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"Amillennialism 101" -- Audio and On-Line Resources
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Thursday
Dec072017

"Seal the Book" -- Daniel 12:1-13

The Twenty-First and Final in a Series of Sermons on the Book of Daniel

The prophet Daniel was given a vision of Judah’s future by a mysterious visitor–the pre-incarnate Lord Jesus.  In Daniel 11:2-35, Daniel’s visitor foretells in amazing detail how the people and the land of Judah will fare from the time the Jews began to return home after their captivity in Babylon ends in 538 BC, until the rise of a persecuting tyrant–Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the man who will desecrate the temple in Jerusalem in 167 BC.  After predicting the precise events associated with Antiochus IV’s rise to power, Daniel’s divine visitor begins to speak about the time of the end–moving from events in 167 BC to those which will occur in the distant future at the end of time.  Daniel learns that a figure much like Antiochus IV will arise and “do as he wills.  He shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak astonishing things against the God of gods.  He shall prosper till the indignation is accomplished; for what is decreed shall be done” (Daniel 11:36).  But Daniel’s vision is not yet over.  The divine visitor tells Daniel that human history will come to a final end on that day when all the dead are raised, and God will judge all the earth’s inhabitants according to what they have done–whether good or evil.  Some of those raised from the dead will live in everlasting righteousness, while others in everlasting shame and contempt.  But instead of giving him precise details–as he had done in verses 2-35–Daniel’s visitor tells now him, “the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end.”

With this sermon we wrap-up our series on the Book of Daniel.  We are in the concluding section of Daniel’s prophecy–chapters 10-12, which includes the third and final vision given to Daniel, a portion of which we considered in chapter 11:2-45.  We will consider the closing scene in this vision (verses 1-4 of chapter 12), before looking at epilogue to the book (vv. 5-13), where Daniel recounts his divine visitor conversing with two other beings (presumably angels), speaking about the time of the end, discussing how those things just revealed to Daniel must remain “sealed,” or closed off to Daniel and all of God’s people until the dawn of the messianic age.  

Those of us with New Testament hindsight know that the last book in the New Testament canon (the Book of Revelation) centers around the opening of a scroll–the same one which is ordered to be sealed in the concluding verses of Daniel.  The scroll’s contents are “revealed” (hence the name the Book of “Revelation” i.e., the “apocalypse”) by the Lamb (the Lord Jesus), who alone is worthy of doing so, and who, before his incarnation, revealed all of these things to Daniel in this third and final vision.  This is why the mysteries of which we will read must be sealed until the coming of Jesus, because many of the prophecies in the Book of Daniel (especially those dealing with the time of the end) make little sense until the coming of Jesus and the messianic age.

We will do two things.  First, we will consider the concluding portion of the vision of the end, which begins in verse 36 of chapter 11, and which continues into Daniel 12 (vv. 1-4).  Second, we will then look verses 5-13 which function as the epilogue to both the vision as well as the entire prophecy (i.e., the Book of Daniel).

In the first section of chapter 11 (vv. 2-35), the vision dealt with the future of Judah after the exiles began return home from Babylon.  This is the historical period known as “second temple Judaism.”  The Jews will be back in the land, not as an independent nation, but as a vassal state of first the Persians, and then the Greeks.  Judah will then be caught between two empires which will arise from the remains of the Greek empire of Alexander the Great which was divided into four smaller kingdoms–the two most prominent in Judah’s future are the Seleucids to the north and the Ptolemies to the south.  Daniel has been told how various kings from these empires will wage almost continual war upon each other, with Judah caught in the middle.  This portion of vision concludes with Daniel’s visitor foretelling of the most evil figure in the series of rulers, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who will seek to Hellenize the Jews, and turn the temple of YHWH into a temple dedicated to Zeus–thereby desecrating it and stopping all sacrifice for sin.  It will be a terrible time for Judah, and for the people of Jerusalem, but they will prevail.

To read the rest of this sermon, Click Here

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