Daniel's Final Vision - Part 1 (June 28, 2020, AM)

Daniel  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  34:49
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Last week we saw the prelude to Daniel’s last vision.
In that prelude, Daniel was blessed with a vision of the pre-incarnate Christ.
Then he was ministered to by an angel.
We got a glimpse into the reality of Spiritual warfare.
We saw that the prayers of the saints have effects in the physical and spiritual realms.
I really hope that you were encouraged to pray more.
The insanity and depravity we see in our country is a spiritual battle that we need to fight in prayer.
In my lifetime, our country has never needed prayer more than it does right now.
Verses 2-20 of ch. 11 set the stage for the very prominent antichrist known as Antiochus Epiphanes.
We have already seen him as the little horn in Dan. 8.
Antiochus IV is very important because of the roll he would play in the persecution of the Jewish people.
The first part of chapter 11 is really the buildup to his arrival, and an explanation of how his rule came to be.
These verses cover the rise of Greece and Alexander the Great and the struggle between the two larger powers that came from the division of Alexander the Great’s kingdom after his death.
They were the Ptolemaic empire of the south and the Seleucid empire to the north.
Judah was caught in the middle of that struggle for dominance.
All of the details of this section were future to Daniel, but are history to us.
If you were studying world history you would spend a lot of time on Alexander the Great, and very little or none on Antiochus IV
God and Daniel were very interested in Antiochus
This first section of the prophecy culminates in the rise of Antiochus to the Seleucid throne and his subsequent persecution of the Jews.
Normally, I would have taken verses 2-20 verse by verse and explained them more thoroughly.
I think that would have come across like a rather boring history class, so I have summarized.
Starting in v. 21 we are going to see this prototype antichrist, Antiochus IV, so we will slow down and look more carefully.
Daniel 11:21 ESV
21 In his place shall arise a contemptible person to whom royal majesty has not been given. He shall come in without warning and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.
Antiochus IV was the brother of Seleucus IV and was not heir to the throne.
His nephew was the heir.
Daniel 11:22 ESV
22 Armies shall be utterly swept away before him and broken, even the prince of the covenant.
Who was the prince of the covenant?
Perhaps Demetrius, his nephew, or this may refer to the high priest of Israel that did not go along with Antiochus.
He was murdered and replaced with a more accommodating high priest.
Daniel 11:23–24 ESV
23 And from the time that an alliance is made with him he shall act deceitfully, and he shall become strong with a small people. 24 Without warning he shall come into the richest parts of the province, and he shall do what neither his fathers nor his fathers’ fathers have done, scattering among them plunder, spoil, and goods. He shall devise plans against strongholds, but only for a time.
Alliances with liars are not worth the paper they are written on.
It is not wise to remain in a treaty where you are the only one abiding by the agreement.
(You would think our government could have figured that out a long time ago by reading this. Wouldn’t you?)
And we see in v. 24 that Antiochus was buying loyalty by “scattering plunder, spoil, and goods” on his followers.
Daniel 11:25–27 ESV
25 And he shall stir up his power and his heart against the king of the south with a great army. And the king of the south shall wage war with an exceedingly great and mighty army, but he shall not stand, for plots shall be devised against him. 26 Even those who eat his food shall break him. His army shall be swept away, and many shall fall down slain. 27 And as for the two kings, their hearts shall be bent on doing evil. They shall speak lies at the same table, but to no avail, for the end is yet to be at the time appointed.
Antiochus led several successful campaigns against Egypt.
V. 27 tells us that these Seleucid and Ptolemaic kings came together to negotiate, but to no avail…
“for the end is yet to be at the time appointed.”
They came together with hearts bent on doing evil, speaking lies to one another, and our sovereign God was in control of the outcome of their talks.
Things happen on God’s timetable and no one else’s.
Daniel 11:28 ESV
28 And he shall return to his land with great wealth, but his heart shall be set against the holy covenant. And he shall work his will and return to his own land.
After plundering Egypt in 169 BC, Antiochus returned to find a Jewish insurrection in progress.
To quell the rebellion, according to 2 Macc., he killed 80 thousand men, women, and children.
He looted the temple with the help of the evil High Priest that he had set up.
Daniel 11:29–35 ESV
29 “At the time appointed he shall return and come into the south, but it shall not be this time as it was before. 30 For ships of Kittim shall come against him, and he shall be afraid and withdraw, and shall turn back and be enraged and take action against the holy covenant. He shall turn back and pay attention to those who forsake the holy covenant. 31 Forces from him shall appear and profane the temple and fortress, and shall take away the regular burnt offering. And they shall set up the abomination that makes desolate. 32 He shall seduce with flattery those who violate the covenant, but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action. 33 And the wise among the people shall make many understand, though for some days they shall stumble by sword and flame, by captivity and plunder. 34 When they stumble, they shall receive a little help. And many shall join themselves to them with flattery, 35 and some of the wise shall stumble, so that they may be refined, purified, and made white, until the time of the end, for it still awaits the appointed time.
Allow me to read from the commentary, Exalting Jesus in Daniel
Exalting Jesus in Daniel Antiochus Epiphanes and the Antichrist: The Archenemies of God’s People 11:21-45

We now arrive at the main point and purpose of verses 21-35. It is without question and in many ways “at the appointed time” (v. 29), as the God of history orchestrates his plan for his people (v. 35). Antiochus once again launches a campaign against Egypt (the South), but this time things are different: “This time will not be like the first.”

Antiochus encountered opposition from the “Ships of Kittim” (Cyprus), a Roman fleet that had come to Alexandria at the request of the Ptolemies (11:30). The Roman commander Gaius Popilius Laenas met Antiochus and handed him a letter from the Roman Senate ordering him to either leave Egypt or deal with Rome. The Roman commander famously drew a circle in the sand around Antiochus and told him that he must give an answer before stepping out of the circle. Antiochus wisely withdrew from Egypt and headed back to Antioch humiliated (v. 30).

Antiochus’s embarrassment turned into anger, which he directed against the Jewish people (“the holy covenant”) once more. He sent Apollonius (2 Macc 5:23-26), the head of his mercenaries and the “chief collector of tribute” (1 Macc 1:29), to Jerusalem. Apollonius pretended to come in peace, but on the Sabbath Day he suddenly attacked the Jews, massacring many people and plundering the city (cf. 1 Macc 1:30-32; 2 Macc 5:25-26). But he rewarded those apostate Jews (“those who abandon the holy covenant,” Dan 11:30) like the high priest Menelaus, who supported his Hellenizing policies (cf. 1 Macc 1:30-32; 2 Macc 4:7-17) (Miller, Daniel, 301).

In 167 BC, the persecution of the Jewish religion reached a climax (1 Macc 1:41-50; 2 Macc 6:1-6). All Jewish religious practices such as circumcision, possessing the Scriptures, offering sacrifices, and observing feast days were forbidden on penalty of death (1 Macc 1:50,63), and the imperial cult was introduced. Desecration of the Jewish religion reached a crescendo on December 15, 167 BC (1 Macc 1:54) when an altar or idol-statue devoted to Zeus was erected in the temple. On December 25, sacrifices including swine (cf. 1 Macc 1:47; 2 Macc 6:4-5) were offered on the altar (cf. 1 Macc 1:54,59). The temple was desecrated, and “the abomination of desolation” became a historical reality (11:31).

In v. 32-35 we see that there will be those who stand strong and remain faithful.
Chief among these are the Maccabees.
They win some amazing military victories and eventually rededicate the temple on Dec. 14, 164 BC.
The celebration of this event is still observed by the Jews as Hanukkah every year.
Let’s look at some application of these things.
The first lesson that I want us to see is that...

The kingdoms of this world are unstable and will pass away.

We have seen this throughout the book of Daniel, but again specifically in this chapter.
We in America are seeing the richest and most powerful nation in the history of the world unraveling around us.
(( I certainly hope not completely or immediately - but we will see. ))
?You already know this point in your head, but do you know it in your heart?
I am preaching to myself here (big time).
I have been sick at heart and genuinely despairing lately about the state of our country.
I have got to get over it so that I focus on my real job as a disciple of Christ.
I need to focus on God’s kingdom and not the one in which I live.
(( Facebook genius who thinks such talk is an excuse for inaction…))
(( Must have never actually tried the very hard work of evangelism and discipleship! ))
This Black Lives Matter stuff is becoming a false religion for some people.
Let me be clear about something...
Do black lives matter?
(( elaborate ))
Will I have anything to do with or support the slogan of a political movement that aims to defund the police and destroy the country?
(( and I do not think the leaders of the SBC should either ))
Way too much of our society and way too much of the SBC is comfortable with the Marxist notion that there are two types of people in the world...
The oppressors and the oppressed.
One entire group is guilty regardless of individual action and the other group is innocent regardless of personal action.
According to the Bible that is clearly not true!
If you are like me, you need to hear this.
Get your eyes more on God’s kingdom and less on this worldly one.
That does NOT mean disengage.
Speak up, speak out, and vote!
Remember we are pilgrims here on our way to the City of God.
Let me reiterate that we should make reforms and improvements.
As Churchill said, “Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried …”
Let’s do what we can for the causes of justice while we are here, but let’s not lose sight of what is most important.
and that is the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ.
Seek and save the lost.
That is what will matter in eternity!

Satan gains a foothold among God’s people when some in the midst of God’s people cooperate with him.

Daniel 11:30–32 ESV
30 For ships of Kittim shall come against him, and he shall be afraid and withdraw, and shall turn back and be enraged and take action against the holy covenant. He shall turn back and pay attention to those who forsake the holy covenant. 31 Forces from him shall appear and profane the temple and fortress, and shall take away the regular burnt offering. And they shall set up the abomination that makes desolate. 32 He shall seduce with flattery those who violate the covenant, but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action.
We cannot give the enemy a foothold by being doctrinally weak and unsound.
We must know what we believe and why we believe it.
We cannot give the enemy a foothold by moral failure and compromise.
We cannot give the enemy a foothold spiritually by lack of prayer and lack of reading, understanding, and obeying Scripture.
Antiochus seduced with flattery those Jews who “violate the covenant”.
But then it says...
“the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action.”
We have to be ready to defend the church.
The job of the shepherd is to feed, lead, and protect the sheep.
If a wolf comes and gets after the sheep we need to kill it.
Now, we don’t need to kill any people, but if, and really when, dissension, false doctrine, or that slow poison of apathy creeps in we need to do everything in our power to kill it!

Be encouraged by the fact that Satan will not be allowed to finally and fully overcome God’s people.

These Jews went through a terrible time of persecution and hardship, but they were rescued and preserved.
Individually we may not always be rescued and preserved in this life, but God will faithfully reward his people for whatever hardship we may personally be called to endure.
He may not even protect and preserve local churches.
Churches close their doors everyday across this country.
He will protect and cause his church to persevere.
We can be part of that winning team and victorious effort.

God sometimes uses trials to refine His people.

Daniel 11:35 ESV
35 and some of the wise shall stumble, so that they may be refined, purified, and made white, until the time of the end, for it still awaits the appointed time.
Romans 8:28 ESV
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:38–39 ESV
38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Scene change here.
Up to this point we see things that were clearly and specifically fulfilled by Antiochus IV.
Now we will shift to his later counterpart, the end times antichrist.
Are there obvious markers in the text of a scene change - nope.
Prophecy often does not show time between future events.
The Jews who were eagerly awaiting Messiah did not expect a first and second coming.
They thought that everything would be fulfilled at his first coming.
If you were to look into the far distance at two mountain peaks they might appear as if they were next to one another.
In actuality they might be separated by miles of valley that you cannot see or perceive from your vantage point.
We observe this same kind of thing in prophecy.

The Antichrist will deify himself.

Daniel 11:36–37 ESV
36 “And the king shall do as he wills. He shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak astonishing things against the God of gods. He shall prosper till the indignation is accomplished; for what is decreed shall be done. 37 He shall pay no attention to the gods of his fathers, or to the one beloved by women. He shall not pay attention to any other god, for he shall magnify himself above all.
I’ll throw in a bit of speculation here.
Some commentators see v. 37 as hinting at a possible ethnically Jewish heritage for the antichrist.
They speculate that the “one beloved by women” may refer to the Messiah and the hope of Jewish women to have mothered the Messiah.
I don’t know about any of that, but if the antichrist claims for a time to be the Messiah then it seems he would need some credentials as ethnically Jewish.
Like I said, that is speculation, but I thought it was interesting.
Daniel 11:38 ESV
38 He shall honor the god of fortresses instead of these. A god whom his fathers did not know he shall honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts.
His core belief and mode of operation will be that might makes right.
He will dominate and subdue through military power.
Daniel 11:39 ESV
39 He shall deal with the strongest fortresses with the help of a foreign god. Those who acknowledge him he shall load with honor. He shall make them rulers over many and shall divide the land for a price.
He will be empowered and controlled by Satan.
Daniel 11:40–45 ESV
40 “At the time of the end, the king of the south shall attack him, but the king of the north shall rush upon him like a whirlwind, with chariots and horsemen, and with many ships. And he shall come into countries and shall overflow and pass through. 41 He shall come into the glorious land. And tens of thousands shall fall, but these shall be delivered out of his hand: Edom and Moab and the main part of the Ammonites. 42 He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. 43 He shall become ruler of the treasures of gold and of silver, and all the precious things of Egypt, and the Libyans and the Cushites shall follow in his train. 44 But news from the east and the north shall alarm him, and he shall go out with great fury to destroy and devote many to destruction. 45 And he shall pitch his palatial tents between the sea and the glorious holy mountain. Yet he shall come to his end, with none to help him.
He will win many military conflicts.
v. 41 tells us that tens of thousands in the glorious land, the land Israel, will be killed.
v. 45 tells us that he will set up camp in Israel.
Yet he shall come to his end, with none to help him.
Isn’t that kind of anti-climactic?
What about the nail-biting ending where he and Jesus fight the battle of Armageddon.
That is not going to be much of a fight.
It won’t go 10 rounds.
It won’t even go 1 round.
When this mighty king with all his victories and all his armies meets our king, he will not even be able to put up a fight.
Ultimate victory belongs to Jesus.
Do you belong to Jesus?
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