Intro: Bob Deffinbaugh tells a funny memory about chapter 11. He opened up an old Bible he had from Bible college and was reading notes in chapter 10 and finally got to 11 and one of his daughters had scribbled all over the pages of chapter 11. He wondered when the Lord returned if all of the commentary and preaching on chapter 11 would be any better than the scribbles his daughter made on the pages of Daniel 11.
So with all the material and all the squiggles out there how do we swim through the ocean of this material to find out what God has to say to us?
I have a few suggestions to help.
I. The prophecies are historically accurate
There are many people that many that have written many wonderful things about this chapter that presents history from Daniel’s time till the end of time. There are also those that doubt the supernatural and say that Daniel wrote after the fact. If you don’t remember all the information we gave in the introduction regarding language, culture and events ask after the sermon and we will get you a copy of the DVD. We can see that God gives an amazing outline of the immediate future for Daniel and the distant future for all of us.
A) The Persian kings following Cyrus the great (11.2)
They are known in history. First is Cambyses the son of Cyrus. Cambyses was overthrown by a usurper who stole Cambyses sons name. The usurpers name was Pseudo-smerdis. The third was Darius Hystaspes. Last would be Xerxes the Great. Also known as Ashuerus from Esther. He is the king who attacked the Greek empire and was directly involved in creating the hatred of the Persians in Alexander the Great
B) The Greek empire Alexander and his generals (11.3)
1) Alexander 11.3 His meteoric rise
2) Alexanders 4 generals and His quick fall 11.4
C) The Ptolemy’s and the Seleucid’s (5-20)
The angel gives a 130 year synopsis of the battle between the northern Syrian empire under Seleucid and his successors and the southern king of Egypt ruled and led by Ptolemy and his.
The angel covers this history because Israel is caught right in the middle of it. The exacting detail is overwhelming and amazing. If you follow the history of these two empires it is the making of a modern day mystery, drama, thriller reality show. Political marriage, war, poisoning all in exacting detail.
The Jewish people and believers will until the end of time deal with persecution and pressure for the purification of the people and the revelation Jesus in His people.
D) The picture of the anti-Christ
Daniel 11:21-35 give us the career of Antiochus Epiphanes
1) We see his perverted evil
His response to being rebuked and repelled by the Romans (ships of Kittim) was to take his wrath and frustration out on the people of the beautiful land.
2) We see a preview of the Abomination of Desolation
This is a preview of the coming attraction of the ultimate Anti-Christ. This will be repeated again.
E) The Maccabees (11:32-35)
The Maccabees were the people that knew their God and was strong and did exploits. Even with the amazing things the Maccabees did they had to ultimately appeal to the Romans for help. This leads us to the time of Jesus where the Romans are in control of the blessed land. (Tell about Palestine name if time)
F) The anti-Christ and the end
The final king blasphemes God, rules by military might and deceit, he will lead the world to worship himself. He also appears to finally deal with the peace in the middle east issue.
What is the point of all this. It seems again we are given a picture of history. Why does God continue to give this picture of His story to Daniel? Should we run away and build bomb shelters and stockpile food and ammunition? What should we do with the constant threat of a coming economic tsunami?
These prophecies are given so that we will not be unaware of what is coming. He also doesn’t want us to be afraid.
II. The prophecies call us to be highly practical
The prophecies call us to keep the main things the main things. They call us to love God with all our heart! Early believers or followers of the way would have known nothing of the half-hearted devotion that is given to Jesus today. The prophecies resound with the voice of Joshua who cries out “Chose this day who you will serve.” If the God of money then money, if the God of ease and comfort, if the God of power and prominence, if the God of pleasure then pleasure. But as for me and my house, we will serve the living God Yahweh!!
Why does it call us to the main things? God’s hand is seen all throughout history. One day his timetable will come to an end and he will call in all the charge accounts.
What are the main things?
A) Our occupation– sharing the gospel with the whole world
As a church we should ask what is keeping us from being the hands and feet of Jesus? When we realize and recognize what it is we should abandon anything that keeps us from doing what God calls every Christian to do.
B) Our harminization –
What it that keeps us from doing great exploits for the kingdom of Heaven. A lack of harmony.
Romans 12:16-17: Be in agreement (harmony) with one another. Do not be proud; instead, associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own estimation. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Try to do what is honorable in everyone’s eyes. 18 If possible, on your part, live at peace with everyone. 1 Corinthians 1 shows us a wrong way to choose!
We are called to be at peace with all people as much as is possible within us. There can be unity without harmony: tie two cats together by their tails and throw them over a clothesline.
Unity can happen without all the pieces working together of the best good. Harmony is the beautiful thing created when all the parts come together and make something greater than all the parts. (Letter, forgiveness, finding our place of ministry)
C) Our submission –
Read Hebrews 5:11-14 (focus on 14) Submission comes as we mature. What is the greatest reason given for people leaving a body of believers after music? “I’m not getting fed.” Did you notice the answer to this in the passage? Solid food is for those who have trained themselves! As we are trained to decide between good and evil. We understand that submission to Jesus is more important than our own opinions and desires. The Psalms and the Prophets teach us obedience is better than sacrifice. (1 Samuel 15:22, Psalm 40:6, Psalm 51:16) Blind observance of religious dates, ordinances etc are not what makes a church or a Christian. It is a relationship with Jesus that leads to us following and obeying Him.
D) Our inspiration – God wants us to be encouraged by knowing that even the evil rulers of this world are simply tools in His hands to make history move toward completion.
Our little problems seem to shrink in the face of Gods hand over all of history. This is why we are continually encouraged to keep our eyes on Jesus.
E) Our information – we are challenged throughout the new testament to be alert. We are to be watching and seeing things unfold so that we are not fooled as history unfolds. Jesus does not want us to be unaware of what will happen. We may not have all the detail but they will become clear as we watch, wait and work for His kingdom.
Conclusion: Have you chosen? Do your actions show that you are maturing and growing in submission to your Lord Jesus? Are you concerned about fulfilling your mission?
We can do lots of busy things and think we are Christians or think we are a great church. When we are focused on people coming to Jesus being healed, restored, harmonized into the body of Christ we are choosing the right side.