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The Last Days According to Daniel (chapter 12)
Thriving in Babylon
The Last Days According to Daniel
Daniel 12
 
We will bring our study of the book of Daniel to an end tonight.  When we began, I had in mind to take the circumstances of Daniel's life and try to help us see that even when our circumstances are not good, we can still thrive and be blessed in our relationship with God. 
 
In many ways, all of us live in some sort of captivity.  It might be of our own making like an addiction or relationship.  it might be a sickness or disease that we have to deal with.  It might be life in general and the continual battle with the sin nature.  But through the power of God we can do more than just exist or survive.  We can actually thrive in Babylon. 
 
And in that way, Daniel’s situation parallels our own. Daniel spent his entire adult life as a believer living in a pagan culture. So there is much we can learn from the way he handled his challenges, especially in the first six chapters.
 
In the second half of the book, the focus turns to Daniel’s prophecies.  And I think it highly possible that the very things Daniel recorded may soon be fulfilled. I believe the stage is being set for the rise of the Antichrist. That day may be closer than we think.
 
And I am glad to know that Daniel’s God is our God too—and he is still on the throne. This may be the most important lesson of the book. God is in charge!
Simple and clear. He is in charge of nations, families, and individuals. He is in charge of the past, the present, and the future. He is in charge of good times and bad days, of happiness and sorrow, of joy and heartache, of great victories and shocking defeats. He is in charge when a child is born and he is in charge when death knocks at your door. Studying this book ought to increase our confidence in the sovereignty of a God who makes no mistakes.
 
Now, as we come to the end of this book, Daniel is an old man nearing the end of 70 years of ministry for God. He is over 80 years old and perhaps is almost 90. Daniel 12 brings us to the end of his career as a prophet.
 
You will remember chapters 10 and 11 give us an overview of end-times with chapter 11 focusing in particular on the coming anti-Christ and his rise to world power. The chapter ends with a simple declaration that he will come to his end and no one can help him. 
 
We know that is because he is destroyed by JEsus Christ Himself when he returns to earth. 
 
Chapter 12 backs us up to see some of the details of the tribulation time with the focus on Israel in particular.  He is made of aware of
 
1. Four Things in Israel’s Future
 
The first is
 
- Tribulation
 
Daniel 12:1a
This is the second appearance of Michael that we've seen in these three chapters.  He is identifies here as "the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people".  In chapter 10, verse 13, he is "one of the chief princes". 
 
Apparently he serves as the appointed guardian of Israel, and I would guess when he stands up, something is about to happen. What brings him to his feet in this case, is "a time of trouble".  Elsewhere it is called the “time of Jacob’s trouble”. 
 
And what is referenced is the period of time we know as the “tribulation.”  In Daniel's terminology it is the future 70th “week” of seven years when God will let the Antichrist briefly rise to power. The last half of that seven years is commonly called the “Great Tribulation.”
 
Next comes
 
- Deliverance
 
Daniel 12:1b
 
Notice the timeline:  Regarding the nation of Israel, first comes the "time of trouble".  Then comes the deliverance.  That is opposite of what the church experiences.  We are delivered.  Then comes the tribulation.  But for the Jews who have rejected the Messiah, they experience the tribulation, then are delivered. 
 
And notice who it is that is delivered. 
 
verse 1c
 
So what book is that? It can be no other book than the Lamb’s Book of Life. This is the “book” God keeps in heaven of the saved of all the ages. Only those whose names are written in that book will be admitted into heaven.
 
We all have “books” of names. We have address books and books of family genealogy. At Trinity we have a church directory and a membership list. Whenever we have a business meeting, only those whose names are written in the membership list can vote.
 
When you go to a nice restaurant, you are asked, “Do you have a reservation?” If you say no, and if it’s a busy night, the answer may be “I’m not sure we have a place for you.” The same is true if you go to the airport without a reservation. If your name isn’t in the computer system, and if the flight is full, you won’t get on the plane no matter how much you beg and plead. They even keep books on the Internet. Sometimes you’ll be searching for a particular file and you get a message that says "Error 404 File Not Found".
 
God has his books too. He keeps records in heaven. He has “books” that record everything that happens on earth. And he also has “the book” which contains the names of all the Redeemed. In Daniel 12:1 the angel said that everyone whose name is written in the book will be delivered. That leads me to ask a very crucial question: Is your name written in God’s book? You’d better be sure before it’s too late.
 
 
 
 
Third is
 
- Resurrection
 
Daniel 12:2
 
“Dust of the earth.” That’s all we are in the end.
Ashes to ashes and dust to dust. Embalming slows it down but it doesn’t stop the process. Cremation speeds it up. After we die we all turn to dust. And from the dust of the earth God will one day raise the dead. Note that everyone is raised but not all are going to the same place. Some are raised to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.
 
The first part we can understand. The saints will be
raised immortal and incorruptible. To borrow a phrase from Peter Marshall, “We rise clothed in the shining mercy of God.”
 
But for those who do not know the Lord, that resurrection will be a terrifying experience. They will find themselves raised from the dead only to be exposed to shame and contempt. This is not a resurrection for salvation but for judgment. Those who in this life abused their bodies through sin will discover that they will live with those same bodies throughout eternity.
 
What will those bodies look like? Misshapen, swollen, scarred and marred by sin. They are raised not for salvation but for utter damnation. All that is good and holy has been removed. These ugly bodies are raised and then judged. Why? Because your body matters to God.
You will be judged by what you did in your body, with your body, and to your body! That’s not good news for sinners.
 
Fourth is
 
- Rewards
 
Daniel 12:3
 
This verse reminds us that God has his ‘stars’ in many places. They shine in the darkness of this world. Many of you have seen pictures of the famous Hollywood Walk of Stars. Those stars are metal plates fastened to the sidewalk.
 
Those metal stars are memorials to of people like Bob Hope, George Burns, Lucille Ball, and many others. Each year Hollywood honors its stars in the annual Oscar presentations. Hundreds of millions watch to see who wears the most revealing dress and which movie will win the most awards.
 
Who are God’s stars? Not the ones the world applauds. God’ s stars are those who lead many to righteousness. They point others to Jesus. They and they alone will shine like the stars in the heavens.
 
Who are God’s stars?
 
The mother who patiently teaches her children about Jesus.
 
The office worker who answers questions from her friends.
 
The son who witnesses to his parents.
The coach who shares Christ with his players.
 
The friend who tells his buddies about Christ.
 
The Sunday School teacher who prays for her children to be saved.
 
The young couple who goes to Mozambique as missionaries.
 
They are God’s heroes, and they will one day shine like the stars.
 
Sic transit Gloria mundi. “Thus passes the glory of the world.” But those who tell others about Christ will still be shining ten thousand years from now.
 
If you want what you plant to last a year, plant some flowers.
 
If you want it to last a lifetime, plant a tree.
 
If you want it to last forever, plant the Good News of Jesus inside the heart of a lost person.
 
Then we come to
 
verse 4
 
This book will grow in significance in the end times. Men will run to and fro seeking answers to the deepest questions of life. They want to know what the future holds. Many things in Daniel that seem mysterious will make perfect sense the closer we come to the return of Christ.
 
 
2. Two Final Questions
 
Did you ever feel like you have so many questions that you’ll never run out? If so, you’re in good company because the book of Daniel closes with two questions. The first one comes from an angel, the second from Daniel himself.
 
Question 1: How long?
 
Daniel 12:5-7
 
Evidently one of the angels wondered when the time of trouble for Israel would finally be over. The answer comes in verse 7: “A time, times and half a time.” Since a “time” is a year, the whole phrase refers to 3 years, specifically, the last half of the seven-year tribulation period when the Antichrist will unleash his reign of terror on the world.
 
The same verse also gives us a a very critical insight into the purpose for the tribulation. It is to shatter k the power of the Holy People, that is, the nation of Israel.
 
Don't miss that:  God allows the Antichrist to rise to power in order to break Israel’s pride and to prepare the nation (those who survive to the end) for salvation. This ties in with Romans 11:26, “and all Israel shall be saved.” Today blindness in part has come to Israel, which is why the majority of Jews still have not accepted Christ. But in the future the blindness will be removed and “they will look upon him whom they pierced,” and with broken hearts will embrace him as Savior and Lord.
 
 
By the way, that pattern is not different for the JEws from anyone else.  Anyone who will be saved msut come to the end of depending upon themselves and in brokenness, turn to God. 
 
Unfortunately, some people have to hit rock bottom several times before they will cry out to the Lord for help. have you ever considered what it will take to bring Israel to the Lord?  Think back through history to the numbers of times Israel has been attacked and persecuted and murdered. 
 
And through all of that, they have stood their ground and defied their enemies and seen miraculous deliverances, such as in the 6 Day War. 
 
But this time, the help doesn't come and in spite of all the military strength and resolve of the nation, she will be shattered. 
 
And in that regard, the tribulation is not just a judgment upon the world, it is also a prelude to an outpouring of divine grace upon Israel.
 
Question 2: What will be the outcome?
 
The question is answered in two ways.  The first answer is in regard to
 
- Israel
 
Daniel 12:8-12
 
When Daniel asks for further clarification, he is politely told not to worry about it since the events will take place in the distant future at the end of time.
 
He is also reminded that God has set a limit on the days.  The reference to 1,290 days is a reference to the three and one-half hears of tribulation. 
 
Then notice, verse 12 says the person is blessed who waits and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days.  So what happens at that time?  That allows for a 45 day transition period between the tribulation and the shattering of the nation and God setting up the Millennial Kingdom
 
And Daniel is simply to rest with the assurance of knowing that the end-time suffering is limited by God and it will serve as His instrument to separate the righteous from the wicked.
 
The righteous will see God’s hand at work even during the tribulation while the wicked will continue in their wickedness.
 
It is a very vivid reminder that the tragedy that breaks one heart hardens another. One man cries out to God, another curses him, and still another ignores him altogether.
 
The last verse speaks to the outcome regarding
 
- Daniel
 
Daniel 12:13
 
The Lord’s final word to Daniel contains four important messages:
 
First, he is told
 
- You will remain
 
Go your way till the end. You’ve been faithful. Now just stay the course. You’ve been through the lion’s den. You've been tested.  And you've been faithful.  Just keep standing strong and you’ll be all right. Be faithful until God calls you home.
 
Second,
 
- You will rest
 
Not in a retirement home but in heaven! You’re going to die, but don't worry about it. Your body may be in the earth, but your soul will be with God in heaven. Daniel, you’ve had a long life filled with many struggles. Hang on a little longer and your day of rest will come.
 
Third,
 
- You will rise.
 
As amazing as it is, Daniel is given a promise of bodily resurrection. Though Daniel will die, he will eventually rise again.
 
And finally,
 
- You will receive your inheritance.
 
What a precious promise for this old man to hear!  He has lived his entire life in a pagan land.  Any recollection he had of Israel are nothing more than distant memories.  For 70 years he has been far away from his home.
Although other Jews returned, Daniel evidently died in Babylon. He died as an exile in exile. But God promised him that one day he would receive his promised inheritance.
 
Here, then, is God’s last word to the aged prophet: “Daniel, be faithful till the end. You will die but God will not forget you. You will have your place on earth once again at the end of time. You will be raised and will live again!!”
 
We will see Daniel again. Not just as a figure from history but as a real, historical person.
 
A prominent citizen in town was dying. As he lay in his lovely home, the best doctors surrounding him heard him whisper with a note of despair, “I’m leaving home; I’m leaving home!”
 
Across town, there lay a solitary figure in modest surroundings. In her eye was a gleam of joy. Before she died she was heard to say, “I’m going home, I’m going home.” When you leave this world, will you say, “I’m leaving home” or, “I’m going home?”
 
If you are saved, then go your way. Be faithful till the end. Never forget that this world is not your home. Just bloom where you are planted and learn to thrive in Babylon because when you leave this world, you’re going home.
 
Until then, let’s live like foreigners in this world. We are “strangers in a strange land.” For those who believe in Jesus, this world never quite feels like home because our citizenship is in heaven.
 
As I thought back on this book this week, something came to mind that I want to share with you. 
 
The book of Daniel opens with what appears to be a clear triumph of evil over good. The finest of God's own people are carried away into captivity by the most evil and blasphemous nation in the world. 
 
And what we have no way of knowing is that God allowed it to happen for his own higher purposes.  I’m sure Nebuchadnezzar didn’t know that and I’m equally  sure the Jews didn't recognize it either. But it was true nonetheless.
 
Now skip to the end of book and see what has happened:
 
Every kingdom of the earth has been destroyed
 
An evil King has been brought to God
 
The Antichrist has been defeated
 
Israel has been delivered
 
The Saints of God have been resurrected to eternal life
 
God’s kingdom has been established on earth
 
What starts with defeat ends in a blaze of glorious victory. In that light the final words to Daniel mean so much more: “Now, Daniel, go and rest for a better day is coming.”
 
And I say the same to you.  Don't look around.  Look up for your redemption is drawing near.  And go rest, for a better day is coming!
 
King Jesus is coming!  Are you ready? The truth is, some are and some aren’t. What will you do if Jesus comes back today? Will you be glad to see him? Or will you hide your face in shame?
 
Is your name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life? Have you been saved by the blood of Christ? Have you trusted him and him alone as your Lord and Savior?
 
If you are unsure, I urge you to run to the cross of Christ and lay all your sins on Jesus. With all your heart come to Christ and as you come, you will discover that your sins are forgiven and that your name is written in the Book of Life in heaven.
 
Let's pray.
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