The Final Chapter

Daniel 12:5-13

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Looking back at verse 4 we see that this word was to be sealed up.  Signed, sealed and delivered.  The word, the interpretation of Daniel’s dream was to be sealed up until the time of the end because the people living at that time will need it to gain knowledge of what exactly is going on.  I’d say it was well preserved because here we are thousands of years later and we know exactly what the angel revealed to Daniel.  Great job Daniel.

The description of these writings being rolled up and sealed is a pretty cool picture.  I imagine that if we could see in the spirit realm as we open our Bibles to study, these ancient scrolls would be unrolled, and now that we are finished studying Daniel’s scrolls they will be rolled back up for further preservation.  

Before Daniel could respond, he looks out and sees two others, others as in two other angels or two other beings besides the one he was talking to all along.  He writes one was standing on the same side of the river as he was and the other was standing on the opposite side.

One of the angels spoke to the man who was dressed in linen and who was above the waters of the Tigris river, this is a fourth being.  Either hovering or walking on the water. He asked him “How long will it be until the end of these wonders?”  The angels are curious, Daniel is curious, we’re curious.  We also know that the one wearing linen who can walk on water is none other than the Lord himself.  It seems like Jesus had been there the whole time the messenger angel was giving the interpretation.  We also need to note Jesus does not know the timeline of when the tribulation will take place only God knows this.  So it makes sense that everyone is curious to know more.

Jesus was there the whole time the messenger angel was speaking.  Then these two other angels appear, you know angels are attracted to the glory and presence of the Lord, so of course they would show up and they would want to know how long will it be until the end of these wonders, they want to know specifically how much time the antichrist is going to have to do all these astonishing acts?

Why do the angels care about the timeline?  They have access to heaven, they get to go into the throne room of God and be in his presence, why do they care about the tribulation?  They have invested a lot in the future, that’s why they care. These angels have been fighting the enemy endlessly since the beginning.  Michael has been defending Israel for thousands and thousands of years.  Maybe they’re getting a little fed up with the constant battling and they want to see the Lord take his rightful place on the throne too.  Maybe, just maybe they’re just as anxious to see that crown placed on Jesus’ head as we are.

Jesus raises both his hands, first the right, then the left toward heaven.  We know that when we raise our right hand it symbolizes taking an oath or making an affirmation.  That is essentially what Jesus is doing here except he is raising both hands as in submission and swearing by the one who lives forever that it will last for 3.5 years.  1 Timothy 6:16 describes God as:  Who alone possesses immortality and bdwells in unapproachable light, cwhom no man has seen or can see.  Jesus swears by God that the wonders, the astonishing acts will last for 3.5 years.  

Who can tell me what the goal of these 3.5 years will be?  What is Antichrist going to accomplish during this half of the tribulation?  Verse 6 (kjv) tells us that he will have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people.  So 3.5 years and the accomplishment of the breaking of the power of the holy people.  This breaking of their power means they will be shattered and broken into pieces.  They will experience persecution like never before.  Israel will end up in total destruction, having no power to rebuild or to protect, no power to change anything.  

The antichrist will not completely destroy Israel though, remember there will be 144,000 Jews who will persevere, he will however, crush them to the point of where they will be so broken and so lost and so devastated that they will finally look to the Messiah.  They will finally be ready to receive and accept Jesus Christ, the Son of God as their Messiah.

“All these things will be completed.”  All of history will finally have an ending.  The people of God will finally be crushed and pressed so much that they will finally turn from their sins and they will turn to their covenant keeping God who is faithful and has given them a way to redemption through Jesus Christ.  Finally they will receive the salvation God has provided them.

This is not something that Daniel can begin to understand (vs.8) he is trying his best.  He asks the Lord what the outcome of all of this will be?  Once the holy people are broken and history is completed, then what?  What happens after all of the destruction?

The Lord answered the angel’s question of how long this will last.  Daniel heard this entire conversation but he now wants to know what is going to happen during this time.  The Lord’s reply in vs. 9 seems a little harsh, seems like a rebuke, but really he can’t explain much more to Daniel because no matter what he says at this point Daniel just will not get it. But the words are sealed up until that time, because that is when it will make sense.  Essentially the Lord is saying, don’t worry about this, God has it all in control and at the appropriate time the people who this concerns will understand.

I think this resonates with us as well. So many people spend so much energy trying to figure out every detail, that they miss the point that God has this and we aren’t necessarily supposed to know every detail beforehand.

Jesus doesn’t let the conversation end on this sour note of rebuke and I’m happy for that, he goes on to tell Daniel that during that time “many people will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked.  None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.”

During this time there will be people who will be saved, they will be purified, cleansed.  Yet, while some will be saved others will continue to be wicked.  The full fury of hell is going to be released during these 3.5 years.  Evil will be completely unrestrained, demons will be running wild, and yet there will still be salvation.  

The interesting thing about salvation is it doesn’t change.  It does not matter what is going on in the world you can turn to the Lord and receive him.  The world being more wicked does not make it more difficult to receive salvation.  Those in the tribulation can ask for forgiveness and believe with the same amount of faith as us.  All they will need to do is confess Jesus as their Lord and Savior, just like us. 

Those who are wicked will never understand what is going on no matter how good the preaching is, no matter how obvious the truth will be they will not or I should say cannot understand truth.  The only way to understand truth is by the Holy Spirit who reveals it to us, who gives us the understanding we need.  The wise are the people who understand the word of God.

Verse 11 sort of reiterates the timeline, except as I was pondering this verse an interesting thought came to my mind, let me know what your thoughts are on this.  We know that the temple will be rebuilt.  The antichrist is going to give Israel a time of peace.  The Isrealites will be back in their own country doing their thing, sacrificing in the temple, worshipping God like they did in the good ole days.  After 3.5 years the antichrist will become angry over some bad news of attacks and he will turn on the Jews and begin the final years of the tribulation.

What I find interesting is how the Jews will return to the temple and begin sacrificing the way they did in the old testament and times of Jesus.  Jesus came to fulfill the law and the prophets, he is the only way of redemption for sins, yet after all these years the Jews will return to the law of sacrifice for redemption.  They haven’t sacrificed for thousands of years and yet when they return to this custom.    

Daniel reads, “from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away”, There just is no need for the daily sacrifices.  At first this seems like just one more way the antichrist will persecute the Jews.  But this needs to be taken away, God needs to take away daily sacrifice because they keep putting their focus in the wrong place.  They need to be focusing on Christ not their own need to “do something”.

I see this as yet another reminder that God’s chosen people are still rejecting his son clear up to the bitter end.  This will be the final straw.  The temple being rebuilt is like a test in itself, a test to see what the Israelites will do when given the option to return to their old ways.  Will they finally trust Christ?  The answer here is no.  That is why the next 3.5 years must take place.  They need to be purified from their old mindsets, old sins, and old ways of doing things.  And this is literally the only way.

Verse 13 may have confused Daniel even more, but I think it’s amazing what the Lord personally says to him.  He says, “You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.”  The Lord personally told Daniel that he will be resurrected at the end of the days at the end of the world rule.  He will be resurrected along with the other old testament saints at the end of the tribulation.  What a promise and what a legacy this man has passed on.  It has been humbling to learn from him and to glean from his experiences. 

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