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The End of Time - Part 1

Tom Pennington • Daniel 12:1-13

  • 2020-10-11 PM
  • Daniel
  • Sermons


I encourage you to take your Bibles and turn with me to Daniel Chapter 12. Tonight, we come in our study in the book of Daniel to one of the most profound, amazing, and far-reaching verses in all of the Old Testament. It's found in Daniel's final vision. His final vision runs from Daniel 10:1 all the way through Daniel 12:13 (the end of the book). And the prophecy in this vision covers a huge period of human history; from the time of Daniel to the time of the future kingdom of God; from 536 B.C. to the final resurrection.

Here's an outline of the final three chapters of Daniel's prophecy. You have in Daniel 10:1 through Daniel 11:1 an introduction to the final vision where we meet the angel who reveals this vision to Daniel. But then beginning in Daniel 11:2 and running through the end of the book, Daniel 12:13, you have the content of Daniel's final vision. So far, we've looked at the prophecies concerning Persia in Daniel 11:2; the prophecies regarding Greece, Daniel 11:3-35; and then the last time we studied Daniel together we looked at the prophecies regarding antichrist as Daniel catapults us into the future. And we meet the last great world ruler, the most evil man who will ever rule over mankind, found in Daniel 11:36–45.

Now tonight we arrive at Chapter 12 and the next part of this great final vision of Daniel. And in this part of the vision, we find prophecies regarding the great tribulation — that's from Daniel 12:1 down through Verse 12. So, let's begin by considering the word "tribulation" itself. The Hebrew word for "tribulation" and the corresponding Greek word graphically picture someone being limited, and then being walled in, and finally gradually being squeezed until something has to give. That's the idea; it's pressure. In fact, in the Greek, the word is used of a threshing sledge which drives over grain; and on the bottom side of it are rocks and on the top are heavy weights. And as it's dragged across the grain it crushes it. That's the idea behind this word "tribulation." When it's used of the study of last things, it refers to a future period of seven years. We met this period of time, you remember, back in Chapter 9 as the "70 weeks prophecy." And the final week, the 70th week, was a week that we discovered was this time of the tribulation. It's a period when God will unleash His wrath against the present earth and its inhabitants. The word "tribulation" is used this way in several New Testament texts. For example, in the ministry of our Lord in the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24:29, He says "Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken." In Mark 13:19 in that same message, the Olivet Discourse (Mark's version of it), we read, "those days will be a time of tribulation such as has not occurred since the beginning of the creation which God created until now, and never will." Mark 13:24: "In those days, after that tribulation" (you can see it's a defined period of time) "the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light." Now what's interesting about those three passages is that in every case, the tribulation Jesus is describing was at that point clearly still in the future. And unless we redefine those images that we just read together, it still has to be future. We have never seen the sun darkened, the moon not giving its light, and the powers of heaven shaken.

Now two times in the New Testament, the adjective "great" is added to refer to one part of that larger seven-year period that's called the tribulation. In Matthew 24:21, Jesus says "Then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will." In Revelation 7:14 we read, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." The "great tribulation," as we learn back in Daniel Chapter 9 and as we can see hinted at in these passages, refers not to the entire seven years (that's called "the tribulation"). But rather, the "great tribulation" refers to the last half, the final three and a half years. Not because those final three and a half years will be different in character and nature from the first half of the tribulation, but rather, they will be much more intense as we'll study in the book of Revelation. As God begins to unfold His judgments, initially they come in sort of slow waves. But as the end comes and as you get into the second half of that seven-year period, they grow in intensity, in force, and destruction; and they come relentlessly in a hurricane-like force on the world. It is the "great tribulation." The devastating judgments that God will unleash on the world in that period of time, specifically the second half of the tribulation, are detailed in the book of Revelation. This includes all of those seals that are broken through the period of the tribulation itself, and then you have the intensity of the trumpets and the bowl judgments that come in the second half of that period of time (they are detailed in Revelation 6–19). The tribulation, that seven-year period, ends with the battle of Armageddon and the second coming recorded in Revelation Chapter 19.

So, with that background, let's look at Daniel Chapter 12. Let's begin by reading the entire chapter. And again, the last verse is a different prophecy. It's really a prophecy about Daniel, but the first 12 verses have to do with this period of time called "the great tribulation"; the second three and a half years of the tribulation period. You follow along in your copy of God's Word.

Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt. And those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. 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.

Then I, Daniel, looked, and behold, two others were standing, one on this bank of the river and the other on that bank of the river. And one said to the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, "How long will it be until the end of these wonders?" And I heard the man dressed in linen, 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 that it would be for a time, times, and half a time; and as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people, all these events will be completed. But as for me, I heard but could not understand; so, I said, "My lord, what will be the outcome of these events?" He said, "Go your way, Daniel, for these words are concealed and sealed up until the end time. Many will be purged, purified, and refined, but the wicked will act wickedly; and none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand. 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. 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."

This is one of those cases where the chapter break, while it's helpful to have chapters in our Bible, it can be a little misleading; because Daniel Chapter 12 is not the beginning of a new theme. It's not introducing a new time period; it is continuing with the same events that we see at the end of Chapter 11. In Daniel 11:40-45 we have a description of antichrist's external policy of brutal military expansion. Beginning in Daniel 12:1 we have his internal policy of the brutal persecution of God's people. So, the two go together. These events are still unfolding during the reign of antichrist in the second half of that period we call the "tribulation," and specifically the three and a half years called the "great tribulation."

So, let's look at it together. First of all, we see the timing of the great tribulation. Verse 1 says, "Now at that time." This connects back to Daniel 11:40; notice "At the end time." So, we're talking about the time of antichrist. In context it has to refer to the period described at the end of Chapter 11. This is unfolding during antichrist's reign of terror. So, the great tribulation occurs during his reign; specifically, the last three and a half years of the seven-year tribulation. You'll remember that at the beginning of the tribulation period, he establishes a treaty with Israel, with God's people. And everything looks like it's going to work out wonderfully, but at the midpoint, at three and a half years, he breaks that treaty. He sets up an image of himself in the temple in Jerusalem and demands worship. And he begins an intense brutal policy of persecution of God's people. That's the timing of the great tribulation. In the last three and a half years, he is relentless in his pursuit of the people of Israel.

Now that brings us to Israel's protector during the great tribulation. Notice the second half of Verse 1: "Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise." We've already met Michael back in Daniel 10:13,20 where he is called "one of the chief princes"; that is, one of the chief angels. Here in Verse 1, he's called "the great prince," which may imply that he is the greatest of the angels. In Jude 9 he's called "the archangel." And Michael has a specific assignment. In Daniel 10:21 notice what Michael is called at the end of Verse 21: "Michael, your prince"; "your" meaning "the prince of Israel." Back in Daniel 12:1 we're told that he "stands guard over the sons of your people." He is assigned by God the responsibility for protecting the people of Israel. Now notice during the reign of antichrist, Verse 1 says, "Michael will arise in defense of his people." Michael and his angelic forces will engage Satan and his demons in an unprecedented warfare during the last three and a half years of the tribulation. That angelic war is recorded in Revelation Chapter 12 (turn over there for just a moment). What is simply mentioned in passing in Daniel 12:1 is spelled out and filled out in Revelation Chapter 12. Now before this angelic war breaks out, notice Verse 7 says — before the war on earth against God's people, there was war in heaven. "Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war, and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven." At this point as you even see in books like Job (the early chapters of Job), Satan and his demons have access to heaven. They are under the control of God. They are, as Luther said, "Satan is God's devil"; and so, he is completely under control, but he has access to God. At this point in human history, he will be cast out of heaven. There will be no access and, as a result, Verse 9 says, "the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him." As a result of that, Verse 13: "When the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman" (this is earlier in the chapter, and the woman represents Israel) "who gave birth to the male child" (a reference to the Messiah). So, here's the picture. When Michael and his forces cast Satan out of heaven, Satan will come to earth and he will turn his full fury against Israel and begin to persecute her. Verse 13 makes that clear. Verse 17: "So the dragon was enraged with the woman and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus."

How will Satan wage this war? He will do so using antichrist, a human ruler, the last great world ruler whom we've already met—he will use him as his instrument. Notice Revelation 13:2: "The beast" (this is antichrist) "which I saw…." Notice the end of Verse 2: "the dragon" (Satan) "gave him his power and his throne and great authority." So Satan, thwarted in heaven, will redouble his efforts to destroy God's people on this planet; and then Michael will arise. Michael will arise (back in Daniel 12:1) to protect the people of God. According to Revelation 12, he will nourish and protect Israel for some 1,260 days.

Can I just stop here and remind us that there is such an encouraging word for us? This is a reminder, folks, that in the worst of times God is still on His throne and He still cares for His people. I love what Dale Ralph Davis writes, "There are unseen legions standing behind the wobbly people of God in their darkest trouble." You know, we wonder some times if things grow worse, if persecution comes, if in our lifetimes we face persecution, physical persecution for the cause of Christ, how will we stand? And the answer is on our own, we won't. But we will never be on our own, and so we will be empowered to stand. In this case, the angel Michael steps forward to defend the people of Israel. That was his assignment. Don't ever forget, Christian, that the angels have also been assigned, according to Hebrews 1, to be ministers to the saints; to you. You say, "does that ever happen?" Well remember, even in Biblical times, it was rare for people to actually know they were being helped by angels. Hebrews 13:2 says: "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it." The answer is "yes," the saints are helped; you are helped at times by the angels of God. The fact that we aren't aware of their protection doesn't change the reality. You remember at the beginning of the pandemic, we studied Psalm 91 together. And Psalm 91:11-12 says: "He will give His angels charge concerning you to guard you in all your ways. They will bear you up in their hands that you do not strike your foot against a stone." In other words, nothing will happen to you outside of the sovereign plan of God. He will ensure that by His own mighty power, and by the angels whom He has made ministers of the saints, to protect and to preserve His people.

So at that time Michael will arise for the help of Israel. Why will this be necessary? It will be necessary, thirdly, because of the unprecedented distress of the great tribulation. Notice Verse 1 goes on to say: "And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time." The last three and a half years of the seven years will be a time of distress, and it will be unparalleled distress. Notice he says, "such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time." Now the angel could mean from the time that Israel was a nation, but more likely he means from the time that any nation existed. Just a moment ago, I read you a passage from our Lord's ministry in which that's the point He made. From the beginning of time there will never have been a time like this. Think about that for a moment. Think about all of the history you've read. Think about the dark moments in human history. The three and a half years we're talking about will be like nothing ever experienced in human history. It's clear our Lord had this passage in mind during the Olivet Discourse. In Matthew 24:21 He says, "there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will." Later in that same chapter, He goes on to say:

Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.

So why is it that those three and a half years will be unparalleled in human history? There are several reasons. It'll be the worst of times because of the judgments that God will be in the middle of unleashing on this planet. We're going to study it in Revelation. It's cataclysmic what God will do to this world as He brings judgment upon it. It will be the worst of times because antichrist will be the evilest ruler in history; energized and empowered by Satan himself. Second Thessalonians 2:9: "the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and false signs and wonders." Revelation 13:2: "the dragon gave him his power and his throne, and great authority." It'll be the worst of times because during the second half of the tribulation, as a result of antichrist's policy of the brutal persecution of, and war against God's people, only one third of the Jewish people will survive. Zechariah 13:8 says, "And it will come about in all the Land," declares the Lord, "that two parts in it will be cut off and perish, but the third will be left in it." That's in the context of this very period of time. It will be the worst of times because it will be a time of great wars that climax with the battle of Armageddon. There will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time. But folks, in spite of all the darkness, in spite of all of the difficulty, in spite of the death and disaster and judgment, understand this, God will still be at work.

I want you to notice the spiritual outcome of the great tribulation. First of all, the first spiritual outcome is the physical and spiritual deliverance of the living. Verse 1: "and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued." You know, I think a lot of people have this mistaken idea about the tribulation that once the rapture happens, that's it; nobody is going to get saved; and God is just going to destroy everything and everybody. Nothing could be farther from the truth. During the tribulation there will be many who come to faith. And those who come to faith will suffer, and many of them will even die according to Revelation 7:14. But God will eventually intervene and He will rescue the Jewish remnant; the third who survive from antichrist. But notice how this remnant that survive are described. Verse 1: "everyone who is found written in the book."

What is "the book?" This book refers to the book of life, in which the names of all true believers are written by God Himself. It's used this way starting in Exodus 32:33; and it's used in a number of other places throughout the Scripture, including Revelation 20:12 – "the book of life." Many believe that the image of this book comes from the ancient practice of writing down a written record of the citizens of the town; those who belonged; the citizens of that particular village or that particular town. It really speaks of those who are saved. It speaks in another sense of divine election. Dale Ralph Davis again writes, "In a time when God's people will be viewed as trash and scum, they are assured that their names are known and precious to God." The point is, the surviving Jewish remnant will be spiritually saved as Paul predicted and prophesied in Romans Chapter 11. You remember? We saw it. In that day, he says, "all Israel will be saved"; meaning all of those who survive, the third that survive, to the second coming. Some of the remnant will believe during the tribulation through the ministry of the 144,000 witnesses and the other Gospel witnesses that are listed in the book of Revelation. The rest of this third will be saved when Christ appears at the second coming. Zechariah makes much of this. In Zechariah 12:10, he says:

"I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn."

I think the sort of description of that weeping, of that lament, of what they think, is Isaiah 53; as they think about the fact that we didn't esteem Him; and now we understand who He really is. And Zechariah 13:1 says, "On that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity." For this surviving remnant of the Jews, preserved and protected by God through the agency of Michael their prince, their physical and spiritual deliverance will occur at the end of the tribulation in connection with the second coming. Joel the prophet puts it this way in Joel 2:32, "And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be delivered. For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be those who escape, as the Lord has said, even among the survivors whom the Lord calls." So, Verse 1, then, explains that those Jews alive at the end of the tribulation will believe in their Messiah; and, they will be physically rescued from antichrist when Christ returns. He will destroy His enemies and He will protect and preserve them.

But the question is what happens to those believing Jews who end up dying under antichrist's persecution during the last three and a half years? Are they going to miss out on the blessings of Messiah's kingdom? The answer comes in Verse 2 where we learn of the physical resurrection of the dead. Notice Verse 2: "many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt." I want you to appreciate the fact that this is one of the most amazing passages and one of the richest promises in all the Scripture. It is a promise of future resurrection.

Now let me just set the context for you because I think sometimes we lose sight of this. "Man," "you," "we" were created to be a two-part person forever; a material part and an immaterial part; a body and a soul. But as a result of sin and God's curse on that sin, death came upon all. Turn back with me to Genesis Chapter 5. Right after the curse you have the first genealogy in Genesis 5:1:

"This is the book of the generations of Adam. On the day when God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female, and He blessed them and named them 'Man' on the day when they were created."

And then He describes Adam's life and what transpired. And notice Verse 5: "So all the days that Adam lived were 930 years, and he died." And then He comes to Seth and He describes Seth's life. (Not our Seth because this one, Verse 8 says, lived 912 years. Seth, are you ready for that)? But notice he lived 912 years and what? "He died." Verse 9; Enosh; we come to his story. Verse 11, "So all the days of Enosh were 905 years and he" – and again, and again, and again through Chapter 5 we're reminded of the result of sin; of God's curse; and death that came as a result. That was never God's original intention. You were made to be a two-part person, united forever, body and soul. But because of sin, all die; and the body and soul are separated at the moment of death. In fact, Paul calls it an enemy. He says "death is an enemy." Why? Because it does what God never made us to have happen, and that is to see the two parts of us separated. But part of the restoration of all things means the ultimate destruction of death itself. First Corinthians 15:26 says that death itself will die. But it also means the physical resurrection of every human being. Look at Verse 2 again: "many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt." Here's how it's put in John 5. Our Lord says in John 5:28, 29: "Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth: those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment." In the context of John's Gospel, he's not talking about salvation by works; he's saying salvation evidenced by works.

Now the fact that those passages promise the resurrection of the righteous and the wicked doesn't mean that all are raised at the same time. In fact, the Bible identifies several different resurrections. I would say it this way. There are two passages that — when you look at them, compare them, overlay them — they will explicitly detail the order of God's resurrection program. Let's look at them together.

The first one is 1 Corinthians. Turn to 1 Corinthians 15:22: "As in Adam all die," (we just saw that in Genesis 5), "so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order…" By the way, let me go back and say that he is making the point that all of those whom Adam represents (that's all of humanity) die. All of those whom Christ represents (that is those who believe in Him) will be made alive. "But each" — speaking now of those who will be made alive, of Christians — "each in his own order." Here's the order of God's resurrection program. Number one, "Christ the firstfruits." Number two, after that, "those who are Christ's"; that is those who belong to Christ at His coming. And then thirdly, "Then comes the end." Now keep that in mind and turn over to the second passage; Revelation Chapter 20. It takes both of these passages to kind of construct and put together this plan of the resurrections. Revelation 20:4-5, "Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them…" (And by the way, if you go back to the previous chapter, you'll see that the second coming happens in Chapter 19). So this is now after the second coming, Chapter 20:4 (it's at the beginning of the millennium according to the first few verses of Chapter 20):

"Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded…" (notice this is going to be the first group here) "because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead or on their hands; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years."

There's one group. Here's a second group, "The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed." This is the first resurrection. Now notice John calls the resurrection of the redeemed that he's just described in Verse 4 "the first resurrection." That resurrection is also referred to in John 5:29 as "the resurrection of life." And in our text, Daniel 12:2, it's referred to as "the resurrection to everlasting life." Then, after identifying that resurrection, he tells us there's going to be a thousand years between the resurrection of those who are saved during the tribulation and killed, and the rest of the dead. Who are the rest of the dead? Well go down to Chapter 20:12. The rest of the dead are the unbelieving dead; unbelievers; they're judged and they're thrown into (verse 14) "the lake of fire."

So putting together what we learned from those two passages, overlaying them, and overlaying them with other New Testament passages, we can say this: Scripture identifies two distinct resurrections. The first resurrection is the resurrection of the redeemed. But that resurrection occurs in three distinct phases according to what we saw in 1 Corinthians.

  1. The first phase is the resurrection of our Lord. If it was in the year 30 A.D., then it was on April 9, 30 A.D. That's my own preference. He was "the firstfruits." That is, His resurrection was the model and guarantee of the resurrection of all those who believe in Him.

  2. The second phase of the first resurrection of the redeemed is the resurrection of those saved during the church age at the rapture; at the beginning of the seven-year tribulation. There's the first real resurrection of the people of God. It happens at the rapture. It's recorded for us in 1 Corinthians 15:23;50-58; 1 Thessalonians 4. In 1 Corinthians 15:23 it says, "those who are Christ's at His coming." That's the second part of it.

  3. The third phase of this first resurrection is the resurrection of those saved during the tribulation who are resurrected at the second coming at the end of the seven-year tribulation. And we saw that in Revelation 20:4.

So, you have the first resurrection; it's of the redeemed — and of course, Christ is the firstfruits. But then His people — there's the rapture; and then there's the resurrection of those who were saved and martyred during the tribulation, at the end of the tribulation, at the point of the second coming.

And then you have the rest of the dead or the resurrection of the unredeemed that's recorded in Revelation 20. That is the resurrection. The rest of the dead recorded in Revelation 20:5 is the resurrection of all unbelievers of all time at the end of the thousand-year millennium. So there's a thousand years that passes between the end of the tribulation and the resurrection of all the unbelievers of all time.

Now if that's not clear to you, I've put together a little chart. It's a timeline that reads from left to right. So, you have the rapture on the left; that is the resurrection of the church. Then you have the seven years of tribulation; the last half of that is the great tribulation. Then you have the second coming; and at the second coming you have the resurrection of the tribulation saints. Then you have the millennium, a thousand years; and at the end of that thousand years, you have the resurrection of the wicked for the Great White Throne of judgment. Those are the resurrections that Scripture describes. Now what I want you to see from all of that is that the Bible does not teach one general resurrection at the end of time; rather, that there will be a series of resurrections.

But there's one important question that remains for us, and that is, in which of those resurrections are Old Testament saints raised? (Don't read the overhead; it's already there. I want you to think about this with me). In which of the resurrections are Old Testament saints raised? We know they are going to be raised; we saw it in Daniel 12:2. But when does it occur? Well, the clearest evidence is back in Daniel 12:2. Turn there again with me. When does this resurrection of Old Testament saints occur? Notice Verse 1: "At that time…" What time? The time of the great tribulation. Verse 2 — following the tribulation and the rescue and salvation of the Jews who survived to the end will come the resurrection of the Old Testament saints. That means Old Testament saints will be raised at the same time as tribulation martyrs. It will happen in phase three of the first resurrection, at the end of the tribulation in conjunction with the second coming.

Now, I had to work through this in my own mind. Why? Why wouldn't Old Testament saints be raised at the rapture like we're going to be raised at the rapture? That's a valid question. I think the answer to it is this: the seven-year tribulation period has, as its primary focus, the people of Israel. You remember Daniel 9:24? "Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people." The tribulation and the second coming are designed, in part, to bring the people of Israel to genuine repentance and faith in their Messiah. We saw it in Zechariah. So it makes sense, then, that the resurrection of Old Testament saints will occur in conjunction with the end of the tribulation and the second coming.

Now look again at Daniel 12:2: "Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt." This is truly an amazing verse. Let me just point out a couple of insights for us to consider. First of all, it uses sleep as a metaphor for death. Notice that? "Many who sleep." It's used here and in the New Testament as a figure of speech for physical death. It's confusing for some. This metaphor is not teaching that the one who dies is unconscious. It's not teaching that your loved ones who have died are somehow completely unaware (it's as if they're asleep, and, you know, the doctrine of "soul sleep," which isn't true). No, in fact, what Scripture teaches is that at death, the souls of believers pass immediately into God's presence. Second Corinthians 5:8: "we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body…" And to be absent from the body is what? "…To be at home with the Lord." Philippians 1:21-23: "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, [notice this] having the desire to depart…" And to depart is what? To "be with Christ, for that is very much better." It's also true that at death, the souls of unbelievers go immediately to a place of conscious torment. Jesus describes that in Luke Chapter 16. So when Scripture uses the metaphor of sleep for death, it's not describing the state of the soul, but of the body. It's like the body is in a state of sleep. And I think that's a beautiful picture because it's a reminder that death is temporary, and that someday that body is going to wake up. It prepares us for the concept of resurrection. The believer's body sleeps until Christ raises it at the rapture. The unbelievers' body also sleeps until he too experiences resurrection after the millennium in preparation for the Great White Throne. And according to this verse, unbelievers will spend eternity in a body. They will be resurrected. And the expression the angel adds here in Verse 2 only confirms that it's the body that's sleeping. Notice he says, "that sleep in the dust of the ground." It kind of makes that picture clearer. Secondly, notice that this verse uses waking as a metaphor for resurrection. In both cases, believers and unbelievers, resurrection is compared to waking from sleep. The angel says that both groups will awake. Again, the reference is not to their souls, but to their bodies. Thirdly it implies other resurrections. Notice "Many of those who sleep will awake." "Many" could mean "all." Sometimes the word "many" is used that way. Or here it could mean "not all" at this moment in time. It may be a reminder that as we've discovered elsewhere, that there are in fact two resurrections of believers. So many, not all, will be raised at that point in time. Number four, it identifies two distinct groups with two eternal futures. Notice "many who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life." Many will awake to everlasting life. You know, compared to the human race, it will be only a few. In Matthew 7, Jesus says few find the gate that leads to life; many are on the broad way. But it will also be a huge number because in Revelation 7:9, John described just those who were saved during the tribulation period. And he describes it as "a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation, and all tribes and peoples and tongues." Listen, we're not going to be alone when we get to heaven. It's going to be a countless number of the redeemed joining us in praising God. We will awake to everlasting life.

How do you get to wake to everlasting life? How can you be part of those who rise in this resurrection? The answer is in the most famous verse in the Bible. "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son," (His one-of-a-kind, unique Son) "so that whoever believes in Him would not perish but would have eternal life." Everlasting life.

Verse 2 says, "but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt." I think "but others" has to be two of the saddest words in all of the Bible. Revelation 20 says that this resurrection of the wicked comes after the thousand-year millennium. This second group is made up of all unbelievers. They will awake; they will be physically raised to (notice what it says) "disgrace." The Hebrew word is plural, literally, "to disgraces." It's a Hebrew form of speech that speaks of fullness. We could say "to great disgrace and shame." "Contempt" is a Hebrew word that refers to that which is detestable, abhorrent, loathsome. The only other Old Testament use of this word is in Isaiah 66:24: "They will go forth and look on the corpses of the men who have transgressed against Me. For their worm will not die and their fire will not quench; and they will be an abhorrence to all mankind." Daniel is saying that unbelievers and their eternal fate will always be shockingly detestable. They will know perpetual sin, perpetual guilt, perpetual shame, perpetual regret, perpetual suffering, and perpetual separation from God their Creator. And notice both their shame and their abhorrence will be everlasting. It will last forever.

If you're here tonight and you are not a follower of Jesus Christ, I want you to understand that this is a sobering truth but it's reality. If you do not in your lifetime repent and believe in Jesus, this is your destiny. You will die like all of the rest of us will die, and someday you will experience resurrection. Your tormented soul will be raised and reunited with a body that can endure the suffering of God's judgment forever. And this is what you will endure. As I said this morning, your only hope to bridge that chasm is Jesus Christ. There is only one Name given under heaven by which men may be saved: The Name of Christ Jesus. And I would plead with you tonight, don't wait. You don't know what your future is. Why would you wait to settle your relationship to God, your Creator? If you refuse to do so in this life, this is what awaits you.

There's one last insight in Verse 2, and that is it affirms the eternal bodily existence of every human being. You see, both believers and unbelievers will awake from sleep. That means every single human being without exception will experience physical resurrection. Every believer, every unbeliever will enter their eternal state in a physical body. And notice the fate of both is of equal duration. Both are everlasting. That's what Jesus said in Matthew 25:46. He said, "These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." He uses the same word on both sides of the equation. You know there are a lot of people who are understandably repulsed by the idea of eternal suffering for the lost, and that's hard for us to even consider and think about. I understand that. But listen, Jesus was very clear. However long the righteous will endure and enjoy eternal life is exactly the same time that the wicked will endure their suffering. Both are eternal and everlasting.

Daniel 12:2 is the clearest Old Testament text that promises the resurrection of individual believers. But there are others. Let me just give them to you briefly. There's Job 19:25-27. Job said:

"As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth. Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God, whom I myself shall behold, and whom my eyes will see, and not another."

Job believed in a bodily resurrection. Psalm 16:10, David writes: "You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; nor will you allow your Holy One to undergo decay." He wrote of the fact that God would not abandon him and of course, ultimately, he wrote of Christ Himself, His greater Son, who would not experience decay in death. Psalm 17:15: "As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied with your likeness when I awake." Psalm 49:15: "God will redeem my soul from the power of Sheol" (that is the grave) "for He will receive me." Isaiah 25:8: "He will swallow up death for all time…" (I love that) "…and the Lord God will wipe tears away from all faces, and He will remove the reproach of His people from all the Earth; for the Lord has spoken." Isaiah 26:19: "Your dead will live; their corpses will rise. You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy, for your dew is as the dew of the dawn, and the earth will give birth to the departed spirits." Hosea 13:14: "Shall I ransom them from the power of the grave? Shall I redeem them from death? O death, where are you thorns? O Sheol, where is your sting?" Which of course Paul quotes in 1 Corinthians 15.

I wonder, is your hope in the future resurrection? I'm not asking what your stated creed is; what your theology is. I hope all of us here would say that's true. I'm asking is your hope, is your personal hope in the fact that God will not abandon your body to the grave? That at the moment of death, your soul will pass immediately into the presence of Jesus Christ. And someday He will bring your perfected soul with Him; and in a moment, at the rapture, He will raise your body in glorified form like unto His own glorious body, Paul says in Philippians. And your redeemed soul will be reunited with a glorified body like that of Jesus Christ. You will be raised from the dead and you will live in that glorified body forever in a new heaven and a new earth. Christian, is that your hope? Do you live with that hope? You know, if you do, it corrects so many missteps in this life. You know, so many Christians live their lives trying to keep the inevitable from happening. Keep aging, run from death. Of course, none of us wants to die. God's given us a desire to live. But we don't fear it. Because we serve One who said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live again." Is that your hope? That's the hope of the Gospel. I hope it's your hope, even tonight. Let's pray together.

Father, thank You for the wonderful hope that we have of a resurrection. Thank You that You have redeemed our souls. Thank You that at death You will perfect our souls and we will pass into Your presence. And yet, Father, we confess that we weren't made to be bodiless souls floating around forever. We were made to be two-part beings. And thank You that You have promised us, You have guaranteed us, and You have sealed that promise with the firstfruits of the resurrection of Your Own Son. That just as You raised Him from the dead, You will raise us who believe in Him as well. Those who are Christ's will be raised at His coming. Lord, help us to live in hope of the resurrection. I pray for those who may be here, who at this point in their lives, because they have refused to repent, they have refused to believe, all they have to anticipate is being raised to everlasting disgrace. Lord, I pray that You would help them even before their head hits the pillow tonight to cry out to You for forgiveness through Your Son Jesus Christ, in whose Name we pray. Amen.