First Baptist Church of Minneola
- INTRO - Last week we identified how God teaches us to use history to interpret the book of Daniel.For many, this book is confusing and sometimes leads to division.However, God’s purpose is to prepare and encourage, not to confuse and divide.As we’ve noted, the key is understanding the two great crises.Antiochus around 168 B.C. and the Antichrist in the future.Today will wrap up our study.Typical of apocalyptic writing, Daniel is organized into three couplets found in the last six chapters.The book goes back and fourth talking about the two people and crises.Frequently people mistakenly think chapter 12 is only talking about one leader or the other.We’ll see both are discussed.The End Begins“The end” is the theme in today’s text.In our English Bible we see it four times, but six times in the Hebrew.Daniel is focusing on “The end” in this last section of the book.End of the AntichristLet’s start our study in 12:5We might not understand this question, but Jesus does.Then I, Daniel, looked, and two others were standing there, one on this bank of the river and one on the other. One of them said to the man dressed in linen, who was above the water of the river, “How long until the end of these wondrous things?”We might not understand this, but here Jesus, the man dressed in linen, does.He answers that in the next verse:Then I heard the man dressed in linen, who was above the water of the river. He raised both his hands toward heaven and swore by him who lives eternally that it would be for a time, times, and half a time. When the power of the holy people is shattered, all these things will be completed.What about the wondrous things?Some translations read “astonishing things.”Recall 11:36 described the mean and prideful king we call the Antichrist?He says things never said before about God.He will exalt himself above all gods, invade countries, the Holy Land, and then what we read in 12:1:At that time Michael, the great prince who stands watch over your people, will rise up. There will be a time of distress such as never has occurred since nations came into being until that time. But at that time all your people who are found written in the book will escape.These are astonishing things!Believers AriseRecall back in 7:25 we, also saw 3.5 years?The church will be in Tribulation for 3.5 years.Our text tells us Daniel didn’t understand:I heard but did not understand. So I asked, “My lord, what will be the outcome of these things?”Like Daniel, we ask “what is the outcome?” “What is going to happen?”When the Antichrist comes, we’ll see 10 kings ruling of which he will kill three and begin his rule.That’s when, according to 7:25, the 3.5 year countdown begins.Both Irenaeus and Polycarp, who was discipled by John, taught this to the church.At the end of 3.5 years, Jesus comes and Rapture will take place.Don’t be fooled.The Antichrist is not the opposite of Jesus, but the counterfeit Christ.Satan, the dragon, will give his son, the Antichrist, his power, authority, and throne.Remember, he’ll appear to get a fatal wound and be healed.You will know this when you see a world leader appear to die and come back from the dead like Jesus.But, it will be counterfeit.He’ll be ruler over the world for 42 months when Jesus comes for his church.While the Antichrist wages war against Jewish and Gentile Christians, Jesus will return:“Immediately after the distress of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not shed its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the peoples of the earth will mourn; and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.Verse 31 speaks of the the trumpet.This is the gathering of the saints caught up with Jesus and according to v.29 “Immediately after the distress of those days” the 3.5 years, the Rapture will occur.Paul describes the same order:Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way. For that day will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.Sadly many are deceived by the view that says Christ comes before the Antichrist and the beginning of the Tribulation.The early church fathers taught the truth about the last days.Irenaeus wrote:
These kings shall give their kingdom to the beast and will put the church to flight, and after that the Antichrist will be destroyed by the coming of the Lord.Only 20 years after the Apostle John died another church father wrote:There shall appear a deceiver of the world who will look like the Son of God...And then there shall appear these signs. First the sign of the Son of Man in heaven, then the sign of the trumpet, and thirdly, the resurrection of the dead.TRANS - Recall this text speaks about both the Antichrist and Antiochus?Let’s shift our attention to discuss to Antiochus.End of AntiochusDaniel writes about both the Antichrist and Antiochus.Recall the retelling of history helps us understand how prophetic literature works and teaches us from the past so we are prepared for the future.Antiochus was future during Daniel’s day and people has no idea what the book was all about.Today, we see the perfect proclamation of prophecy as it pertains to Antiochus.Today we have the opportunity to learn from indisputable historic fact and perfectly described events that really were predicted and happened exactly as Daniel wrote about.That tells us this is real, will happen, and we can be ready.The WickedLook at vv.9-10He said, “Go on your way, Daniel, for the words are secret and sealed until the time of the end. Many will be purified, cleansed, and refined, but the wicked will act wickedly; none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand.The wicked will be wicked at the end of Antiochus, but not the end of the Antichrist.Why is that?Because at the end of the time of the Antichrist, the wicked will be destroyed and cast into Hell forever.TRANS - But what about the wise?The WiseThe wise will understand.They’ll get it because they spent time to get to know the Bible.Look here:From the time the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. Happy is the one who waits for and reaches 1,335 days.If you recall chapter 9, sacrifices were discontinued and the temple was desecrated causing people to leave the temple.The people that were wise, who knew their Scriptures, understood what was happening.That happened during the time of Antiochus Epiphanes.For us, that’s past history.When the Antichrist comes, because you know this stuff, you will be wise; you will have understanding.Look here:About the times and the seasons: Brothers and sisters, you do not need anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.From what I’ve taught, you should understand that Jesus is not coming back tonight.He will not come until 3.5 years after the Antichrist is revealed by appearing to die and come back to life.Still, even when we know who the Antichrist is, some will be surprised when Jesus returns.Paul said they’ll be saying “peace and safety” thinking everything is well.There will be one ruler and people will honor that person.But not all will be surprised.You won’t be in the darkYou won’t be surprised like when a thief comes in the night because He told you exactly what is going to happen.He says what to look for and how to recognize the Antichrist.He told you it will be 3.5 years until the Rapture.Look at this:“Now concerning that day and hour no one knows—neither the angels of heaven nor the Son—except the Father alone.We don’t have the exact day and hour just as woman in labor can’t predict the exact time her baby will makes its first cry.However, we are not in the darkness and we do have wisdom through this prophecy.God wants people to know so that they are not surprised like a thief.TRANS - We’ve studied much about the end of crisis of Antichrist & the Antichrist.What about Daniel.Daniel “Go”But as for you, go on your way to the end; you will rest, and then you will stand to receive your allotted inheritance at the end of the days.”The end here references Daniels life.Live Your LifeGod tells Daniel to live.Imagine Daniel’s thoughts.God gave Daniel prophecies that he could not understand.He was told they were sealed.Recall how later John, in Revelation, stands before the sealed book?Daniel didn’t understand and John’s weeping because he wants to open the book.An angle approaches John and basically says, “Don’t cry John. Jesus has the power and authority to open this book.”Daniel, like John, wanted the book open, but God said not just yet.Encouraging Daniel, God says, “Go about living and doing what you do. Don’t go off and sell everything. Life your best life.”ILL - Martin Luther was asked what he’d do if he knew Jesus were coming tomorrow? He responded, “I’d plant a tree.”The point is; regardless of when Jesus returns, we must go our way and live our life.We must keep busy doing kingdom work.Recall Jesus parable in Mt. 24 about the servant. He urges us to remain busy.How will God find you when he returns?TRANS - Daniel lived until his death, but his story is not yet complete.Die, Rest, & RiseLive to you die Daniel was God’s word in this last bit of the book.Rest from your labors at the end of your days:Then I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “so they will rest from their labors, since their works follow them.”We live until we pass away & then we rest.Today is not time to restWe must live!Don’t seek a live of easy living; you’ll have your rest well enough one day.Let’s be like the 85 year Caleb who said, “Give me the hill country!”One more thing I want to say.Following your rest you will receive.The inheritance ahead is something to think about.Believers have so much ahead of us.We get to see God’s glory, get new perfect bodies, live in a mansion, and get an inheritance.(end)
2 Thessalonians 2:3CSB
1 Thessalonians 5:1–2CSB
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