Dr. S. Lewis Johnson expounds the concluding passages of Daniel's prophecy concerning the end of human history.
[Prayer] We again thank Thee Lord for the privilege of the study of Thy word and we pray that Thou will give us guidance as we consider the final chapter of the prophecy of Daniel, enables lord to understand and then to prophet from the things that we read and do come to know. We thank Thee for the hope that we have as Christians and for the assurance that the Lord Jesus Christ is going to come again and establishes Kingdom upon the earth. We thank the — for the sense of security that comes to the Christian believer, as a result of the knowledge of the future found in the word of God. We ask for each one present, that the study of the word may have a cleaning and purifying effect upon our lives. And now, in this hour, we ask that the handily be upon each one of us, to the end that the Lord Jesus may be glorified in us.
For Jesus’ sake. Amen.
[Message] Tonight, in our study we are looking at the final chapter of the book of Daniel, so will you turn with me to Daniel chapter 12. There are three great truths that Daniel has laid there in the book of the prophecy that is known by his name and the first of the great truths is that fallen nature is unchanged. We see that illustrated very beautifully and the things that are said by Nebuchadnezzar particularly in chapter 4 and verse 30, where that unusual King says concerning Babylonian is not this Babylonian the great, which I myself have built as a royal residents by the might of my power and by the glory of my majesty, fallen nature is fallen and it is unchanged.
And the next thing that Daniel lays bare is a truth that most of us know and that is that world peace is impossible by man, that we cannot have universal peace apart from the work of our triune God. And the third thing is therefore that there is hope only in our Lord Jesus Christ and the prophet Daniel makes it very plain that the coming of the Kingdom is associated with the second advent of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In the second chapter of the book when we have the account of the vision that was given to Nebuchadnezzar, he said you continued looking until a stone was cut out without hands and its struck the statue on its feet of earn and clay and crush them, then they earn the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed all at the same time and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors, and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found, but the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. It is clear from that particular piece of symbolism that the coming of the kingdom is a divine accomplishment and not a human accomplishment.
Now there are three great facts that signal the approaching end, and one of these is the apostasy of the Christian church. I think that all of us, if we are aware of the things that are happening in the Christian church, particularly over the last generation or so, we would agree that there is a great deal of apostasy in the church, and the apostles have signified in a number of the passages of the New Testament that, that is one of the signs of the end. The Apostle Paul speaks about perilous times coming and they have come, and the leaders in our professing religious organizations are men and women who deny the truth concerning the word of the God, that’s one of the great facts which is characteristic of the time of the end.
Now, of course there are people who say, well, we have had apostasy to sit down through the years have we not in measure that’s true, but there are certainly as an intensity and the apostasy that we have today and its very difficult to find in a large organization composed of a number of Churches that does not have a form of apostasy within it.
The next fact that signals the approaching end of the age is the restoration of the Jewish people to the land of Palestine, now that is one of the necessary things for the accomplishment of the prophetic word and it’s a very — its a fact that is known to all of us, its almost one of those things now that everybody knows that we do have a Nation Israel, and for the last 30 years or so, we have had a situation in which we can say there is a restoration of the Jewish nation to the land and therefore, the seen may be being set for the coming again of the Lord Jesus Christ.
And a third thing that is of importance is the resurgence of the Middle East in world affairs. Not only is the Middle East important because of the oil, but now important because of the other things as well, and consequently the scene according to Scripture is much more in harmony with what we find today and I have said this many times, and many Bible students and teachers have said it, many have said it here in Believers Chapel, and that is this, that in order for the prophecies of the word of God to be fulfilled, the Ancient Near East must become important again, and we certainly have seen that over the past generation or so because the Near East has become very significant for world peace and even our leaders in Washington recognize if there is not peace in the Middle East, the chances are that there will not be world peace and so there are things that signal the times of the end.
Now, we turn to Daniel chapter 12, and what we remember first of all, if we have been thinking about chapter 11 and chapter 10 that this passage really a continuation of a passage that the gain in chapter 10, verse 21. In chapter 10, Daniel had the vision of the mighty man and we suggested that this was probably a vision of the Lord Jesus Christ and he was told near the end of chapter 21 that by the angel that he would be given and understanding, or he would be given a message called the Scripture of truth, notice the 21st verse.
However, I will tell you what is inscribed in the writing of truth or as the Authorized Version has it, the Scripture of Truth. And then chapter 11 is the unfolding of the Scripture of Truth, it is the message that Daniel is given and it is a kind of running summary of the events not only of the past and that they anticipate what is to take place in the future and typify it, but also we have a remarkable picture of the antichrist, the king referred to in verse 36 and of some of the things that will happen in that last seven year period before the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ to the earth. Chapter 12 is a continuation of chapter 11 and so, we are still in what Daniel is told, is the Scripture of truth or the writing of truth.
Now Daniel remembers standing by the Tigris River, we read that in chapter 10, verse 5, I lifted my eyes and looked and behold there are certain man dressed in linen, whose waist was girded with a belt of pure gold of Uphaz and I should have read verse 4 and on the 24th day of the first month, while I was by the bank of the great river that is the Tigris, I lifted up my eyes and saw this certain man, and so Daniel is standing by the Tigris river in his vision or dream and these are the things that he is seeing and hearing and they have to do with the Scripture of the truth. He just described then in chapter 11, the events of the antichrist and his Kingdom. So we turn now to chapter 12 and verse 1, and the prophet writes now at that time Michael the great prince, who stands God 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, and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book will be rescued.
Dr. Donald Campbell of the seminary and his book on Daniel has commented on the fact that there was a film entitled I am a Jerusalemite, which was recently showing in Jerusalem or in Israel and it featured the story of a young Israeli who was born in Jerusalem about 1948, which was the day of the birth of the modern Israeli nation. And this young man was asked to describe his feelings toward religion particularly Orthodox Judaism and Christianity. Concerning Judaism, he said, “I am very much impressed because many of the things prophesied on the Old Testament seem to be coming to pass.” And then he added, “Now they told me that the Mount of Olives will be divided in two. Christianity,” he went to say, “makes me very uneasy,” and then he said slowly, “There is something just around the corner, I can feel it, but I don’t know what it is.” Now Daniel tells us what that something is, he says 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. In other words, Israel faces a period of time in which she is going to fall in to great difficulties and trials and troubles. Now he says, now at that time, so he describes the beginning of this period of tribulation as identified with the time of which he is just spoken and so, since he is just being talking about the events of the antichrist we know that the tribulation period will take place at that time.
Now, if you have your Bibles, I would like for you to turn over to Revelation chapter 12, because in Revelation chapter 12, we have an indication of the occasion of the coming of The Great Tribulation. Now this is a chapter in which John the Apostle is given a vision of the dragon and the women, and that when you read concerning this in verse 6 of Revelation chapter 12,
“And the Woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she might me nourished for 1,260 days (the woman is symbolic of the Nation Israel) and there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon and the dragon and his angels waged war and they were not strong enough and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven, and the great dragon was thrown down, the supplanter of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world, he was thrown down to the earth and his angels were thrown down with him.”
That is probably the occasion of the beginning of The Great Tribulation period. So, when Michael, we read in Daniel chapter 12, when Michael arises, there is going to be war in heaven and then Satan will be cast out of heaven and the result will be great tribulation upon the earth. As Daniel puts it,
“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 was a nation until that time.”
So the great tribulation then is a rather unique thing, it’s something that has never happened up until that period of time, there are some people who like to say that the tribulation period is to be compared to the tribulations through which we past now, but its clear from that statement that the tribulation is such as has never taken place upon the earth, it is truly a Great Tribulation period. So, its a time of distress such has never occurred since there was a nation until that time, and at that time, your people everyone who is found written in the book will be rescued, now that’s an interesting statement isn’t it, everyone found written in the book, so this book evident like contains the names of the inhabitants of the Messiah kingdom. These are individuals who have exercised faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, they have innocence or they have been faithful throughout that period of time and they are those who have in their faith no doubt ask for the coming again of the Lord Jesus Christ.
There is a passage in Isaiah in which the prophet says, O that Thou wouldest rend the heavens, that Thou wouldest come down, and one cannot help but think that during the period of the Great Tribulation there are going to be many Jewish believers who will pray that very prayer, O that Thou wouldest rend the heavens and that Thou wouldest come down. A Jewish man in a New York synagogue started praying, O that Thou wouldest rend the heavens, that Thou wouldest come down Lord, send the Messiah and should Jesus of the Gentiles be the one, grant us a sign that we may be sure that it is really so and forgive our guilt toward him.
Now the prophet continues. Oh I should have also mentioned here that when he says everyone who is found written in the book, it’s clear from that, that there is such a thing as a book and there is such a thing as names written on a book and there is a sense of certainty concerning those who are going to be delivered. Sometime ago, in fact that was about 20 years ago I guess now, there was a man by the name of Hoover, who came to Dallas and carried on some ministry, he was a man who was a missionary to the Jews, although he was a Gentile himself, and he spoke of riding in a car with a Jewish rabbi once to a synagogue as they drove up in front the synagogue, the rabbi said, “Mr. Hoover, you Gentile Christians are looking for the second coming of the Messiah, but we Jewish people are looking for his first coming. Who knows but that he might be the same person.” And then the rabbi paused for a moment and he said, “Mr. Hoover, how do you think we will recognize our Messiah?” Mr. Hoover said that he read the words of the Prophet Zechariah, “Today, and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced.” And he got out of the car without a word after that, the rabbi thinking about what he had said.
Now let’s look at the next verse, verse 2 and here we have a reference to a resurrection, he says,
“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.”
Here is clearly a reference to a resurrection, there are — I guess probably, historically in the Christian church it has been taught that there is one general resurrection. In other words, that at a period of time in the future — at a point in time in the future, all shall be resurrected and there will be a resurrection of the righteous and a resurrection of those that are to be judged or dammed, it will take place at the same time and they will be judged according to their faith and the works that are the evidence of their faith, and those who have faith and the works to show that their faith is genuine will pass into eternal life and those who do not will not have eternal life.
Well now I am not questioning the theology that lies behind the basis of the judgment, because it is true that there are statements and Scriptures that state that we will be judged on the basis of our faith in the Redeemer and on the basis of the evidence manifested in our lives of the genuineness of that faith. That of course is biblical teaching. James says that our faith is demonstrated in our works, we are not saved by works, we are saved by faith, but we are saved by a faith that works, as I have often said. The Reformer said, “Faith alone justifies but not the faith which is alone.” In other words it’s faith that works that saves. We are not saved by faith only, James says, and certainly we are not saved by works, but we are saved by a faith that works, by genuine faith. Now, at the resurrection, the question is, is there just one resurrection, and I think that the Bible may explain that there are important resurrections that should be distinguished. There is the resurrection of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ; that takes place when he comes again and if he is to come before that tribulation period, believers are caught up to meet him in the air, and the Scriptures say that they receive their resurrection bodies at that time, that’s the time of the resurrection of the church at the rapture of the church. There is also a resurrection of the Nation Israel in the sense of restoration to their land in the Book of Ezekiel under the figure of resurrection or coming again to life. The nation’s restoration to land is referred to.
So, you can speak of the restoration of the Nation Israel or the resurrection of the Nation Israel as a restoration to their land, that’s giving this term resurrection a slightly different meaning. But, there is also taught in the Old Testament the resurrection of individual Israelites, and I think that is what Daniel is speaking about right here. He says many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace an everlasting contempt, now this takes place at the conclusion of the tribulation period — that is after the period of time of Great Tribulation — the Lord Jesus will come from heaven, he will stand upon the earth, the Nation Israel shall be judged at that time and a resurrection shall take place, and the saints of the Old Testament, the martyred Gentiles during the period of the tribulation will be resurrected at that time point and passed in to the Messianic kingdom.
Now that text is an interesting text, I am going to just try to render it from the standpoint of the Hebrew and have you seen from this text that it does not teach a general resurrection? And in spite of the fact that it might seem to, look at the text again, those who have insight, I am sorry I am reading verse 3, I should read first 2 and many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace, an everlasting contempt.
Now, at first glance that text does seem to teach one general resurrection does it not, and many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life but those to disgrace an everlasting contempt. But this text should not really be rendered that way or it should not be understood as a reference to a general resurrection apart from the fact that there are many of the passages that teach that there is no such thing as a general resurrection. What this really means is this and I am going to paraphrase it, many of them that sleep in the dust form ground shall awake, these — that is, those who awake, he says many shall awake, these to everlasting life — that is, those who are awake shall be for eternal life.
But the others — now the others is a reference to the remainder of those sleeping who did not awake at that time, so those are for shame and everlasting contempt, so strictly speaking there is a period of time, but doing the resurrection of these two groups. Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake and these will awake to eternal life. But those, that is those who did not awake, who did not participate in that resurrection they will have their resurrection after the kingdom and they will awake to disgrace an everlasting contempt. So, this text that on the surface might appear to teach one general resurrection really teaches that believing Israelites are going to be resurrected at the beginning of the kingdom period, but those unbelieving ones are reserved for the great white throne judgment, which follows the kingdom of the Lord Jesus upon the earth.
Now the 3rd verse speaks of the great testimony of Israel and those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven and those who lead many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever. Now, it would appear from the context of the Book of Daniel, when he says those who have insight will shine brightly like all the brightness of the expanse of heaven and that this must be a reference to those who are true believers during the period of time of that Great Tribulation and if that is true then what we have here is a reference to those who preach the gospel during that period of time.
Take a look back to chapter 11 and verse 33, the prophet writes and he is describing events that take place during those difficult days, he says those who have insight among the people will give understanding to the many, and then verse 35 and some of those who have insight will fall in order to refine and purge and make them pure until the end time, because it is still to come at the appointed time. Now here he writes again, those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven and those who lead many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever. So there are men during that period of time who are faithful to the word of God.
In the Book of Revelation in the 7th chapter, the apostle describes a vision of 144,000 witnesses. Now these 144,000 witnesses most biblical students of prophecy feel are individual Israelites, for they come 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel, they are believing Israelites who are servants of the Lord during the tribulation period and therefore they are preachers of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, they preach the grace of God. In the later part of that chapter, Revelation chapter 7, there is described a great multitude, which no man could number out of every kindred, tribe, tongue, and nation and it would seem from this that, that great multitude that is innumerable is the product of the preaching of the 144,000.
So, it may well be that Daniel the prophet is speaking about that 144,000 here when he says those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven and those who lead many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever, so they are those who have insight. And then they are described as those who lead many to righteousness. That of course is descriptive both of the message that they proclaim and also descriptive of the work that they do. Now their message is leading many to righteousness.
What do you think that means? Well the Bible makes a great deal of righteousness doesn’t it” Makes a great deal of justification, justification by faith, the Apostle Paul writes in Romans chapter 3, being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in the Lord Jesus Christ, so that the preaching of righteousness or justification may be the message that these have a great stress on the fact that by faith in the Redeemer one may have a righteous standing before the Lord God, that’s their message. It’s a beautiful message of a righteous standing before the Lord based not upon anything that we do but upon what Jesus Christ has done for us.
Man has no right to expect that we should be justified, God has no obligation to bestow righteousness, but he offers it through the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ. And now notice the reward. It says, “And those who lead many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.” Someone has said if you want to have something that will last a year plant a flower, if you want something that will last to lifetime then plant a tree, and then if you want something that will last forever then plant the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ in the heart of someone. The greatest thing that you could ever do for any one person is to bring them to the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Is that right?
That of course is why Christians should always be concerned about the proclamation of the word of God. There are great things that you can do for people, but the greatest thing that you could ever do for anyone is to bring them to the Lord Jesus. That’s why we always loved Andrew. He was a man who brought others to Jesus Christ. And so my Christian friend, the greatest thing that you could ever do to anyone for anyone else is to lead them to the righteousness that is found on a personal relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ.
It’s no wonder that he says here that those who lead many to righteousness shall be like the stars forever and ever. They shall shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven. It’s going to be great to get the heaven and see the great things that have been done by the work of the Holy Spirit, and it’s going to be great to get there and to have the opportunity to speak to some of those that we have been a link in bringing them to the knowledge of Christ. If you have never led anyone to the Lord, well, that is one of the greatest experiences that anyone could possibly have and that’s a great promise.
Now, in the 4th verse the prophet goes on to speak about the final part of the book. He says, “But it’s for you Daniel. Conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time, many will go back and forth and knowledge will increase.” What an interesting text this is. He says seal up the book and what does that mean? Does that mean preserve it, when we seal something, we often seal it to preserve it. Well it probably does not mean that, notice the 9th verse, go your way Daniel for these words are concealed and sealed up until the end time. So, probably this is seal up in the sense of conceal, so as for you Daniel conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time, many will go back in forth and knowledge will increase, and so what he seems to be saying is, Daniel, this book is to be an enigma until the end of time.
And do you know that is exactly what the Book of Daniel has been? It has been largely an enigma until modern times. With the revival of the study of the prophetic word in the 19th Century, the Book of Daniel has begun to come into its own, and the book now as a result of the revival of prophetic understanding of Scripture has become a very significant book and the prophecy has it would seem to me at least been partially fulfilled.
But now what does they mean when he says in verse 4, many will go back and forth and knowledge will increase? The Authorized Version has, many will run to-and-fro, while you can certainly see evidences in our physical life in 1979, people running to-and-fro. It never to ceases to amaze me, no matter where you go in the United States, all of the highways are packed and jammed with people. When I use to go to California many years ago, California highways were like that, the freeways where like that, they have been like that for decades, but other places didn’t seem to be like that, but it doesn’t make a bit of difference where you go, people are running to-and-fro today and at all times of the night. It’s very difficult to find any of our streets deserted except perhaps the street on which you live, people are running to-and-fro. And when I was in Europe recently for a month, everyday people over there were running to-and-fro. Traffic is just as bad over there, sometimes worst, it seemed then over here.
Now on the German autobahns things were rather unusual. They don’t stop long enough to have traffic jams over there. They are going too fast. When I was getting ready to leave, I had quite a interesting experience and I was pushing my friend to please get to that airport in time, at least an hour ahead of time because it was an international flight. Well, he had flown out of the airport a number of times and like experienced travelers he wanted to wait for the last minute. And I was very nervous, so finally we got in the car five minutes late, I wasn’t too bad, left the house went over to the school because we had to run a little errand and we would be allowed a little bit for that, we got out of one car and got on the other car and he — first there was another car behind it, so we had to go into one of the classrooms and get one of the boys to come and move the car behind, so we got them out. That delayed us another five minutes.
And finally got in the car and turned the switch and the battery was dead and that was the car we were going to the airport and all the time now the minutes of ticking away and I am getting more and more nervous by the moment, I looked very calm on the outside, but I was not very calm on the inside. It reminds me of the little boy who went into the room with some adults and he was wanted to tell his daddy something, he said daddy something, he said daddy, father said shut up, sit down, he said but daddy, he said sit down, but daddy he said sit down son, he said all right, I am sitting down on the outside, but I am standing up on the inside [laughter].
Well I was getting very nervous, so went in to the office and we got the key to another car that was out there, and so we put the key in the switch and looked down at the gas gauge and it was empty, so — and I am getting more and more nervous, thinking about the congregation back in Dallas. Suppose they saw me now. And then we decided we would use a car which was — this is out on the parking lot of a Bible institute and theology seminar; anyone who has ever been around Christians work knows the difficulties that may exist. One of the reasons incidentally is because we back here have not helped them over there and they are suffering, really they are suffering financially. Many of those are Christians living in places like Germany and Switzerland where the dollar has plummeted, and the amount of money that they are getting just does not is not the same amount of money, but anyway.
So, we were going in another car, but in order to drive a car in Germany you have to have the papers of registration with you all the time and have to be with the car, so they went in the car and so we had to look for the papers of the person who owns the car and get the papers of registration. In the meantime the minutes were ticking away and it was impossible for me to get there anywhere near the time that I wanted to get there. So, finally we got the papers of registration, we got in the car, got on the autobahn, and he just put his foot down on the accelerator to the floor all the away there and we were going 90 miles and hour, 150 kilometers per hour, we were going 90 miles an hour on the autobahn in the car. It was just zoom! They were going 120. Running — people in Germany are running to somewhere out on the way they are going, but they — no matter where we are today, people are really running to-and-fro.
Now it would be nice if that text meant that, but really that text doesn’t mean that. It’s true that many people are running to-and-fro, but this text does not really mean to run to-and-fro. That Hebrew word really means something like to diligently investigate and so it’s not a reference to the trains that are running to-and-fro a few generations ago or automobiles or even planes, but it means that many will diligently seek to find the meaning of holy Scripture. So the reference is to that and then the prophet says, he says many will go back in forth and knowledge will increase. So, the reference then is not the people running to-and-fro being busy.
Isaac Newton predicted a long time ago on the basis of this verse that the day would come when knowledge would be so increased that people would be able to travel 50 miles and hour, and Voltaire just laughed at him and thought that was ridiculous. How could anyone go 50 miles an hour? What it really means then is that there will be evidently an increase in the desire for the study of the word of God with reference to the future, so many will go back and forth and knowledge will increase — not general knowledge — but evidently specific knowledge concerning the things that are found in the prophetic word.
Now, I think — now of course you have to say I think because this is a text that Bible’s students have differed over and there are things that can be said possibly about other interpretations — I think that this may be a reference to the resurgence of interest in the prophetic Scriptures, and the questions that concern the future and also a reference to the increase in the knowledge of the prophetic word.
Now, I think that this is true regardless of whether we may be pre-millenarians of millenarians, now those of you listen to me know that I am a — myself I believe in the pre-millennial interpretation of the word of God that is I believe the Lord Jesus is going to come and then establishes kingdom. There are those who believe that there will be no Kingdom of God upon the earth at all. They are all millenarians, that is, they do not believe in a millennium. That is an earthly kingdom, they believe in a heavenly kingdom, a heavenly millennium of a rather in-determinant period of time, certainly not a thousand years, a more symbolic idea. But regardless of whether we may be an millenarian or a pre-millenarian, a great deal of knowledge of the prophetic word has come and that could be said of millenarians as well as of pre-millenarians. And so, it would appear then that the revival of the prophetic understanding of the word of God over the last less than two centuries may be some indication that we are approaching the times of which Daniel writes in his prophecy.
Now the final vision is described in verses 5 through 7. Daniel remembers standing by the Tigris River, there are two people standing with him and there is also this vision of this man in brilliant attire altar who is above him. And so we read in verse 5, 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. And one said to the man dressed in linen. He was of course the man whose vision Daniel saw in the earlier part of chapter 10, perhaps a reference to the Lord Jesus, who was above the waters of the river,
“How long will it be until the end of these wonders and I heard the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, as he raised his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever, that it would be for a time, times, and half a time; and as soon as they finished shattering the power of the holy people all these events will be accomplished.”
Two questions and their answers bring us to the conclusion of the book. And this request that Daniel makes first is how long will it be till the end of these wonders that is the things that he has been talking about concerning the great tribulation period. And the answer is that it will be for a time, times, and half a time. Now, we’ve referred to this before in the Book of Revelation, that expression is found three or four times. It’s either time, times, and half a time or else it’s spelled out in numbers of days. But the reference of the word time is to a year. “Times” is two years and half a time would be a half a year and so this is a reference to three and a half years. And remember we saw in Daniel chapter 9 that the 70th week of Israel is that future period of time in which there will be a trial of the nation Israel, and at the conclusion of which the Lord will come and establish His kingdom. It is the period of tribulation. But the three and a half years of the last half of that week is the period of time known as The Great Tribulation.
One of the most intense of the judgments of God are poured out upon the earth. So he, Daniel, asks, How long will it be until the end of these wonders, described in Daniel chapters 10 and 11. And so he says, it will be for a time, times and half a time, it will be for three and a half years for the last half of the tribulation period. And as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people, all these events will be accomplished. That evidently has a reference to the fact that during the period of the great tribulation, the nation Israel will suffer tremendously. And the antichrist, as the world improves will shatter the powers of the holy people. And when that takes place, then Daniel has told all these events will be completed. At the conclusion of that, the Lord will come to establish His kingdom. So in other words, Israel’s extremity becomes God’s opportunity for deliverance through the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now Daniel speaks for a number of us in the final conversation. As for me, I heard, but could not understand. This happens to be one of the most difficult chapters in the Old Testament in my opinion, and we are coming to the difficult part of it. As for me, I heard but could not understand. Isn’t it nice to know that even prophets have difficulty understanding the Bible? What can you expect of common people such as we are? We have difficulty understanding the Bible. Daniel heard but he could not understand.
As a matter of fact, he was told to seal up the book and the chances are he didn’t understand a lot of this prophecy. We know we read in the New Testament that the prophets searched diligently. The circumstances and the time under which and at which these things that they prophesied about would come to pass. And they were told it is not for you. It is for someone else. So they communicated messages that they did not understand. Daniel did not understand and so he said, my Lord what will be the outcome of these events? What will be the final determination of these things? And he said, Daniel, go your way for these words are concealed and sealed up until the end time. So Daniel, don’t worry about understanding everything because they are to be concealed to the time of the end.
Now he adds some facts, and in this response incidentally there are three aspects. First of all, the temporal aspect, he says go your way Daniel, for these words are concealed and sealed up until the end time. So, as far as the full understanding of them is concerned, well that awaits the future. And probably it awaits the future event from our day too. Although as I say there has been an unfolding of significance some of the prophetic word to many people in the last 100 years or so.
There is also a moral aspect to this prophecy, he says many will be purged, purified and refined, but the wicked will act wickedly; and none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand. So there will be some who will be purged but there will be some who will be wicked and they will be fixed in their wickedness. So he affirms what he affirms up above that there is a resurrection and that those who have faith and consequent works may expect the blessing of God, but those who do not may expect divine judgment. Verse 11 says, “And from the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1290 days.” That is an interesting statement. From the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished and the abomination is set up there will be 1290 days.
Now remember, in the 70th week of Daniel, the mid point is the beginning of the great tribulation, so the last three and a half years is a period of time of Great Tribulation. Three and a half years biblically is 1260 days. So from the time of the setting up of the abomination of desolation, the image of the beast in the temple, when the Great Tribulation begins until the end of the three and a half year period is 1260 days. At the end of the 1260-day period, the Lord Jesus will come to the earth. That is the end of the tribulation period, that is the end of the three and a half years of The Great Tribulation, ends in the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus to the earth. But he says, and from the time that the regular sacrifices are abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up, until the conclusion, is 1290 days, that is one more month. 1260 days brings us to the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus to the earth.
Why an extra 30 days? Now I confess that puzzles me. Now, there have been some suggestions, may be you would be pleased with some of these suggestions. Some have said, when the Lord Jesus comes to the earth to establish his kingdom, the Nation Israel must be judged, the Gentiles must be judged. If the church is caught up before the tribulation period, it will already have been judged at the judgment seat of Christ. But according to holly Scriptures, certain things will take place when the Lord Jesus comes back to the earth. And, so prophetic students have suggested, perhaps the 30 days is necessary for the carrying out of these details that are set forth in the prophetic word. Possibly, that’s the explanation of the 1,290 days. In another words, from the time of the beginning of The Great Tribulation on through the Second Advent to the completion of the judgment of the Nation Israel and the judgment of the Gentiles, there will be 30 more days after our Lord comes back to the earth and since he is going to do the judging, because all judgment is committed into his hand, we may have some tribunals that will be more significant than the Nuremberg ones by far, at which our Lord will prove preside perhaps that’s the explanation.
But, now the next verse is something else: “How blessed is he who keeps waiting and attains to the 1,335 days.” What you want to say is, “Daniel, you forgot it. It was 1,260. You made a mistake twice. You said 1,299, now you are saying 1,335, you are not listening and you’re not paying attention.” Well, now, this is another 45 days. So, we have here 75 days after the establishment of the kingdom of God up on the earth. What would be the point of that? How blessed is he who keep waiting and attains to the 1,335 days. That may be the most difficult verse in all of the Bible to be fully expounded, in my opinion. Prophetic students have suggestion.
One has suggested this. Since our Lord is going to come back to the earth and since it’s necessary for him to execute judgment, he may take 30 days to carry out the judgment of the Gentiles and of the Jewish people, but he also must set up a new government and this will be a government over which he will preside and so the 45 days maybe for the establishment of the rule of the Son of Man throughout the 1000-year period time up on the earth. Well, if that appeals to you, you may say that’s the interpretation. I’m not sure how you could prove whether it’s right or wrong. In the last days, if there is some significant unfolding of things that have been concealed perhaps we shall come to understand. In the meantime, to me, that’s a difficult verse. If you want to know what a difficult verse is, that’s it.
Now, finally, Daniel concludes with and I’m concluding too. But as for you, Daniel, go your way to the end, then you will enter into rest and rise again for your allotted portion at the end of the age. So, Daniel, as far as you are concerned this is the personal aspect of the prophecy while you are going to have rest because you are going to die, but you are going to have resurrection and rise again and further more, you are also going to rule. You are going to have portion in the rule of the Messiah upon the earth. So, go your way, then you will enter into rest, you will die. You will rise again, however, and you will have your place and portion in the kingdom that is to come. So, Daniel, in the mean time is to serve.
In the words of the New Testament, Daniel is to occupy until the Lord shall come. Now, today, we are told that by the grace of God we’ve been cause to turn from idols to serve the living God and to wait for his son from heaven. So, if we have responded to the word of God, the grace of God, we have entered into the position of righteousness or eternal life. The Scripture say to use the broadest of expressions that while we are here upon the earth that we serve, all of our Christian experience is Christian service. That’s what we are doing. We serve, we go on serving, the living and true God. We are serving in our home as a housewife, we are serving in our business as a businessman or businesswoman and we serve the Lord simply when we are preaching the word of God as well. My service is no different from anyone else’s service as a Christian. We all are Christian servants and the apostles say we serve, waiting for His son from heaven. In other words, characteristic of our Christian service is gratitude because of what has been done for us and hope because of what lies before us. May the Lord help us to serve out of gratitude and in hope. Let’s close in a word of prayer.
[Prayer] Father, we are grateful to be for these words that conclude the prophecy of Daniel. We recognize there are many things Lord that we do not understand about the future, but we thank Thee for the hope that we have and for the things that do appear plainly in the word of God that there is righteousness of available through faith in Jesus Christ, that there is a kingdom that is coming, that there is king who is coming, the Lord Jesus, and that he will establish his kingdom and he will also set things straight here upon this earth and we look forward to the kingdom to the accomplishment of all of these plans that are set forth in the word of God.
In the meantime Lord, enable us to occupy until he comes. Give us Lord, the great experience of being the means of leading someone else to the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Help us to do the work than which there is no greater work, to bring us all to the knowledge of Christ. Enable us to serve in other ways to and thus please Thee. We ask lord our blessing upon each one present in this auditorium. Give us each a sense of the necessity of ordering our lives in harmony with holy Scripture. And Father; now as we leave, we pray that our blessing may go with us. May the sense of that presence be our portion until Christ comes again. We pray in his name. Amen.