Contending For The Faith

February 19, 2009

Daniel 11, Continued

Now for a look at the last part of Daniel 11, verses 35 to 45.  Click here to view John MacArthur’s message on this topic.

These verses must refer to a future time, not something already fulfilled in history, for several reasons. Verse 35 tells us the purpose of all these events: for the purging of the people of Israel, their spiritual purification. Also, the term “time of the end” is an eschatological term, dealing with last things. Verse 40 reiterates this: “at the time of the end.” The end of verse 36 indicates that the antichrist will prosper “until the time of wrath is completed” — the completion of God’s wrath. MacArthur refers to this word as “the indignation” and notes that this is near synonymous with the term Tribulation.

The description of antichrist in this passage, detail by detail, parallels other Scripture passages about Antichrist. The beginning of chapter 12, referring back to these verses, tells us that Michael shall stand, a time of trouble will come, and the resurrection follows.

The previous three revelations in the book of Daniel all ended with a prophecy about the Antichrist; this prophecy follows the same pattern.

In these verses we see three things about the antichrist: his character, his conflict, and his condemnation. His character is revealed in words describing him as “the willful king.” Other titles in the Bible given to him include “the little horn” (Daniel 7), “the king of fierce countenance” (Daniel 8), “the prince that shall come” (Daniel 9), “the man of sin” and “the son of perdition” (2 Thessalonians 2) and “the beast” (Revelation 13). This willful king is marked by prerogative: he does everything according to his will, as an absolute ruler. It is true that Revelation 17 says there are ten kings, but they are just puppet kings under this one; Revelation 13 describes his cohort the “false prophet” but again the false prophet does his bidding; and also in Revelation 13, all men must take his mark, the mark of the beast. His other character features: he is proud and profane (verse 36), perverted (verse 37), and powerful (end of verse 37).

His conflict: beginning in verse 40, a revolution from the king of the south. Ezekiel 38 also describes the army that comes, the king of the north. The condemnation finally comes, in verse 45: “yet he will come to his end.” MacArthur identifies the northern army as Russia, and his message gives more details on the sequence of events and relates the events to the parallel passages described in Revelation.

Three great lessons from this prophecy:

1. God controls everything

2. God will purge His people Israel

3. The world will end in a holocaust, but Christ will triumph over that, and all will be well forever for the saints of God

These are great things to rejoice in and give thanks for, to consider how great is our God.

Daniel 11: The Reign of Rebellion

Filed under: Bible Study,Daniel,John MacArthur — Lynda O @ 12:13 pm
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Part 1
For study of Daniel 11, I’m looking at John MacArthur’s sermons “The Reign of Rebellion” (parts 1 and part 2).

This chapter gives a detailed prophecy about events that took place a few hundred years after Daniel, followed by events yet to occur at the end. The overall theme continues, that the chastening of Israel is going to continue until the time of the restoration, until the time when Messiah comes in His kingdom, and this (Daniel’s time) was only the beginning.

The details of the prophecy, especially verses 2 through 35, are amazingly accurate, and historically verifiable, such that its contents are the cause of all the criticisms of the book of Daniel. Lost man recognizes the accuracy of the prophecy, but cannot allow for God or miracles, and thus must conclude that Daniel wasn’t really a prophet but lived hundreds of years later, that the words must have been written after the events occurred. As MacArthur notes, they have two problems: a god who doesn’t know the future, and a man like Daniel, of impeccable character and highly esteemed as one of the most honorable men that ever lived, made into a first-rate liar.

One common “hook” running through the passage, a way to remember it all, is that all the kings’ names begin with the letter “A”: Ahasuerus (also called Xerxes) of Persia , Alexander the Great, Antiochus the Great, Antiochus Epiphanes, and antichrist.

Regarding the first king, there were actually more than four kings in Persia, but the angel picks out the key right here: there were three who ruled just before a fourth, and that fourth one was the one that led a major attack on Greece. The first three kings were Cambyses (son of Cyrus, king in Daniel’s time), a man named pseudo-Smerdis (an impostor who had great physical resemblance to Cambyses), and Darius Hystaspes. The fourth king, Xerxes or Ahasuerus, was the truly great king, the one mentioned in book of Esther, who had great wealth and commanded the largest army of ancient times.

About 150 years after Xerxes’ great battle against Greece, the Greeks finally got their act together, and Alexander came forth, as noted in Daniel 11:3. After Alexander died, his kingdom was parceled out to four rulers, two of whom had significance for Israel: the Ptolemaic line in Egypt (the kings of the south), and the Seleucid dynasty of Syria (the kings of the north), with Israel the pawn in the power struggles that continued for centuries.

Verse 10 introduces the third king, Antiochus the Great. The next several verses describe with astonishing accuracy the events of the king of the south (Ptolemies) and the king of the north (Seleucid). The fourth king, Antiochus Epiphanes, is introduced in verse 20, and again Daniel describes to the specific details the events of his reign, in the verses up until verse 35. Starting in verse 35, Daniel describes future events which do not fit with known history. Yet since we have the record of history for the previous verses, we can trust God that the future verses will also take place, as precisely as the previous events did.

February 5, 2009

Daniel 10: The Vision of Glory

Filed under: Bible Study,Daniel,John MacArthur — Lynda O @ 12:55 pm
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Daniel 10 begins the last section of the book, including the last and greatest vision. Chapter 10 introduces the vision, chapter 11 gives the prophecy, and chapter 12 is an epilogue.   John MacArthur’s message “The Vision of Glory” discusses chapter 10.

This chapter occurs two years after the previous vision (the third year of Cyrus), and Daniel is feeling discouragement and disappointment, because the people really haven’t gone back yet. Only 42,000 returned with Ezra, the rest living their new lives in Babylon and Persia, and the 42,000 were such a small number.

Daniel 1:21 tells us that Daniel retired in the first year of Cyrus, so by chapter 10 Daniel has retired from public service. Yet Daniel did not return with Ezra’s group, and here MacArthur suggests a reason: not because Daniel was too old, but because he was too disapppointed. Daniel saw himself as having the responsibility to motivate other Jews to return, and he couldn’t return because he wasn’t satisfied.

Instead, Daniel does what he always does in a crisis: he prays. Chapter 10 shows us that Daniel fasted and prayed for three weeks, and that “Daniel received a revelation. The revelation was true. He understood very well the revelation.”

Here are six points in the outline of Daniel 10:

  1. Mourning toward heaven
  2. Manifestation of heaven
  3. Mastery by heaven
  4. Messenger from heaven
  5. Mischief in heaven
  6. Message from heaven

Mourning toward heaven: the three weeks of mourning

Manifestation of heaven: verses 4 through 6 describe the appearance of a certain man “dressed in linen.” This is not an angel, but a preincarnate appearance of Christ, a Christophany, for the description is very similar to John’s description of Christ in Revelation 1.

Mastery by heaven: as with others in the Bible who have an encounter with God, Daniel is overawed. The others who are with him flee in terror; Daniel loses all strength and his face turns deathly pale. Such a reaction is similarly shared by Job, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and John.

Messenger from heaven: an angel appears and touches Daniel, to restore him and deliver a message to Daniel, who is greatly beloved (verse 11). Mischief from heaven: The angel explains his delay of three weeks; the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood him for 21 days, and Michael came to this angel’s assistance. These verses teach us that the true rulers of the kingdoms of men are not men but demons. Verse 20 tells us that a demon is to be assigned to Greece. In the New Testament, Paul tells us that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual powers. Here we have a rare glimpse behind the scenes in world history.

Message from heaven: verse 21 begins this section, which really develops in chapter 11. “First I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth.” The vision concerns Daniel’s people, is a vision not just for now, not just for the 70 years but many years, until the end of the Tribulation.

Some important truths we learn from Daniel 10 include the reality of demonic powers over nations of men, and that “God actually carries out His will through the angelic conflict.”

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