This is the last article on the book of Daniel and end times prophecy. I started writing these posts a couple of years ago and wrote all of them but the last one. I am teaching this last lesson tonight and decided to write about it before teaching it.
As we have seen over and over again in the previous articles on Daniel, the future of the world has already been written. God has explained in very specific details what is going to happen in the future. He wrote this around 550 B.C. and laid out what the future held for the Jews, up until the first coming of Christ, all the way until the second coming of Christ. All has happened just like God explained. There is just a little bit left and it will happen.
From our previous article, we learned about the 70 weeks that have been decreed for the nation of Israel in Daniel 9. According to the text, the 70 weeks, or 490 years are divided like the diagram shows.The first set of 7s or 49 years, takes us from the time of the decree until the time of the prophet Malachi. At the end of Malachi’s ministry, God is silent for 400 years until He breaks that silence, speaking to Zacharias. The other 62 weeks or, 434 years, takes us to the time of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. 69 of the weeks have passed. There is one more to come, the 70 week or a 7 year period of time. This final week is divide in half, three and one half/three and one half. This is described in several ways in the Scriptures. In Daniel, it is described as time, times, and half a time. In Revelation it is described as 42 months. Also in Daniel it is described as 1,260 days. This period will begin with a covenant between a world leader and the nation of Israel. Something is going to happen at the half way point, three and one half years. This article will focus on the final week of 3 and 1/2 and 3 and 1/2 years. I want to look at Daniel 10-12. As we study, I would like to focus on the contrast between Daniel and the king who is to come, as well as looking at the Great Tribulation.
I. Daniel’s character
Take a moment to read Daniel 10 (selected verses). Did you notice Daniel’s character? He has been weeping, mourning, and fasting for three weeks. The reason that Daniel is mourning and in distress is because of the message that he received in chapter 9. God revealed to Daniel that the reason that the Jews were in captivity was because of their sin. Daniel’s heart is broken over that. More than the captivity, Daniel is mourning the fact that his people still have not repented of their sins. Daniel also learned that the future of the Jews is not a good one. There will be persecution and strife until the very end of time. This persecution and this strife go hand in hand with their sin and disobedience. This is what breaks Daniel’s heart the most. Daniel continues to fast because he wants to understand the message fully. God hears Daniel’s prayers and answers. Daniel is a very selfless person. He seeks to serve the Lord and invest in others. This has been his pattern since his youth. He was taught God’s Word from a young age and was taught to have a genuine relationship with God. As a teen, when taken into captivity, he remained faithful to God when everyone else turned away. In chapter 1, Daniel did not want to break God’s laws. He had a lot of pressure put on him. His environment was changed. His name was changed. His education was different. Everything around him pressured him to forget about God. Most of his peers caved in the face of the pressure. He did not cave. In fact, he motivated 3 other teens to join him in staying faithful to God. This saved their lives in chapter 3. Daniel was a living testimony to his own people and a testimony to the pagan nations whom he served while in captivity. When God answers Daniel’s prayer, we learn about the king who is to come, the little horn of Daniel 7, the prince who is to come of Daniel 9. This man is a direct contrast to Daniel.
II. The king who is to come
Take a moment to read Daniel 11. Now, let’s see what we learn about this king. First of all, he is a very selfish and vain person. Unlike Daniel, he does not care about others. He only cares about himself. In fact, he feels that he is above all, even God. He does all that he can to magnify and glory himself. Daniel sought to glorify God. This man does not want to have anything to do with God. In fact, he loves himself so much that he hates God and speaks out monstrous things against God. This king will prosper because God has ordained it. He will be the wrath of God upon mankind because of sin. This person is motivated by glory and riches, the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life. He is helped by a foreign god. As Revelation 13 teaches, this foreign god is none other than Satan, himself. The king to come honors those who serve him by giving them power to rule and land. He is a warrior, invading and conquering countries. He is a war with people from the North, South, and East of Israel. He, himself, comes from the West. At the height of his power his end will come and no one will be able to help him. Daniel 2 teaches us that a stone no cut with human hands will destroy this person and his world system. This stone will become a mountain and fill the whole earth. Daniel 7 teaches us that this king is destroyed by the Son of Man who then establishes His kingdom. This is also mentioned in Daniel 9, when the prince who is to come is going to experience complete destruction. Revelation 19 tells us that this will happen when Jesus returns on a white horse with the heavenly hosts and establishes His kingdom on the earth. Daniel’s question to the Lord is, “how long will this last”? The answer reveals the time of the Great Tribulation.
III. The Great tribulation
Take a moment to read Daniel 12. The king who is to come will bring about the Great tribulation. In the beginning, according to Daniel 9, he will make a covenant with the Jews and allow them to offer sacrifices at the Temple once again. This will mark the beginning of Daniel’s 70th week, or a 7 year period. The first three and one half years, things will seem to go well with the Jews. In the middle of the week, or, at the three and one half year mark, this king will break the covenant and stop the sacrifices in the Temple. He will begin to persecute the Jews severely. This is what is known has the Great Tribulation. It will be a great time of distress like never seen before or that will never be seen again. According to Joel 2, this tribulation is for the Jews and it is known as “the day of the Lord”. It is not one literal day but a period of time, a period of three and one half years. Jesus gives further explanation of this in Matthew 24. The abomination of desolation takes place at the three and one half year point. Like Antiochus Epiphanes, this king will desecrate the Temple, stop the sacrifice, and begin to persecute the Jews. When this happens, Jesus says that the Jewish people must run and hide because wrath is coming. The question still remains, how long will this Great Tribulation last? According to Daniel 12, it will last a time, times (2), and half a time. This equals three and one half. This same time period is stated as 42 months or 1,260 days. All of them equal three and one half years. If you noticed that there are more than three and one half years mentioned, you are observant. What happens with the rest of the time? In Matthew 25 we find a possible answer. After the Son of man comes to set up His kingdom, He will use those extra days to separate the sheep from the goats and give the sheep the reward that they deserve. For those who die in Christ before the coming of the Son of man, they will be resurrected and come with Him, receiving their reward when He sets up His kingdom.
What about you, are you more like the king who is to come or are you more like Daniel? Do you seek to establish your own kingdom or the kingdom of God? Do you seek to love and serve others for the glory of God or do you seek to use others for your own glory? Are you going to receive your reward when the Son of man comes? Are you walking with the Lord and encouraging those around you to do the same? Are you a living testimony to the nonbelievers around you? May the Lord help us learn to mimic Daniel’s example.