The Final Countdown

Posted: April 6, 2017 in Daniel, Uncategorized

Daniel 12, “The Final Countdown”

As Christians, we’re looking forward to the final countdown in regards to the return of our Lord Jesus.  We long for the day that He will sound the trumpet & we will be called home, meeting Him in the air – the singular event that sets off the next seven years until the day He once again sets foot upon planet earth, come to rule it as its rightful King of kings and Lord of lords.  Already, time is ticking down towards that day, although we cannot know when it is.

For all of the uncertainty that surrounds the precise timing of Jesus’ return, there are some specifics that have been revealed.  Some of those specifics were given almost 1500 years ago to Daniel.  At the time, he didn’t know what to do with the things he heard.  But as the days draw nearer, understanding becomes clearer, and we look forward with excited anticipation!

These are the things shown to Daniel as his book comes to a close.  Although ancient Greek copies of the book of Daniel go on to include two more chapters (which comprise part of the Apocrypha accepted in the Bibles of Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox), the Hebrew canonical text ends with what we know as Daniel 12, and it makes perfect sense to do so.  Daniel is already advanced in age, the Jewish return from Babylon to Israel was already underway, and the aged Daniel was receiving visions of the end-times.  As he was given a very specific series of prophecies as to what was to be expected, he was also told to put it aside for later, and to look forward to his own rest.  Daniel was facing death for himself, but he was looking forward to an eternal inheritance – and one day he would understand all of the visions he received as he watches it played out right before his eyes, himself included among the saints of God.

Before we get too far, a bit of review is necessary just to get an overview of the book as a whole.  Daniel was a young man when he was first brought to Babylon.  Forced early on to choose whether to obey God or men, Daniel chose to follow the faith of his fathers, and found that God protected him and blessed him.  Daniel quickly rose through the ranks of the Babylonian advisors, able to interpret the dreams of Nebuchadnezzar through the gifting of Almighty God.  Through these dreams, God routinely showed Daniel things that were to come in the latter days – pointing beyond the empires of the world to the time that an evil world leader would arise in rebellion against God, ultimately to be crushed by God as God Himself set up His everlasting kingdom upon the earth.

As time passed, Daniel stopped interpreting the dreams of others and began receiving his own visions.  Again, he saw the succession of empires, but always in light of what God revealed that He would do in the end.  There would be a later, blasphemous king, but this king would be destroyed by the Son of Man (the Messiah) whose kingdom would never end.

Finally, in the third year of King Cyrus of Persia (10:1), Daniel received the last of his recorded visions – a vision that takes the reader all the way to the end of the book.  There had been another unrecorded vision Daniel received, and it so troubled him that he spent the next 21 days in prayer and fasting.  At the end of that time, he saw a glorious man (most likely another appearance of the angel Gabriel), who told Daniel that he had been restrained by demonic forces for 21 days until he finally received help from one of the chief angels, Michael.  This angel would soon have to return to his battles, but for now he was free to deliver the final message that God wanted Daniel to know about the “latter days.” (10:14)

The message Daniel received was all future to him, but as 1500 years of history have progressed, we have seen much of it play out in real-time.  The angel told Daniel of the very specific rise & fall of Alexander the Great, as well as how his empire would break into four pieces upon his death (11:4).  From there, the angel concentrated on the ongoing struggle between two of the four kingdoms: the North (the Seleucids in Syria) and the South (the Ptolemies in Egypt).  Incredible detail regarding political intrigue was given – so amazingly accurate that God has to be credited with His omniscience.  Eventually the prophecies focus upon one particular leader of the North (the Seleucids) whom history reveals to be Antiochus IV Epiphanes.  This man would become the prophetic type for the future Antichrist, whom the angel goes on to describe.

This would be a terrible ruler who would usher in a terrible time for Daniel’s people, and indeed, all the world.  But his time was limited.  Eventually he would commit one particular act that could serve as a kickoff to the final countdown.  Everything Daniel had seen about the future kingdom of Messiah would be fulfilled – and he could know the date from which to start counting.

Daniel 12

  • Prophecy of the End (1-4)

1 “At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; And there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation, Even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, Every one who is found written in the book.

  • First things first: which time is “at that time”?  Remember that the angel currently speaking to Daniel (most likely Gabriel, though he is unnamed) had not finished speaking from the end of Chapter 11.  Chapter breaks are artificial, being imposed upon the text in (what are usually) likely places.  In this case, the first several verses of Chapter 12 could have easily been a part of Chapter 11, as it’s all a part of the same prophecy.  The text does change form a bit, becoming poetry – but the content is all related to everything that was being said earlier. — Thus the words “at that time” need to refer to the future time of Antichrist, which the angel began to address in 11:36.  Up to that point, the future (to Daniel) enemy in question was that of Antiochus IV Epiphanes who serves as a prophetic template of many of the works of Antichrist, but afterwards, the prophecy simply cannot be Antiochus IV because the history & description simply does not fit him.  This other future ruler/king will rise up over all the Middle East, all in spite of some initial alliances against him.  Eventually he will set the seat of his kingdom in Israel “between the seas and the glorious holy mountain.” (11:45)  He will rise to even greater power among the world before he finally comes to his end, but his “end” is absolutely certain.  The Lord Jesus will personally see to it upon His glorious return!
  • So the things the angel now prophesies is during that time period of the rise of Antichrist – the time we know as the Great Tribulation.  There is much disagreement among scholars as to the nature and timing of the Great Tribulation, and there are inherent weaknesses with every viewpoint available.  The key is to pick the viewpoint with the least weaknesses, which we believe to be that of pre-tribulational pre-millennialism.  This is the viewpoint that sticks to a literal interpretation of Scripture & maintains a distinction between Israel and the Church (among other things).  In this viewpoint, the body of Christ today (both Jew and Gentile who have faith in Jesus Christ = the Church) will be raptured away, caught up to be with Jesus in the air, and this one event kicks off he Great Tribulation – a seven year period of time preceding Jesus’ physical return to earth.
  • As great as it is to think of Jesus’ return, things will not be easy during the Great Tribulation.  There’s a reason for its name: things will be bad!  The angel specifically tells Daniel that his people (the Jews) will experience a time of trouble like none they had ever seen before.  Although Michael will stand in their defense, the nation of Israel was still destined to endure it, and it would be hard.  Keep in mind that at the time Daniel was listening to all of this, his people were just finishing a time of trial & tribulation in their Babylonian captivity.  As bad as that was, it wasn’t anything compared to what awaited them.  There never had been such a time!  Centuries later, Jesus affirmed exactly the same thing: Matthew 24:21–22, "(21) For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. (22) And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened."  When we talk about the end-times, it’s natural to rejoice in Jesus’ return and the fulfillment of God’s eternal plans.  At the same time, we need to be sober-minded.  There will be much suffering, especially among people beloved by the Lord.  It is a good thing for Jesus to come, but it is a terrible trial that people will endure until He does. 
    • No one will want to go through the Great Tribulation, and the good news is that we don’t have to.  Those who put their faith in Christ today will be saved from the day when God pours out His wrath upon the earth.  No one has to go through those days.  The best way to pray for escape from that time is to put your faith in Jesus today!
    • Likewise, the very best way for us to help people prepare for that time is to share the gospel with them today! 
  • Who will be saved?  Those whose names have been “written in the book.”  The Bible speaks of a Book of Life, in which the names of God’s people were written from before the foundation of the world. (Rev 13:8)  It is from this same book that people will be judged for their eternal fate, with anyone whose name is not included in that book being cast into the lake of fire. (Rev 20:15)  The point?  You want your name in that book!  How can you be sure your name is there?  Simple: place your faith and trust in Christ Jesus.  Anyone who does will find that Jesus already had your name written there – He knew you from eternity past as one of His own.
    • This is not something you want to gamble on.  Some people are never sure whether or not they belong to Jesus.  They don’t know whether or not their name is in His Book of Life.  They can be sure!  Anyone can be sure, because those who belong to Christ receive the assurance of the Holy Spirit.  So test yourself – examine yourself.  If you are uncertain due to your lack of faith, or lack of godliness – if there is any uncertainty at all, cast yourself upon the mercies and grace of Jesus trusting Him alone for salvation, and ask for the assurance that He has promised to give.
  • When will all of this be publicly discovered?  At the judgment.  Vs. 2…

2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt.

  • This is one of the (if not the) clearest teaching in the Old Testament regarding the general resurrection of humanity.  Other writings speak of eternal life with God, the forgiveness of sin, and many other concepts we associate with salvation.  Very few speak of a literal resurrection from the dead.  Daniel does…and it’s no wonder why Jesus referred to Daniel so often in His self-reference as “the Son of Man.”  Daniel has much to say about Jesus, as well as His work, including the resurrection.
  • Note: There is more than one resurrection.  The angel alludes to it here with Daniel, and Jesus affirmed exactly the same thing: John 5:28–29, "(28) Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice (29) and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation."  To the Jews, Jesus made it clear that those who believed in Him & His word would receive everlasting life – but there was a judgment awaiting those who did not believe.  That judgment was the resurrection of condemnation – the resurrection to “everlasting contempt.
    • Objection: “I thought Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world!”  He didn’t.  People condemn themselves through their sin.  Our sin has already made us guilty before God, and those who reject Jesus’ sacrifice merely find that condemnation confirmed.  God does not desire that people go to hell; quite the contrary!  He desires that people repent & be saved! (2 Pet 3:9, 1 Tim 2:4)  God loves us – His open desire is that people be saved.  But He will not force our faith; we have to respond out of our own freewill.  Otherwise we are left condemned.
  • How many resurrections are there?  (1) There is the resurrection of Jesus, who technically is the first (firstfruits) of the resurrection of the Church, which takes place simultaneously with the Rapture. (1 Cor 15:20, 1 Ths 4:14-17).  (2) There is the resurrection of the saints at the end of the Great Tribulation, what Revelation calls the “first resurrection” (Rev 20:4-6).  (3) There is the resurrection of the wicked at the end of the Millennial Kingdom, who are raised for the Final Judgement at the Great White Throne and the second death. (Rev 20:12-15)  Arguably, the various resurrection events of anyone belonging to Jesus is all ultimately part of the one resurrection previewed by Jesus, as His resurrection precedes all who are His at His coming (1 Cor 15:23). 
  • Despite how we account for the various stages of the resurrection of life, the point behind it all is clear: there is more to our existence than what can be seen in this life.  Everyone has an existence beyond the grave.  It’s the quality of that existence that is determined by whether or not we belong to Jesus in faith.  Think about it: We tend to think of eternal life belonging only to born-again Christians, but even those who are raised for the 2nd death are still raised.  They still stand before God in judgment.  They are still sent “to shame and everlasting contempt.”  In other words, they still have an eternity in front of them, but it is an eternity of torment and horror.
    • Despite the well-meaning intentions of those who preach annihilationism, that is not the clearest teaching of the Bible.  To be sure, there are many Bible-believing born-again Christians who believe the idea that God simply annihilates those who do not believe in Christ, that itself being the eternal punishment they receive…but there are many Scriptures that need to be ignored or argued away for that conclusion to be reached.  Every single time the Bible mentions hell, it is described as populated.  For all of the symbolic language that is used of hell, just as much is used of heaven, and heaven isn’t written off as being fantasy.  A consistent Biblical hermeneutic demands a literal hell, just as much as a literal heaven.
    • That doesn’t make hell any easier to preach.  Anyone who preaches hellfire and damnation with a twinkle in his/her eye surely has no real understanding of it (nor any fear of God).  The idea that someone would face eternal torment as punishment for his/her sin against God is awful!  But then again, so is the thought of Jesus dying on the cross for our sin.  Who are we that God the Son should bear our iniquity?  That He should substitute Himself in our place?  An infinite price was paid so that we might be saved.  It only makes sense that an infinite price be paid by those who reject Him.
  • The good news is that no one has to reject Jesus’ offer of grace!  Those who receive His gift & sacrifice rise to “everlasting life.”  They are eternally saved – vs. 3…

3 Those who are wise shall shine Like the brightness of the firmament, And those who turn many to righteousness Like the stars forever and ever.

  • The “wise” ones are those who trust in the Son of God/Messiah, having faith in the promises of the gospel.  Contextually to the prophecy, this isn’t speaking of the Church so much as it is those who come to faith during the years of the Great Tribulation.  This includes the nation of Israel, as well as multitudes of Gentiles who believe in Jesus as a result of the works of God around the world, and the witness of the Jews.  During those days of trial, there will be tremendous evangelism that takes place, and the angel promises a special blessing to those who engage in it. “Those who turn many to righteousness” are those who turn others to the righteousness found in Christ. …
    • That may be spoken primarily about future Jews and Gentiles, but the same concept applies to us in the Church today.  We are blessed for believing the wisdom of God in the gospel, which is foolishness to the world (1 Cor 1:21).  And for those Christians who participate in the Great Commission, we experience a special blessing from the Lord.  There’s no “extra” salvation or anything like that, but there can be no denial that those who share their faith in Jesus are blessed.  There’s an intimacy we have with Jesus that can only be experienced when we share our faith.  That’s when we truly experience the power of the Holy Spirit – that’s when we can almost tangibly feel the love of our Heavenly Father.  If you feel as if you’ve gotten into a bit of a spiritual rut, or that your walk with Christ has grown cold, go share your faith.  Engage someone with the gospel.  There’s no better way to fan the flames of faith!
  • What will this blessing look like in eternity?  “Brightness…like the stars” – glory!  Those who belong to God through faith in Jesus will share in the radiance of His glory forever.  Can you imagine it?  Think of what it will be like to always be in the presence of the manifest glory of God.  We have times during worship where we feel “caught up” in His presence.  There are times of prayer that we feel “extra” close to Jesus.  As great as those feelings are, they’re passing.  Imagine a day when it doesn’t pass.  Imagine a time when you won’t wonder if you’re actually tasting God’s glory, but you’re basking in it.  That’s what heaven will be like.  We will be in His brightness forever!

4 “But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”

  • With this, the vision didn’t necessarily end, but the main part of the message did.  The things that God had sent the angel to say had been said, and now it was time for Daniel to put them aside.  This seems a bit strange to our ears, in that normally prophecy is meant to be proclaimed to as many people as possible.  Why wouldn’t Daniel do the same?  In fact, is that not what he did do, considering he wrote down the words of the prophecy and it was included in the Hebrew Bible?  Was this book truly sealed away?  And what about the prophecies that were intended to be seen in their fulfillment, such as what was said about kingdoms of Persia, Greece, the Seleucids, and the Ptolemies?
  • Several answers.  (1) The book was sealed in that it wasn’t altered.  Part of the problem with accepting the Greek additions is that it would add to the prophecies originally received by Daniel – something which he was told not to do.  It is a dangerous thing to add to the word of God, as the book of Revelation attests. (Rev 22:18)  (2) Although not everything would be understood, some things would, and these things would give comfort to people as time went along.  (3) Most of the things to which the angel refers as needed to be “shut up” are the prophecies concerning Antichrist, who to this day, is still someone in the future.  Those prophecies will be better understood by those who witness them.  (4) With as much as Daniel didn’t understand, he could take comfort in this much: he wasn’t intended to be the interpreter of all of these prophecies; his role was that of a guardian steward.  God didn’t put more on to Daniel than what he could bear.  (God is gracious that way!)
  • BTW – some interpret the last part of the verse as saying that “time of the end” refers to these days because people literally run about “to and fro” with technical knowledge increasing by leaps and bounds every day.  While these prophecies are indeed meant for today, that is not the reason – at least, not according to the Scriptural context.  The “time of the end” is defined as the days when people are running to & fro looking for knowledge about God (Amos 8:12), and the time when knowledge about God’s word & understanding of prophecy is increasing (such as when Joel spoke about the days that God poured out His Spirit upon all flesh – Acts 2:17, Joel 2:28).  So yes, these are the last days – but we want to ensure we come to that conclusion based on Biblically correct interpretation.
  • Timing of the End (5-13)

5 Then I, Daniel, looked; and there stood two others, one on this riverbank and the other on that riverbank. 6 And one said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, “How long shall the fulfillment of these wonders be?”

  • Ever since Chapter 10, Daniel has been looking at, and speaking with one man clothed in linen (an angel, probably Gabriel) – now he sees “two others.”  The first angel had been over the Tigris river (10:4-5) – these other two suddenly appear on the banks on either side.  Apparently they did not have the same information as the first angel did, and they had questions of their own.  They asked the same question that many others have asked through the ages: “How long?”  How long until these prophecies come true?  Again, keep the context in mind.  Daniel had received many prophecies about many things throughout the centuries.  The most immediate context is still that of the rise of Antichrist leading to the ultimate end & resurrection.  Thus the question is how long until those particular things were to take place?  They wouldn’t have to wait long for an answer. Vs. 7…

7 Then I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever, that it shall be for a time, times, and half a time; and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished.

  • The first angel swore an oath – and not just any oath, but an oath upon the name of the everlasting God.  Thus he could not proclaim what he was about to say with any more authority or certainty.  This timeframe was clear & unalterable: “it shall be for a time, times, and half a time.”  It would be 3.5 years.  Once Antichrist was at the height of his power, 3.5 years would pass before the “holy people” (the Jews) would be left “completely shattered,” and then the end would come.  Finally, “all these things shall be finished.
  • This ought to sound familiar.  Daniel has heard this sort of language before in his previous visions.  Daniel 7:25, "He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, Shall persecute the saints of the Most High, And shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand For a time and times and half a time."  There, it was exactly the same wording.  Regarding a future kingdom that would devour the whole earth (7:23), that future evil king would “persecute the saints of the Most High” for 3.5 years, and only after that would the kingdom change to that of the Messiah.  Likewise, Daniel heard something similar in Chapter 9: Daniel 9:27, "Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate."  Remember that the “week” is a term referring to a 7-year period of time.  Regarding the future Antichrist, the prince of a people who would destroy Jerusalem, he would make peace with Israel for a while…all the way until halfway through the “week”, thus 3.5 years.  At that point, the abomination of desolations would be committed, and the rest of the “week” would get underway.
  • Question: Does it really matter that the Great Tribulation is a 7-year period of time, with the crucial event taking place half-way through?  Yes.  Not from the perspective of Jesus’ return – that isn’t affected in the slightest.  All kinds of orthodox Christians believe in Jesus’ future return without believing in a literal 7-year Great Tribulation.  The reason it matters is consistency.  How we interpret our Bibles greatly affects how we react to its teaching.  If it can’t be trusted to mean what it says in the details, how can we trust it in the more important issues of salvation?  To trust our Bibles means we can trust all of God’s truth contained within it. 
  • That doesn’t mean it’s always easy to understand.  It wasn’t for Daniel!  Vs. 8…

8 Although I heard, I did not understand. Then I said, “My lord, what shall be the end of these things?”

  • The angel had asked about the timing; Daniel asked about the outcome.  He certainly heard all the words that had been spoken to him, and although they were in a language he readily understood, he didn’t understand the meaning at all.  He was totally (and understandably) confused.  So he asks the question: “What’s the conclusion of all of this?”  I.e.: What’s the point?  What does it all mean?
    • Ever feel the same way in regards to the Scripture? Daniel could ask the angel (whom he respectfully addressed as “My lord,” as in “Sir”); we have Someone far better: the Holy Spirit! (1 Jn 2:27)

9 And he said, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. 10 Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand.

  • Although it seems as if the angel is pushing off or ignoring Daniel, that’s not so much the case as it is that he’s redirecting Daniel.  Like the apostles were redirected by the resurrected Jesus when they asked Him if He was about to restore the kingdom of Israel (Acts 2:6-7), so did the angel redirect Daniel.  Daniel had already received a massive amount of information regarding the latter days, and he didn’t understand what he had heard.  He didn’t need more information about the future millennial kingdom & the things that were beyond.  He just needed to be a good steward regarding the things he had been told.
  • What he could be assured of in the present was that the terrible time of the Great Tribulation had an end-date.  Yes, it would come, but it wouldn’t last forever.  There would even be good things to come out of it.  As bad as it would be, “many shall be purified,” refined as though through fire, having a faith in Jesus that not even the worst hordes of Antichrist could break.  They will be glorified by God, whereas the wicked would be confirmed in their wickedness.  God had His own purpose for the Great Tribulation, and He would be glorified through it.  That’s what Daniel needed to trust in the meantime.

11 “And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days.

  • The angel gets back to the first question asked by the other angel, and he gets amazingly specific!  Regarding “how long” – how long is that “time, times, and half a time”?  Apparently it is 1290 days, when divided by a 360 day year is incredibly close to 3.5 years.   (3.583, to be exact.)
  • Note: this is not 3½ years from the time that the daily sacrifices are removed until the abomination of desolation is put in place; these two events seem to occur simultaneously (or close to it).  This is the time period between that event, and the end.  As the angel asked in vs. 5, this is the time period until the “fulfillment,” asked by the angel.  Likewise, Daniel had asked about “the end”…this is it.
  • Keep in mind that this is the primary sign that Jesus told His disciples (and thus, the nation of Israel) for which to watch. Matthew 24:15–16, "(15) “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), (16) “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains."  This is why the previous prophecies regarding Antiochus IV Epiphanes are so important.  When future Antichrist eventually does what previous Antiochus IV already did, then those who are alive during those days can know that the countdown has begun.  The Jews have been given a template/example for which to look.  When they see that, then they (1) need to get out of Jerusalem quick, and (2) can start counting the days.  Until what?  Until Jesus’ return, which Jesus went on to prophesy: Matthew 24:29–30, "(29) “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. (30) Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."  Jesus is coming back – and His return will not only be witnessed by the nation of Israel, but by all the world!
  • Question: Is this date-setting?  Is this something that the Scripture implies that we are not to do?  No – at least, not in the way we normally conceive of date-setting.  Nowhere here does the angel tell Daniel the exact date of Jesus’ return, because nowhere does he state the exact date of the abomination of desolation.  He says how Jesus’ return can be counted from that particular sign, but not when that sign will take place.  Even then, there are details left unspecified regarding the exact hour and moment of Jesus’ return – there are certain things that cannot be known.  In any case, this is not the mistake of Miller, Whisenant, or Camping who attempted to predict the date of the rapture. 
    • If Jesus did not know the precise timing of these things during His earthly ministry, we are foolish to believe that we can guess them.  Far better to interpret the Scripture we have, rather than look for codes and dates that are somehow written “between the lines.”

12 Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days.

  • Is this a contradiction?  The angel just pronounced 1290 days – what is he doing talking about 1335 days?!  Did Daniel figure out his prophecy was wrong, and seek to correct it (as some have suggested)?  No.  (1) If Daniel was going to correct a prophecy, why would he leave the first number intact?  After all, it was only the previous verse…it’s not as if he forgot it was there.  (2) No, it is not a contradiction, for the same angel who spoke of the 1290 spoke of the 1335.  There is a 45 day difference, and that difference is intentional.  
    • Simply because we may not understand a prophecy or Scripture does not mean that it’s wrong.  When we encounter a problem in Bible study, the issue is with us; not with the Bible.  We’ve said it over & over again: give the Bible the benefit of the doubt…
  • So why the difference?  No one can say with 100% certainty because the Bible never provides the direct interpretation.  The most likely idea is that the 45 day difference is due to the time it will take to get past the various judgments and set up the Millennial Kingdom.  Remember that upon Jesus’ return, there will be real literal judgments (that between the sheep and the goats – Mt 25:31-46), and a real literal kingdom that will govern all the earth.  Even with God the Son on the throne, some of these things will take time because He’s dealing with normal humans as He works.  45 days is minor in the grand scheme of things.  (President Trump still has 100’s of positions unfilled in his administration…)

13 “But you, go your way till the end; for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days.

  • Daniel isn’t being dismissed so much as he is being relieved.  Daniel around 85 years old at this point, and he had his own “end” quickly approaching.  He would not live to see the future change of empires, much less the rise of Antichrist and the Great Tribulation.  Instead, God had a grand “rest” in store for him.  He had been a good & faithful servant, and he was about to enter into the joy of his Lord & await the future resurrection of his body when he would “arise to [his] inheritance at the end of the days.”  Everything the angel told Daniel about the future resurrection wasn’t just for “other” people – it was for him as well.  Daniel would be blessed to take part in it, just like anyone who is a child of God through the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • We long to see the day of the Rapture, but if we don’t, may we finish well!  May we live in such a way that we also enter into the rest of our Lord hearing the words, “Well done!”  Even if you don’t live until the Rapture, you’ll still experience.  Those who die in Christ will rise first, with the rest joining you in the twinkling of an eye.  What a glorious day that will be!

Conclusion:
There is much about the end-times we cannot know, but there is still much we can.  (1) We know that there will be a time of terrible Tribulation for God’s people.  (2) We know that there will be a world ruler who will hate the people of God.  But we also know (3) he & the entire Tribulation time has an expiration date.  It won’t last forever!  Once Antichrist hits his peak, a grand countdown begins until the return of Jesus Christ, and the world will never be the same again.

Do we await His return?  Do we really believe that He will return?  If we do, it affects everything.

  • It changes how we worship, because we remember that we worship a Living God whom we will see face-to-face, and be enveloped by His glory.
  • It changes how we act, for we will one day stand before our God and give account for the things we have done.
  • It changes how we share our faith, because we want as many people to be with us as possible.  Who might be able to avoid the Great Tribulation because you shared your faith with him/her?  We have a powerful motivation to proclaim the gospel!
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