May 21, 2012
History Ends-Prophecy Begins
The great Reformer John Calvin (1509-1564) was so overwhelmed with the historical accuracy of Daniel’s prophecy in the first part of chapter eleven that he wrote forty pages of commentary describing in minute detail the future exploits of each world leader, the battles engaged, and the ensuing intrigue. In fact, the meticulous and historically accurate nature of these verses has persuaded many liberal ministers to believe that Daniel could not have written this book, suggesting that no one could have been privy to so many details of forthcoming events.
Therefore, they argue, the Book of Daniel must have been written much later. To that I would simply reply that since God is God, and since He knows all things, it really would not be difficult for the Almighty to fill Daniel with His Holy Spirit and through him make known the events in history yet to come (2 Peter 1:20-21).
Some readers may want me to spend as much time as John Calvin did in delineating past predictions that have already been fulfilled in the first part of chapter eleven, perhaps hoping that I would trace the accomplishments of every king, every skirmish, and every historical circumstance in this four hundred-year period to prove there are no errors in Daniel’s prophecy. However, for those who may not have as great a historical bent, this would be too much detail, since the first thirty-five verses of this chapter eleven include 135 prophecies-each completely fulfilled down to the smallest detail.
Undoubtedly, delving into each of the 135 predictions would become exceedingly laborious. With those considerations in mind, I will simply sketch out a few of the completed historical events of this chapter and then spend most of the time exploring the confluence of the many events that suggest so strongly that we are now at the time of the end-a discussion which begins with verse 36.
Also I in the first year of Darius the Mede, even I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him.
And now will I show thee the truth. Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of C recta.
And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will.
And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside those.
Details that Confound the Skeptics
These first four verses trace the history of four Persian rulers and Alexander the Great of Greece-giving summary details of the Ptolemies of Egypt and the Seleucids of Syria, whom, as you will recall, represented the two major divisions of Alexander’s worldwide kingdom. It is this kind of historical detail that confounds the skeptic who says, “How could any one-God included-have known with such accuracy the events, people, and interaction of nations four centuries before such events took place?” Here, however, we are not concerned with the critics’ skepticism, but rather rejoice in the knowledge that we have a God who knows the future, has ordained its activity, and is now allowing us to unseal mysteries so long hidden from view.
Here’s a quick summary of some of the enormous amount of prophetic information contained in Daniel’s vision-all of which has now been fulfilled. When Daniel received his fourth revelation, Cyrus was king of Medo-Persia. However, Christ- in the vision-told Daniel there would be three more MedoPersian rulers prior to the reign of successor number four. The three kings were Cambyses, Pseudo-Smerdis, and Darius I Hystaspes. The fourth would be Xerxes I, a powerful ruler who later accumulated great armies, power, and wealth over a four-year period which he used to invade Greece in the year 480 B.C. I highlight this here because it was Xerxes’ attack of Greece that moved Alexander the Great to attack Medo-Persia some one hundred and fifty years later.
However, not all would go well for Alexander in spite of his great power and dominance of so much of the then-known world. Though the young king grasped worldwide control, he soon died of malaria and syphilis at the age of thirty-two. Previously, we saw a defeated Greece predicted in the form of a leopard (Daniel 7:6), and as the goat in Daniel 8:5-6. Events prophesied; events fulfilled.
Daniel 11: 5 – 35
And the king of the south shall be strong, and one of his princes; and he shall be strong above him, and have dominion; his dominion shall be a great dominion.
And in the end of years they shall join themselves together; for the king’s daughter of the south shall come to the king of the north to make an agreement: but she shall not retain the power of the arm; neither shall he stand, nor his arm: but she shall be given up, and they that brought her, and he that begat her, and he that strengthened her in these times.
But out of a branch of her roots shall one stand up in his estate, which shall come with an army, and shall enter into the fortress of the king of the north, and shall deal against them, and shall prevail:
And shall also carry captives into Egypt their gods, with their princes, and with their precious vessels of silver and of gold; and he shall continue more years than the king of the north.
So the king of the south shall come into his kingdom, and shall return into his own land.
But his sons shall be stirred up, and shall assemble a multitude of great forces: and one shall certainly come, and overflow, and pass through: then shall he return, and be stirred up, even to his fortress.
And the king of the south shall be moved with choler, and shall come forth and fight with him, even with the king of the north: and he shall set forth a great multitude; but the multitude shall be given into his hand.
And when he hath taken away the multitude, his heart shall be lifted up; and he shall cast down many ten thousands: but he shall not be strengthened by it.
For the king of the north shall return, and shall set forth a multitude greater than the former, and shall certainly come after certain years with a great army and with much riches.
And in those times there shall many stand up against the king of the south: also the robbers of thy people shall exalt themselves to establish the vision; but they shall fall.
So the king of the north shall come, and cast up a mount, and take the most fenced cities: and the arms of the south shall not withstand, neither his chosen people, neither shall there be any strength to withstand.
But he that cometh against him shall do according to his own will, and none shall stand before him: and he shall stand in the glorious land, which by his hand shall be consumed.
He shall also set his face to enter with the strength of his whole kingdom, and upright ones with him; thus shall he do: and he shall give him the daughter of women, corrupting her: but she shall not stand on his side, neither be for him.
After this shall he turn his face unto the isles, and shall take many: but a prince for his own behalf shall cause the reproach offered by him to cease; without his own reproach he shall cause it to turn upon him.
Then he shall turn his face toward the fort of his own land: but he shall stumble and fall, and not be found.
Then shall stand up in his estate a raiser of taxes in the glory of the kingdom: but within few days he shall be destroyed, neither in anger, nor in battle.
And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.
And with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the prince of the covenant.
And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people.
He shall enter peaceably even upon the fattest places of the province; and he shall do that which his fathers have not done, nor his fathers’ fathers; he shall scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches: yea, and he shall forecast his devices against the strong holds, even for a time.
And he shall stir up his power and his courage against the king of the south with a great army; and the king of the south shall be stirred up to battle with a very great and mighty army; but he shall not stand: for they shall forecast devices against him.
Yea, they that feed of the portion of his meat shall destroy him, and his army shall overflow: and many shall fall down slain.
And both these kings’ hearts shall be to do mischief, and they shall speak lies at one table; but it shall not prosper: for yet the end shall be at the time appointed.
Then shall he return into his land with great riches; and his heart shall be against the holy covenant; and he shall do exploits, and return to his own land.
At the time appointed he shall return, and come toward the south; but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter.
For the ships of Chittim shall come against him: therefore he shall be grieved, and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant: so shall he do; he shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant.
And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.
And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.
And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days.
Now when they shall fall, they shall be helped with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries.
And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.
The Wars between the South and the North
From verse 5 we begin to see a powerful struggle taking place between the kings of the South-Egypt-and the kings of the North-Assyria, today’s Syria. These nations were constantly at each other’s throats, alternating victories. It was a see-saw world of power-grabbing, palace intrigue, and battle fatigue for supreme command of the region. Finally, a scheme was devised to put an end to these constant wars that were taking such a great toll on the people and their respective governments.
This was the plan: Ptolemy II had a daughter Berenice, and it was decided that if she would marry Antiochus II of Syria a union designed to create a long and lasting peace in the area could be forged. However, even the best laid plans of kings and princesses often do not meet all expectations, and since it was a forced marriage, Antiochus II of Syria hated the arrangement. However, for political reasons, he chose to live with what he disliked. But when the king of Egypt, Ptolemy II, died, Antiochus realized he suddenly had a golden opportunity to get rid of his spouse-which he did. He divorced her and took back his original wife, Laodice.
The ancient soap opera continued to play out when Laodice, overcome with jealousy, had Berenice poisoned along with most of her family. In the end, the hoped-for peace between Egypt and Assyria did not hold. In fact, this was only the beginning of the shedding of blood between the powers of the north and south.
Other high profile names to surface during the next four centuries would be men such as Ptolemy Euergetes, Seleucus Callinicus, Antiochus III, and Ptolemy Philopator, along with the wicked Antiochus Epiphanes who, upon returning from Egypt after having amassed great wealth, began to show his unnatural hatred toward the Jews, an attitude best described by the phrase, “His heart shall be against the holy covenant” (v. 28). This beast of a man would also be a precursor of the persecution an end-time global dictator exercises against Israel during the Great Tribulation hour. We have seen earlier that Antiochus was the designated archetype of the “future man of iniquity”-the Antichrist yet to come. I believe he will soon be on the scene as the clock of history winds down and brings us to the time of the end.
It is impossible to do justice to the history that takes place between verses 1 and 35 without writing a major compendium on the prophecies and their actual fulfillment. There are already many commentaries available that deal with such issues. For our purpose, however, the most important, underlying message of these first thirty-five verses is this:
- They contain 135 Bible prophecies that have been 100 percent fulfilled.
- There is no supportive evidence in history to contradict any of the 135 prophecies, i.e., everything prophesied has come true.
- They provide a convincing introduction to end-time events-a period of time in world history that is rapidly approaching.
- Prophecies still to come in this chapter can be expected to be fulfilled in the same manner as the 135 prophecies were in the first thirty-five verses of Daniel chapter eleven.
With that brief background, we will now proceed to the futuristic nature of Daniel’s revelation which begins in verse 36 in next weeks study.
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
How could I ever find words to adequately express the great blessing of having a godly mother? Not only did this remarkable woman endue me with life, but also through her living introduced me to my heavenly Father. She was my first connection with God.
Perhaps the Bible best describes her in Proverbs 31:28,29Her children arise up, and call her blessed Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. I can truthfully say that out of all the many fine women in the world whom I have known, my mother, Esther Shelton, was by far the best of them all.
My earliest recollection of anything is of being in my mothers arms and hearing her singing. Mom used to sing continuallyit was a joy for her. She sang as she ministered to my brothers and me. She sang as she did her housework. In the kitchen, especially, she was singing joyful music, always about the Lord. Whether she was happy or had a heavy heart, she always had joy that came out in her singing.
So since the passing of my dear mom to her eternal home a couple of years ago, Ive been trying to adjust to a world that seems a bit empty now because of the absence of her physical presence. Her earthly song has ended but the melody lingers on.
Accepting Mothers home going has required letting go of a little of the spiritual part of myself. There is a vacancy inside me that the Lord is filling up with blessed memories and the comfort of His presence.
Mothers influence continues
Not only did Moms life bless my brothers and me and the rest of the family, but she also had a profound and far-reaching influence on so many others. Since my husband, Jack, mentioned at the end of one of our weekly telecasts that she had gone home to be with the Lord, Ive received a multitude of beautiful cards, notes, and letters from my mothers friends all over the country.
People wrote such loving tributes”She was a great woman of God.” “She was my best friendthe one I could always confide in.” “Esther met my need when I had no one else to turn to.” “My memories of her are nothing but precious!” “I shall never know anyone like her again.”
Mom had a stroke and was only in the hospital for a little more than two weeks before she died. She had been living in an assisted living center that she had chosen as a place to minister. She not only knew the name of every person in the place, but she also knew each individuals burden and prayer requests.
Two days after Mom had the stroke, a worker from the assisted living center came to the hospital and asked, “Could I please see Esther?”
I said, “Yes, she can still communicate, and Im sure shed love to see you.”
She came into the room and said, “Esther, I had to come to see you,” and she started weeping. Through her tears, she told how five months earlier God had led her to go to work at the center where my mother lived. “Just a few weeks later,” she said, “you led me back to the Lord!” (Interestingly enough, this lady was the daughter of the pastor who led Jack Van Impe to the Lord many years ago!)
Others from the living center also came to visit my mother in the hospital. The lady in charge of all the activities sat beside the bed and held Moms hand. “Esther, you were a blessing to all of us,” she said. And Mother just smiled.
One of the ladies who used to sit at Moms table at mealtime came and said, “Esther, everyone loves you! Everyone will miss you!” The couple who conducted the morning service at the living center on Sunday came to visit, and told me, “Were going to miss your mother so much. Shes the one who got everyone together for the service, and she would always close in prayer.”
Mother had chosen the assisted living facility close to our International Ministry Headquarters. Some of our ladies would often join Mother for lunch. Oh, how she loved having them not just for the lunchtime, but for the fellowship in the Lord. I remember thanking our ladies for taking the time to be with Mother, but in unison they said, “Oh, we have received the blessing by being with her.”
Almost exactly a year before Mothers promotion to heaven, her friends at the living center voted her their queen for Valentines Day. They presented her with a crown that she wore for the day, and took her picture and put it in a frame that was engraved “Queen Esther.”
I couldnt help but smile at thatQueen Esther! But in many ways her friends tribute is so apropos. There are many apt comparisons between the lives of my mom and Queen Esther in the Bible.
The beauty of a queen!
First of all, both of them had great physical beauty. The Jewish maiden, Esther, undoubtedly was strikingly beautiful to have been selected as queen to the ungodly king of Persia. My mother was also extremely attractive, with a regal bearing. She had gorgeous platinum-gray hair, a lovely complexion, clear blue eyes that could look deep within a person, and a magnetic smile that drew people to her.
Often when Id take Mother out to lunch or Jack and I would take her to dinner, total strangers would walk up to the table and say to her, “You are so beautiful!” She would graciously acknowledge the compliment, and then quickly change the subject.
As I was growing up, my mom always taught me that inward beauty was much more important than outward appearance. When I was about 14 years old, I went through an awkward stage. I was tall and thinfive foot five, as tall as I am now!
I went into my mothers bedroom one day and said, “Oh, Mom, look at me. My skin isnt clear, my teeth arent quite right, Im taller than other girlsIm just a mess!”
She smiled and patted my hand. “Beauty is as beauty does, Rexella. Youre going to turn out just fineyoull see! So for now, just concentrate on letting people see the real you who you really are right now.” And she impressed on me the importance of inward beauty.
I am so thankful for my mothers godly wisdom. One day, when I was a teenager, I went into her room and found her reading her Bible. I thought, This is a good time for me to confess something to her. So I knelt down beside her and said, “Mom, you told me not to do this thing, but I did.”
“Oh, Rexella,” she said gently, “when did you do that?”
With tears streaming down my face, I replied, “About three months ago!”
“Oh, honey,” she said, “Im so sorry you had to bear that all alone for three months.”
Thats the kind of wisdom she had. I have so many rich memories of our long talks, the godly advice she shared, the unique phrases I never heard anyone else say but her. She had tender and loving ways. She could comfort, correct, encourage, and offer support. No wonder everybody loved her.
Strength to endure
Queen Esther must have had great inner beauty and inner strength to help deliver her people, the captive Israelites, from the evil plans of those who wanted to destroy them. Truly, God had brought her to the kingdom for just such a time!
My mother, Esther, also had great courage and strength. My parents had some serious financial setbacks during their marriage. My father had to move north in order to find work. They went through very difficult times, and knew firsthand about poverty. But my mother was always there by his side, encouraging him, helping him. She never complained about money, and became an expert in making something from nothing. She managed to stay calm and collected, inwardly serene, through very trying circumstances.
During that time, Mom lost two children who died as infantsI have a brother and sister in heavenbut she never wavered. Her faith in God was steadfast and sure.
Mother had been converted at age 14. She was baptized and dedicated her life to the Lords service. She knew where she was going all of her life, and I never knew her to waver. I never saw her anxious or angry.
Oh, she could be firm, with strong convictions. But she got her point across without resorting to shouting or violence. She never yelled, and I never felt a slap. But by example, she taught me how to live and always to do the right thing.
Overcoming through resourcefulness
Esther the queen was a very resourceful woman. Although she lived in the palace of a cruel and powerful oriental despot, surrounded by evil men who were plotting to destroy all the Jews in the kingdom, she found a way to gain favor with her husband, the king. And she devised a way to counter the evil plot of her enemies and save her people.
My mother, Esther, was very resourceful too. Even with limited resources, she always seemed to find an answer to every problem and need. She could take little or nothing and make it into a wonderful dinner. She baked bread that was absolutely irresistible. And I never had to ask if I could bring a friend home to dinner. My brothers and I just brought our friends home, and they were always made to feel welcome. There was always room at our table.
In fact, one of the cards I received not long ago was from a high school friend who often experienced my moms hospitality. She wrote, “I remember your motherwhat a blessing she was to me!”
My mothers resourcefulness was an inspiration to me. When Jack and I got married, I joined him traveling in evangelism. It wasnt easy. Although my husband had a strong call of God on his life and even then was especially anointed by the Holy Spirit, in the beginning years it was a struggle to get established and earn the respect of pastors and people. But because Mom had helped to prepare and train me for ministry by her words and example, I found courage and stamina deep within my heart that was a reflection of my mother.
Solving lifes problems serving others
Like the beautiful queen of Bible times, my mother, Esther, was skilled at finding solutions and a place to be of service. As a lay person in a church of 1,500 people, she became the choir mother. She made sure the robes were clean and pressed, and she was there every Sunday morning to help everybody get ready.
When I would go out to singespecially to do a soloshe was there to give me a hug and a pat and say, “God bless you.”
When the church had a visiting evangelist, Mother was the one who invited him over for dinner. And when missionaries came to town, there was always room for them at our house.
She was a great prayer warrior. One reason her pastor preached powerfully was that he had mother praying for him faithfully. One reason God blessed Jack and me in our ministry is because my mother prayed. Everyone counted on her to pray. She prayed a lot of people into the kingdom of God because she recognized that praying was a powerful ministry that she could have.
She was extraordinary in that she always had a word of comfort or encouragement for people in need. She would send out cards to the sick, make phone calls, and make pies. She extended herself to everyoneno one was left out.
Thats why I say that Mother was like Queen Esther who found a solution to overcome the sentence of death that evil men had decreed on her people, the Israelites. My mother could have been there. She would have devised a strategy. She would have created the banquet that Esther prepared. She would have invited just the right people, and she would have found the right opportunity to make her case and persist until she prevailed. I can say that with absolutely no reservation!
Esther Shelton always put everyone elses needs and feelings ahead of her own. Very few times did I ever see my mother lying down in the daytime. She must have gotten tired and weary from her labor, but I never saw her stop for a nap. If I looked for her and found her in her bedroom, shed always be praying or reading the Bible, but never sleeping! Mom was a truly wonderful person who demonstrated her faith by her good works (see James 2:18).
My legacy of love
Mother bestowed upon me the richest and most beautiful legacy that any daughter could have received. My memories of her have become a precious treasure. The faith she left with me links me with eternity and clothes me with peace.
Not long ago I picked up the New Testament she kept by her chair. Inside I came across a note she had written to Jack, her son-in-law. It said, “I wanted you to know that Daddy and I had our prayers answered. We wanted the best for our precious daughter, Rexella, and you are the one-in-a-million son-in-law we prayed for. Thank you, dear son, for being so sweet to our daughter. God bless you both as you look to the years ahead. We love you.”
I also found a page torn from one of her several devotional booksI just know she left it for me. The highlighted line said, “Death to the Christian means heaven, happiness, and Him!”
I never saw these notes before I found them in her New Testament. Mom left messages to my husband and me when she became aware that the Lord was going to take her, knowing that we would find them after she was gone. How resourceful is that? And how thoughtful!
The day before she went into a coma, I spent some time beside her bed at the hospital. When it was time to go, I said, “Mother, I wont be here tomorrow because Jack and I will be in the TV studio all day.” She shook her head that she understood.
“You pray for me while Im taping the TV program,” I said. Then, putting my face close to hers, I whispered, “Will you be praying tomorrow?” And she said, “Yes.”
Then I said, “I love you.”
And she softly replied, “I love you more!”
The next morning while I was at the studio, someone at the hospital called my brothers, Bob and Don, and said, “Mrs. Shelton is asking to see her sons.” Mom didnt ask for me because she wanted me to be at my post, serving the Lord.
When Don got to Moms hospital room, he said, “Mama, you called for me, so it must be really important.”
She smiled tenderly and said, “Yes, son, I want to go home.”
Then my brother, Bob, walked in and sensed what was happening. “Oh, Mama,” he cried, “youre going to go home. Youre going to see the Lord, youre going to see Daddy, youre going to see your mother and all the saints!”
And with all her remaining strength her face brightened at the thought and she replied, “UH-HUH!” She was expressing, “Oh, yes, thats my choice!”
So her last words to her children were”I love you more.” “I want to go home.” “UH-HUH!”
And in a little while, with no pain or struggle, she quietly slipped away to be with Jesus and her loved ones in heaven.
Mothers doctor, Kathleen Norton, who cared for her the last twelve years, came to the viewing at the funeral home. I said to her, “Doctor, Mother is going to have a big crowd of welcomers in heaven!”
“Oh, Rexella,” she said, “Esther has been such a blessing to so many that when I get there, if I stand behind her, God wont even see me!”
Moms funeral was a day of remembrance, a time of celebration and rejoicing, filled with flowers, friends, and beauty. I kept envisioning her arrival on the other side, with the Lord reaching out His hand and saying, “Welcome home.”
I certainly can identify with the songwriter who penned the poignant words”Heaven seems nearer since Mother is there!” Now, more than ever, I know I want to go to heaven when this life is through.
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
I just want to thank you both for your teaching on animals in heaven. I just lost my pup 2 days ago and my heart is breaking. You have given me hope that I will have Dinkie back in Heaven. That little dog showed me so much love. And I love that dog so much. I had ordered your DVD a few years back for a friend who was in grief. Now I need it and had to order another copy.
I can’t wait to watch it. You have calmed my broken heart with hope in the Resurrection.
Dear Drs. Jack and Rexella,
I am a Canadian partner for the last 22 years. (I’m 59 in a week or so.) I have many of your videos and DVDs in my collection and have played your most recent work, “Awake America” several times. It’s super; it’s sums up everything so well, a wonderful updated testimony of your research and work. And I am praying that this dvd in particular will “take wings” and come into the hands of so many listeners in every country of the world. Bless this DVD Lord I pray, greatly, and may many order it and receive spiritual exhortation and blessing. It certainly could be go-home time, it sure looks that way. Thank you for your programmes daily and for explaining everything clearly.
Ian in Canada
HIGHLIGHTED PRODUCT OFFERS
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are set to ride – and the USA slumbers in ignorance of the catastrophe about to descend upon her! Drs. Jack and Rexella Van Impe want to awaken this nation to the perils that lie ahead, and the soon return of the Savior! Discover the answers to critical questions:
- How soon will apocalyptic judgments begin?
- What does the Bible say about the prediction of the world’s end in 2012?
- How do current events fit with prophecies of Christ’s coming?
- What is the Mark of the Beast and who will control it?
- And much more!
Unprecedented blasphemy; apostasy; heresy; so-called Christian leaders utterly turning their backs on the Word of God.
What does it mean? What does the Bible say about this colossal falling-away from the faith? What does it signal about YOUR FUTURE?
Drs. Jack and Rexella Van Impe offer the astonishing answers to these and other riveting questions:
- What does the word apostasy actually mean? Where are we seeing it today?
- What is the “blasphemy law”? How have our U.S. leaders responded to it?
- How does the persecution of Christians around the world relate to the final signs pointing to the return of the Lord?
- How is it possible to determine whether someone is truly a Christian when they claim to be?
- And much more!