Daniel-Wayne Barber/Part 25
By: The John Ankerberg Show
|By: Dr. Wayne Barber; ©2006|
|You must understand, Daniel 10, Daniel 11, and Daniel 12 are all together. Man has put in the chapter divisions and many times you think you’ve graduated from one into the other, but it’s all a flow. The vision of great conflict that you begin to see in chapter 10 is illustrated and brought out in chapter 11 and chapter 12, so it’s all a part of one scene.|
A Vision of Conflict – Part 1 (Daniel 11:1-4)
Daniel 11. You should have gotten a little handout this morning. What that does, that’s the result of a lot of people put together here, lot of time. And chapter 11 cannot be understood just basically from reading it in the sense of who are the “he’s,” who are the “him’s.” You just can’t do it. History has got to help us so therefore we did this, got permission from the Lockman Foundation, the American Standard Translators, and they said to help ourselves. So we just put verse 1 all the way down through verse 45 and as best we could filled in the blanks as to the “he’s,” “him’s,” and whatever else is in there so you’ll know the different historical people that are spoken of in prophetical history right here in Daniel 11.
Now you must understand, Daniel 10, Daniel 11, and Daniel 12 are all together. Man has put in the chapter divisions and many times you think you’ve graduated from one into the other, but it’s all a flow. The vision of great conflict that you begin to see in chapter 10 is illustrated and brought out in chapter 11 and chapter 12, so it’s all a part of one scene. Don’t be confused about that.
I’d like to preach on a message this morning entitled “A Vision of Great Conflict – Part 1.” And you’re going to have to stay with me on this one. I hope you’ll come back tonight. Each piece that we’re talking about now is a piece of a puzzle and if you don’t get them all, you’ll miss a huge gap in what’s being said in chapter 10 through chapter 12. Let’s go back to chapter 10 and make sure we’re warmed up and know what’s happening in chapter 11.
What’s going on: Verse 1, chapter 10, a vision now of great conflict will begin here. In verse 1 it says, “In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a message was revealed to Daniel, who was named Belteshazzar; and the message was true and one of great conflict, but he understood the message and had an understanding of the vision.” Now look over in verse 14 and you see the people that the vision concerns. And this is so important to understanding Daniel: “Now I have come to give you an understanding of what will happen,” now watch the next phrase, “to your people in the latter days, for the vision pertains to the days yet future.”
Now go back to verse 5: something happens in verse 5. Daniel, in the third year of Cyrus, has something happen to him. First of all, a majestic, heavenly being appears before him. Now, we don’t know who that was, there are many ideas on it. Now many people believe it was a theophany, in other words a pre-incarnate picture of the Lord Jesus Christ: Jesus Himself appear to Daniel. I don’t have any problems with that if in verse 10 on you make that an angel. I have trouble Jesus ever needing the help of any angel to defeat anything in the heavenlies. I have trouble with that. If you make 5-6 the Lord Jesus, and certainly it appears it could be, then you must change in verse 10; from that point on it’s an angel that touched him. I just don’t know.
Let’s look at it. It says in verse 5, “I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, there was a certain man dressed in linen, whose waist was girded with a belt of pure gold of Uphaz. His body also was like beryl, his face had the appearance of lightning, his eyes were like flaming torches, his arms and feet like the gleam of polished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a tumult.” It was that big, guttural bass vibrating sound.
Well, look with me just for a second and see why people think this might be the Lord Jesus in the book of Revelation. I’ll show you where that view comes from and you can see they have a point. Revelation 1:10, it says, and this is speaking of John the apostle who has been exiled to the island of Patmos, it says, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet, saying, ‘Write in a book what you see, and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.’ And I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands; and in the middle of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His breast with a golden girdle. And His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire; and His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been caused to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters. And in His right hand He held seven stars; and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as a dead man. And He laid His right hand upon me, saying, Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last.”
So that vision of the Lord Jesus to John on the island of Patmos is very similar to what happens to Daniel in Daniel 10:5-6. And you can understand why some people think that might be the Lord Jesus Christ. At any rate, whoever it was, this majestic, heavenly being causes Daniel to do the same thing: he falls in a dead faint. Verse 7 says, “Now I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, while the men who were with me did not see the vision; nevertheless, a great dread fell on them, and they ran away to hide themselves. So I was left alone and saw this great vision; yet no strength was left in me, for my natural color turned to a deathly pallor, and I retained no strength. But I heard the sound of his words; and as soon as I heard the sound of his words, I fell into a deep sleep on my face, with my face to the ground.” He fainted, is the way we’d put it. He literally passed out: he was so overcome and overwhelmed by this majestic being, he literally just passed out.
Something caught my eye that I just couldn’t get away from and I almost wanted to preach a sermon on it, but I just couldn’t do that, it wouldn’t materialize into a message. But I’ve got to bring it out. Three times, in Daniel 10, Daniel is touched by this heavenly messenger. This is so precious to me and I hope you can get into the story with me. Daniel is in his 80s, folks. And he’s loved God for a long time. He made up his mind long before he was ever taken captive and taken over into Babylon that he would not defile himself and he wouldn’t dishonor the Lord. He just loved God and how God ministers to him at this point just thrills my soul.
First of all in verse 10, “Then behold, a hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees.” He passed out, and this hand touches him and all of a sudden he comes awake and he tries to get up and he’s just shaking and he’s overcome. It’s an awesome thing, folks, when this heavenly being stands there in his presence. Then it says in verse 11, “And he said to me, ‘O Daniel, man of high esteem, understand the words that I am about to tell you and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you.’ And when he had spoken this word to me, I stood up trembling.” Here he was, having passed out, and the messenger of God touches him. And when he touches him he speaks to him and the word he speaks to him were strength and he was able to get up on his hands and knees and then he was able to stand up and he’s just shaking like a leaf.
Well, if you go on in verses 15-16, again he has to be touched. You see, the vision was overwhelming him, folks. He’d prayed for Israel, he’d prayed for his people, he loved his people. He had obviously heard of the fact they’d gone back to their homeland and now they’d already turned and gone back to forsaking God. He’s confessed their sin as his sin; he so wants God to lift off His hand of wrath off his people. And the more he gets, as God reveals to him, is more and more great conflict. And it’s just overcoming him.
Verse 15 says, “And when he had spoken to me according to these words, I turned my face toward the ground and became speechless.” In other words, “Daniel, I’m going to do something,” God’s telling him, “but it’s going to be all the way to the latter days before your prayer can ever fully be answered. It’s going to take that long for Israel to break of their hard-heartedness towards Me.” Verse 16 says, “And behold, one who resembled a human being was touching my lips.” Boy, doesn’t that grab you? I mean, it had to be a corporeal being; he had to be in the appearance of a man to touch him like that, “then I opened my mouth and spoke, and said to him who was standing before me, ‘O my lord.’”
Then again in verse 17 he talks about his breath had been taken out of him, and verse 18 says, “Then this one with human appearance touched me again and strengthened me.” Three times as this vision was unveiling to him he had to be touched to even handle what God was saying to him. And I thought about in your life and in my life in a similar way—not certainly in Daniel’s way, we’re not prophets—but when we have to face some of the realities of our life, and we have to face some of the things that go on in our life, how God is so precious to touch us and to speak to us and how his voice always dismisses the fear and gives us strength. We can stand and we can hear what God has to say.
As a matter of fact, the only time that I can find that Daniel really says anything is in verse 17, and to me the humility just completely flows out of him. He says, “For how can such a servant of my lord talk with such as my lord? As for me, there remains just now no strength in me, nor has any breath been left in me.” Do you see the humility? Does it grab you? Daniel is not like what we’re hearing in these days. Oh, I hear people all the time, “Well, I had a vision of the Lord. A 700 foot angel appeared before me. Somebody came in my bathroom this morning.” John McArthur was talking about somebody told him, “And spoke to me this morning.” And it’s almost as if they say it in a braggadocios boastful way, “Look at who I am. God spoke to me.” I don’t see that heartbeat in Daniel, do you? I see a humble 80-year-old man overwhelmed with the fact that he just doesn’t deserve a thing in the world that God’s doing, but God having moved in his presence just overcome that he could even be included in what God was speaking to him. What a precious picture. Well, that doesn’t have a thing to do with chapter 11 but it just blessed me as I was studying it.
So we had this vision that came to Daniel. What is this vision of great conflict? Well, look in chapter 11. If I was putting the chapters together—and who am I, but I like to think about it sometimes—if I was putting these chapters together I would have started chapter 11 with verse 2, not verse 1. I don’t know why they did that. Verse 1 is just a flow right out of verse 21. Let me show you. He says in verse 21, this is the angelic visitor that is talking to Daniel. “However, I will tell you what is inscribed in the writing of truth. (Yet there is no one who stands firmly with me against these forces except Michael your prince. And in the first year of Darius the Mede, I arose to be an encouragement and a protection for him.)”
You know, there is something here that really strikes me: somehow these two angelic beings, Michael and whoever this other one is, they have a real affinity with one another. And evidently there have been some times that they’ve had to help each other out, and somehow it all has to do with God’s decree spoken in heaven and carried out in the heavenlies by His spiritual beings. It has something to do with that. You see, back in 13 it says that Michael came to help him, but he says, “But the prince of the kingdom of Persia,” the demon of Persia, this is some kind of struggle that is going on in the heavenlies to make sure that God’s decree is carried out. I don’t understand all of that and if you do, you’re certainly a far greater person that I am: help me out, “was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia.”
So he had Michael’s help at one time, but then he tells us in 11:1, “I also had to go to help Michael in the first year of Darius.” Now if Darius and Cyrus ruled simultaneously, at the same time, Darius over the Medes, Cyrus over the Persians, it would appear to me that that would have been along about the time that Cyrus makes his decree for the Jews to go back to their homeland and to rebuild the temple. If that’s the case, and I don’t know if it is or isn’t, if that’s the case, then evidently he needed some help to make sure that God’s decree was carried out by these pagan kings and whatever struggle was going on, he made sure that it took place.
And isn’t it a beautiful picture here, folks? Even with the struggles that go on in the atmosphere, something that we don’t even know anything about, God wins that battle, friends. And whatever God says happens the way He says it. And He’s got all kinds of ministering angels making sure His plan is carried out as He decreed. His will in heaven is going to be done on earth, friend, because He is God.
Well, verse 2, to me, really starts chapter 11 and the vision of great conflict. Now, don’t lose what we’re talking about. This is the most difficult chapter I’ve had to deal with, so you pray for me now and I’m going to do it. And you stay with me. You can do it. Week before last I thought I’d done so well, I thought I had done so well explaining all of that, and somebody walked up to me afterwards, looked at me and said, “Man, you have lost me.” And I’m thinking, “Oh, no.” Now, if you’ll pay attention and stay with me maybe you can understand why this is important for us.
You remember chapters 8-12 has to do with Israel. Chapters 1-7, that’s a Gentile nation. Now all of this stuff he’s going to be telling you in chapter 11 is important to Israel, and if you’ll pay attention to it you’ll see how it becomes very developed. Alright! Chapter 11 beginning in verse 2 is so literal that the liberal scholars just absolutely have a fit; they can’t stand it. It’s just too literal history. They say, “God does not speak that way. It had to be done after the fact.” Now, folks, you have your choice whether or not you’re going to believe it’s what God Word says it is or whether or not you’re going to be in the company of those who try to interject their own opinion which makes you God and not the One who authored this book.
Chapter 10 verse 1 very clearly told us this was a vision given to Daniel and that Daniel himself said he understood. Now if that’s God’s Word, accept it. Quit worrying about what all the liberal theologians say. They say that you ought to throw the 11th chapter out: it didn’t even happen until after it all had taken place. You see, the difference in God and a historian is this: a historian has to watch it happen, and then he writes it down. God has already seen it happen and prophesied it long before it ever takes place. This is prophetical history, not just history after the fact. Okay, with that understood, let’s jump in and see what it says.
Here’s the vision of great conflict beginning in verse 2. He says, “And now I will tell you the truth. Behold, three more kings are going to arise in Persia. Then a fourth will gain far more riches than all of them; as soon as he becomes strong through his riches, he will arouse the whole empire against the realm of Greece.” Now who in the world is he talking about? Without history you could not properly interpret chapter 11. That’s awkward because we’ve never had to fool with that in any other book, but we do in Daniel. Let me give you the names of those three kings. I want you to see that history documents what God says.
There were three more kings. First of all is a man by the name of Cambyses. Second one is Smerdis. Thirdly is a man by the name of Darius. I’ve already seen one but it’s not the same one. Darius and his last name Hystaspes. Those were the three kings; history documents that those three kings followed Cyrus, and then the fourth king comes on the scene. That’s what he said. He said there were going to be three more kings to rise in Persia, then a fourth, and something is going to be unique about this fourth king. His name is Xerxes. We’ve got to understand this or you’re not going to understand the rest of the vision. Alright, Xerxes. What is it about Xerxes?
Well, we know he’s going to attack Greece. But look what it says in the verse. It says, “Then a fourth will gain far more riches than all of them; as soon as he becomes strong through his riches, he will arouse the whole empire against the realm of Greece.” This is something that I found in history that was very interesting. History records that it took him four years to gain this wealth and these riches in order to get his army to a point that he could in fact attack Greece. During which time it says he amassed a fortune of wealth of all of his various attacks that he would make as a military general. Matter of fact, look in Esther1:1-9. Now the Hebrew name of Xerxes is Ahasuerus. I think I like Xerxes better. Ahasuerus and you see him brought out in Esther 1, or at least we think that’s who it is. This fits the description. It says, “Now it took place in the days of Ahasuerus, the Ahasuerus who reigned from India to Ethiopia over 127 provinces, in those days as King Ahasuerus sat on his royal throne which was in Susa the capital, in the third year of his reign, he gave a banquet for all his princes and attendants, the army officers of Persia and Media, the nobles, and the princes of his provinces being in his presence, when he displayed the riches of his royal glory and the splendor of his great majesty for many days, 180 days.” Now, folks, that’s a lot of wealth.
Displayed for 180 days. “And when these days were completed, the king gave a banquet lasting seven days for all the people who were present in Susa the capital, from the greatest to the least, in the court of the garden of the king’s palace.” Then it goes on to explain some of his wealth, some of his royal majesty.
Can you imagine a banquet going on for seven days? I think I could live with that. I think we ought to have church fellowship to go on for seven days. But he had a big banquet to celebrate all his wealth, to celebrate all the things he had amassed during those four years. But after those four years, because of his wealth, evidently he was able to do what he wanted to do and now he works up an attack upon Greece. And history tells us the reason probably, we don’t know, probably was because his father, that’s that Darius guy that I told you about, his father had attacked Greece, but had been humiliated by Greece and they think that what Xerxes was doing was simply vindicating his dad and that’s why he wanted to attack Greece.
Well, verse 2 just drops us off. Boom! That’s all it says. So all we know then from that point off is that Greece is going to come on the scene in verse 3. What you do know from history is all he did really, to amount to anything, is to stir up the anger of a man by the name of Alexander the Great and he was to live to regret the day that he ever attacked Greece, because that great general spoken of in verse 3 is Alexander the Great. Let’s go on, verse 3, “And a mighty king will arises, and he will rule with great authority and do as he pleases.” That’s Alexander the Great.
Look at verse 4, “But as soon as he has arisen, his kingdom will be broken up and parceled out toward the four points of the compass.” Now, where have we seen that before? If you’ve been paying attention, we’ve already seen this before. Look back in 8:8. Remember the male shaggy goat which was Greece and the conspicuous horn that came out? And that conspicuous horn was Alexander the Great. Look in Daniel 8:8: “Then the male goat magnified himself exceedingly. But as soon as he was mighty, the large horn was broken,” that’s Alexander the Great, “and in its place,” just exactly like we see in chapter 11, “there came up four conspicuous horns toward the four winds of heaven.”
Now, it tells us some more in this verse that I think is very interesting and history documents. It says that his kingdom, there was a lot of infighting over his kingdom. Obviously if he was a great king his descendants would pick up the throne. But we’re going to see in a verse that it’s not them that takes over the throne. It says, “though not to his own descendants.” There were three descendants of Alexander that should have probably gotten the throne. First of all was a half brother who was mentally ill. Secondly, he had a true son by the name of Alexander, and thirdly he had an illegitimate son by the name of Heracles. Any one of those three could have qualified to take over his kingdom.
However, as history tells us, they were all three murdered, and so after all the fighting and all the murdering, there were four generals that took over his kingdom. Now you say, “You’re losing me, this is not important.” Yes, it is. For the four winds, to the north, south, the west, and the east, now you can just take the west and the east and by the way they’re mentioned for you on that little handout, all of this is right there. You could take two of them and just push them out of the way. Lysimachus and Cassander, just push them out of the way. They haven’t got anything to do with Israel whatsoever. But there are two in that line of those four kings that took over his kingdom that are very significant to Israel. And this is the part that we’re now getting into. This is when you begin to see why all this history and why this is important.
The king of the north, which is Seleucus I, the Seleucid dynasty, and the kingdom of the south, Ptolemy I, which is the Ptolemy dynasty of the south, these two kingdoms became very important to Israel. Now, folks, what he’s doing is setting you up and helping you understand who is going to come out of one of those dynasties that is going to cause much harm to Israel.
Now, why are the kings of the north and the kings of the south important to Israel? Now in your paper that you’ve got there, you have them all listed, all the way down through verse 20, and they’ve got all the different kings, how they fought back and forth, fought back and forth, now why did that have anything to do with Israel? Let me tell you why. The kingdom of the north is Syria, the kingdom of the Seleucid dynasty. The kingdom of the south is Egypt. And Syria and Egypt, the king of the north and king of the south, are going to fight against one another. Guess what lies right in between? A little place called Israel. Daniel had a vision of great conflict. “God, what’s this vision all about?” And God said, “It’s going to start in just a few more kings, Daniel. And it’s going to last until the latter days, and it’s going to be conflict like Israel has never known because they have rejected me and their transgression is great. It’s going to take that much time to break the self-sufficiency of Israel.”
And so we begin to see why all the pains that were taken to give you these two dynasties: because it was the dynasty of the north and the dynasty of the south that warred back and forth. For a while the north would be dominant. For a while the south would be dominant and it goes back and forth, but every time they go to fight one another, poor old Israel is lying right in the middle and they get trampled on back and forth, back and forth, for all of these kingdoms fighting one another. That’s very important.
You look back in 8:23, very important. There’s somebody going to come out of either the kingdom of the north or the kingdom of the south that’s going to be very, very important to Israel. Verse 23, “And in the latter period of their rule,” and you have it there in those little handouts that I gave you if you’ll follow it down through. Antiochus Epiphanes is the man spoken of in chapter 8 and also the one we’re going to look at tonight spoken of in chapter 11 beginning in verse 21. He’s going to come out of one of those dynasties. This is why it was important for him to set this up and to give such a literal picture of what is going to happen. It’s going to come out of the kingdom of the north, the Seleucid dynasty.
Out of that kingdom, it says here, “And in the latter period of their rule.” God’s Word is so right. History documents the fact that in one of the last kingdoms there was old Antiochus Epiphanes, how he comes on the scene. He doesn’t deserve the throne; he seizes it as we’ll look at it tonight. “When the transgressors have run their course, a king will arise, insolent and skilled in intrigue.” Now, folks, that begins in verse 21 of your text. I’m not going to go through all of these wars of the kingdoms of the north and the kingdoms of the south. That’s something that I gave to you; you can look at that and have all the fun that you want. But when we get to verse 21, out of that northern kingdom is going to come a man and that man will be a preview to Israel of the Antichrist of the latter days. Pay attention, Israel, because God is saying something through Daniel. A vision of great conflict. They don’t know what great conflict is yet because one day when the Antichrist comes it will be the worst time of all history and friend, I don’t think it’s that far away.
Three and a half years he’s going to unloose all hell against Israel. And at the end of that three and a half year period of time, they’ll finally break. They’ll look at Jesus and say, “It is You that we have crucified,” and on that day they will have their day of atonement and God will save one third of all Israel. We know that’s yet to come, but to give a preview he takes a lot of pain to set it up and say there’s going to be a man just like him that’s going to come in this day and time from the kingdom of the north, Antiochus Epiphanes.
Well folks, as you go home this afternoon, I know you’re going to wonder how in the world does this apply to me? I’m not real sure. I’ve asked God to just let the Holy Spirit bring application to each individual heart. I don’t know. I know what it does for me. Let me ask you a question. Have you ever struggled at all with the inerrancy of God’s Word? At any time in your life, I don’t mean you’re struggling now, but if any of you ever struggled even just a little bit with the inerrancy of God’s Word, would you raise your hand? I’ve got mine up. I struggled with it one time.
You know, the thing that just drives one more nail in the doctrine that says God’s Word is inspired is Daniel 11. It blows me away, and I love it to watch the liberals scramble. They have to try to come up with some theory there, a theory here, they have to cut out half of the verses because to even take their theory you’ve got to cut out part of it to even interject it into what Scripture says. God said, “Daniel, you stand up.” And He touched him. “Daniel, you can speak, go on, don’t be afraid. Daniel, stand up. Let Me tell you exactly what’s going to happen. You can receive this. It’s going to start pretty soon. There’s going to be that old boy coming out of that kingdom of the north, Antiochus Epiphanes. I said it, Daniel; it’s going to happen, Daniel.”
It’s interesting in chapter 8; you have a picture of the little horn which is Antiochus Epiphanes. Chapter 7 you have a picture of the Antichrist. But he reverses it in chapter 11. In chapter 11 he starts off with Antiochus Epiphanes, then jumps and shows you the Antichrist and shows you the previews. For all the doubters. Any of you have any people in your family or friends or somebody around you that believes that God is finished with Israel? Well, folks, they’re going to have to cut Daniel out of the Bible. God is not through with Israel. And, friend, it’s going to happen just like he said it’s going to happen.
We’ve already studied chapter 9 about those 70 weeks. Six things have got to happen before those 70 weeks are over with, and, friend, they have not yet happened, so therefore you must not be through yet. There are three and a half years of the worst terror ever going to be on this earth. I’m thankful, as far as I can understand; I’m not going to be here. Some people disagree with me and say, “Brother Wayne, we’re going to be here during the tribulation.” You stay, I’m going, friend. When He shouts, I’m gone. If you want to stay, help yourself. Send me a postcard. Why would a church have to go through the great tribulation? Tribulation is always going to be here. Persecution is always going to be here, but not the great tribulation. This is the day of Jacob’s distress. It hasn’t got a thing to do with the Christian, and that’s when God is going to bring them back to Himself. It all starts with Greece. It all starts with one of those kingdoms to the north, a man by the name Antiochus Epiphanes, and begins to give you a preview of coming attractions.
Folks, 2 Timothy 3:16 says something that I like. “All Scripture is inspired by God.” The word “all” is a fantastic word. It means all. It means each and every part plus the whole is put together. God did it once and God will do it again like He said He’s going to do it. Boy, I tell you what. You know what this tells me? I can go home and I can trust this Book.
Take the Scripture home with you; come back tonight because we’re going to look at old Antiochus Epiphanes. You think you saw him in chapter 8; you’re really going to see him in chapter 11. That rascal is going to get his in his day. Only ruled 12 years, but one of the worst 12 years in all for Israel that they’ve ever known about.