In this last vision we've seen that his eyes are opened and our eyes are opened through this sharing of the prophet to us to see that there's a spiritual war going on. And when you see that there's a spiritual war going on, how could you expect anything but tribulation? We're in a war zone... and will be until Jesus Christ finally vanquishes every one of his enemies.
And so the question is, "How are we to live? How do you live in tribulation?" And that's what I want us to get to, that's where we're going to be moving. That's the question we want to address.
"How... how do you live? How should we then live?"
(Dan 11:36) "Then the king will do as he pleases, and he will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will speak monstrous things against the God of gods; and he will prosper until the indignation is finished, for that which is decreed will be done.
Who is the king that's talked about in verses 36 to 45?
It's really extraordinary that so much time is spent on this person... verses 21 to 35, 15 verses of this chapter, spent on a man who reigned for 12 years. One of the four Greek kingdoms. Alexander the Great got two verses in chapter 11... the next four kings got one verse (so, they got a quarter of a verse each), verse 5 talks about the four kingdoms that split from Alexander's kingdom.
And then the next fifteen verses, we looked at last week... sixteen verses, verses five to twenty-one, covered eleven different guys. (so, that's like one point three verses apiece).
And then, Antiochus Epiphanies gets fifteen verses by himself. I mean, this man is... from the perspective of human history, according to the cannons of historical research, he is an inconsequential figure. I mean, he gets a mention on the pages of history but, barley a mention.
But from God's view point, he is one of the most important people to look at in answering the question that's really driving this passage and, indeed, this section of the book of Daniel.
The question that drives this passage and this section of the book of Daniel is this: "What is the future of the people of God? What's it going to be like in the future for God's people?"... and how are we to respond?"
This Week: THE KINGS OF THE NORTH AND THE KINGS OF THE SOUTH
When you look at Daniel and the question he's asking... he's asking, "What's the future of the people of God?" And the message he gets is... it's going to go from bad to worse for the people of God, from an external view point.
Things are not going to get better. In fact, what you have is, in this chapter, the first 20 verses recounts about a three or four hundred year history of turmoil and difficulty for the people of God. The nation of Israel is going to continue to be subjected by other nations. They're going to be under the boot of the Persians. And then the Persians are going to take the boot off the neck, to be replaced by the Greeks. And the Greeks are going to take the boot off their neck (we find out in other places) to be replaced by the Romans.
And the message is, it's never going to be like it was under Solomon, under David, not in this life.
But the real message is, don't be preoccupied with the enemy... be preoccupied with God and with His Son, Jesus Christ.
Nevertheless, from time to time, the Lord calls our attention, because we forget... we sheep... we forget that we're at war.
But why does the Lord do it here in Daniel's life? That's the question.
Why at this moment? Daniel's in his mid-eighties. He's already received lots of heavy revelation. Do you remember when we read the different visions in chapter seven and chapter eight, it talked about how, in chapter eight, he was sick for days after the vision that he had.
I mean, he's been faithful to God... hasn't he had enough of these heavenly visions?
But the Lord wants to show him some more and the vision, at first, is painful. But what Daniel found out is that, the more God shows you, even though you experience pain, if the Lord... if you are with the Lord, the pain is swallowed up by joy.
And that's what we need to do. We need to see God so much that everything else recedes into the background. What matters is one thing, being pleasing to Him.
So he sees the glory of God. And that glory, it undoes him... he can't speak and then he hears the voice of God, or the voice of this messenger speaking for God giving him this revelation and it's that which gives him strength. First of all it's that which terrifies him, when he first hears it, the power of the word knocks him on his face. He was already pale, he was already feeling distressed. But then, it says in verse 9, "...as soon as I heard the sound of his words, I fell to a deep sleep on my face with my face to the ground."
He falls down when he hears him speak.
Now, if that is what happens when you get in the presence of either Christ or His angel, if that's what happens when you... why would you be scared of anything else?
See the majesty of God... if our focus is on Him, everything else really doesn't matter.
One of the ways of understanding this passage in dealing with what we're going to look at today... the antichrist, the flood of evil, the supreme manifestation of evil in opposition to God.
One of the questions we're going to try to answer by the end of our time this morning is, "Why does God allow evil such latitude?".
"Why does God allow evil to manifest itself in such a dramatic, astounding way?"
"What is His purpose?"
"Why does God allow difficulty to continue... and continue... and continue?"
"Why does it sometimes seem like when it rains... it pours?"
In fact, in the passage we really see God's primary purpose for allowing, or more rightly, ordaining human suffering... the so called, problem of pain.
Why does life hurt so much?
Why is there so much human agony out there in the world... in here, in our lives?
People ask, "If God is good, why does He allow so much misery to seemingly go unabated?
Rightly understood, this is a difficult concept but this is clearly Biblical truth because, the question is not why God is... if God is good why does He allow so much misery? We really ought to phrase it as a statement, "Because God is good, He allows so much misery.
The emphasis in that quote of the verses is... do you see three breakdowns? Seventy weeks is broken down as seven weeks, sixty-two weeks and one week. Three parts. And we asked the question last time, "Why Three Parts?". Why seven, sixty-two and one? Particularly, why not sixty-nine and one? Seven plus sixty-two is sixty-nine. If it's going to be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks until Messiah the Prince, you could have said it easier by saying, "It's going to be sixty-nine weeks until Messiah the Prince, right?".
Why did God say it that way?
Quite surprisingly he breaks down the seventy sevens into parts. And it ought to cause us to say... what's with that? I mean, seventy sevens, there's so much in that, but he tells us... what we see when we read verses twenty-four to twenty-seven... twenty-five to twenty-seven actually, is the seventy-sevens are broken down into three constituent parts.
There will be seven sevens... and sixty-two sevens after that... and one seven after that. Three parts of this perfect whole.
These are the kinds of things we need to recognize in scripture that, you know, why did God do it this way? Ask the question.
Our second week in this passage... not the chapter but in the last section of the chapter, verses 20 to 27 in which we find the 70 weeks of Daniel. This is one of the most difficult passages in all of scripture, one of the most controversial, most written upon texts in the Bible.
There is a great variety of opinion as to how to understand the 70 weeks. And the more i studied it, the more I wish I could skip it... and this passage is one that is mysterious... but it's one that is given by God. So it means that this passage has something to say to us that is profitable... even though it's difficult.
70 Weeks. We're going to look at this... we're going to begin looking at it and I don't know how many weeks we'll be here... it is one of the most difficult passages in the Bible. It's definitely the most difficult passage in the book of Daniel and it's one of the most difficult passages in the Bible. It's one of the most... because it's one of the most difficult, it's one of the most controversial passages in the Bible.
Points of controversy center around how do you interpret the "weeks"? Do you interpret them literally or figuratively? Do the things talked about accomplished in the weeks, is that referring to the first coming of Christ, the second coming of Christ, or is that some other time... is it the reign of Antiochus Epiphanies?
Daniel has been in captivity for about 70, almost 70 years... 68 years. He's lived in very difficult times, very dark days; experienced trials and tribulations most of us cannot even imagine. I mean, imagine your work place for the past sixty-eight years is basically, almost like... almost like a gathering of warlocks and witches. It's almost like that. That's where he had to go to work, with the magi. The people who... the sorceress, the magicians. So much worldly thinking, so much evil. And in Babylon, the appeals of the values of the world everywhere around him.
How did he live for God so faithfully... for so long?
It's one thing to meet a test and to be able to hold your breath and just get through that test, isn't it. It's another to live and have staying power.
... and that real, prevailing prayer ought to always be directed by, guided by scripture. And if that first criterion is met the second is going to flow from it. But we still need to hear this second part. The second thing we're going to see about prayer is... the second aspect of a pattern for prayer is: prevailing prayer doesn't just start in the Word of God, prevailing prayer seeks after the Glory of God.
... but there is something here that is in the background but it's clearly here that we need to focus on because of the needs of our day. And what is here is the principle of how we know God's word. I mean, how we have confidence that this book, these sixty-six books are the word of God.
And we need to understand that because if we don't have confidence in the truthfulness of this book, that we have the right sixty-six books, it'll undermine our ability to be mighty in the scriptures and mighty in prayer.
What we're going to look at today is the concept of canonicity. The word is "canon", canon. And the question we're going to ask is, "How do we know that the sixty-six books we have in the Bible are the right sixty-six books?"
This may not be something you've thought about in recent years but it's something you'll probably encounter at some point and many of you may have thought about this recently because it's part of a contemporary attack on the Bible...
We want to, this morning, look at the prayer itself and see it as a pattern for prayer. I think what we have here is, really, God inspired this... I mean included this prayer in this book because He wanted this to be a pattern for the people who receive this prophecy.
God will restore you (Israel) but the restoration is going to be something less than what it was before. Or something different. And the message of the Book is that you're going to continue to be as a nation, Israel, you're going to continue to be under the domination of foreign kingdoms. Trading Babylon for the Medes and Persians, and then the Greeks and then, finally, the Romans.
... And there will be times like that and so the Lord gave this prophecy in 530 BC to the nation of Israel to help them weather the storms, and to remain strong in the faith, knowing that God had ordained these circumstances and that they should cling to Him even though they're in times of desolation and He will restore them, maybe not in the way they would have hoped nationally, but in a way that is even better, spiritually.
... And so this is really is a passage, this particular passage, the ninth chapter, is really about the pathway to restoration.
... You don't just sit there and suffer in the misery and agony. What do you do?
... we're going to see that the essential question that this chapter seeks to answer is... HOW LONG?... really echoes, in a way, what we heard in chapter eight verse thirteen on the lips of an angel... "How long, Oh Lord?"
How long will the suffering last? How long will the desolation continue? When is it going to end?
That's the burning question in the heart of the prophet and this chapter, for the first time in a long time, picks up Daniel's life experience. What i mean by that, chapter seven and eight were dealing with things way out in the future...
This chapter deals with Daniel's own personal experience. It's his own personal pain that he's dealing with. Because the question on Daniel's mind really is, "How long Oh Lord? How much longer before you restore your people?"
And so what started as a cultural love for everything Greek turned into a godless, blasphemous anarchy in the heart of this wicked man (Antiochus). 40,000 Jews die in this time of blood letting over just a few day period. 40,000 more are taken slaves and carted away. It's a time of tremendous blackness. But, even there you see God's perfect wisdom. It was measured out. And in the middle of that, the abomination of desolation happens about the half way point of that 2,300 (days). So that you could say from the abomination of desolation in 168 BC until the purification of the Temple in 165 BC there are 2,300 evening and morning sacrifices (stopped) or 1,150 days... In God's wisdom, He's guiding everything, it's all happening according to plan.
... What is the Lord's purpose in this? Why does He allow this to happen? What's his purpose?
The "little horn" rising up on the goat, came out of the Greek empire but then the focus and the spotlight of the chapter really is on that little horn, which is astonishing when you think about it.
I mean, if you read a history of the Greek empire, the little horn, the small horn that we're going to look at here is hardly referenced... because he's not that important from man's perspective as man looks at world history, world changing events.
Certainly not as important as Alexander the Great, who's talked about in this chapter but in a small way. He's not the focus here...
... the focus is the little horn that was actually a man who reigned from 175 to 163 BC, twelve years, a man named Antiochus Epiphanies. And though he's not significant from the world's perspective as one who made a great impact, he's very significant from God's perspective. And here we have the vision, we have the perspective of heaven looking at the events of the world.
And the reason he is so important is because of the spiritual power manifest in this little king... the evil, it's kind of an apex of evil... in this man's life.
Taking a close look at the ram and the goat, we see two creature caricatures which are metaphors for the kingdoms of darkness. Both stand in opposition to the kingdom of God. We see the astounding power and pride of the kingdom of darkness contrasted with the astounding powerlessness and preeminence of the kingdom of God. While it often appears to us the entire world is careening out of control, driven by the earthly facade of ruling governments, the text shows us that God is in control of every detail of every moment of every man's life.
Pastor Ty explores the what, when, where, who, how, and why of chapter 8 which focuses on the reign of Antiochus, the Little Horn, who, in 167 BC sacked Jerusalem and mercilessly persecuted the Jews more than 300 years after Daniel wrote this book.
When Foundations are Destroyed - Part 5
Pastor Ty Blackburn
Jesus' first coming (the kingdom is now but...) establishes a beach head in our kingdom of darkness but at His second coming He will be victorious over the powers of evil and will establish His eternal reign (...the kingdom is not yet). The war rages.
When Foundations are Destroyed - Part 4
Pastor Ty Blackburn
In verses 13-14 we find the paradox of Jesus' human/divine nature. Pastor Ty explosits the text and finds a incredible portrait of our Savior before the throne in his apparent weakness... while at the same time possessing stunning power.
When Foundations are Destroyed - Part 3
Pastor Ty Blackburn
Daniel and the vision of the fourth beast
1. The prophet is perplexed by the vision
2. The Terror of the vision
3. The Glory of God in the vision
When Foundations are Destroyed - Part 2
Pastor Ty Blackburn
Ty continues with the three main themes of chapter 7:1-18,
1. See the terror;
2. Set your heart on the coming Kingdom;
3. Fix your eyes on the King...
three Biblical ways to face the collapse of a civilization.
When Foundations are Destroyed - Part 1
Pastor Ty Blackburn
Pastor Ty begins with a question taken from Psalm 11:2.
"...for, behold, the wicked bend the bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string, to shoot in darkeness at the upright in heart; if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?"