The Time of the End
Introduction: Are you ready for Jesus to return and bring an end to sin? The book of Daniel has opened our eyes to God's control over the sweep of human history. This week Daniel brings us to the end of that history. Let's dive in and examine what God reveals to us about His final victory!
- The Time of the End
- Who arises at the last time and for what reason? (Michael arises to protect God's people.)
- Why do they need protecting? (The worst time ever takes place on earth.)
- What is the "good news" about this terrible time? (God's people are delivered. This is the final salvation of the righteous.)
- What is this "book?"(The "book" is the book of life. See Revelation 3:5 & Revelation 13:8)
- Read Daniel 12:2. Notice that not only the righteous living are saved, but the righteous dead are also delivered. What does Daniel 12:2 suggest about the state of the dead? (They "sleep in the dust." This supports the concept of "soul sleep." The dead are in an unconscious state until the Second Coming of Jesus.)
- What is the alternative option to being raised to everlasting life? (Being raised to "shame" and "everlasting contempt." Notice Daniel does not say that all, but rather "some," are raised to everlasting life. This suggests that the shame and the contempt for those who reject Jesus is eternal, but their miserable lives are not.)
- Read Daniel 12:3. Who gets to "shine" on resurrection day? (Those who are "wise" and those who lead others to salvation.)
- What does it mean, as a practical matter, to be "wise" and to lead many to righteousness? (Being "wise" means that you have accepted God and His guidance for your life. Bringing others to salvation means that you have applied His Godly wisdom to your life. It is not just theoretical knowledge.)
- Read Daniel 12:4. We have more references to knowledge. Verse 3 refers to the "wise," verse 4 refers to the "scroll" being closed and people running around to "increase knowledge." Do you see a connection between these three references to knowledge? (Read Matthew 13:11. If we go to God (as opposed to "here and there") for knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom, He will reveal them to those who seek Him at the time they need them.)
- Are we supposed to be able to understand all of this (the revelation to Daniel) now? (I don't think we have anything approaching a complete understanding. In out study of this book, where I thought the message was within our grasp, I have gone through it in these series of lessons on Daniel. Where I thought it was obscure, or no commentator had a superior suggestion, I have not gone into it.)
- What is our obligation with regard to these messages in Daniel? (Our obligation is to keep going back and trying to measure what God told Daniel against what we see happening during the time of the end. Remember, it is the "wise" - not those who stick their heads in the sand - who are shining at the end.)
- The Time Prophecy
- Read Daniel 12:5-7. We have this picture of the man in linen (which we determined last week was Gabriel) and some other heavenly being who is asking questions. What heavenly question is asked? (How long before all of this happens?)
- Since Daniel was just told ( Daniel 12:4)to seal up the words of the scroll, why is this heavenly being asking more questions? Did he not hear the statement about closing things up? (Whatever message is closed up, this heavenly being wants Daniel to understand the time sequence.)
- What do you conclude about the way that Gabriel answers? (This is astonishing stuff. Gabriel swears by God on this time frame.)
- Why would Gabriel do that? (The time must be both important and certain.)
- What is the time frame "for these astonishing things to be fulfilled?" (A time, times and half a time.)
- Have you seen this time reference before? (Yes! We discussed this in the last part of Lesson 8 of this series when we studied Daniel 7:25. Both Daniel 7:25 and Daniel 12:7 connect this with the defeat of the saints. This is the same 1,260 year time period. (Recall that 3.5 years = 42 months = 1,260 days. If these are prophetic days, then one day equals one year.)
- What did we conclude in Lesson 8 about the end of this 1,260 year period? (It depends on what date you use to determine the beginning of the "little horn" power. The earliest date (529 A.D. brings us to 1789 A.D. If you use 538 A.D. (the date selected by our lesson), that brings us to 1798 A.D. If you use 752 A.D., that brings us to 2024 A.D. - or 20 years from now. William Miller was obviously wrong when he predicted the Second Coming of Jesus in 1844. Our studies so far have concluded that he was wrong about the event. However, it is not beyond possibility that he was wrong about the date - not the event. Recall I do not believe in "date-setting" for the Second Coming.)
- Read Daniel 12:8-10. How do you explain this: the heavenly being draws out this date in front of Daniel, Gabriel swears by God it is accurate, and then they tell Daniel "never mind" when he says he does not understand? (The only reasonable conclusion is that this is all written for us - those who live during the time of the end and who are "wise.")
- Friend, what should be our conclusion to all of this? If you take the entire book of Daniel, you see that God is in control. We started out with God protecting faithful Daniel and his three friends in very difficult times. God controls the events of our life. We also saw that the prophecies about the world empires have been fulfilled. God controls the timing of the rise of empires and nations. We also saw that there was a conflict here on earth and in the supernatural between God and Satan - but that God wins and delivers those whose names are written in the book of life. The righteous are given everlasting life. God controls the end. We also saw that although there is a great deal we do not understand, God shared information about the future with us. He will help us, if we are wise and seek Him, to understand the information when we need it.
- The outcome of the conflict between good and evil is not in doubt. The question is, whose side will you take?
- Next week: We begin a new quarter on "His Wondrous Cross" - the story of our redemption.