Daniel 11 “The Abomination of Desolation”

daniel 11 antichrist

After showing us the spiritual battle going on behind the scenes, Daniel 11 shows us the action being played out on the stage of world history.  Daniel prophesied about future Persian kings, and future kings of Greece.  He warned of the coming abomination of desolation (Daniel 10:31).  This abomination was fulfilled when Antiochus Epiphanes defiled God’s holy temple in Jerusalem, erected a statue in honor of Zeuss, and sacrificed pig’s blood on the altar of God.  These historical events took place over 350 years after Daniel predicted them.  Then, Daniel made some detailed predictions about a future ruler at the “time of the end” (Daniel 11:40).  This future ruler (the Antichrist) will be very similar to Antiochus Epiphanes.  He will “exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods” (verse 36).  He shall “regard neither the God of his fathers nor the desire of women” (verse 37).  Evidently, he rejects the traditional religious beliefs of his family.  But, he is not an atheist or agnostic.  Instead, he worships military might and starts a whole new form of worship (verse 38).  He sets himself up as God, accepting (even demanding!) worship.  This future ruler will be powerful and persuasive.  Many will believe in him and faithfully follow him.  But, Daniel reveals the end of the story.  This unknown future ruler who duplicates the abomination of desolation comes to a very swift and sad demise.  “He shall come to his end, and no one will help him.” (Daniel 11:45)  The New Testament gives us more detail of his demise, “Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet . . . these two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.” (Revelation 19:20)  The antichrist will blaspheme God’s holy name, defile God’s holy temple, and proclaim himself to be the true god.  But, God wins in the end!  The warning is clear.  You can disregard God and disobey His laws.  You may even have some temporary success in doing so.  But, God will win in the end.  You can not disregard God forever!



Daniel 10 “Behind the Scenes”

Daniel 10

The tenth chapter of Daniel gives us a glimpse of the unseen spiritual world.  After 21 days of fasting and praying, Daniel’s spiritual eyes were opened and he saw what was really going on behind the scenes.  Cyrus was the king of Persia, ruling over his empire.  But, really, the “Prince of the Kingdom of Persia” was a sinister demonic being who orchestrated geo-political events and did battle against God’s archangel, Michael (verse 13).  There were dark forces at work.  In fact, after the “Prince of Persia” had waged his war against God’s plan, there would be a “Prince of Greece” that would come later (verse 20).  It seems like these powerful spiritual forces were manipulating the kingdoms of the world.  The human king sat on the throne, but the demonic power controlled him.  Come to think of it, that explains a lot of what is going on in the world today.  People and nations do not always behave in ways that are understandable, predictable, or even rational.  Some of the geo-political machinations of the 21st century can only be explained by supernatural spiritual forces.  Why do the Arab nations hate Israel so much?  Why would Iran risk national suicide in order to acquire nuclear weapons and threaten to annihilate Israel?  Why would Russia risk international ostracization in order to expand their borders and increase their power?  Why is it that North Korea can’t even feed its own people, but they can sure spend a lot of money and effort developing weapons?  Why is Washington so powerless to stop any of these bad actors?  Well, there are indeed evil forces at work behind the scenes.  The good news is, that Daniel saw the good guys too.  The “prince of Persia” is indeed an intimidating spiritual presence.  But, Daniel saw the glorified Jesus Christ.  His face was like lightning, his eyes flames of fire, and his feet like burnished bronze.  The prince of Persia didn’t stand a chance!  God is still sovereign.  Jesus is the rightful king of the universe.  It was all part of God’s plan.  Cyrus is the one who made the decree that allowed the Jews to return and rebuild.  The powerful prince of Persia could not stop God’s plan!  The Greeks later spread their culture and their language in the Holy Land, preparing the way for Jesus and His disciples to build the church and spread the gospel (written in the Greek language!).  The evil “Prince of Greece” could not thwart God’s plan to save the world.  We now live in a spiritually dark world.  But, God is still on the throne, Christ is the true King of Kings, and Michael still battles against the forces of evil.  The gospel of Jesus Christ is still storming the gates of hell and transforming lives.  If only our spiritual eyes were opened like Daniel’s!



Daniel 10: “Daniel Meets Jesus”

Daniel 10

God sent a very special messenger to comfort Daniel.  He sent His own Son!  Of course, the text of Daniel 10 does not actually say that it was Jesus, but it is a pretty safe conclusion.  In the book of Revelation, the apostle John saw the resurrected Jesus on the island of Patmos.  His description is almost exactly the same as Daniel’s description of his heavenly visitor.  Notice the similarities between the two:

Daniel 10                                                              Revelation 1

a certain man                                                        One like the Son of Man

clothed in linen                                                      clothed with a garment down to the feet

waist girded with gold                                            girded about the chest with a golden band

face like lightning                                                   head and hair were white like wool

eyes like torches of fie                                           eyes like a flame of fie

arms and feet like burnished bronze                      feet like fine brass

sound of his words like the voice of a multitude     voice as the sound of many waters

It was 500 years before Jesus was born, but Daniel was speaking to our pre-incarnate Savior.  He shouldn’t be that surprised.  In the previous chapter, Daniel had spoken to the angel Gabriel.  Perhaps he was accustomed to heavenly visitors by now!  And, this is not the first time that Jesus appears in the book of Daniel.  In fact, it is probably the third time.  Remember that fourth man in the fiery furnace with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego?  Yes, that was most likely Jesus!  And, in chapter seven, Daniel saw a vision of “One like the Son of Man coming with the clouds of heaven.”  Yes, that was Jesus too!  God was revealing the future “history” of the world.  And, Jesus is right in the middle of it all.  He reveals His plan, and He is part of the plan.  After all, Jesus created the universe, provided salvation for all of humanity, governs all the affairs of men, and will reign forever as King of Kings.  Daniel did not know the name “Jesus”, but he saw God’s Messiah.



Daniel 9 “God Has Not Forgotten You”

daniel's 70th week

Daniel’s prophecy is a reminder that God has a plan for the future of His people.  It would not always be pretty.  Listen to some of the words used to describe Israel’s future:  “troublesome times” (verse 25), the city will be “destroyed” like a “flood” (verse 26), there will be “war” and “desolations” (verse 26).  God’s people would go through some dark days.  History has affirmed the truth of Daniel’s words.  One generation after the death (and resurrection!) of Jesus, Jerusalem lay in ruins, the temple destroyed, and the people scattered.  Had God abandoned His people?  Had He forgotten His covenant?  Daniel had already answered those questions.  God has one more week (a week of seven years) planned for His people, Israel.  Again, there will be dark days.  There will be a false prince (the Antichrist) who makes a false covenant (and breaks it after 3 1/2 years).  There will be one final abomination of desolation.  But, God uses all these things to bring about the salvation of His people!  The final week will include a revival!  Jews will come to know Jesus Christ as the true Messiah.  And, in the end, the final week will accomplish exactly what God had planned all along.  He will make an end of sins and bring in everlasting righteousness. (verse 24).  It has been a long time since the end of the 69 weeks.  But the 70th week is coming.  And, it could be soon!  God is a God of His Word.  When he makes a promise He keeps it.  God has not forgotten Israel.  And, God has not forgotten you!  No matter how dark your days may become, God has a plan for you.  And, Jesus has promised to return again for all those who believe on Him.  Christ will rapture His church shortly before Daniel’s 70th week.  It is the infallible promise of God!



“The Uniqueness of Our Savior”

Death Where is Your Sting Religious Worship Still

Jesus Christ was a master teacher.  However, Christianity is not based upon His teachings.  The foundational cornerstone of Christianity is not what Jesus taught, but rather who Jesus is and what Jesus did.  Jesus is the eternal Son of God.  He died for the sins of humanity and rose again!  The teachings of Jesus would be empty and meaningless if they were not confirmed by His deity and His substitutionary death.  There are many religions that are based on religious writings and teachings.  However, there is only one Savior who was prophesied thousands of years before his birth, born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died a sacrificial death, and walked away from his own cemetery!  Dr. James Allen Francis captures all of this truth in “One Solitary Life”

“One Solitary Life”

He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another village, where He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty. Then for three years He was an itinerant preacher. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family or owned a home. He didn’t go to college. He never visited a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place where he was born. He did none of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself.

He was only thirty-three when the tide of public opinion turned against Him. His friends ran away. One of them denied Him. He was turned over to His enemies and went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves.

While He was dying, His executioners gambled for His garments, the only property he had on earth. When He was dead, He was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend. Nineteen centuries have come and gone, and today He is the central figure of the human race.

All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man on this earth as much as that one solitary life.

 

Jesus is the central figure of all human history.  Is He the central figure of your life?  He died for your sins.  Have you accepted that wonderful gift of salvation?  You can’t just agree with the teachings of Jesus, you must accept Jesus as your unique savior!



Four Minute Easter Sermon

Death Where is Your Sting Religious Worship Still

In preparation for Good Friday and Easter worship, I would encourage you to take four minutes of your time and listen to one of the most powerful Easter sermons ever preached.  You won’t regret it!  Pastor S. M. Lockridge passionately reminds us that “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s Coming!”



Daniel 9 “Messiah the Prince”

daniels 70 weeks

Daniel received a wonderful message about the coming Messiah.  One phrase in particular summarizes the sacrificial death of our Lord Jesus Christ:  “Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself.”  (Daniel 9:26)  Jesus Christ is the promised Messiah.  He lived a sinless life in perfect harmony with the law of God and the will of God.  He preached love and forgiveness.  He healed the sick and fed the hungry.  He even raised the dead.  Then, he was cut off.  The authorities turned against Him and sentenced Him to a cruel agonizing death on a cross.  His death did not accomplish anything for Him.  Rather, it cost Him everything.  His death was not for Himself, but for us.  His substitutionary atonement for our sins provided the basis for our eternal salvation.  We can have hope and forgiveness, eternal life and heaven because of His blood.  Daniel gave us a beautiful description of Good Friday, but he also saw further than that.  Daniel described the end of the 70th week.  Now, the 70th week has not yet begun, but it could come at any time!  Jesus died for our sins, but He is not finished with His plan just yet.  After the 70th week, the Messiah will come ” . . . to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.”  (Daniel 9:24)  What a wonderful promise!  When Jesus Christ came the first time, He came as the humble lamb to be offered up as our sacrifice.  When He comes the second time, He will conquer sin forever and establish righteousness.  We won’t need vision or prophecy any more, because we will have our All-knowing Savior in our presence.  And, our worship will be restored to what it should be:  face to face fellowship with the Most High God in His Most Holy Temple.  I can’t wait until the 70 weeks are up!



Daniel 9 “Seventy Sevens”

daniels 70 weeks

The angel Gabriel gave Daniel a very precise (although somewhat enigmatic) prophecy about Israel’s future.  Israel’s future (from Daniel’s perspective) could be summed up in seventy weeks (literally sevens).  The seventy sevens were further divided into three different eras.  First, there were seven sevens.  Apparently, this 49 year period was how long it took to rebuild the city of Jerusalem.  Then, there were sixty-two sevens.  This 434 year period started when the gates of Jerusalem were completed, and it ended when Jesus rode through the sheep gate on a donkey.  That’s right!  The first sixty-nine sevens of Daniel’s prophecy climaxed on Palm Sunday.  The Jewish leaders should have known the prophecy.  They should have been looking for “Messiah the Prince”.  Daniel clearly foretold his coming, down to the exact day.  Yet, they missed it.  The Messiah came into Jerusalem in direct fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, and the scribes and Pharisees rejected Him.  Perhaps that is why Jesus prays for a special blessing to those who study the book of Daniel, ” . . . whoever reads, let him understand.” (Matthew 24:15)  The rejection of Jesus stands as an urgent warning to us.  We must study the Scriptures and understand them because they lead us to Jesus.  Too many people today are like the scribes and Pharisees.  They are spiritually blind.  Daniel’s sixty-nine sevens are history.  However, There is one seven left.  Daniel’s seventieth seven has not started yet.  And, God doesn’t give us a precise countdown, like he gave Daniel for the first sixty-nine weeks.  Instead, the seventieth week comes “like a thief in the night.” (1 Thessalonians 5:2)  It is our job to study the scriptures and be ready.  We don’t want to miss Jesus again!



Daniel 9: “God’s Response”

daniel's prayer

Daniel’s prayer in chapter 9 reminds me of the words of James in the New Testament.  James was a brother (technically 1/2 brother) of our Lord Jesus Christ.  James had the nickname “Old Camel-Knees” because his knees were worn from his devout prayer life.  James said the “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”  (James 5:16)  Daniel was such a prayer warrior.  While he was still praying this powerful and passionate prayer, God answered!  Listen to the urgent conclusion of his prayer:  “O Lord, hear!  O Lord, forgive!  O Lord, listen and act!  Do not delay for your own sake, my God . . .”  (Daniel 9:19a)  His prayer was interrupted in a most dramatic fashion.  The angel Gabriel suddenly appeared!  God heard Daniel’s prayer, and God answered his prayers before they were even finished.  Gabriel gives Daniel wisdom to understand the mysterious visions that he had seen.  And, Gabriel gives Daniel some much-needed comfort.  He says that Daniel is “greatly beloved.”  What a blessing it must have been for Daniel to hear these loving words from God’s special messenger.  Most importantly, Gabriel briefly explained that there would be 69 “weeks” until the Messiah.  A “week” is seven prophetic years.  Gabriel revealed to Daniel that the Messiah was only 483 prophetic years away.  Daniel was already an old man.  I don’t think he expected to live long enough to see the Messiah.  But, he knew that God was moving.  God had not forsaken His people.  God had not forgotten His promises.  It may have been many years away, but the Messiah would certainly come.  So, consider the example that Daniel set for us.  The righteous Daniel prayed, and God sent the angel Gabriel to point Daniel to Jesus!  The same template works for us.  Only, we don’t need Gabriel, because we have the indwelling Holy Spirit.  We pray, and the Holy Spirit intercedes for us, helping us to pray.  And, the Holy Spirit points us to Jesus!  Indeed, the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.



Daniel 9 “Daniel’s Prayer”

daniel's prayer

Daniel’s prayer is a classic.  It gives us a good look at the heart and mind of this wise old man of God.  Please consider the characteristics of his prayer that make it an example for all of us:

1)  His prayer was inspired by God’s Word.  Daniel was reading the prophet Jeremiah.  He discovered a wonderful truth from God’s Word, and it caused him to pray.  Bible reading and prayer go hand in hand.  Each one feeds the other.

2)  His prayer began with a focus on God’s awesomeness.  The attributes of God are clearly articulated in his prayer.  It is obvious that Daniel knew God intimately, and has walked with him for many years.  He praised God’s faithfulness, mercy, righteousness, holiness, forgiveness, and omnipotence.

3) His prayer emphasized a humble confession of sin.  The main body of his prayer is repentance.  This is interesting, because Daniel was a righteous man.  His character and integrity were unassailable.  Yet, he identified with his people and his people’s sins.  He used the first person.  He confessed: “To us belongs shame” and “We have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our god” and “We have sinned against Him.” (Daniel 9:8-11)  Rather than point a finger at other sinners, he was deeply aware of his own sin.

4)  He simply asked God to do what God has already promised to do!  He pleaded with God to keep his covenant with His people.  He begged God to hear Daniel’s prayers.  He asked God to look  upon His sanctuary.  Divine sovereignty and human responsibility worked together.  God was going to do exactly what he had promised and planned to do.  Nevertheless, Daniel did his part.  Daniel prayed and trusted that God would use him to be part of the answer to his own prayer.  Daniel knew that God was about to move, and he didn’t want to be left behind!  He desired to be in perfect alignment with the will of God.

Now that’s a prayer that we can learn from!




 

 

 

 

 

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