March 12, 2012
Daniel’s Major Concern
At this point in the vision, Daniel heard one saint (angel) ask another saint how long this little horn would be allowed to carry on its transgression of desolation-for both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot. This was the key question as far as Daniel was concerned. The history of tyrants was one thing; the real issue for Daniel was how long this angst would be inflicted on his people, the Jews. The answer was twenty-three hundred days-just under six and one-half years.
Again, the Bible predicted these events to the very day. Antiochus Epiphanes desecrated the temple, persecuted the Jews, and wreaked havoc on all who believed from September 6, 171 to December 25, 165 B.C., exactly twenty-three hundred days as the Bible says. But, as we will see, these twenty-three hundred days have an even greater significance as we continue to unseal the mysteries of the time of the end.
- And it came to pass, when I, even I Daniel, had seen the vision, and sought for the meaning, then, behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man.
- And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision.
- So he came near where I stood: and when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face: but he said unto me, Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision.
- Now as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep on my face toward the ground: but he touched me, and set me upright.
- And he said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be.
- The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia.
- And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king.
- Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power.
- And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.
- And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practice, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.
- And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.
- And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true: wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days.
Gabriel-Messenger from God
As Gabriel attempted to explain the details of the vision, Daniel fell to the ground-with good reason. Daniel now understood the terror that would be afflicted on his people. The historical parts of the vision were clear, concise, and to the point. But Daniel could not bear to hear about the pain his people would continue to endure. This segment of the vision was also difficult for Daniel to understand because he could not fathom “end-time” thinking.
That’s when Gabriel’s interpretation takes a different turn. In verse 17, the angel tells Daniel that his vision refers to “the time of the end,” and in verse 19 “the appointed time of the end.” It doesn’t get any better for the Jews, but Daniel now at least understands that there is an end-time significance to what Gabriel is telling him. This is the time when the Tribulation will be in full force-that period of history when a “time of indignation” will fall on the heads of the Jews because of their hardhearted rebellion against God.
What Gabriel is saying is this: Daniel, the indignation that began around 730 B.C. will continue through to the second coming of Jesus Christ. Gabriel is saying, “This is not for now.. it’s not for your lifetime, Daniel. It’s going to be at the time of the end.” Verse 23 is the strongest proof that Antiochus represents the Antichrist, and that the latter portion of the vision is not for Daniel’s time, because the events in this text will not occur for one hundred years after the death of Antiochus Epiphanes.
Then the Antichrist, symbolized by Antiochus’s reign of terror, will be empowered by the dragon of Revelation 13:2- Satan. He will be a proud man, the great, final ruler of the revived Roman confederacy, subduing all who stand before him, making himself a master of the world. He destroys both the mighty and the holy as he employs tactics of deceit and treachery. He dupes the world with his peace proposal, and toward the close of his rule destroys millions because they discovered that he was not what he claimed to be. He will offer himself as the prince of peace (Daniel 11:21, 24). However, that designation is reserved only for our Lord Jesus Christ (Isaiah 9:6).
Still, the Antichrist does his best to pull off his charade of imitating Christ until the bitter end-even riding on a kingly white horse (Revelation 6:2) because he knows that Jesus the King will also ride on a white horse (Revelation 19:11). The one is faithless and vile; the other faithful and true. In the end, however, this terrible Antichrist shall be “broken without hand.”
Again we see a prophetic parallel: Antiochus did not die at the hands of his enemies. He died of grief and remorse and went insane in Babylon, having just been defeated in the siege of Elymais and unable to bear the self-destructive impact of losing such an important battle. In like manner, the Antichrist will not die by the hand of his enemies after Satan incarnates his body. Instead, he will be destroyed by Christ at His second coming (2 Thessalonians 2:8). Finally, this personification of evil is cast into a “lake of fire burning with brimstone” (Revelation 19:20).
Daniel’s Broken Heart
The final words of Gabriel are an attempt to comfort God’s frightened servant. He reminds Daniel that the Antichrist is not going to rule in his lifetime, but at the time of the end-when his predictions will finally be unsealed and revealed. For that reason Daniel was ordered to preserve the message of his vision in written form so that future generations would be able to make sense of the events when they transpired. This is why the Book of Daniel is so crucial to our understanding of events yet to come.
These end-time prophecies, spoken on our behalf by a holy God, would not be understood until they began to be fulfilled-a sequence of events that began with the formation of the European Union, with Israel becoming a nation, and with Jerusalem being captured by the Israeli Army, June 5-10, 1967. Daniel himself could not grasp all of these latter-day prophecies because they would remain sealed mysteries until the time of the end.
- And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king’s business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.
When you receive the news of an impending disaster, you know how you feel: sick to your stomach, unable to eat, and perhaps not able to pray. But then, you pull yourself together, deal with the problem, and go back to work. That’s what happened to Daniel. He was so emotionally drained by his vision and Gabriel’s interpretation that he lay sick upon his bed for many days. Finally, after longing for greater understanding-and praying for Jews who would be born and who would suffer long after his death-he arose and returned to his duties as a minister of the king.
Even after Gabriel’s interpretation of the vision, Daniel still did not understand every detail fully, even as you and I will never completely fathom the great depths of every prophecy until they are unsealed and revealed at the time of the end. The chapter concludes with a text that implies Daniel remained puzzled for many days to come, during which time he mulled over the words of Gabriel repeatedly. With all this swirling turmoil within, Daniel comes before his God with a contrite spirit and prayer of true repentance, approaching God as Adonai-Lord and Master-trusting the Almighty to do what’s right with his unanswered questions concerning the future. Soon he’ll prove his sincerity by the wearing of sackcloth and ashes, the wonderful, heart-warming message of chapter nine.
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
Is God Magic?
A little boy asked his mother one day, “How can God love everybody? Is He magic?”
He couldn’t understand how anyone — not even God — could love everyone. After all, there are so many of us, and some of us are so unlovable. To a child’s way of thinking it would take nothing short of magic to be that loving.
You and I know that God is much more than magic. He’s our all-powerful heavenly Father! In John 13:34,35, Jesus said to His disciples, A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
Jesus knew how unlovable people can be. He knew how unappreciative, unkind, thoughtless, selfish, quick to judge and criticize, and very mean we humans can act. Even within that intimate circle of the twelve disciples, there was envy, jealousy, and even murder. And these were the men upon whom Jesus was counting. The spread of the gospel depended upon the disciples showing love to each other and to others. So to these men, only a few short hours before His crucifixion, Jesus gave the supreme command, “Love one another.” And it should be our number one priority today.
But that’s just it. We don’t love one another as we should. In fact, a good many of us Christians are downright unloving much of the time. So how do we get the love of God in our lives?
Where do we begin?
The place to begin is with the people around us — those in our homes, in our places of work, in our friendships, and in our churches. Someone has said we need “an observable love and openness.” I like that. Love isn’t love until it begins at home.
I heard of a woman whose husband was very outgoing, charming, and loving to everyone outside his home. But, often, to his family he was moody and irritable. He wasn’t always outgoing, charming, and loving to them. In fact, his moodiness and his venting his anger and frustrations on his wife and children were destroying the love within his home.
One day in an effort to help him see what he was doing, his wife asked, “Honey, why don’t you save some of your charm for us?” That took courage, but it helped.
Of course, we all need a place where we can let some steam off, let our hair down, and kick our shoes off and relax with those who will understand and not misjudge us. But there must be a balance whereby we also remember to show our love. Continual unloving mistreatment of those dearest to us will drive them away. I’ve heard such sad stories through the years of how people’s hearts have become hard and cold because the love they once had for each other had not been nurtured.
Our example is Jesus. I’m sure He didn’t always find it easy to show love. The Bible tells us that Jesus was tempted in all points as we are (see Hebrews 2:18). When the self-righteous Pharisees tried to trip Jesus up, it would have been easy for Him to withhold His love from those who were cruel, arrogant, and unjust. But Jesus never yielded to that temptation. He showed love in the most impossible of human situations. Jesus was love in action. He demonstrated His compassion over and over again in His dealings with those who desperately needed help, healing, and forgiveness.
Let love be your aim
The Apostle Paul gave the Corinthian Christians a goal that should be foremost in our minds as well. He said, “Let love be your aim” (see 1 Corinthians 14:1). Those words were preceded by the great love chapter in the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13. Those verses are so familiar to everyone, but perhaps their familiarity has dimmed their meaning. Let’s look at them.
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity [love], I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not [love], I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not [love], it profiteth me nothing.
[Love] suffereth long, and is kind; [love] envieth not; [love] vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. [Love] never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. And now abideth faith, hope, [love], these three; but the greatest of these is [love] (1 Corinthians 13:1-8,13).
What a beautiful description of love! This chapter describes love in three ways — what it is, what it isn’t, and what it does.
- very patient and kind
- enduring, without weakening
- able to bear up under anything
- ready to believe the best of others
- loyal no matter the cost
- a growing thing — growing out of God’s love for and in us.
Love is not:
- jealous or envious
- boastful or proud (inflated or puffed up with pride)
- conceited and arrogant
- touchy, fretful, or resentful
- rude and haughty
- irritable or easily provoked
- selfish and self-seeking
- glad about injustice.
- rejoice in the truth
- not hold grudges
- hardly notice when others do it wrong
- not demand its own way
- hope all things
- stand its ground in defending someone it loves
- not fail — does not fade out, become obsolete, or come to an end.
How loving are you?
Do you want to measure your “love level”? Here’s an exercise that really works. Try substituting “I” in place of the word love in 1 Corinthians 13. Does it read right? Is that an accurate description of you? Can you honestly say, “I am very patient and kind. I am not easily provoked. I do not hold grudges?
The Bible has so much to say about love. Here are some other verses to help us understand the nature of real love. First John 4:8 says, He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. That verse says God is love. That is His nature. He is a heavenly Father who has divine compassion. And if we are His children, we must love, too — and not just those who love us, but even the unlovable. Jesus said, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven…For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?…Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:44-46,48).
One day a so-called expert on Moses’ law came to Jesus to test Him. He asked, “Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
Notice Jesus’ reply: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”
The man, wanting to justify his lack of love for some people, asked, “And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:25-29).
You see, he was so much like us. He wanted to love the lovable, those who were easy to love. But Jesus said we are to love without discrimination, the way He loves us.
It’s never too late
Perhaps you feel you’ve been so unloving in the past, that there is no way you can salvage your relationships. It’s never too late with the help of the Lord. It may take time, but God can do a work of healing in your heart so that you genuinely love others. His Word to you is simply this: Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass (Psalm 37:5).
I want you to know that Jack and I love you. Our prayer is that you will learn to speak the truth in love and fully grow up in Christ (see Ephesians 4:15) so that the world will know that you, too, are one of Christ’s disciples.
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
Thank you for the analogy of the beautiful fern and how it withered when it wasn’t getting light. With your story you confirmed what God was already telling me (and using the same scripture), that I needed to get back in the Light. For the past few days I have been spending less time with our Father and have felt as you described. Thanks for the encouragement. I will get back in touch with the One who shines on me, that I may flourish. 🙂
Lots of love,
I watched your television show this morning and my heart was really touched. You can feel the love coming from jack and Rexella and jack explains things to where there so easy to understand! Just wanted to let you know that you are my favorite TV ministry and thank God for you. We will be praying for you and your ministry; praise God!!
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