1. Lesson One of the Book of Daniel, Introduction to the Book of Daniel

The Book of Daniel, The Little Horn, the Last Sinful King, Daniel 11:36-12:4 - Lesson 43

 

We have seen in the book of Daniel an exposition of the Anti-Christ of the Old Testament, Antichous Epiphanies, and prophesy concerning the Anti-Christ yet to come.

The way God has given us this information has been to blend these two characters in such a way as to make it difficult to know where facts about one end, and facts about the other begin.

But as I said last week both of these men are Satanís agent and are indwelt by him, so that from Godís perspective, they are one and the same.

In chapter 11 of Daniel it is at the point of verse 36 where some Bible expositors say that that which has been described up to this point in chapter 11 is associated with the past.

Up to this point the exploits of the kings through Antichous Epiphanies have been described while the coming description starting in verse 36 is future and describes the Anti-Christ, the last king of this long line of kings.

In fact this is the description of the last king in power upon this earth before the coming of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, our Lord Jesus Christ himself.

36And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.

So we believe that the king that is being described here is the Anti-Christ yet future, he is the Little Horn of Daniel.

He is a king that is described as one who has power to do his own will.

Now all of us have power to do some of our own will but this king will have power to do his will in a way far greater than any prior man.

And the doing of his own will includes that of exalting himself and broadcasting himself in a manner so as to portray himself as God.

His will is to magnify himself and to speak marvelous things against the God of gods.

He is indeed the epitome of evil, for he is Satan come in the flesh.

He exalts himself, and believes his own exaltation.

He sees himself as achieving that for which he has striven throughout the centuries of time, the joining together of all men under his rule.

He has pushed toward this goal throughout the centuries but his efforts have been thwarted by God.

He intends to set up a world wide kingdom, a counterfeit kingdom to that of his arch enemy the Lord Jesus Christ.

Isaiah told of this Satanic ambition in Isaiah 14:12-14 when he described the mission of Satan:

How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!  For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north (reference the kings of the north of Daniel 11):  I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

This king is the realization of Satanís dream to ascend to heaven, to exalt his throne above the stars of God, to be like the most High.

God said when he presented Jesus Christ, this is my beloved son hear him.

Satan will do likewise with the Anti-Christ being presented as his beloved son and the world will hear him.

But it will only hear him for a limited period for Daniel was told that he shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that, that is determined shall be done.

The great tribulation is the last of the seventy weeks of years.

This seven year period is all that is allowed to Satan for it also ushers in the wrath of God upon men, the indignation of God, and the victorious coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

God has determined exactly when this wicked one will come to an end.

God will simply use Satan as an instrument to accomplish his anger against the sins of His people Israel, just as He used Antiochus Epiphanies to scourge Israel in the past.

Further explanation of this evil one is given in verse 37.

Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.

The expression "the God of his fathers," is a Jewish expression.

This king has no regard for the revealed God of Abraham, Isaac or Jacob, no regard for the revealed Word of God.

As he sees himself as god, all other gods are cast off.

Nor does he have regard for the desire of women.

The meaning of this is obscure.

If the desire refers to him, it could be that this evil one is only interested in power and has no natural leanings toward the companionship of women.

If this is the case those who are living at the time of his revelation will probably find him unmarried and celibate.

If this means he does not regard that which women desire it could refer to Jewish women who desire to be the one through whom the Messiah comes.

These of course are women who do not recognize that Mary has already had that privilege by having brought into this world the Lord Jesus Christ.

But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things.  Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain.

This king will turn from any previous gods to a new one, a "god of forces" (verse 38).

This seems to be a new god who operates in the realm of military strength.

Through the power of this military "god," this king in the line of the "kings of the North" will wage war with great success for he trusts in physical power and might.

In return for the support of men, this king parcels out the spoils of victory by dividing the land for gain(verses 38-39).

The god of forces is certainly not a foreign thing to us as we boast of our unbeatable military while we put our trust in military strategy and technology thinking that peace comes though strength instead of the Lord Jesus Christ.

And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.  He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon.  He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape.  But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps.  But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.

At the end time, another major confrontation will take place between the "king of the North" and the "king of the South."

The "king of the North" wins a decisive victory, then turns his attention once again toward Israel.

The people of Edom, Moab, and Ammon are not touched by his power for they are also enemies of the children of Israel but Egypt does not escape.

Rumors from the East and North enrage the "king of the North," causing him to strike out without mercy, destroying and annihilating many (verse 44).

These battles probably refer to great masses of men coming from the east from beyond the river Euphrates to engage in the battle of Armageddon as described in Rev. 16:12.

And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.

And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.

He seems then to encamp his army in Israel beside the "glorious Holy Mountain" which is Mount Zion, Jerusalem.

So chapter 11 ends with this evil and very powerful king stationed in Israel, with the intention of annihilating this place but knowing that his end is near.

This "king of the North," this "little horn," will be defeated and destroyed, accomplished by means other than human or human instrument in line with the climax of the dream of Nebuchadnezzar.

Remember that dream wherein a stone made without hands destroys the kingdoms of men.

It is at this stage that the Lordís return is near.

Daniel will be told of this but will also be told in chapter 12 to shut up the words and seal the book.

Daniel 12:1-4,  And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.  And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.  And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.  But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.

The scene we left in chapter 11 was an earthly scene but chapter 12 begins with a return to another reference to the Archangel Michael, the angel who stands for the children of Danielís people.

There are to be no more references to the kings of the north nor to the kings of the south.

There is now a turning to what God is doing and to Godís wrath and to Godís deliverance.

We are told that Michael stands up and begins the time of trouble.

The angel Michael is the instrument that God uses to initiate the time of trouble, such as has never been seen before.

Look to Revelation 12:7-9 and see what takes place to cause this great tribulation.

Revelation 12:7-11,  And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,  And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.  And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.  And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.  And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

Here again we see that things that are happening on the earth are first begun in the heavens.

We think the kings are the sole characters but here again we are given a glimpse into the force behind the kings and that force is Satan who is cast down to earth.

The beginning of the tribulation is linked to Michael who arises and brings about a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time and it is a time that is directed toward the Jews.

Now Michael is that angel who is the guardian of Israel but Michael is also the one to initiate the Great Tribulation by casting out the devil and his angels from heaven to the earth.

It will be a time of great suffering for the very peoples over whom he stands guard.

But the story does not end there for the very next message is one of deliverance.

and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.

The deliverance of Godís people is that which occurs in the time of her greatest trouble, the time of Jacobs trouble.

We see here that God has chosen to bring about the salvation of his chosen ones by means of suffering.

God does save men and women from suffering, but He also saves through suffering.

God delivered the children of Israel after 400 years of bondage in Egypt but he did it through suffering.

The salvation of sinners has been accomplished by our Lord Jesus Christ.

He delivers us from sin, from suffering, and from death, but He did so by means of His own suffering and death.

So too the nation Israel will be delivered from its sins and suffering, but this will happen by means of the suffering of the nation in the time of the Great Tribulation.

Then the people of God will be rescued.

Deliverance, associated with suffering, is a necessity when sinners are involved.

As we saw in verse 35 of chapter 11 it is a time to try them, and to purge them, and to make them white.

For this reason, Michael, the guardian angel of the nation Israel, is tasked to bring about the time of Jacobís trouble.

Michael is the angel who is to participate in the birth pangs of a nation which is to be born in a day.

As God chooses to bring about great suffering to a women giving birth he has also chosen to bring about great suffering to his people Israel as a means to her deliverance.

When Michael arises and the tribulation begins, it is like the doctor who "breaks the water" of a woman as she nears the time to give birth to her child.

A time of pain will come upon her, but it is through this pain that the joy of new life will bring her to think as minor any pain which she endured.

Isaiah spoke of this birth in chapter 66, verse 8:  Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.

Daniel hears this same message from the angel in verse 2

and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake.

This is astounding news for Daniel hears of a resurrection which is part of the deliverance of Israel.

Deliverance here means not only deliverance from the awful conditions of the past three and a half years but it also means that those Jews whose names are written in the book, not only those who are alive at the time, but also those who sleep in the dust of the earth will be part of the rebirth of the nation.

There are two groups mentioned here who are to be delivered at the end of the tribulation.

They are those Jews who have looked upon Jesus Christ whom they have pierced and have received him as their Messiah, the believing remnant of Israel, and those Jews who have beforehand departed this life as believers.

This is not the resurrection of the body of Christ, the church but a resurrection that follows the tribulation.

It is the nation that is born in a day, composed of all Jews whose names shall be found written in the book, whether sleeping in the dust or awake at the coming of our Lord.