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"Amillennialism 101" -- Audio and On-Line Resources
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Thursday
Nov302017

"At the Time of the End" -- Daniel 11:36-45

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

It was April 23rd, 536 BC.  The prophet Daniel was standing on the bank of the Tigris River when a mysterious visitor appeared to him and revealed that Daniel was about to receive the next in a series of visions which YHWH had given him throughout his time as an exile in Babylon.  The appearance of this mysterious visitor–the pre-incarnate Jesus–caused Daniel great fear.  The very presence of the holy visitor exposes Daniel’s sinfulness, causing him to fall on his face.  Reassured of God’s favor by the visitor, the vision now given Daniel will foretell the future of those Jewish exiles who had recently departed from Babylon, when Cyrus, the Persian king, released them in 538 BC to return to Judah, rebuild the city of Jerusalem and the temple of YHWH.  Jeremiah’s prophecy that Israel’s time of exile was limited to seventy years was now fulfilled.  But Daniel learns that although the time of exile is over and the Jews have returned to the promised land, the glory days for Israel are over.  Jerusalem and the temple will be rebuilt, but Judah will be trapped between two empires bent on waging war upon each other–the Seleucids (to the North) and the Ptolemies (to the south).  As the vision comes to an end, Daniel will be given a glimpse into the distant future, a time when a mighty blasphemer will arise, boasting about himself and making threats to the people of God (an Antichrist), who, at the time of the end, will be destroyed by YHWH’s kingdom which triumphs over all on the day of resurrection and final judgment.

The vision recounted in Daniel 11:2-35 is utterly remarkable in that Judah’s future is foretold hundreds of year in advance with an amazing level of accuracy and detail.  The vision reads like history written in advance, which is why critical scholars argue that this “vision” must have been written after the fact.  We will turn our attention to the details of the passage shortly, but we must not miss the forest for the trees as we proceed.  YHWH has ordained Israel’s future (seventy weeks have been decreed) and is directing all things to their appointed ends.  Israel’s time in exile has now come to an end.  The Jews have returned to Judah and begun to rebuild.  But their troubles are not over.

As for their immediate future, the Jews will again possess the land, rebuild Jerusalem, its walls, as well as the temple of YHWH.  But in the period which follows (so-called Second Temple Judaism), Judah will function as a vassal state, first of the Persians, and then the Greeks, before finding themselves caught in the middle of a prolonged struggle between two kingdoms (one to the north and one to the south).  Despite the troubles to come, YHWH is still fulfilling his purposes, which include the coming of a messianic age and the rise of a future Antichrist at the time of the end.  

Daniel’s divine visitor informs the prophet that these historical clashes and political intrigue are the visible manifestation of unseen combat between powerful spiritual forces–the angelic forces of YHWH (including the angels Gabriel and Michael) warring against demonic forces (called “princes”) which manipulate world empires to wage war upon and persecute the people of God.  Yet, YHWH will protect his people and his Messiah will come.  In fact, Daniel has learned that 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, before the time decreed by YHWH is completed (9:24).

To read the rest of this sermon, Click Here

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