- INTRO - Daniel proves God’s design as we see His prophecy revealed throughout history. Last week we discovered that Jesus even appeared on earth even before Bethlehem.Today we will drill down more into what the Bible tells people about Jesus.People that believe the Bible accept that Daniel is the author of the book entitled by his name. Also, Christians believe the HS inspired Daniel to write and doing so Daniel predicted the future.Prophecy is important because God breaks into history to tell us what will come. These events are so important that we must study in order to gain understanding.The text we examine today was future for Daniel, but past for us.Reasons to study:helps us believe and trust God’s sovereigntylearn how to understand prophecyPre-history in ProphecyKnowing how prophecy was fulfilled teaches us how to use the same principles to study the 2nd coming.This is God’s, or “His story.”When Daniel penned this, people could hardly explain the meaning.Yet, over time people noted God fulfilling Daniel’s prophecies.This very important lesson should keep people from speculation about the 2nd coming. We will not fully understand prophecy until it is history.This principle helps the wise not to force what these prophecies mean.Also, you will know the events surrounding the time when Jesus returns.Sadly, too many people hold positions on the 2nd coming without ever studying the prophecies of the OT.Prepare with ProphecyAnother principle is knowing that prophecy is for the generations to come.God gives prophecy to people who will not see their fulfillment.ILL - When I was a boy, one winter in the state of NY, I learned how to make maple syrup. The trees I used seemed huge. I don’t know how long ago someone planted them, but I knew they were long sense passed on.Today I’m glad that someone planted those trees. Because someone else planted trees, I was able to learn how to tap them for their precious sap and turn that in to tasty maple syrup.Likewise, I am happy God gave prophecy to others for the benefit of future generations.Think about it, prophets had great stories they didn’t even understand. What does it mean a baby will be called Immanuel? How can a virgin give birth?It is the same of the 2nd coming today.What God gave Daniel, the apostles, & John are is for people alive when Christ returns.Principles for interpretation are important to understand before any study of prophecy.Purpose in ProphecyDaniel 11 seeks to ready people for to very difficult times.1st was persecution by Antiochus Epiphanes in about 170BC (vv.21-35).2nd is the persecution by the Antichrist that will happen just prior to the Jesus coming again (vv.36-12:3).The 2nd shows us that resurrection of the righteous dead, sometimes called Rapture, occurs after the Tribulation under the rule of the Antichrist.Lets take a moment to consider a little of what we know about Persian and Greek KingsREAD vv.2-4We touched on this briefly in our message last Sunday.As we’ll see, chapters 10-12 are one passage. Division were later added near the 13th century and sometimes make this book confusing.Some, like the NIV do a better job by adding subheadings such as “Daniel’s Vision of a Man” (10:1-11:1) which we studied last week. Today’s text, the NIV heading, reads, “The Kings of the South and the North.” The NIV’s next heading, “The King Who Exalts Himself” (vv.36-12:4).Last week week we discussed an overview of history leading up to the first crisis.The main point is that there is something special about the fourth king.Xerxes was a defeated general and man.He ordered a search for a new queen to hoping to feel better.He chose a Jewish girl named Hadassah who he called Ester.Ester had great influence on her son, the next king of Persia. You may recall Artaxerxes (’artaḥšastâ’) who’s cupbearer was Nehemiah.For the next 150 years, Persia was the world’s major power until the time of Alexander the Great (336BC) which Daniel properly predicted:Then a warrior king will arise; he will rule a vast realm and do whatever he wants. But as soon as he is established, his kingdom will be broken up and divided to the four winds of heaven, but not to his descendants; it will not be the same kingdom that he ruled, because his kingdom will be uprooted and will go to others besides them.We, also, saw this in ch. 8:As I was observing, a male goat appeared, coming from the west across the surface of the entire earth without touching the ground. The goat had a conspicuous horn between his eyes. He came toward the two-horned ram I had seen standing beside the canal and rushed at him with savage fury. I saw him approaching the ram, and infuriated with him, he struck the ram, breaking his two horns, and the ram was not strong enough to stand against him. The goat threw him to the ground and trampled him, and there was no one to rescue the ram from his power. Then the male goat acted even more arrogantly, but when he became powerful, the large horn was broken. Four conspicuous horns came up in its place, pointing toward the four winds of heaven.Alexander attempted to rebuild Babylon, but died in 323BC.His rule then went to Philip III and his son Alexander IV who were guided by Perdiccas and all murdered.The kingdom was then divided between four generals as we read, “the kingdom will be broken up and divided to the four winds of heaven” and “will go to other besides them (his decedents).The four battled for years. Two were weak, two grew strong.One in the north, Syria.The other in the south.READ v.5This strong king of the south was Ptolemy Lagos who ruled over Egypt.TRANS - vv.6-20 relate the history between the two kingdoms. The text overviews history in advance so God’s people might prepare for the coming crises.There are 3 sections. Let’s take a quick look.Laodice and BerniceREAD vv.6-9Antiochus II ruled the kingdom of the north.Ptolemy II ruled the kingdom of the south.Sealing their alliance, Ptolemy gave Bernice, his daughter, to Antiochus in marriage.Bernice was handed over to his first wife, Laodice, who had her baby boy murdered.One from her own family, Ptolemy III, the brother of Bernice, took his place and attacked the kingdom of the North (v.7).Seleucus II, son of Laodice, was in power and fled back to Asia minor as Ptolemy III plundered his kingdom taking spoils back to Egypt.TRANS - We are not done, just yet, with the war and drama.Antiochus III and Seleucus IVREAD vv.10-20Antiochus III “[swept] through like a flood.”He defeated Ptolemy III of the south kingdom.Antiochus gained control of “beautiful land” v.16 Isreal after more than a century under Ptolemy Dynasty rule vv.15-16Antiochus III attempted diplomacy with Egypt:He will resolve to come with the force of his whole kingdom and will reach an agreement with him. He will give him a daughter in marriage to destroy it, but she will not stand with him or support him.TRANS - Lots more, but for time sake lets move to our next point.Precedence of ProphecyWhat can we take away?Fulfilled prophecy proves God’s sovereign control in the affairs of humankind.Romans tells it like it is:Let everyone submit to the governing authorities, since there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are instituted by God.Our passage shows this verse to be true.Regardless of the ruler, Christians must honor and submit to the government.Sometimes they are weak:He reduces princes to nothing and makes judges of the earth like a wasteland. They are barely planted, barely sown, their stem hardly takes root in the ground when he blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind carries them away like stubble.But always they will be sinners as “all sin and fall short of God’s glory.”Prophecy, also, destroys the “openness of God theology.”This fault-filled teaching says sense God is love, He can’t know the future because that robs people of freedom. In other words, God can’t know any more than us what the future holds.Listen to what Jefferson Davis said of this teaching:
This claim that God lacks a comprehensive knowledge of the future simply does not square with the reality of predictive prophecy of Scripture. It stretches the lines of credibility to support that God and the Biblical writers are only making shrewd guesses when highly detailed predictions about future events are being made.Prophecy does something else too.It helps us understand similar NT teachings about Jesus’ 2nd coming.Look here:“When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that its desolation has come near. Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains. Those inside the city must leave it, and those who are in the country must not enter it, because these are days of vengeance to fulfill all the things that are written. Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days, for there will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. They will be killed by the sword and be led captive into all the nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. “Then there will be signs in the sun, moon, and stars; and there will be anguish on the earth among nations bewildered by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and expectation of the things that are coming on the world, because the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these things begin to take place, stand up and lift your heads, because your redemption is near.”Part of this already took place in Jerusalem in 70 AD when the city was destroyed.After that Jews were prisoners to other nations.The city then is trampled on by Gentiles until that time ends.This too is now history, and recent at that.In 1967 Jews returned to Isreal capturing the city and today it is the capital of Isreal. Jesus told us this wold happen because He controls the affairs of humankind.Now, the time between v.24 & v.25 we can’t calculate.However, we know the next event:“Then there will be signs in the sun, moon, and stars; and there will be anguish on the earth among nations bewildered by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and expectation of the things that are coming on the world, because the powers of the heavens will be shaken.The description describes disasters that will happen during the Great Tribulation.We don’t grasp exactly how this will appear, but when they do it will be perfectly clear.What do we do with this?We should be looking and getting ready for Jesus’ return:Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these things begin to take place, stand up and lift your heads, because your redemption is near.”Jesus explains how important this is:“Be on your guard, so that your minds are not dulled from carousing, drunkenness, and worries of life, or that day will come on you unexpectedly like a trap. For it will come on all who live on the face of the whole earth.The Great Tribulation will be terrifying.If you don’t know what’s happening, because you didn’t get prophetic training, your heart will melt. Many will get drunk and and many worry terribly.If, however, you know prophecy, you will know what to expect and will not be afraid.Instead, you will be pumped knowing redemption is close at hand.ILL - Growing up we went to a pediatric dentist. Oddly enough the same location today is Suzi’s Bakeshop. From dentistry to rotting teeth. As a boy, I’d much rather have the baked goods and rotten teeth.I really hated the dentist. I’ve shared with you how his surname was similar to “Frankenstein.” So, you know we called him Dr. Frankenstein. Which, today I suppose that didn’t help me like him any the better.Mom would do her best to help me overcome my fear of the dentist visit. Oh how she’d remind me he’d be careful and numb the pain. Also, that I’d get a treat if I were on my best behavior.A mother knows that letting children know a little about what was to come would help as things do occur. Mom let me know it might hurt a little, but the doctor was doing all he could to make it painless as possible. And, the treat at the end helped with the tears too.Today I understand what will take place at the dentist office. I might get heated up a bit, but I survive. But how I do miss those motherly pep talks and the treat at the end of my visit. Now all I get is the bill :-)God prepares us for what is going to happen. As the Great Tribulation happens, for those that live to see it, our hearts need not be burdened down with fear. And far better than any treat, we know what we get to see our Redeemer as He draws near.(end)
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