Daniel 11:2-12:4 “God is Still in Control”
INTRO: In his fine commentary on the book of Daniel, Tremper Longman summarizes the theme of the book this way: in spite of present appearances, God is in control. I believe that we have seen this to be true as we have worked our way through Daniel. We have been reminded again and again, that God is in control, even if things don’t look like that way. God really is king and in charge and His kingdom is the one that lasts.
Surely this a truth we need to hear today. Illinois is in a state-wide ‘stay-at-home’ mandate. People around the state, country and world are being infected with the Corona virus and some of them are dying. People’s retirement and investments have suffered incredibly through the Stock Market taking a deep dive the last two weeks. Others are losing their jobs, and many are fearful and terrified.
As Christians we need to be grounded again in the truth of Daniel—in spite of present appearances, God is in control.
Today we are in Daniel 11:2-12:4. This section is a continuation of chapter 10, which we looked at last week. Remember in chapter 10 we saw Daniel experience a vision of God’s glory which left him on his face; he also had an encounter with an angel who informed him that he had a message from God to give to him, a message that concerned the future of God’s people. This message is what we have recorded for us in Daniel 11. We’ll look at it today and consider Daniel’s response to the message in ch 12 next week.
As we look at our passage today, I hope today we will leave in truth in our minds and hearts: Even though God’s people will experience suffering and temptations in this life, the future is bright for God’s people.
1. God is in control. 2. God’s people will experience suffering and temptations in this life 3. The future is BRIGHT for God’s people.
I. GOD IS IN CONTROL (11:2-20)
Remember, here in chapter 11 we have a vision which the angel has come to deliver to Daniel. We learned back in 11:14 that this vision was given to make Daniel understand “what is to happen” to God’s people “in the latter days.” That vision begins in 11:2 and goes through 12:4. We’ll see that it is a vision that largely deals with the period of time from 530 B.C. through 160 B.C.. This was a period of time when Israel rebuilt the temple and resettled in the land, but they were under the jurisdiction of other nations. The vision includes this time but also takes us to the end of human history and speaks of the antichrist and the resurrection of the dead.
-The vision is remarkable in that it tells us with incredible details events that take place in history.
-It is so accurate that many critical scholars, who reject the belief that God could tell his people about future events, refuse to believe that Daniel wrote this message, but someone else did after the events took place.
11:2: The Final kings of Persia
11:3: Alexander the Great
11:4: The four generals that take over after Alexander the Great dies.
11:5-20: The history of two warring nations (Ptolemies and Seleucids) who fight against each other [Israel is caught in the middle]
-The kings of North (Seleucid) vs the kings of the South (Ptolemies).
TAKEAWAY: GOD IS IN CONTROL. As God’s people returned to the land and awaited the fulfillment of the 70 weeks prophecy given in Daniel 9:24-27, they may have wondered how all of this could have been part of God’s plan. This section shows us that God was intimately aware of all the details. God was STILL IN CONTROL.
App: GOD IS IN STILL IN CONTROL TODAY. The Corona virus may be spreading, the stock market may be crashing, people may be losing their jobs, but God is STILL in control. He is the king.
–When things feel uncertain, when you feel fearful, remember that God is KING and in control.
II. GOD’S PEOPLE WILL EXPERIENCE SUFFERING AND TEMPTATIONS IN THIS LIFE (11:21-45)
As the vision continues we learn about one Seleucid ruler (a king of the north) who make life incredibly difficult for God’s people. He is described in 11:21-39. This was a man Antiochus Epiphanes, who ruled the north kingdom from 175-164 B.C. We saw him described as the little horn back in Daniel 8.
Antiochus Epiphanes Facts:
-“Contemptible person” (21)—thought of himself as God in the flesh. See 36-38
-“Used flatteries to obtain kingdom” and influence people (21, 32).
-Brought the temple sacrifice to an end (31).
-Set up an idol in the temple and sacrificed pig to it (31b “abomination that brings desolation”)
-Killed 40k and enslaved another 40k
One Worse than Antiochus Epiphanes=Antichrist (11:40-45) -Tone shifts in v 40 “at the time of the end” and here some scholars think this is referring to the antichrist
NT concept of antichrist:
-MANY: 1 John 2:18-22. Rejection of Jesus as Messiah.
-ONE: 2 Thess 2:3-4 “Man of lawlessness”
God’s people will SUFFER and EXPERIENCE TEMPTATION -Suffering under Antiochus, antichrist, and evil regimes.
-Temptation to compromise in many ways. (HERE=give in to flattery)
–DON’T BE SURPRISED 1 Peter 4:12
-Some Christians will die of Corona virus
GOD’S PEOPLE PURSUE FAITHFULNESS IN THE MIDST OF SUFFERING
-The “wise” will minister in the midst of suffering (11:33-35).
-There will be some intense suffering yet to come: 12:2
GOSPEL HOPE: Jesus came into the world and suffered in our place to bring us back to God 1 Peter 3:18 -We can suffering and experience temptation with Jesus as our Lord and help
-Our suffering and temptation are not pointless.
APP: WISDOM is trusting that God is still in control in the midst of trial. WISDOM is clinging to Jesus again and again even when we feel overwhelmed with fear or anxiety.
III. THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT FOR GOD’S PEOPLE (12:1-4)
The vision ends with a reminder that there is BRIGHT future for God’s people.
-There is future time of deliverance for God’s people (12:1)
-Jesus will return, and he will come back with his angels: Michael leading the charge 12:1
-DELIVERANCE—God’s people will be delivered in the end!
-There will be a RESURRECTION of the dead (12:2-3)
-Everyone will be resurrected
-God’s people will experience a joyful and hopeful resurrection “everlasting life….shine like the brightness of the son…shine like the stars forever and ever”
-1 Cor 15 speaks of this: glorified bodies that live forever.
-Those who reject God as king will experience a shameful resurrection “rise to shame and everlasting contempt”
-Biblical concept of hell.
-Jesus spoke of this in John 5:25-29
-Vision ends with assurance that it will take place (4)
-SEAL IT UP=these words are secure and will take place in the end
-“knowledge shall increase”=negative connotation, people increase in knowledge but miss this vision.
APP: In the gospel Jesus has defeated death and brought life and immortality to life (2 Tim 1:8).
The future is bright for the Christian, because Jesus as defeated death, promised us life, and will one day come back. One day we will live ,with king Jesus forever on the new Earth.