Summary: Five bottom-line truths from the Word of God.
This morning we will conclude our amazing journey through the twelve chapters of the book of Daniel. The book starts with a young teenager taken captive into Babylon, and ends with an old man, retired from government service, receiving a staggering vision of the end of time.
Last Sunday (April 16, 2000) in the “B.C.” comic strip, Johnny Hart devoted his theme to the prophecies of Daniel. In one box, the cavemen are told, “We find old scroll in secret cave” (a copy of Daniel was found as part of the Dead Sea scrolls, by the way). In the next box they say, “Man named Daniel predict exact day Jesus enter holy city.” (Remember, we looked at that amazing prophecy in Daniel 9) The cavemen ask, “What Daniel?” The two other men go “ROAR!!!!!” (like lions) And they say, “Oh, THAT Daniel.” Even the funny papers recognize the amazing prophecies of Daniel!
Daniel 12 is the conclusion of the long prophecy Daniel began receiving in Chapter 10. In Chapter 10, he received an awesome vision of the glorified Jesus. We learned the object of Bible prophecy is not to tell the future. The purpose of prophecy is to reveal Jesus Christ. Then last week in Chapter 11, we followed the historical outline the angel Gabriel gave Daniel. In the first 35 verses there were predictions about the rise of the Greek Empire and the ongoing battles between Egypt and Syria. There are 135 details in those verses and every one of them has been precisely fulfilled. It was prophecy to Daniel writing in 530 B.C., but it is history to us now. Again, if there is anyone who doesn’t think this book is the supernatural word of God, I challenge you to honestly compare the amazing prophecies to how they have been fulfilled in history.
Beginning Daniel 11:36, we traced the career of the final world leader–the Antichrist. In the last verse of that chapter, he is terminated at what the Book of Revelation calls the Battle of Armageddon. But that’s not the end of the story. God’s plan continues into eternity. Just as the book of Revelation concludes with a wonderful doxology of praise, so does the book of Daniel.
Daniel 12:8-9. “I heard, but I did not understand. So I asked, ‘My Lord, what will the outcome of all this be?’ He replied, ‘Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end.’”
That means the answer to Daniel’s question won’t be fully understood until the end of time. During the terrible persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes in 168 B.C., when he killed the Jews and polluted the temple–the Jews circulated the book of Daniel and read it to find courage to stay faithful to God. Finally in December 164 B.C., they reclaimed and rededicated the Temple (that’s what Hanukkah is all about). In the same way, in the future, during a time of terrible tribulation at the end of time, faithful followers of God will once again read the book of Daniel and it will make more sense to them than it even does to us! Wow! That’s the power of the Word of God.
In our fast-paced society, sometimes people just want to get to “the bottom line.” We have coined a lot of phrases to describe this. We say, “Get rid of the fluff; cut-to-the-chase; don’t beat around the bush; just give it to me straight!” Or as Joe Friday used to say on the TV show “Dragnet,” “Just the facts, Ma’am.” We aren’t going to look at facts; we are going to look at truth.
I want us to extract five bottom-line truths from the Word of God. Then I want each of us to ask ourselves a personal question relating to each truth. There is a difference between facts and truth. They aren’t the same. For instance, 2 + 2 = 4 is a fact, but it doesn’t change your life. When Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, the life...” That is truth that can transform your life. George Washington was the first U.S. President—that’s a fact. But it won’t transform your life. The Bible says, “If you confess with your mouth ‘Jesus is Lord’ and believe in your heart God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Now that’s truth that can revolutionize your existence.
Let’s begin reading in verse one: “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people will arise (remember, Michael is the archangel. The Bible says when Jesus comes to rapture the church it will be announced by the shout of the archangel–I Thessalonians 4:16–Michael is the angel who seems to be assigned to protect Israel). There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. (We learned last week this “time of distress” is the 7-year tribulation that will take place after the rapture of the church). But at that time your people (Israel)–everyone whose name is found written in the book–will be delivered.”