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The End of Time - Part 2

Tom Pennington • Daniel 12:1-13

  • 2020-11-08 PM
  • Daniel
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Several years ago a man named Ethan Siegel, a science writer for Forbes online wrote an article entitled Four Ways the Word Will Actually End. He writes, "Based on what we know, there are four ways the earth will meet its eventual end and they're all going to happen someday. Here's what that's going to look like." And he goes on to talk about the extinction of humans, the fact that this world will become hard because the sun will grow larger and you know, basically evolutionary theory. He goes on to describe what those who hold to an evolutionary perspective conjecture that the end of the world will look like. But folks we don't need to conjecture. God has already written the end of earth's story. And tonight we come to the end, the end of our study of Daniel and in the last chapter of his book, to the end of human history.

Now just to remind you, Daniels final vision runs from chapter 10 verse 1 through chapter 12 verse 13. Here is the basic structure of it. It's introduced in chapter 10 through the first verse of chapter 11 and then beginning with 11:2 and running all the way through the end of his book, we have the content of Daniels final vision. You have prophecies concerning Persia, Greece, the antichrist and then the last time we studied Daniel together we were considering prophecies regarding the great tribulation. That is the section that begins in chapter 12 verse 1 and runs through verse 12.

Just to remind you the biblical word for tribulation when it's used in the study of last things, refers to a future period of seven years when God will unleash His fury, His just wrath against the earth and against its inhabitants. It is in Daniel's terms, the seventieth week of his seventy week prophecy in Daniel chapter 9, the tribulation. The related phrase the great tribulation, technically we sometimes use it to refer to the entire period, I've done that and you do that, all seven years. But technically the phrase the great tribulation refers not to the entire seven years of that future tribulation but to the final three and a half years. Now in Daniel chapter 12, Daniel reveals to us what he learned from an angel, probably the angel Gabriel who had several times before in his book revealed things to him, he reveals what he has learned about the great tribulation. Let's read it again together, Daniel chapter 12 and I'll begin in verse 1.

"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. 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. 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?" 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. 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 of time. Many will be purged, and 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 1290 days. How blessed is he who keeps waiting and attains to the 1335 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."

Now this passage is about the great tribulation. We've learned several details about this coming event called the great tribulation. We saw in verse 1 the timing of this event, "Now at that time" verse 1 says, harking back to chapter 11, the great tribulation we learn occurs during the reign of antichrist, during the last three and a half years of the seven year tribulation. We looked at Israel's protector during the great tribulation, verse 1 says, "Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guards over the sons of your people, will arise." He will arise to protect Israel from Satan's persecution. Specifically those who are elect those who will be saved at the return of Jesus Christ.

Thirdly we considered the unprecedented distress of the great tribulation. Verse 1 goes on to say, "it will be a time of distress such has never occurred since there was a nation until that time." What the world and the Jewish people will experience during those three and a half years will be nothing like has ever been experienced in history before.

We considered the outcome of the great tribulation. There is first the physical and spiritual deliverance of the living. God is going to rescue a Jewish remnant from antichrist. Some of the remnant we learned will believe during the tribulation, through the ministry of the 144,000 witnesses that Revelations describes, and other gospel witness that God appoints. But the rest, the third of the Jewish people who survive the tribulation will be saved when Christ returns at the second coming.

But what's going to happen to those believing Jews who die under antichrist's persecution? Are they going to miss Messiah's kingdom? Well the answer to that comes in verse 2 where we learn of the physical resurrection of the dead. Verse 2 says, "Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but others to disgrace and everlasting contempt." Now as we saw the last time we studied Daniel the resurrection of the wicked happens much later than the resurrection of the righteous. The resurrection of the wicked actually comes at the end of the millennium just before the great white throne of judgement. But here the real focus is on the righteous, following the tribulation and the rescue and salvation of those Jews who survive to the end will come the resurrection of the Old Testament saints. That means that Old Testament saints will be raised at the same time as the martyrs of the tribulation, at the end of the seven year period.

Now there's a third outcome of the great tribulation that I want us to see tonight, and we'll move on through this passage, but the third outcome is this – the ultimate triumph and reward of God's people in verse 3. Notice what Daniel writes. "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." Now don't misunderstand, this is not some special class of believers. In one sense this describes all true believers of all time. But here in context it especially describes Jewish believers who are alive during the tribulation who help others to understand the gospel. Notice how they're described in verse 3, 'those who have insight.' That is, they have spiritual insight into the truth. They understand the truth of God, and they're described as 'those who lead the many to righteousness.' You see, true believers not only have a spiritual understanding of God and his truth, they bring others to that understanding through their life and testimony. They lead others to the righteousness that they have come to embrace.

And that by the way is our mission, right, as believers. It's not to stop with ourselves. They and those who come to faith through their witness will lead many to righteousness. During the tribulation God is going to raise up this army of Jewish witnesses who will share the gospel with the world and they will lead many to righteousness. As a result of their faithfulness they're going to receive an eternal reward. Notice how that reward is described in verse 3. "They will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven." True believers, Daniel says, will shine like interstellar space lights up at night, when the sun goes down and all of the sudden the dark skies comes ablaze with the stars of heaven. The second half of the verse makes that even more explicit, notice, "those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever." If you can get away from the city lights and many of you have had the opportunity to do that, as I have. You get out in the middle of nowhere where there are no lights to distract your vision, the stars blaze brilliantly against the dark night sky. But Daniel says believers will outshine them in the brilliant glory of their future reward. And that incredible state of blessing, he says it's going to continue forever and ever.

I love what Dale Ralph Davis writes about this passage, he says, "Yahweh is so very "Godlike" in this passage," he puts godlike in quotes, obviously, and then he goes on to write this. "No sooner does He mention unheard of distress then He peppers the text with tokens of our security. It helps immensely to know, (listen to this, I love this) that no church crushing, saint smashing regime can remove the names written in the indelible ink of God's book."

So, we've seen the timing, we've seen the protector, we've seen the distress, and even the outcome of the great tribulation, the fifth detail that we learn in this passage is the written record of the prophecy of the great tribulation, verse 4, "But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time;" The angel suddenly transitions from eternity future back into Daniels time with very specific instructions for Daniel. And his instructions have to do not just with this vision that ends the book, but with notice the book, that is Daniels entire prophecy, all twelve chapters. The angel tells him, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time, literally close up the words.

Now that can lead you to a misunderstanding, the word conceal implies that you're hiding something. You don't want anybody to see it, it's secret. That's not what this Hebrew word means. Rather this expression just like it did back in chapter 8 verse 26, means to preserve the book, to preserve it. Then, once you've made sure it's preserved, seal up the book. Now what's he talking about? This was very familiar to people who lived in the ancient world. At that time, an important document would be signed and witnessed and then that document would be rolled up in a scroll like fashion and the identifying marks of the party's as well as the scribe who wrote it would be put on the outer edge of the document so that you could know who it was. It's a lot like our email, you know at the top of our email it says when it came and from whom and who it's to. Well the scroll was handled the same way, you'd roll up the scroll, but you didn't want to unroll the scroll every time you wanted to see who it's from, you'd have a stack of scrolls on your shelf, it's like let me find that letter from Aunt Sue. No, you didn't want to do that, so there was on the outer edge of the scroll there was the important information and in the case of an important document it was what that document was, what the name of the party's involved, and the name of the scribe who wrote it. And then once you had done that, the text was sealed so it couldn't be changed or tampered in any way. Often as you've seen, it would be a wax seal where wax would be dripped on the edge and then an imprint of the family ring or some other insignia or perhaps a cryptic mark that represented the person would be placed in the wax. Typically the original would be copied and then the original would be sealed and put in a safe place to be preserved. You can read about that if you're interested in Jeremiah 32 where that very practice goes on, Jeremiah 32:9 -12.

So the angel Gabriel, then, demands that Daniel preserve not only the final vision in his book, but the entire scroll of his prophecy. He is to make sure it's set aside that it's preserved and protected. Notice this; he was to do so, 'until the end of time.' In other words this prophecy was specifically intended for those who would live at the end of time. When that generation of believers come and when they have to live under the horrific circumstances and persecution that comes under the reign of antichrist, they will desperately need the encouragement and the promises of the book of Daniel.

I love this. I mean as I thought about this this week it just shows so much of the heart of our Lord. I mean think about this. The fact that the angel commands Daniel to preserve these words is a powerful reminder that Christ loves His people. And He is so concerned about His people and concerned about protecting them and preparing them for what's coming that at least 2500 years before He tells a prophet to write about it so that when the time comes the people will know and they will understand, they will have comfort, confidence, security that God is on His thrown, that all these things have been prophesied that it's happening just as God said that it would.

I think the command of verse 4 also makes the point that while all of Scripture is always profitable, we believe that, right? Second Timothy 3. At the same time God intends particular portions of His word to be a unique help in particular times in history and even in our lives. And if you have been in Christ anytime at all you know that. There have been times when certain passages minister to you in a way that nothing else did or could. And that's by God's intention. Here's a portion of the Bible that's beneficial for us, but will be uniquely helpful to those people who endure these things.

Verse 4 goes on to say, "many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase." The expression 'go back and forth' is actually used a number of times in the Old Testament to describe an intense search for information. In this case it's a search for knowledge. Specifically for an understanding of what's happening during the Tribulation. And because Daniel's prophecy has been preserved, their knowledge will increase. In other words, what the angel is saying to Daniel here is that his book will help believers in that time to understand what God is doing and why. God will grant them knowledge of His ways through Daniel's prophecy. By the way there's another lesson here for us, and that is Scripture only prepares you, comforts you, strengthens you if you know it. They had to make a search to find this and when they found it, it served and ministered to them.

Now the last detail that the angel reveals is about the duration of the great tribulation. We've seen its timing; we've seen the great protector of Israel during that time, the unparalleled unprecedented time of distress. How it will turn out. We've seen the importance of a written record for the sake of those believers who will live during that time. And now we come in verse's 5 to 12 to the duration of the great tribulation. These verse's not only serve as a conclusion to this final vision, but to the entire book. Look at verse 5, "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." An angel, you remember is speaking with Daniel already in the early verses of this chapter, presumably Gabriel. And suddenly Daniel looks up and he sees two additional angels. One is standing on the close bank of the Tigris River where this vision is unfolding. And the other angel is standing on the other bank, now the Tigris at that time was a fairly wide river so there would have been a great distance between these two angels. If this scene is like the one back in chapter 8 verse 13, these angels haven't just been standing there, they've been talking. And they've been discussing all of this, discussing what all of this means.

Verse 6, "And one said to the man dressed linen, who was above the waters of the river," now first of all who is this person, 'the man dressed in linen?' We met him back in chapter 10, go back to chapter 10 and look in verse 4. This is how the vision began,

"On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, while I was by the bank of the great river, that is the Tigris, I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, there was a certain man dressed in linen, whose waist was girded with a belt of pure gold of Uphaz. His body also was like beryl, his face had the appearance of lightning, his eyes were like flaming torches, his arms and feet like the gleam of polished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a tumult."

Now we talked about this person when we studied chapter 10 together. And after considering the two primary views, one that he is an angel and the other that he is in fact a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ. That's where we landed, and I gave you a number of arguments for that, I'm not going to rehearse all of that again, but I believe that is true. I believe that we are looking at a pre-incarnate appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that same person now appears again at the end of this vision in chapter 12. Here's the scene, Daniel stood with Gabriel on one bank of the Tigris. Two other angels stood on the opposite banks of the Tigris, one near Daniel and Gabriel, the other on the other side. Hovering above the waters of the river was this pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ our Lord. That's the context in which verse 6 unfolds.

Literally verse 6 begins, "and he said." It's a little unclear who the speaker is. The speaker could be Gabriel or the speaker could be one of the other two angels. We can't be exactly sure. Regardless, it's an angel who asks our Lord this question in verse 6. "How long will it be until the end of these wonders?" These wonders, likely means the events of the great tribulation that he's been describing. He's not asking how long will it be before these things start. Instead he's asking how long will these things continue once they start.

I think it's fascinating that angels want to know what's going to happen. They want to understand. I mean, First Peter 1:12, says that, 'It was revealed to the Old Testament prophets that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which have now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven'. And then he says,' things into which angels long to look.' Angels want to understand. They want to understand what God is doing in the world. And here we're told they want to understand prophecy about the future. They want to know what's coming. What is God going to do? So one angel asks and Christ responds in verse 7.

"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" Christ responds to the angels question by taking an oath. Now it's common in the scripture for someone taking an oath to raise one hand. We still do that right, in courts of law? That's a very common thing. But notice here, Christ raises both hands toward heaven and He swears by Him who lives forever. In other words Christ lifts both of His hands to heaven, instead of one hand in the typical oath fashion, and with both hands raised, He swears by God. This is a very serious moment. Now why would He do this? I mean when someone in your life says, no really, I swear to you. Why are they saying that? They're saying that to assure you they are speaking the truth, right? No, no I really mean it's true, I'm telling you what's true. But this is God. He always speaks the truth, so why does He need to swear with an oath?

Well the writer of Hebrews explains; turn over to Hebrews chapter 6. This is one of my favorite passages. One I've taught before here I think many years ago, but we need to study it again soon. Hebrews chapter 6 and notice verse 16, "For men swear by one greater than themselves, and with them an oath given as confirmation of every dispute." In other words, if you want to settle a dispute that I'm telling you the truth, that it's real, I'm not lying to you, you take an oath. That's what people do. That's what we do in court. Verse 17, "In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise" the heirs of the spiritual aspects of the Abrahamic Covenant, in other words to us, "God wanting even more to show to us the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath." In other words, God doesn't need to make an oath because He can't be trusted, but God wants you to know that He really is serious about what He's saying. "That by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, (and the oath that He's taken,) we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have is an anchor of the soul." We have a hope that can be trusted, why? Because God swore by Himself that He would do what He said. He would save those who put their trust in Jesus Christ.

Now go back to Daniel 12. In Daniel 12, Christ raised both hands to heaven and He swore in the name of the eternal God of heaven in order to give those who read this book the greatest possible confidence that these words are true. So what could be so important? Verse 7, "He raised his right hand and his left toward heaven and he swore by Him who lives forever that it (that is the time of the great tribulation) would be for a time, times, and half a time;" Now we've encountered that expression before and I've interpreted it before. What Christ swore by God Himself is that the duration of the great tribulation would only last three and one half years. That's the second half of the seventieth week prophecy in chapter 7 verse 25 and in chapter 9 verse 27. Three and a half years, the great tribulation. And those three and a half years will come to an end, notice verse 7 says, "as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people."

During the last three and a half years of the tribulation during the great tribulation, the power of the holy people, that is the power of God's people Israel notice, will be completely shattered. Israel will be attacked by the nations of the world and they will be completely crushed according to Zechariah 12 through 14. And when they find themselves crushed with nowhere else to turn then they will cry out to God for help, they will repent of their sins and they will acknowledge their Messiah. Zechariah chapter 12 verse's 10 and following. And in response to their cry the Lord will return and He will rescue those who have survived the tribulation, He will save them, Zechariah 14:3-11. Verse 7 goes on to say, "all these events will be completed." The tribulation will end, the Lord will establish His kingdom. So, the answer to the angels question, how long will these things last once they start, the great tribulation? Christ swears it will only be three and a half years.

Having heard the Lord's answer to the angels Daniel has his own questions. Verse 8, "As for me, I heard but could not understand;" Now some of you who really don't get prophecy, be encouraged. Daniel didn't fully understand everything that was just told to him either. "So I said, "My lord, what will be the outcome of these events?" His question is literally what will be the final end of these things? Can't be absolutely sure what his question means, but clearly he was asking for God to reveal something that God had not yet revealed. Verse 9, "He," either Gabriel, or I think more likely Christ, responds to Daniels question and says. "Go your way, Daniel," literally, go, Daniel. He wasn't telling him to leave physically necessarily. He was telling him to move on, move on in your thinking. Don't get stuck here. Donald Miller writes, "The prophet should go on about his life not concerned about his lack of knowledge because the vision related to the far distant future."

Verse 9 goes on to say, "for these words are concealed and sealed up until the end time." These prophecies and their full meaning will be preserved for those who will especially need them, those believers who live at the end time. The implication is that when that time comes, Daniel, oh and by the way other prophecies that would eventually come along to make these things even clearer, the book of Revelation, will become increasingly clear to true believers. Leon Wood writes, "So often today Christians want to know more details regarding some doctrine especially concerning the last things, than God has revealed in His word, but they also should rest content with what God has chosen to make clear." In the end time, during the great tribulation, Christ goes on to say, verse 10, "many will be purged, purified, and refined." Notice all of those verbs are passive, divine passives. That is God is doing it. They will not purge or purify or refine themselves, instead during that awful time, God will sovereignly save. And notice this will happen to many. In fact in Revelation 7 verse 9, the angel describes a great multitude which no one could count who come to faith during the tribulation and are martyred for that faith. But not all will come to faith, verse 10 goes on to say, "but the wicked will act wickedly' and none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand."

It's interesting, when we study Revelation together at the beginning of next year we're going to get to a place where as the seals are broken, you know the seals are on the title deed to the earth, Revelation chapter 5 and as Christ begins to break those seals and take possession of what is rightfully His, with each seal fresh judgments are poured out on the world and it's interesting that when you look at it, you see that through the first five seals the people on earth don't get it. At that point they think these are just some sort of catastrophic natural occurrences. But when you come to the sixth seal, suddenly they get it. And how do they respond? Turn to Revelation chapter 6, and notice verse 15. This is in response to the sixth seal. It takes this long for them to get it. This is Revelation 6:15,

"Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come and who is able to stand?"

Can you imagine? Can you imagine living during the tribulation period? And you've seen these events occur in the first five seals. And they're catastrophic, they're amazing. And yet you're still thinking, boy this must be a fresh batch of global warming or something. And then you realize with the sixth seal, no no this isn't natural at all. This is God and the Lamb. How would you think people in that situation would respond? Well, they don't respond as you would expect. They still incredibly refuse to bow their knee in submission to God. Most will still refuse to repent and believe.

Look over at Revelation chapter 9 verse 20, "And the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, so as not to worship demons, and the idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk; and they did not repent of their murders nor of their sorceries nor of their immorality nor of their thefts." They didn't repent. They knew what was happening, they knew God's judgment was happening and they didn't repent. Go over to chapter 16, verse 9, "Men were scorched with fierce heat; and they blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues, and they did not repent so as to give Him glory." Verse 11, "and they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores; and they did not repent of their deeds." That's what Daniel is saying in Daniel chapter 12, he's saying you know what? All of these things will happen and the wicked will just keep on being wicked. They will keep on loving their sin and refusing to repent, they will continue in their rebellion until the bitter end and they will never full understand God's word.

Folks, this is a lesson in sovereign grace. I mean think about it. The miracle of Christ's resurrection didn't convince the Sanhedrin to believe in Him. Instead they came up with a plot to cover it up and even the miracles and judgments of the tribulation will not produce repentance. You understand? That would still be all of us if God hadn't intervened in our lives and brought us to understand our sin and the gospel. You sit here tonight, if you're in Christ, you sit here tonight as a living demonstration of the sovereign grace of God. Because if He had not intervened you would be just like these people, a rebel to the bitter end. If God hadn't chosen to intervene in sovereign grace and give us life.

By the way, Daniel chapter 12 verse 10 also demolishes the fact that there will continue to be wicked, demolishes the idea of post-millennialism. That interpretation of last things that says the world will increasingly get better and will embrace the gospel and as more and more embrace the gospel will bring in the kingdom. Instead sin will continue and will even reach its greatest depths under the reign of antichrist. As one author puts it, "Certainly there is no expectation here of a gradual Christianization of the world. The pre-requisite for the end is not the final fixing of our worlds brokenness, rather it is the final breaking of the holy people's strength."

Christ goes on to graciously provide Daniel and us with more of a timeline of histories final events. Look at verse 11. "From the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days." Now you understand the entire tribulation lasts for seven years. I have the chart up here to sort of picture it for you, I'm not a big chart guy but I thought this would help you see and understand. So, the entire tribulation lasts for seven years, it's broken up into two parts. There is the first three and a half years and then the great tribulation is the second half, it's the last three and a half years. And here we're reminded that the great tribulation begins with a specific event. It begins when antichrist abolishes the worship of the true God in the temple in Jerusalem and sets up what is called the abomination of desolation. Go back to chapter 9, and verse 27, here's the description of the seven year tribulation. The antichrist, verse 27 says, "will make a firm covenant with the many for one week," for seven years. "But in the middle of the week (at three and a half years) he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate."

In other places, Matthew for example, our Lord describes it as an event that is the abomination of desolation. That is an event that is such an abomination of the temple that no one else will go there to worship. It is desolate. What is it? Well, when antichrist abolishes the worship of the true God he will set up an image of himself according to Second Thessalonians chapter 2 verse 4, and you can read about it again in Revelation 13 verse's 14 and 15. We've looked at this already so I'm not going to take you there. He's will set up an image of himself for worship in the mid-point of the tribulation, at three and a half years.

Now Christ tells Daniel that from that time, the mid-point of the tribulation there will be 1290 days. Now step back, in verse 7 of this chapter, Christ said the tribulation will last three and a half years. In Revelation 11:2, it's described as lasting 42 months which is the same amount of time and in Revelation 11:3, John describes that very same period as lasting 1260 days. Now do the math, since he has just in the previous verse said it's 42 months and then he says it's 1260 days, obviously he's not using 31 day months, he's using 30 day months and that's where the 1260 days comes up. In the end those passages all make the same point, the great tribulation will last three and a half years. God has set limits on evil, on evil men and even on Satan himself. So just hang on and wait for God to act.

But why does Christ now add 30 days and say 1290 days? What's that about? Well some argue, well you know what it's prophecy so just give up, it's just symbolic. But that makes no sense. It makes no sense here in the same close context to use three different numbers: 1260, 1290, and in verse 12 there's another number – 1335. They're all really close, it makes no sense to use them and for them to be symbolic. Also other numbers in Daniel, like in chapter 8 verse 14, 2300 turned out to be very literal. So that's not a good explanation. Others have argued that three and a half years is approximate and 1290 days is exact. But there's a problem with that because Revelation 11:3 as I just noted says the great tribulation will last exactly 1260 days, not 1290 days. So what are those extra 30 days? Well we can't be absolutely sure, but I think Leon Wood is right when he suggested that these extra 30 days will be the time when Christ does what He says He's going to do after the Second Coming in Matthew chapter 5. It's an event called the judgment of the nations. Matthew 25 verse's 31-46. It is said to immediately follow the second coming, what is this? It will be a time when Christ determines which survivors of the tribulation are in fact truly redeemed and which of them will enter the millennium. Apparently that judgment will continue for 30 days and there we have the 1290 days. From the mid-point of the tribulation through the 1260 days of the three and a half years and then the 30 additional days for the judgment of the nations.

But then Christ adds another number, verse 12. "How blessed is he who keeps waiting and attains to the 1,335 days!" Now first of all, notice, how blessed – the Hebrew word is asre, it describes not God's blessing someone directly but rather it describes another human being inspecting the life of the righteous and that human being coming to a conclusion about that person. We could translate it like 'oh to be envied' or how enviable is that person, I would love to be in their position, I would love to experience what they are experiencing. How blessed. To be envied is the person who keeps waiting in anticipation and who attains to or arrives at the 1235 days.

Now this is 45 days after the judgment of the nations and 75 days after the tribulation ends. So what is this 45 days about? Well again, we can't be dogmatic. But I think Leon Wood makes the reasonable suggestion that these extra 45 days are the time frame in which Christ will establish His millennial government. And another author, and I love this, Archer suggests that the 1335th day after the abomination of desolation at the mid-point of the tribulation, the 1335th will be the official day of the inauguration of the thousand year reign of Jesus Christ on the earth. I think that's very possible. You see the Old Testament saints and we who will join them are all especially blessed, as one author puts it, because we are about to become citizens of the most wonderful society, governed by the most wonderful ruler in all of human history – the millennial kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. How blessed is the one who keeps waiting and arrives at that day?

Daniels vision ends with a prophecy regarding himself, a prophecy regarding Daniel. Verse 13 says, "But as for you, go your way to the end;" Daniel at the time of this vision was an old man, he was over 80. He was soon to reach the end of his life, perhaps shortly after this final vision. God had revealed so much to Daniel throughout his ministry, but now God tells him there're going to be no more revelations. Instead for the rest of his life he's to be content with what's already been revealed. And then, verse 13 says, "after your life is over you will enter into rest." Don't you love that? Scripture often describes death for the believer as entering rest from his work and struggle here. You know we spend our lives fighting and struggling, primarily against our own flesh, but we one day will enter into rest because we'll be just like Jesus Christ and we won't have to fight that battle anymore. Rest. It's rest as well for the body as it rests in the grave according to Isaiah 57:2, 'you will enter into rest.'

But Daniel would also, notice verse 13, "rise again." Literally you will stand. It's like Job right? The same kind of wording. The general promise of resurrection in verse 2 is now applied specifically to Daniel. There's not just going to be a resurrection Daniel but you will stand. You will rise. By the way the same is true for us. God intends for you Christian not just to think about some general resurrection of believers that's coming but to understand that you will stand. You will rise. Your redeemed soul will be reunited with a glorified body like unto Jesus' own body and you will live with Him forever. You will be resurrected, Christ says to Daniel.

And he goes on in verse 13 to say, "and you will receive your allotted portion at the end of the age." At the end of this present age Daniel will receive his allotted inheritance. The Hebrew word here is used over 25 times in Joshua to refer to the allotment of land that the tribes received. In other words, Christ assures Daniel that he has a place in the eternal kingdom. That he has an inheritance; he has an assigned spot reserved for him. I have this little sign on the chair down here they put, and I sit in it, most Sundays, it says 'reserved'. Nobody else is supposed to sit there, but I get to sit there. Christ tells Daniel, you have a reserved place in my kingdom. And Christian, so do you, so do you. His reward there will be like ours. It will consist of the praise of his Lord. It will consist of a greater capacity for service in eternity. It will consist of the privilege of belonging to Christ's millennial reign and belonging to Him and being with Him for eternity.

Folks this isn't just Daniel's story. If you're a follower of Jesus Christ, if you are a true believer in the God of the bible through His Son then this is your story too. Verse 13, here's your story, "but as for you, go your way to the end" of your life, continue to live, live on the revelation you've received, you're not getting any fresh revelation, live on the revelation you've received until the end of life, then you will enter into rest and you will rise again for your eternal inheritance. That's the end. But it's really not the end, it's just the beginning. Kyle writes, "Well shall it be for us, if in the end of our days we too are able to depart hence with such consolation of hope." And if you're in Christ, this is your hope. This is the hope of everyone who knows Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

So how do we wrap up chapter 12? I don't want you to miss the most important lesson, here and frankly of the entire book. The most important lesson in this final vision and in the book itself is that Christ is the Lord of human history. He has been with His people from the beginning. He was with Adam and Eve in the garden walking with them in the cool of the day. He revealed Himself to Noah, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. He revealed Himself to Moses in a burning bush; He was with Moses and the children of Israel as they exited from Egypt and as they were in the wilderness wandering for those 40 years. He was with them at Sinai; He was with them as they went in to take the land as the captain of the Lord's hosts. He was with them in the tabernacle and later in the temple. He dwelt in their presence. Daniel tells us in Daniel 8 that He was with His people even during those dark days of Antiochus Epiphones and those 400 silent years between the Testaments. And then you come to the New Testament and He was God with us. And Daniel says, and He'll be there at the end with His people as well.

In the end He will establish His promised millennial kingdom. Look at Daniel 2 verse 44. "In the days of those kings, the God of heaven" you remember the prophecy this is the vision that Nebuchadnezzar has of the great image? And that image represents the kingdoms of man and then suddenly a stone is cut out of the mountain without hands and comes and crushes the rest of those kingdoms to powder? Here's the interpretation, "In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever." What is that kingdom? Well in Daniel chapter 7 we discover exactly what that kingdom is. Daniel 7 verse 13, "I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of Days" so the Son of Man comes up to God the Father, "and was presented before Him. And to Him" to the Son of Man, "was given dominion, glory and a kingdom that all the peoples, nations and men of every language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed." And then verse 27 says this, "Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him." Folks the story of Daniel is this, He is the Lord of history and in the end the Lord of history, our Lord Jesus Christ becomes the Lord of eternity. That's the One we worship. That is our Lord, our Savior, and our coming King. That's the message of Daniel. Let's pray together.

Father, our hearts are overwhelmed. Overwhelmed that You would reveal these things to us, that You would tell us. That says so much about Your love and concern for us Your people for those who will live in those times. But Father we are also overwhelmed by what You've said You are going to do. Lord, we are unworthy of anything but hell. And yet You've made us a kingdom of priests, You've made us Your own people and some day You will bring all of human history to its conclusion. You will come. You will destroy Your enemies and You will establish a kingdom which lasts for a thousand years on this planet perfectly restored and renewed. And then You will destroy it so that all trace of sin is gone. And You will create a new heaven and a new earth in which righteousness dwells forever and there our God, we will live with You forever and ever. What grace is this? What love is this? Lord we confess to You that even as we study these things together we know they are true and yet we don't feel that it grips our hearts the way that it should. We don't feel that it moves us that it drives us to obedience and love and service and evangelism the way it ought to. Father, open up our hearts and minds to truly understand in a way that changes us, that from this point forward we would see the world, we would see history, we would see the affairs of nations differently than we did before we started the book of Daniel. And that we would worship the Lord of history, who will become the Lord of eternity, but who is our coming Savior and King. It's in His name that we pray, Amen.

Daniel