The Book of DANIEL
James J. Barker
THE WORDS ARE CLOSED UP AND SEALED
- Two weeks ago we started Daniel 12 and looked at verses 1--3. In verse 4, Daniel is told to “shut up the words, and seal the book.”
- This means the prophecies given to Daniel were to have primary application to those living in "the time of the end," i.e. in the tribulation period.
- Daniel Chapter 12 serves as a kind of appendix to the book of Daniel, and the emphasis is on the coming tribulation.
- Note the repetition, “at that time,” “a time of trouble,” “at that time” (12:1), “to the time of the end” (12:4), “the end of these wonders” (12:6), “a time, times, and a half,” "all these things shall be finished" (12:7), “the end of these things” (12:8), “the time of the end” (12:9), “till the end be” and “the end of the days” (12:13).
- Verse 11 refers "the abomination that maketh desolate."
- Verse 11 refers to "a thousand two hundred and ninety days" (43 months), and verse 12 refers to "the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days" (44 and a half months).
- These all have reference to the tribulation, which will begin after the rapture and conclude with the Lord Jesus Christ returning to defeat the antichrist at the battle of Armageddon.
- In the meantime, our Lord said we can expect wars and rumors of war, famines and pestilences, earthquakes in divers places, “fearful sights and great signs...from heaven” (Luke 21:11).
MANY SHALL RUN TO AND FRO (12:4).
- Sir Isaac Newton is considered by many to be the greatest scientist that ever lived. On the basis of Daniel 12:4, Sir Isaac Newton wrote these words over 300 years ago: "Personally I believe these words concern the end of time. Men will travel from country to country. There may be some means of travel invented which will enable people to go much more quickly than now.”
- Sir Isaac Newton went on to suggest that this speed might exceed 50 miles per hour, an incredible prediction back in the 17th century!
- Voltaire, the famous French atheist, scoffed at Newton and ridiculed his faith in the Bible. Time has vindicated Sir Isaac Newton and once again proven what a fool Voltaire really was.
- Today Space Shuttle astronauts can travel at speeds over 17,000 miles per hour. Daniel said, "Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased" (12:4).
- Sir Isaac Newton was correct in his interpretation of Daniel 12:4. From Daniel’s time up until about 150 years ago, the fastest a man could travel was on horseback.
- But during the past 150 years, "knowledge has increased," and now man can travel rapidly by car or train or airplane, etc.
- Today man is rushing to and fro, here and there, at breakneck speed. But soon God will grab hold of this sin-loving world and slow it down.
- In fact, the Lord is coming back, and soon He will literally shake this wicked world upside down (Isa. 24:1; Daniel 12:5-7).
ISRAEL ("THE HOLY PEOPLE") WILL BE PERSECUTED.
- The Bible repeatedly teaches that Israel will be persecuted during the coming tribulation period. That is why Jeremiah 30:7 calls it "the time of Jacob's trouble."
- The "holy people" (12:7) refers to the people of Israel; cf. Daniel 12:1 -- "thy people."
- In verses 5-7, Daniel, saw two angels by the side of the river, one on one side of the river and the other on the other side.
- By comparing this vision with a similar one in chapter 10, we can conclude that the river is the Hiddekel (10:4), also known as the Tigris River. One of the angels asks, “How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?” (12:6).
- In verse 7, reference is made to “the man clothed in linen,” apparently the same angel described in Daniel 10:5 and 6.
- As Daniel observes, the man clothed in linen holds up his right hand and his left to heaven and swears “by him that liveth for ever” (referring to God), “that it shall be for a time, times, and an half" (12:7), i.e., three and a half years, the second half of the tribulation period, known as "the Great Tribulation" (cf. Dan. 7:25).
- J.A. Seiss referred to Dan. 7:25; 12:7; Rev. 11:2; 12:6, 14; 13:5, and said, "All these passages refer to one and the same period of oppression and trouble under the Antichrist, and in each instance the measure is three and a half years, dating from the breaking of the league and the suspension of the daily offering to the destruction of the monster by the revelation of Jesus Christ. Our Lord ministered on earth three and a half years, and the Antichrist shall enact his Satanic ministry for the same length of time" (Voices from Babylon).
- Verse 7 says, "and when he shall have accomplished," meaning when the tribulation is finished and completed.
- The Hebrew word translated "to scatter" (12:7) means to break something like a vessel, with the pieces scattered everywhere.
- The same word is used that way in Psalm 2:9. "Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel."
- "The power of the holy people (Israel)" will be broken in pieces. This refers to the terrible persecution of the people of Israel during the Great Tribulation.
- Revelation 12:13 and 14 says, "And when the dragon (Satan) saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman (Israel) which brought forth the man child (Christ). And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time (three and a half years), from the face of the serpent."
- Daniel was bewildered. He heard but he did not understand, and so he said, "O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?" (12:8).
THE MORAL STATE OF THE WORLD (12:9-13).
- In verse 9 Daniel is told, "Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end."
- "Sealed" does not mean that the book of Daniel was to be left unexplained, but that the book was to be kept intact in order to help those living in the tribulation days.
- This seems to indicate that the primary purpose of these prophecies was to inform those who would be living in the time of the end.
- John Walvoord said, "The confirming interpretation of history and prophecy fulfilled would be necessary before the final prophecies could be understood" (Daniel).
- Verse 10 refers to the purification of the saints, as well as the wickedness of sinners. The Scofield Study Bible says this is, "A prophecy describing the moral state of the world from Daniel's day to the time of the end."
- Scofield compares Daniel 12:10 to our Lord's parables in Matthew 13 -- the wheat and the tares growing up together; and the net that was cast into the sea, gathering every kind of fish, both good and bad.
- Our Lord said, "Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 13:48-50).
- Daniel 12:10 says, "None of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand." In Matthew 13, our Lord said, "Who hath ears to hear, let him hear" (Matt. 13:9, 43).
- John Walvoord said, "The understanding of prophecy peculiarly requires spiritual insight and the teaching of the Holy Spirit. Even though the Scriptures describe in great detail the time of the end, it is obvious that the wicked will not avail themselves of this divine revelation; but it will be a source of comfort and direction to those who are true believers in God. Divine revelation is often given in such a way that it is hid to the wicked even though it is understandable by those spiritually minded" (Daniel, The Key to Prophetic Revelation).
- Daniel 12:11 refers to the abomination of desolation, already mentioned in Daniel 9:27 as the halfway point of the seven-year tribulation period.
- Our Lord said in Matthew 24:15, "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)."
- "The abomination of desolation" describes the future desecration of the rebuilt Jewish temple in Jerusalem by the antichrist (cf. II Thess. 2:3, 4).
- According to Daniel 12:11, a period of 1,290 days will elapse from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away until the end of the tribulation.
- The time that the daily sacrifice is taken away is equated with “the abomination that maketh desolate," i.e., the stopping of sacrifices in the middle of the seven-year period.
- This major prophecy was prefigured in the desolation of the temple by Antiochus Epiphanes in the second century BC (Daniel 8:11-14).
- That the prophecy is still future, and not a reference to the desecration by Antiochus Epiphanes, is apparent from our Lord's words in Matthew 24:15.
- Our Lord said “the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet” will be a sign of the great tribulation.
- The "three and a half years" referred to in the book of Daniel and in the book of Revelation are normally understood to be three and a half years or forty-two months of thirty days each (following the custom of the Jews). This would be 1,260 days.
- However, Daniel 12:11 refers to "a thousand two hundred and ninety days" (1,290) which would be an additional thirty days. And verse 12 says, "Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days" (44 and a half months).
- Daniel does not explain these varying lengths of time, but it could mean that the extra time will extend beyond the end of the Great Tribulation and into the millennium.
- The second coming of Christ and the establishment of His millennial kingdom will requires time, and perhaps the three and a half years will culminate with the second coming itself.
- According to Bible prophecy, the second coming of Christ will be followed by several divine judgments such as the judgment of the nations, described in Matthew 25:31-46 (when our Lord will separate the sheep from the goats).
- Ezekiel 20:34-38 describes a future judgment of Israel, which will take place when our Lord returns.
- It may take 30 days to carry out the judgment of the Gentiles and of the Jewish people, and the 45 days may be for the establishment of the new government over which our Lord will preside for 1,000 years.
- Some Bible teachers think Daniel 12:4 means knowledge of the Bible shall increase.
- Warren Wiersbe says Daniel 12:4 "is not a reference to automobiles and jet planes or the advancement of education. It has reference to the study of God's Word in the last days, especially the study of prophecy. Amos 8:11, 12 warns us that the day will come when there will be a famine of God's Word and people will run here and there seeking for truth but won't find it. But God's promise to Daniel is that, in the last days, His people can increase in their knowledge of prophetic Scripture as they apply themselves to the Word of God" (Bible Exposition Commentary).
- Leon Wood paraphrased Daniel 12:4 this way: "Many shall run to and fro in their desire for knowledge of the last things, and, finding it in Daniel' s book, because it will have been preserved to this end, their knowledge shall be increased" (Daniel).
- Many students of Scripture have come to an understanding of the book of Daniel by studying it along side the book of Revelation because the two books complement or supplement each other.
- The book of Revelation holds the key to our understanding of the book of Daniel. It is interesting to compare the last chapter of the book of Daniel with the last chapter of the book of Revelation. "And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand" (Rev. 22:10).
- "For the time is at hand" (Rev. 22:10). From the time it was given, the book of Revelation was an open book to be read and studied and understood by all those who would take the time to study it.
- Revelation 1:3 says, "Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand."
- The Lord is coming back. Are you ready?
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