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"Amillennialism 101" -- Audio and On-Line Resources
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"Fear Not" -- Daniel 10:1-11:1

The Nineteenth in a Series of Sermons on the Book of Daniel

Throughout our time studying the Book of Daniel, we have read of YHWH using dreams and visions to reveal to his prophet information about the future of the land of Judah, the city of Jerusalem, and the temple of YHWH.  The purpose of this prophetic revelation is to encourage those Jews then living as exiles in Babylon–the former capital of the Babylonian empire, now occupied by the Persians.  The exiles find themselves under YHWH’s covenant curse because of Israel’s past idolatry and unbelief.  The good news is that this exile is about to end.  The bad news is that their struggles will not.  Daniel now learns that there is an invisible and spiritual war behind the day to day struggles of God’s people, a war which will be won by a coming of the Messiah.

During his remarkable life in exile, Daniel was called and equipped by YHWH to serve two of the greatest kings of that age: Nebuchadnezzar (Babylon) and Cyrus (the Persian empire).  YHWH has also revealed to Daniel that four great middle eastern empires will successively rise and fall–the Babylonian, the Persian, the Greek, and then finally, Rome.  Through the prophetic revelation given to Daniel, the exiles learn that they are about to return home and rebuild Jerusalem and the temple.  But YHWH will also reveal that the glory days for Israel are past, and they will not return until the mighty fourth empire of these visions, Rome, is finally subdued after its direct opposition to YHWH and his kingdom.  YHWH’s final conquest will take the form of a messianic kingdom which conquers all of God’s enemies apart from the use of armies and political power, a victory won by a suffering Messiah who breaks the power of sin and undoes the curse.  

As recounted in chapter nine, Daniel was well aware that Judah’s seventy years of exile foretold by the prophet Jeremiah was coming an end.  Worried about his people, Daniel fervently prays for Judah (vv. 1-19 of Daniel 9).  YHWH answered him by sending the angel Gabriel who revealed to Daniel that a time of seventy weeks has been decreed for God’s people, a period which begins to unfold with the Persian king Cyrus’ decree in 538 BC, to allow the Jews to return to Babylon and rebuild Jerusalem and the temple.  Furthermore, Gabriel explains that the seventy weeks will be fulfilled when a coming Messiah will finish the transgression, put an end to sin, atone for iniquity, bring in everlasting righteousness, seal both vision and prophet, and anoint a most holy place (v. 24).  Gabriel also reveals that in the process of the Messiah redeeming his people, both Jerusalem and the temple will be destroyed, and then Jews will be dispersed into the ends of the earth.  But the Messiah will complete his redemptive work and usher in the final jubilee and the eternal Sabbath at the end of the age.

So far in the dreams and visions of chapters 2, 7, 8 and 9, the focus has been on YHWH’s sovereign purposes for his people Israel, specifically how YHWH will keep his covenant promise to Israel, deliver his people from exile, and allow them to return to the land of promise.  Although there will be the rise and fall of nations and empires throughout Israel’s immediate future, these dreams and visions reveal that any future warfare and political intrigue reflect the unfolding of YHWH’s greater purposes.  Even times of trouble and turmoil are to be seen by God’s people as God working all things after the counsel of his will, and bringing all things into subjection to Jesus.  

Yet one more vision remains for Daniel to receive and recount in the final chapters of his prophecy (10-12).  A mysterious figure reveals to Daniel that an invisible war is taking place behind the history we observe and recount.  The vision which runs from Daniel 11:2-45 is the most comprehensive vision in the Book of Daniel.  Once again, it is intended to comfort the people of God, so that despite the difficulties they will continue to face when they return to Judah from their time in exile, God’s people understand that YHWH’s purposes will be accomplished–despite their troubles

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