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Wed, Aug 28, 2002

56 - Conclusion

Daniel 12 by Robert Dean
Series:Daniel (2001)
Duration:1 hr 1 mins 19 secs

R/Dean Daniel Lesson 56

Conclusion – Daniel 12

 

Open your Bibles to Daniel 12.  This evening we are going end Daniel tonight.  Daniel 10-12 presents the last vision in the book of Daniel.  The first major vision had to do with the dream of Nebuchadnezzar, the great statue that outlined human history.  In the conclusion in Daniel 12 we come to the end of human history.  In the end of Daniel 11 the focus was on the rise of the first beast, the man of sin, the antichrist and the emphasis was that this man, more than anyone else in all of human history, reveals to us how bad the human race really is.  And one of the problems that we have is with the term "evil."  I've heard that comment many times since September 11, we've started using the word "evil" to describe the actions of the terrorists and many people have commented that that's a word that sort of fell out of usage for many years because it has such moral baggage with it.  In our post modern times people haven't wanted to talk about evil but the worst evil in the world is not that which is the overt sin or criminality or violence such as has been demonstrated with some of the much publicized kidnapping of children and abuse of children and other things of that nature. 

 

The worst evil in human history comes under the guise of good.  And the antichrist at the end time is going to promote many good things, many things that we already see being promoted today as that which is good; one-world government, unity, ecumenicalism, social compassion, redistribu­tion of wealth, all of these things and the result is that everything comes crashing down on him.  So in the end times, in the Tribulation God is going to pull back the restraints on human evil and Satan is going to empower the first beast, the antichrist, and God is going to let him take all his plans, all his programs, everything representing the very best that man on his own can do and take it to its logical extension and the result is that the human race is brought to the verge of self-extinction.  And the reason for this is that God is going to demonstrate in the Tribulation, and through the antichrist and the false prophet that man, that the creature on his own, apart from God, no matter how good he may appear to be, no matter how benevolent his policies may appear on the surface, that man apart from God is never going to be successful. 

 

It brings to a conclusion the primary emphasis in the angelic conflict where Satan claims that God ought to allow the creature to run things as the creature desires.  And that was Satan's ultimate plan from his fall, was a claim to be God and to be able to run things independently of God and to be as successful if not more successful than God.  So the agenda here is to show that the creature, no matter how talented, no matter how successful, no matter how intelligent he is, can never achieve real success and real stability in history apart from God. 

 

As we concluded Daniel 11 we looked at how all of this is going to come to a final battle in the Middle East.  We looked at Daniel 11:40-45 and then we tried to relate that to the Gog and Magog invasion in Ezekiel 38 and 39 which may have confused many of you and it's confused me for several months.  It is a confusing and difficult passage to understand but I wanted you to under­stand what the issues are because if you read any of the fictional books, the Left Behind series, or if you read Hal Lindsay's Late Great Planet Earth or if you read any of the other books on prophecy, sooner or later somebody is going to take a position on where they're going to put that invasion from Gog and Magog.  And is often they case, they're present their position and I wanted you to understand that there's no, even among good men, excellent scholars, people of the caliber of John Walvoord, former President of Dallas Seminary, Dwight Pentecost who in his generation was considered one of the greatest experts on Biblical prophecy, people like Tim LaHaye, Tommy Ice and many others disagree on how these things fit together because if you study the passages themselves there always seems to be one major flaw in every position.  So I don't think there's any real dogmatism that can be asserted when it comes to figuring out how those things fit together.  I personally tend to think that that invasion is part of what takes place during the final battle of Armageddon, but even that position has a number of weaknesses. 

 

Actually the chapter break at the end of chapter 11 into chapter 12 comes at an awkward place.  The chapter break actually should have occurred between verse 4 and verse 5, so verse 1 really takes place contextually in the narrative right after 45 of Daniel 11.  Daniel 11:45 says, "And he shall plant the tents of his palace between the seas," that's the Mediterranean, it's talking about the antichrist as he comes back into the Glorious Land or the land of Israel, "he shall plant the tents of his palace between the seas," the Mediterranean, "and the Glorious Holy Mountain," that's the temple mount or Mount Zion in Jerusalem, "yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him."  That's a very abbreviated way of describing the battle of Armageddon when the antichrist is destroyed and that brings to an end the Tribulation. 

 

Then Daniel 12:1 begins.  "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 a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued."  Now there's many different things in this one verse that we need to note in order to understand the background and understand what is going on here.  The first thing we need to emphasize is the emphasis of the phase of the time of this verse, "at that time," in context this is at the same time that the battle takes place, or of the Tribulation at the end of Daniel 11.  Remember in Daniel 11:36-45 the timeframe shifted to the Tribulation.  And if you note at verse 40, Daniel 11:40 begins, "At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him," now as we put this together what we're going to see is exactly what I suggested last time and that is that from Daniel 11:40-45 we have a description of the military campaigns of the antichrist during the last three and a half years of the Tribulation.  And we see in verse 1 a temporal reference, "at that time," so Michael shall stand up. 

 

Now this indicates that Michael has been in a posture of sitting.  That indicates that he has not been directly involved in anything and now he is going to stand up, which indicates he is going to go into action.  We have to understand some things about Michael.  Michael is called "the great prince" here.  In Jude 9 he's called "the archangel," he is the only archangel, the only one identified as such in the Bible and his role is always related to God's plan for Israel and specific­ally protecting Israel and watching over Israel.  Every time you see Michael referenced in the Scripture it has something to do with God's plan for Israel.  Michael has been sitting down because from the time of the ascension of Christ until the Church is raptured there is no job for Michael.  Michael is only working in the background but it's not until God's plan reverts to Israel at the beginning of the Tribulation that Michael will go into action, and actually he doesn't seem to go into action until the midway point of the Tribulation. 

 

Remember, that is the start of what Jesus Christ referred to as "the Great Tribulation."  When you look at the seven years of the Tribulation, we have the rapture, that ends the Church Age, then there is an indeterminate period of time, it could be a few months, it could be longer, we have no way of knowing, and then the Tribulation itself begins when the antichrist signs a peace treaty with Israel.  That begins the seventieth week of Daniel which is divided into two time periods of three and a half years each referred to in this text and in many others as a time, that's one unit of measure, times, that's two units of measure, and a half a time.  So 1+2+½ = 3½, and it is this second half of the Tribulation that ends with the Second Coming of Christ that is referred to as "the Great Tribulation."  This is the time when everything intensifies and this is the time when there is the three and a half years of incessant battle in Palestine.  It is a time when, according to this passage and others, Israel is virtually defeated as a nation and on the verge of extinction, and that is when they flee to the mountains down near Petra, down in Moab and finally turn to the Lord and cry out, according to Joel 2, for Jesus Christ as their Messiah to come and deliver them. 

 

So this is the period of time that we are talking about in this passage and it is at the beginning of this time of Israel's greatest trauma, the greatest assaults on Israel that Michael is going to stand up.  So, "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."  So the question is, what is it that activates Michael to stand up and begin to get directly involved and the word that we have here translated "distress" is the Hebrew word tzarah, it's the Hebrew word tzarah and in the Septuagint, which was the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament it is translated by the Greek word thlipsis, which is one of two words for suffering or adversity or tribulation, and it is this word thlipsis that the Lord Jesus Christ uses when He is talking about the Great Tribulation in Matthew 24:21, which seems to indicate that in the upper room discourse when Jesus got to that point he has Daniel 12:1 in mind.

 

In Matthew 24:21 Jesus said, "For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall."  So this is a passage that clearly indicates that there is a future for Israel, that God has a future plan for Israel, because Jesus indicates from this statement that never before has there been such a conflagration, never before has there been such a war, never before has there been such misery and such suffering and that's the same thing that Daniel says in Daniel 12:1, "there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time."  So this indicates, when you put Daniel 12:1 together with Matthew 24:21, Matthew 24;21 is even stronger, Daniel just says "there never was such a time of distress from the time there was a nation until this time;" Jesus goes beyond that and says "nor ever shall."  This is the greatest trauma, the greatest war, the greatest suffering and misery to ever occur in human history.

 

Now what happens today is that there has come on the scene a number of people who are teaching that all this prophecy really ended in 70 AD.  Jesus returned at that time, it was a spiritual return, and so all the prophecy has already taken place in the past and that position is called the preterist position and it's becoming very popular and there are more and more people teaching this.  Let's put it this way, it was considered a dead position when I went to seminary and none of us ever even heard that word in any of our classes back in the late 70s so this is basically resurrected as a result of the rise of postmillennialism and some other things in the last 20 years and is based on an allegorical interpretation of the Scripture.  But they have a very difficult time with a passage such as this in order to get around its meaning and its significance.  First of all there is an emphasis on "your people" and there's only one way to take "your people" in this passage and that is as the Jews.  You can't spiritualize it to the Church; this will be a time of tremendous conflagration, a time of war unlike anything that has ever happened and it is related to Daniel's people.  And everywhere else in the book of Daniel that this phrase, "your people" is used it always refers to the Jews, it always refers to Israel. 

 

Furthermore, Daniel 12:1 states "there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time," now what does that mean, "since there was a nation?"  If you go back and you do a study of the Scripture the first kingdom, the first nation to come on the scene did not occur until after Noah's flood in Genesis 10:10 and that was in Babel and that was Nimrod's kingdom.  And so what Daniel is emphasizing here is that this distress is going to be worse than anything that's happened since the worldwide flood of Noah's day.  The verse goes on to say this "will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation," that is since the flood, "until that time; and at that time your people," that's the second time it indicates "your people," the second time it states "at that time," so once again the focus is in this last three and a half years of the Tribulation and specifically at the end of the Tribulation, "everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued."  And the Hebrew word here for rescued is not a term that connotes salvation; it is simply a term that denotes physical rescue at a time of trauma.  And so the emphasis here is that God is going to rescue the nation at the last minute. 

 

Zechariah 13:8 informs us that by the end of the Tribulation only one third of the Jews survive; two-thirds of all the Jews that exist on the earth at the beginning of the Tribulation are going to be killed and they're going to be dead by the end of the Tribulation.  And Michael is going to stand up in order to protect and preserve the Jews and the remnant of the Jews that are going to survive the Tribulation.  This passage does not indicate that they are all saved; I think other passages do indicate that they are all saved, and in fact, I've been doing some work on this concept for a while because Romans 11 teaches that at the end of the Tribulation "all Israel will be saved."  Now there are two ways to take this word, it is the Greek word sozo, which in some contexts indicates salvation, that is, deliverance from eternal condemnation, but in many contexts it just means to be delivered from some sort of trial or adversity, in fact it can relate to deliverance at the time of physical sickness and it can have the meaning of healing.  So we have to decide in context, are we talking about salvation meaning "all Israel will be saved" from eternal condemnation, or is it just simply talking about the fact that "all Israel," that is this remnant, are going to be delivered.  It indicates in Daniel 12, the indication is simply physical deliverance during the assault of the antichrist.  I think there are other passages such as Joel 2 which indicate that this also relates to spiritual salvation. 

 

Now the question comes, how can you say that all Israel is going to be saved, and that is that every single one of them is going to put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ?  And I will explain one way in which that's going to happen.  "All Israel" is going to be saved because at the end of the Tribulation this one third, 33% that survive, are the ones who follow the commands of Jesus Christ in Matthew 24, that when the see the abomination of desolation they are to flee Jerusalem, they are to flee Israel, and to head to the mountains.  Those that have some level of positive volition, who have been searching the Scripture and we're going to see that later on in this chapter, that there will be people searching the Scripture, that's what it means "their eyes running to and fro," that's a Hebrew idiom for searching the Scriptures, that they will be searching the Scripture and some will read that and although they may not be saved yet, they may not be willing to accept Jesus as Messiah yet, they are going to heed the warning and they're going to "get out of Dodge" as it were, and head for the hills.  So only the ones who are positive are going to escape to Bozrah, in the land of Moab, in the wilderness, and only those who escape to Bozrah are going to be delivered at the end of the Tribulation and only those who escape to Bozrah are the ones who have been positive to what Jesus said in Matthew 24 so that all those who escape to Bozrah will, by the end of the Tribulation, cry out in unison for Jesus to come and deliver them and that is what's described in Joel 2.  So I believe that at the end of the Tribulation all the surviving Jews are going to be saved and those who exist outside of Bozrah are all going to be destroyed in the great end time war that culminates in the battle of Armageddon.

 

Remember, Satan's greatest tool in Church history to try to establish his position is anti-Semitism and he is continually promoting that and there are subtle forms of anti-Semitism today, as you see people taking a political anti-Semitism, they're against support for the nation Israel.  They're not going to go so far as to say we ought to put all the Jews in a gas chamber, they don't want to sound like Hitler and the Nazi's because that's not politically correct, but they will take a position against supporting Israel unequivocally as a nation and in doing so they are taking a subtle but nevertheless horrific form of anti-Semitism. 

 

Now we have a description in Hosea 5:14-6:3 of how God is going to deliver Israel during this time.  God is speaking there and, "For I will be like a lion to Ephraim, and like a young lion to the house of Judah."  Ephraim was a term referring to the northern kingdom, Israel, so this includes both the northern tribes and the southern tribes, in other words, this is inclusive of all Jews.  "I will be like a lion to Ephraim, and like a young lion to the house of Judah.  I, even I, will tear to pieces and go away, I will carry away, and there will be none to deliver."  And that's a picture of God's divine discipline on Israel.  [15] "I will go away and return to My place until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face; in their affliction they will earnestly seek Me," and that is the time of Jacob's trouble at the end of the Tribulation when they will finally turn to the Lord Jesus Christ for deliverance.

 

In Hosea 6:1 we read what their response is, "Come, let us return to the LORD.  For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us.  [2] He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day that we may live before Him.  [3] So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD.  His going forth is as certain as the dawn; and He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain watering the earth."  In fact, Joel 2 picks up in that same sort of imagery.  Joel 2:28 states, "And it shall come to pass afterwards," that is after the events of the Tribulation and the horrors of that are described in the previous verses, God says, "that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.  [29] And also on my men servants and my maid servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days."  These are not spiritual gifts. 

 

A very interesting question came up when I was at the Conservative Theological Society speaking on the cessation of tongues, that in 1 Corinthians 13 states that "prophecy and knowledge will be abolished," that's a better translation than what's in most English versions, that they will be abolished, and that usually is indicated to be sometime prior to the Tribulation, at least those who are not Pentecostal or not charismatic will say that knowledge and prophecy ceased at the end of the 1st century.  Well, the question has come up three times, I'd never heard this question before, never seen it posed; three times in the last three weeks as I have taught this the question has arisen, well what about Joel 2; Joel 2 says that "your sons and daughters will prophecy," so how can you say that prophecy and knowledge would cease in 90 AD if there's going to be prophecy in the Tribulation or at the end of the Tribulation.  And it's simple; in 1 Corinthians 13 we're talking about the spiritual gift of prophecy and the spiritual gift of knowledge.  A spiritual gift by definition is a gift that is given to the Church by the Holy Spirit.  Spiritual gifts were only operative during the time of the Church Age.  In the Old Testament you had prophecy but it's not a spiritual gift, it's performed through the enduement of the Holy Spirit but it is not related to the baptism and indwelling of God the Holy Spirit.  So it functions with a different mechanic than the spiritual gift of prophecy and knowledge that operates during the Church Age. 

 

So there will be a returned emphasis to prophecy at the end of the Tribulation but this is not the spiritual gift of prophecy.  In fact, this is a very interesting support for pretribulation rapture because if the spiritual gifts of prophecy and knowledge are going to be abolished before, or even at the time Jesus returns, which is the view that many people want to hold there, if it's going to be abolished before that time, then obviously the Church has to be removed from the scene so that God can return the emphasis to Israel.  So this, while it's not an argument for the pretribulation rapture it certainly demonstrates that the Bible is completely consistent within itself and shows that on the basis of correct interpretation everything comes together.  So the Church has to be removed because if prophecy and knowledge have already ceased as spiritual gifts, then the Church has to be removed from the scene so that God can restore prophecy to Israel under the enduement of the Holy Spirit.  And that's what takes place in Joel 2:28-29.

 

Then in Joel 2:30 God says, "And I will display wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood and fire, pillars of smoke.  [31] The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood," this is pictured in the last days of the Tribulation with the bowl judgments, "before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD," that is the final battle at Armageddon.  [32] "And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved, for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the remnant whom the LORD calls."  So that is the deliverance.

 

Incidentally, that verse may be familiar to some of you, "whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved," that's referenced in Romans 10:13 and there are many people who want to try to say that to be saved you not only have to believe in Jesus but tell somebody, give a testimony and they will quote that verse in that passage in Romans 10 but the point that Paul is making from Romans 9 to Romans 11 is how God is going to be justified in the future salvation of Israel.  And so when you read those verses in Romans 10 Paul is not talking about the salvation of people in the Church Age, that it's done through a verbal expression of their faith or making a public testimony, but it relates to the fact that the Jews are going to finally call upon the name of the Lord for salvation at the end of the Tribulation.  That's what Joel 2 is related to. 

 

So Joel 2 and Hosea 5, the end of Hosea 5 and beginning of Hosea 6, give us a description of what will take place at the end of the Tribulation.  This will be a prayer that takes place by the nation, led by its leaders, and what we know from a study of the calendar, the ritual calendar of Israel, is that this takes place exactly on the day of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.  In the spring calendar in the Jewish ritual calendar, it has three major feast days: the Passover, First Fruits and the day of Pentecost, and each of those days had their prophetic fulfillment take place exactly on that day.  Jesus was crucified on Passover, He rose from the grave on First Fruits, the Holy Spirit descended on the day of Pentecost.  But the feast days in the fall calendar, the Day of Atonement, the Feast of Trumpets and the Feast of Tabernacles have not yet been fulfilled.  So it is on the Day of Atonement, probably the day before or the day after because Hosea 6:2 indicates two days, that it starts the day before and extends through the Day of Atonement, that it is exactly on that day when the rabbis in Israel and the heads of state will turn and call upon Jesus Christ as Messiah to come and deliver Israel.  Then He will descend and He will destroy the armies of the antichrist, He will destroy the false prophet and he will deliver Israel. 

 

Now this is also pictured in Revelation, and it takes place actually…well actually the Church Age takes place between Revelation 12:5 and 12:6.  In Revelation 12:5 we read, "And she gave birth to a son," that is the woman here in the context, and the woman represents Israel, "she gave birth to a son," that's the Messiah, "a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, and her child was caught up to God and to His throne."  That's the ascension of Jesus Christ.  Then there is a gap between verse 5 and verse 6, and that includes the Church Age and most of the Tribulation.  And then in verse 6 we read, "And the woman," that is Israel, "fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days."  And if you take the 1,260 days and divide it by 30 which is the number of days in a lunar month you come out with 41 months; 42 months equals three and a half years.  So this is talking about how God is going to protect Israel in the wilderness of Bozrah during the second half of the Tribulation. 

 

She is to "flee into the wilderness" and it is during this time that Michael is going to stand up for Israel.  Now something very interesting takes place in the heavenlies; remember in Revelation we have two things going on in the description of the Tribulation.  One is the events that take place on the earth and the other is the events that are taking place in heaven.  And these two are going to come together in Revelation 12:7, "There was war in heaven," this is describing…we just looked at Revelation 12:5-6 which are describing the events leading up to the second half of the Tribulation in verse 6, and then at that time, the second half of the Tribulation, "there was war in heaven," there's going to be this breakout and the intensification of the angelic conflict during this time of Satan's great temper tantrum and there is going to be this final war because Satan knows…he knows as much about prophecy as any of us if not more and he knows that when the abomination of desolation takes place, which begins that last three and a half year period, that his days are numbered, he only has three and a half years and then it's all over with and he's going to try to do everything he can during that three and a half years to win his case and to destroy Israel.

 

 So they attack the throne of God, "and Michael and his angels wage war with the dragon.  And the dragon and his angels waged war."  In verse 8 we learn that "they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven.  [9] And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the Devil and Satan," Satan is a title for Lucifer, it is not his proper name, Shatan means the one who accuses, and it functions in his role as a prosecutor who is trying to bring a case against all believers.  He "is called the Devil and Satan," or Shatan, "who deceives the whole world, he was thrown down to the earth and his angels were thrown down with him.  So at this point Satan is down on the earth, his demons are down on the earth and they are restricted to a physical space/time existence.  That means that the latter part of the Tribulation is going to be really bizarre, as you are going to see demons visibly on the earth along with mankind and Satan as well, so it's an environment that is completely unprecedented. 

 

Then in Revelation 12:10 we read, "And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, 'Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them before our God day and night."  So this represents…Satan is the accusing one, that's his title, and all that he has done in human history to attack the people of God, whether Jews in the Old Testament or Church Age believers, he is before the throne of God accusing us, but we have a defense attorney in the Lord Jesus Christ who is continuously defending us.

 

Now in Daniel 12:1, let's go back and pick up the last part of it, it says that "at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued."  Now amillennialists and postmillennialists have a problem with this phrase, "your people."  If you interpret Daniel 12:1 literally, then "your people" can only refer to Daniel's people and that's the Jews; it can't refer to the Church and yet that's exactly what you will run into every time you talk to a postmill or amill, they want to try to make the Church a replacement for Israel.  This is so bad, I just read the Pre-trib research center report and in Tommy's article he mentions the fact that he had a recent conversation with a Muslim and the Muslim makes the argument to Tommy, he says well, you know, God has no plan for the future of Israel because the Church replaced Israel.  So this Muslim was knowledgeable enough about some interpretations in Church history and he was knowledge­able about replacement theology.  And yet that is completely false, as we have studied, and the point is that there is no place…NO place in all of Scripture where Israel, the term Israel, refers to anything else other than ethnic Jews.  It never refers to Christians, and of course the passage that's usually brought up is in Galatians 6 where Paul says "and for the Israel of God," and there he's not talking about the Church, he's talking about regenerate Jews who have accepted Jesus Christ as Messiah.  So the term "Israel" never refers to anyone in the Scriptures except for literal Jews.

 

Now the end of the verse references those who are "found written in the book" and these are the ones who "will be rescued."  And so the context, even though the word "rescue" indicates physical deliverance, the context, that is "those who are found written in the book," indicates that this term is related to salvation.  And this concept of being written in the book is indicated in Revelation 20:11 and 15, "I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne; the books were opened and another book was opened, which is the book of life, and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books according to their deeds.  [15] And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life he was thrown into the lake of fire."  So the concept here is that this is the written record in heaven of who is saved and who is not saved.  And incidentally, the unbelievers are condemned, not for their sins but for their works because they're not good enough to qualify them to go into heaven.  They do not have the perfect righteousness of Christ. 

 

Daniel 12:2, "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."  Now it appears at first glance that this is talking about the same general resurrection.  But when we compare this to what we find in passages in Revelation 20 we know that these are not…these two resurrections, those to eternal life, and the second resurrection, those to disgrace and everlasting contempt, are actually separated by over a thousand years.  Now when we look at this verse there's a couple of interesting things to note here.  First of all the phrase, "those who sleep."  The term "those who sleep" does not refer to soul sleep; you do not go to sleep until, and your soul does not go into some sort of state of unconscious limbo until Jesus Christ returns at the rapture.  That is not what the Scriptures teach at all.  That's what Seventh Day Adventists teach but it is not a Biblical doctrine.  The term "sleep" in the Scripture is a figure of speech or a euphemism that is used to describe physical death.  In most places it's describing the physical death of believers.  In John 11:11-14; Acts 7:60; 1 Corinthians 15:51, 1 Thessalonians 4:13 are all verses where sleep is used as a euphemism for physical death. 

 

Three things we can say about this; first of all, the Bible never teaches soul sleep.  Secondly, when the believer dies he immediately goes into the presence of the Lord, 2 Corinthians 5:8, we are face to face with the Lord, and Philippians 1:21-23.  Three, when the unbeliever dies he goes directly to a place of conscious torment, this is in Luke 16, which is the story of Lazarus and the rich man and when the rich man who is an unbeliever dies he goes into a place of torments where he feels the heat and suffering of the flames, so there is conscious torment there. 

 

Now liberals have often claimed that Daniel 12:2 is the first time that you have any mention of resurrection in the Old Testament but that is absolutely false.  Resurrection is a concept that goes all through the Old Testament.  For example, Jesus references it in Matthew 22:23-32, that's when the Sadducees, who did not believe in a resurrection came to Jesus and questioned Him, and said you know, if a man dies, he doesn't have any children, his wife marries his brother and they don't have any children and that man dies and then she remarries and goes through all seven brothers and they all die and leave her childless, whose wife is she going to be in the resurrection.  And of course that's kind of an absurd thing because that usually would happen and of course nobody was wondering if she was slipping something into their drinks to kill all of the brothers, but Jesus goes to the real heart of the issue, in Matthew 22:29 He says, "You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures, or the power of God.  [30] For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.  [31] Now regarding the resurrection of the dead," see, he goes right to the heart of the issue because the Sadducees who were imposing this hypothetical question don't even believe in resurrection, and he says, "haven't you read that which was spoken to you by God, saying, [32] I am," present tense, "the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?  God is not the God of the dead but of the living."  So the present tense, when God says "I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob," when he's speaking to Moses indicates that He is still the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, even though those three had been in the grave for over 300 years.

 

Furthermore, God made a promise to Abraham, that he, Abraham, and also Isaac, and Jacob would [tape turns] …the Promised Land and they would all live in it, yet they all died before they ever saw the establishment of the nation in the Promised Land.  And so God, in order to fulfill this promise, must raise them from the dead.  Furthermore, Hebrews 11:17-19, we're told that "By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac; and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son, [18] it was he to whom it was said, In Isaac your descendants shall be called.  [19] He," that is Abraham, "considered that God is able to raise men even from the dead; from which he also received him," that is Isaac, "back as a type."  So Hebrews 11:17-19 shows that Abraham understood resurrection in Genesis 22.  Other passages, such as Job 19:25-26; Isaiah 26:19; Hosea 13:14; Psalm 16:9-10 all show this doctrine of resurrection in the Old Testament.  Job 19:25 states, "And 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."  So Job understood resurrection.  Isaiah 26:19, "Your dead will live, their corpses will rise, ye who lie in the dust will wake 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 Sheol?  Shall I redeem them from death?  O death, where are your thorns; O Sheol, where is your sting; compassion will be hidden from site."  So that indicates resurrection from physical death.  And then Psalm 16:9-10, "Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will dwell securely.  For Thou will not abandon my soul to Sheol," in other words, the body won't stay in the grave, "neither wilt Thou allow Thy Holy One to undergo decay."  So even though that has application to the Messiah it recognized the principle of resurrection from the dead. 

 

Daniel 12:2, "And many of those who sleep," the word "many" is the Hebrew word rabim, in some translations they try to make it all.  Many is not all, many is many, it refers to one group, "many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake," and this does not indicate a complete resurrection and we know that in Revelation 20 there are stages of resurrection, the first resurrection includes the resurrection of Jesus Christ called the first fruits in 1 Corinthians 15.  And then there is the resurrection of dead Church Age believers at the rapture; that's the second stage of the first resurrection.  The third stage is at then of the Tribulation and is the resurrection mentioned here which is the resurrection of the Jewish saints, and this is referenced in Revelation 20:4, where John says, "And I saw thrones and they sat upon them, and judgment was given to them.  And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of the testimony of Jesus, and because of the Word of God," these are the Tribulation martyrs, "and those who have not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years." 

 

So that refers to Tribulation saints who are going to also reign with Christ alongside of Church Age saints, and that indicates what we briefly touched on in Ephesians 1, that this is part of mystery doctrine, is that in the Old Testament they saw the Jews reigning with Christ over the Messianic kingdom but the mystery doctrine is that Christ would redeem a new people, the Church, and in Ephesians 1:14 and following, the emphasis there is on the fact that this mystery will be for the inheritance of the saints and that the Church Age believers, Gentiles, would co-reign with Jews in the millennial kingdom.  In Revelation 20:5 we read, "The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed," so there's another stage of resurrection.  "And this is called the first resurrection."  So there are ranks to the first resurrection and they begin with Jesus Christ and His resurrection; the second stage is Church Age believers at the rapture; the third stage is Tribulation martyrs, those Tribulation saints who survive go into the millennial kingdom and they keep their mortal bodies; all of this is the first resurrection.  Then the second resurrection takes place at the end of the millennium, at the Great White Throne judgment.

 

Then we come to Daniel 12:3, "And those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven," and when this verse emphasizes this it's emphasizing the fact that those who cause to have insight, "those who have insight" is translated as a passive but it's actually a hiphil participle and in the Hebrew a hiphil participle, or hiphil stem has a causative sense.  So it should be translated, "those who cause to have insight," and those who cause to have insight is parallel to the next phrase, "those who lead the many to righteousness," and you lead someone to righteousness by explaining the gospel; you cause them to have insight by teaching the Word.  So the reference here is to those who are going to be teaching the Word and evangelizing the lost and they are going to "shine brightly," they are going to be stars, they're going to be the celebrities in heaven and in the millennial kingdom, "like stars forever and ever," because these are the ones who led many to Christ during the time of the Tribulation.

 

Then we get the conclusion of the vision in verse 4, "But as for  you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time," now some people want to make this say now it's going to be hidden, no one is going to understand any of this until the end of time.  That's not what this means.  It means that Daniel is to write these words down in the scroll, sealing up the scroll means that you finalize it, and in the ancient world after you got through with a document you would roll up the scroll and you would put a seal on it, indicating it is a complete finished document, and that there was nothing more to be added to it.  So this would book would be sealed "until the end of time," indicating that it would probably not be fully understood until the end of time.  We find the next phrase, "many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase."  Now you'll read some of the popularists like both Hal Lindsay and Tim LaHaye and others, say well that indicates a stage today because knowledge doubled, knowledge from the amount of knowledge we had in  1780 doubled by 1930, doubled again by 1960, doubled again by 1970 and every two or three years our corpus of knowledge doubles again.  And they want to use that as some sort of indicator of the present time. 

 

That's not what this means in context.  In context the phrase "going back and forth" indicates the eyes going to and fro over the earth and it indicates somebody studying, studying, trying to find answers, and "knowledge will increase," it's not till the end times that everything in Daniel is going to be fully understood.  Why?  Because it's not till you get a full revelation of the New Testament and get Revelation revealed to John in 90 AD that you're really going to have all the information you need to understand these prophecies in Daniel.  So when you read Daniel 12:4 this indicates that it won't be until the end of time, many times the end times refers to the end of the Church Age or end of the Tribulation, that knowledge will finally increase, specifically among the Jews, they will finally get an answer.  They are studying, they study now, it's amazing how many Jews study various different books.  Tommy was telling me the other day, we were discussing this passage and he has talked to rabbis who are studying prophecy but they are not allowed to study the end of Daniel; it's forbidden to them.  So what this indicates is that it's in the Tribulation that the Jews will finally come to an understanding of what Daniel is talking about and that is what will enable them to survive the Tribulation.

 

Amos 8:11 is a reference to this, where we read, "Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will send a famine on the land, not a famine for bread or thirst, but rather for hearing the words of the LORD."  See, there is a famine today for hearing the words of the Lord.  "People will stagger from sea to sea, and from the north, even to the east, they will go to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, but they will not find it."  That's what's going on today. 

 

Now Daniel 12:5-13 wraps up the book.  "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.  [6] 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?'"  Now actually what's happening here is you go back to the beginning of Daniel 10 you have two angels; one's on one side, one's on the other side of the river.  And in verse 6 they ask the question, not "How long will it be until the end" but "How long will it take for all these things to transpire once they begin."  That's the emphasis of the Hebrew, how long will it take once this begins. 

 

Daniel 12:7, Daniel says, "And I heard the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river," the man dressed in linen above the waters of the river is the preincarnate Lord Jesus Christ, He was there in Daniel 10 and He is back now in Daniel 12:7, "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," one year, "times," two years, "and a half a time," so that's a total of three and a half years, and that's the answer to the question that these events are going to take three and a half years to transpire, "and as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people," that's the defeat of Israel, they will be shattered completely, that's what it's going to take to bring them to a point of turning to Jesus Christ as their Savior, and at that point "all these events will be completed."

 

Daniel 12:8, Daniel says, "As for me, I heard but could not understand; so I said, My lord, what will be the outcome of these events."  See Daniel himself didn't understand it all, too often we get the idea that the writers of Scripture actually understood the full meaning of everything they wrote and they didn't.  Not even the Apostle Paul did and that surprises some people.  I was talking to somebody the other day and they said what do you mean Paul didn't understand everything he wrote.  I said, well for one thing, let me give you a simple example.  Paul did not understand the Trinity as well as you do.  Tertullian did not coin the word Trinitos to describe the God existing as three persons in one and our technical definitions, which are biblically sound, were not formulated until the late 3rd and 4th centuries AD.  You can't think about the Trinity if you don't have the vocabulary Trinity; you can't think about the hypostatic union if you don't have the vocabulary hypostatic union.  If you don't have the right vocabulary your thinking is limited.  Paul did not have those vocabulary words.  You have them, you understand these things.  It's not that he didn't understand them in a vague way, in a general sense he did but not in the precise way as they have been understood through years and years of technical Biblical study.  So the writers of Scripture did not always understand everything or the whole significance of what they wrote, they understood it in general senses but not in a complete sense.

 

Daniel 12:9, but Daniel is told don't be impatient, "Go your way, Daniel, for these words re concealed and sealed up until the end time."  They won't be fully understood until the end of history.

 

Daniel 12:10, "Many will be purged, purified and refined," that's the process of suffering and adversity in the Church Age, and we are told that Jesus Christ controls history and the purification and refinement that we go through is not always as severe as it could be and not nearly as horrible as it will be during the Tribulation, and yet God is always true to His promise that He will not "allow us to be tested beyond our ability but will, with the test, make a way to escape, that we may be able to endure the testing."  "…but the wicked will act wickedly; none of the wicked will understand," wickedness will increase, it will continue to increase al through the Tribulation and that's one reason for the Tribulation is to let wickedness go to its fullest extent to demonstrate that it cannot produce any level of success, ["but those who have insight will understand."]

 

Then in Daniel 12:11 we read, "And from that time that the regular sacrifice is abolished, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1290 days!"  Wait a minute, I thought it was 3 ½ years, 1,260 days.  Yes, but there's another 30 days here that's added on for the judgment of the wicked, and then in verse 12, those who have been judged as wicked and have been removed from the earth, that leaves those who are believers, and that's why Daniel says, "How blessed is he who keeps waiting and attains to the 1,335 days!"  Another 90 days after the end of the Tribulation. 

 

So Jesus Christ returns and then there's this 90 day transition period between the end of the Tribulation and the actual beginning of the millennium, and this is a time to fulfill all of the various judgments that must take place for the cleansing of the land, the cleansing of the temple and the beginning of the construction of the temple, and that takes place, 30 days between the 1260 days, and the 1,290 days; and then another 45 days to complete the cleansing and the judgment. 

 

And then we have the conclusion in Daniel 12:13, "But you Daniel, go your way to the end," so Daniel would live out the rest of his life, just a few more years before he died, we don't know how he died or where, and he would rest, the end of his mission as a prophet, as a prime minister, as a communicator of God's Word would end, "you shall rest and will arise to your inheritance at the end of days," with another emphasis on the fact that there is an inheritance for the faithful believer when he is raised from the dead at the resurrection, at the end time and in the eternal kingdom.

 

So that brings us to an end of our study of Daniel.  Daniel is a great book to emphasize that no matter how horrendous life may get, God is still in control and God will still be in control no matter what happens in the future.  I've read some intelligence reports in the last couple of days that seem to indicate that there are those who believe that Osama Bin Laden has access to suitcase nuclear weapons; there are others who think that he possibly already has one in the U.S.  We don't know; we don't know what could transpire in the next couple of years and we can be sure, I think, that there will be another terrorist attack at some level, how horrible it will be, how extensive it will be we don't know.  The repercussions may be horrendous but we know that Jesus Christ controls history, Jesus Christ may continue to protect us and nothing serious may befall us, but we have to be prepared and the best way to be prepared is to take in the Word of God and to let our souls be fortified by doctrine.

 

With our heads bowed….