and media sure to make an impact.
- INTRO - Last week we discussed the importance of personally understanding Daniel chapter seven. Once we understand God’s first apocalyptic lesson, Christians can read the Bible’s two end-times books with a degree of understanding.ILL - Ever had a bad day?I purchased a Ford car. It was a deal. Used, but looked like new. Low miles and not an imperfection inside nor outside.I was thrilled because I knew I’d make several trips to Georgia and had something trustworthy.In the days before cell phones, I quickly appreciated AAA.In one of the most desolate places along I-95, the car stopped running.After a 1.5 hour walk, I found phone.A AAA tow truck picked me up on the walk back.The garage was closed, so I booked a room in a nearby hotel.Once heard from the garage, the price for a used, can’t find new, part was really expensive. What choice did I have. Highway robbery!The car ran fine the rest of the trip up.Then, on the way back, in even more a desolate location, the car stopped running again!Same routine, a different garage, same problem. Same solution. More money.I vowed to get another car.Bad days, we all have them.Today’s text encourages us to trust God in days of difficulty.Regardless of the day, God remains in control.Life will be hard, God is still sovereign & will bring the blessing at just the right time.BAK - Ch. 7 occured in the 1st year of Belshazzar. Now the year is 548/547 BC. This chapter is where the original language turns back to Hebrew.TRANS - In this chapter God gives us the format of:IdeaVisionMeaningWe’ll have to sort out the order, but together we’ll see it is all here.We will conclude by acknowledging how this format aids our understanding.Together we’ll see how this chapter can be an encouragement.The RamREAD vv.1-3There is the first major player; the idea, the ram with two horns.TRANS - Now let’s look at the related vision.The VisionREAD v.4Sounds a little like 7:5.What we have here is the 3rd time the Medo-Persian empire identifying the strengthening of Persia over the Medes.Unlike ch.7 & ch.2, Babylon is not mentioned.The Babylonian kingdom is pretty much gone so, the chapter starts with the 2nd empire; the Medes and the Persians.The MeaningREAD vv.15-16Got to love this: the Lord is going to explain it through Gabriel. (“God’s hero”)1st, Wrath wrapped upREAD vv.17-19“end of wrath”The vision tells of the end of wrath.The end of the worst day for the Jewish people prior to the birth of Jesus.Don’t confuse “time of the end” with the last days or 2nd coming.Does not need be the case like when Peter quoted Joel:After this I will pour out my Spirit on all humanity; then your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your old men will have dreams, and your young men will see visions.Here in Joel, the “last days” referenced Pentecost and not the 2nd coming.“...leads to confusion when studying the return of Jesus.”Forcing this chapter to reference only our future causes some to miss the predicted main event and leads to confusion when studying the return of Jesus.Jerome in the 5th century noted that nobody up until his day ever noted Daniel 8 to have anything to do with the 2nd coming.Back to topic, there is some good news here, the end this text addresses in not the end of the world, but of the time of God’s anger to come on the Jewish people.“Take heart because it will not last long.”Daniel is saying, “Take heart because it will not last long.”This vision represents what we now know occured in the 2nd century; more on that in a bit.Ram standing in for the kings of Media & PersiaREAD v.20No doubts about this meaning.Daniel tells them so they might watch history revealed and have an idea of when this bad day will come upon the Jews.The GoatREAD v. 5“a male goat appeared”This next one, this idea, is a goat.The VisionREAD vv.6-8Another parallel to chapter 7.In chapter 7 we noted this is Greece and the horn Alexander the Great who died and was replaced by for kings.More on this in our next point.TRANS - Let’s jump over to v.21 with this next point.The MeaningREAD vv.21-22There it is, “Greece” and “four kingdoms” that arise from the prior one kingdom.BAK - Alexander the Great dominated the known world and died suddenly in 323 BC at the age of 33.His two sons were then murdered and the kingdom divided by the ruling generals.
The four kingdoms that eventually arose out of Alexander’s empire were: (1) Macedonia and Greece, ruled by Cassander, (2) Thrace and Asia Minor, ruled by Lysimachus, (3) northern Syria, Mesopotamia and regions to the east, ruled by Seleucus, (4) southern Syria, Palestine and Egypt, ruled by Ptolemy.Now, Daniel writes this 200 years before it happens. There is no way a person could predict this so accurately.We even teach this history in secular schools.The ManREAD v.23BAK - Rome replaced Greece in 146 BC. In 175 BC, the latter part of the four kings of Greece, as predicted, this “ruthless king” comes to power.
This is Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who ruled from 175 to 164 BC.BTW, in no way is the the Antichrist who appears before Jesus comes again.
skilled in riddles This ability implies wisdom in the ancient Near East (see Dan 5:12). Antiochus displays a worldly wisdom, making him skilled in intrigue. This designation emphasizes his duplicity (see vv. 25; 11:21, 23, 27, 32).The VisionREAD vv.9-14One of the four kings of Greece following the time of Alexander’s death is one of these horns grew in power.Near “the beautiful land” which is Isreal.Ever wonder how long a bad day will last?“When will it end?”People keep bad jobs, stay in awful relationships, and put up with nasty government people.Today we ask, “How long will this COVID last?”God does not always answer this question, but in this case He does.He told them how long so they would not stop trusting Him in the duration.God could tell us how long until He comes, or when the COVID will end.Yet, He seems to want us to learn from Daniel that He has all things in His control.Our recourse is trusting Him.2,300 mornings & eveningsAs for this prophecy, the text says 2,300 mornings and evenings until the sanctuary is rebuilt.Daniel and the people are in exile in Babylon and the sanctuary destroyed in 589 BC.Daniel is told there will be a new sanctuary.He waited for 12 years for it to happen.What is spoken of here is the rebuilt one in 516 during the time of Zerrubbabel and was standing in Jesus’ day.Poor Daniel gets to see the new temple and then told a man will persecute the Jews and shut down the temple.Bad dad prophesied, but along with that the good news that after 2,300 mornings and evenings it’s rebuilt.TRANS - Fortunately, God gives us the meaning as we see in our next point.The MeaningREAD vv.23-27I identify with Daniel sometimes; like I did when my car broke down that 2nd time so many years ago “sick for days.”TRANS - We have more to go on than Daniel did. We’ve seen this fulfilled. Let’s bring this together.Conclude with UnderstandingWe know what the ram and goat represented.Now we know who the “ruthless king” was.
Antiochus IV reigned over the Seleucid Empire from 175–164 B.C.Daniel says this occurs in the later part of the reign of the 4 kings.He grew in power from magistrate of Athens, by way of political manipulation “master of intrigue” got rid of his nephew and took the throne.Started small and grew.His power grew to the “south” that is Egypt, “to the east” that is Syria, and to the “Beautiful Land” that is Isreal.He set eyes on the Jews which up to this time other rulers wanted nothing to do with them.For 150 years the Isreal was “hands off.”Antiochus focused on bringing Greek culture and customs to the Jews and taking them from ways of Law and God.Look again here:It grew as high as the heavenly army, made some of the army and some of the stars fall to the earth, and trampled them. It acted arrogantly even against the Prince of the heavenly army; it revoked his regular sacrifice and overthrew the place of his sanctuary.It (Antiochus the little horn) who set himself up to be great as God. He ended the required sacrifices.History teaches Antiochus Epiphanes set himself in the place of God.That is why he’s know as Epiphanes (the manifest god).He had the phrase “Antiochus, the manifest God” printed on all the coins putting himself in the place of the Prince of princes.God said the temple would close and sacrifices end for 2,300 evenings and mornings.This could mean 2,300 days or it could mean 2,300 individual sacrifices, half in the morning and half in the evening.“The latter would be 1,150 days.”Looking back we see something interesting.Many Jewish people fled during this period, the inter-testimonial period.A man, Maccabee, and his five sons started raiding Jerusalem trying to win it back for the Jews.This led to the high priesthood reinstating in 164 BC.About three years after the closing of the temple, it opened again:Early in the morning on the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month, which is the month of Chislev, in the one hundred forty-eighth year, they rose and offered sacrifice, as the law directs, on the new altar of burnt offering that they had built.BAK - In 168 BC, Antiochus set up a pagan altar on Kislev 25, 168 BC.Sacrifices by the Jews began Kislev 25, 165 BC 1,150 days later.God ended the bad days for the Jews just like He promised.Be encouraged that what God says He means.Why not say 3 years instead of 2,300 mornings and evenings?I don’t know.Prophetic literature often uses phrases like that.So, when God tells people living when the Antichrist comes that a world leader appears to survive a fatal wound, that for 42 months or 3.5 years must pass before God puts it to an end, be encouraged.God has said it will end at the appointed time.We see how this worked back then.Perhaps you already know that, after storming the Temple, the Maccabee brothers celebrated with a festival.During the festival, they lit a lamp.Oil usually only lasted a few days; it lasted for 8.They called the feast the Feast of Lights or Chanukah.To this day Jews celebrate Hanukkah.John referenced it (Jn 10:22) when Jesus when to Jerusalem to celebrate.Hanukah is a celebration of the historical account of priests lighting the candle in the temple after it was reconsecrated.Hanukah is celebrated with an eight-day festival that Jesus Himself celebrated.It is celebrated on 25 Kislev which in in our December.God restored the temple and His people.God, if He is your Heavenly Father, will take care of you.(end)
1 Maccabees 4:52–53CSB
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