Daniel-Wayne Barber/Part 30
By: The John Ankerberg Show
|By: Dr. Wayne Barber; ©2006|
|You start studying prophecy friend, pretty soon, if you believe it, you’re going to have to get your act straight. You’re going to have to start watching what you’re saying about other people. You’re going to have to start watching how you’re living around other people. Jesus is watching and Jesus is coming. That’s what prophecy will do for you.|
Final Instructions for the Last Days – Part 1 (Daniel 12:4-9)
We’re going to be finishing the book of Daniel today. I cannot believe it. Daniel 12, we’ve been studying together now for six months in this marvelous Old Testament book of prophecy. The message is entitled this morning and tonight—there will be two parts to it—is basically, “Final Instructions for the Last Days.” You know, as we’re finishing Daniel, what excites me is the fact that we’re going to be studying Revelation. There used to be a day in my life that I was afraid to get into anything of the prophetic books and Scripture. As a matter of fact I’ve made this statement before: it’s not important to know; just live today. That’s all we have; just live today. Well, that’s partially right, partially wrong. Since I’ve gotten into Daniel I realize now what the New Testament writers call the study of prophecy. It’s a purifying hope. Is that not correct? It’s a purifying hope. It’s something that measures everything you do.
My son said something to me the other day. He said, “Daddy, when I come back from the mission trip, will you have me a little Bible study method fixed up?” And I thought, “Well, okay, I’ll do that. Why, son?” He said, “You know, Dad, if Jesus is coming soon, and I really believe He is, I just am not satisfied with the way I’m living. Daddy, I want to be ready when Jesus comes for the church.”
You start studying prophecy friend, pretty soon, if you believe it, you’re going to have to get your act straight. You’re going to have to start watching what you’re saying about other people. You’re going to have to start watching how you’re living around other people. Jesus is watching and Jesus is coming. That’s what prophecy will do for you. That’s certainly what it’s done for me. I hope he’s done that for you as we’ve been studying the book of Daniel.
Well, enough of that. Chapters 10-12 is a unit. It starts in chapter 10:20 and goes all the way through chapter 12:3. And what we’ve been studying this last several chapters, for the last several weeks really, has been a vision of great conflict. Daniel has had a pretty tough time. Daniel in chapter 9 was fasting and praying for his people, confesses their sin as his own sin 32 different times. Then he gets into chapter 10, he’s fasting and praying again. What is he praying for? He’s praying that God would turn away His wrath from His people. He looks around him and sees that they’ve not done any better; they’re still just as rebellious as they’ve ever been, and Daniel is just pleading with God to show His mercy and take away His wrath from His people.
Well, God has to answer him and the answer is not what Daniel would have expected or would have wanted, but God has to show Daniel it’s not as easy as Daniel thinks. Daniel does not understand the extent of the rebellion of his own people, Israel. And so the vision of great conflict. And obviously it’s been so difficult for Daniel he passes out in the middle of it. It gets so difficult. And it goes all the way to the last days. It goes all the way to the end of the age.
Well, in chapter 12:4 we pick up today and from chapter 12:4 to verse 13 of that chapter, the final verse, there are six instructions that Daniel gets for the final days. Things that God wants him to be informed about, things that He wants him to do up until the time of the prophecy that he’s had during the time that we’ve been studying. There are six of them. I want to look at three this morning, and when we come back tonight we’ll look at the other three.
Daniel is to preserve his book for the people of the last days
Alright, let’s pick up in verse 4 and let’s see the first one. The first instruction that Daniel gets is to preserve his book for the people of the last days. Daniel, preserve what you have written for the people of the last days. Notice verse 4, “But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase.” Now let’s make sure. You see, Daniel has written this down, and when he mentions the book, “conceal the book” here, the word literally means “lengthy writing.” He couldn’t be talking about just the vision of chapter 10:20-12:3. He has to be referring to everything that Daniel has put down that we now call the book of Daniel. “Daniel, you take everything you’ve written down, the visions of pagan kings, the visions that you have had; you take it all and you conceal it and you preserve it.”
Now let’s take the phrases one at a time. The word there, “conceal these words,” means basically “preserve them.” In other words, Daniel, you make sure they’re not destroyed. You make sure they’re taken care of. These are going to be very important. Then he says, “seal up the book.” A custom that they would have would be that when something was complete in writing they would fold it up and seal it with a stamp that was a stamp of authentication. In other words, it was authentic, and from that point on it was not to be added to, taken away from, and it was to be protected just like it was.
And so he says to Daniel, “Seal up the book. Make sure it is preserved.” There is a reason behind this. Now how long is it to be sealed up? He says “until the end.” Have you noticed that as we’ve studied Daniel, that’s the phrase that we’ve seen over and over again? And the words “until the end” mean “until the days of the tribulation.” That’s something that has been a pattern all the way through our study of the book of Daniel. “Daniel, there are going to be people during the time of the tribulation that are going to cling to this book, that are going to need the words of this book.”
Now you can’t be dogmatic and say that’s the only time this book is going to be needed. As a matter of fact, there are times in the last days, the last days begins, Hebrews tells us, when Jesus came to this earth. So for all the people of the last days, but specifically for those going through the tribulation, “Daniel, preserve the book; seal it. They’re going to need what this book has to tell them during that time.”
It goes on in the verse and says, “many will go back and forth.” Now that’s a tough phrase to understand. What he’s talking about here is physically go back and forth. In other words, go here, go there, go over here. What are they looking for? Well, staying in the context of what he’s talking about here, they’re looking for knowledge about what is going to take place in the end times. What an incredible thing he’s telling him. “Daniel, you seal this up. This has not been a wasted experience. You haven’t had these visions for nothing. You weren’t told to write them down for nothing. They’re going to be useable some day. Daniel, seal them up, preserve them, all the way to the end times. To the last days, but particularly the end times, because people are going to want to know. They’re going to go here, they’re going to go there, they’re going to look over everywhere trying to find out what’s going to take place in the end times. Daniel, you have a piece of the puzzle. You preserve it, you take care of it; they’re going to need it in that day.”
Then it goes on to say in verse 4, “and knowledge will increase.” Because of this book that Daniel has written; because of the visions and all that is in here of prophecy, Daniel, he’s telling him, people will increase in their knowledge in those days. They will understand. Remember when Antiochus Epiphanes was on the scene and many understood and many stood firm, and he said it will be the same way when the Antichrist comes. There will be people during that last three and a half years, those days of Jacob’s distress, the days when Satan incarnates the Antichrist and he persecutes the woman Israel, for three and a half years, there will be people who will cling to this book. Isn’t that incredible? They’re going to hand on to Daniel and they’re going to understand and they’re going to lead many to come back to the feet of the Lord Jesus Christ.
And so it says, “Daniel, you preserve this book. Many will go to and fro; they’ll seek knowledge in those days. This book will be part of their ransom. I couldn’t help but think as I was studying this, we’re part of that. Do you realize that? You know I didn’t know much about prophecy. I’d read a lot of books which doesn’t mean I knew a lot about it. All I knew was that a lot of people who have written books don’t agree with one another. That’s about all I knew. But boy, when I got into the study of the book of Daniel, what it has done to shed light in areas where I had a quest for knowledge. And that’s exactly what he’s saying to Daniel. “Daniel, this book is important.”
Boy, that’s an incredible thing. I really can’t ever get it out like it gets in. I was so overwhelmed by that. You’ve got to realize now who Daniel was. He wasn’t some super saint. He didn’t float out of the clouds and write Daniel and go back. He was a man just like you and me. He was a person, he had fears, he had doubts, he lived just like we live, but God used him in such a miraculous way because he made up his mind that he would not defile himself or dishonor his God. As a result of that he’s now telling him, in the final closing words of this book, “Daniel, your book, that you have written, will be there for all time. And one day during that tribulation time, your own people will learn from this book, from what you’re writing right now. They’ll understand it and they’ll turn back towards God.”
Daniel is told the tribulation is necessary so that Israel might be saved
Well, first thing, Daniel, preserve the book; final instructions for the last days. Daniel, preserve the book. They’re going to need it in the last days. But then secondly, I think what I see in this, and Daniel doesn’t say a word from verse 5 all the way through verse 8, but he eavesdrops into a conversation; a conversation between two angels and a heavenly visitor. And their conversation, it appears to me, that what they’re talking about Daniel needs to know. You’ve got to understand, being a man as he was, he must have wondered many times, “God, why would You put my people through such tribulation?” He had such an overwhelming vision of great conflict that he even fainted at one time. He got weak in the knees, he couldn’t speak. “God, why, why would You do this to my people? Why can’t You just speak and they’d be alright?”
Have you ever wondered that in your life? Do you ever wonder that about your children, and said, “Oh, God, why don’t You answer my prayer? Why don’t You just do something in his life? Just zap them and make them spiritual.” God has to let Daniel understand how difficult it is many times to win the human heart and how they’re going to have to go through a time of brokenness that never has been known before, but it will be for their good.
Now let’s get into the scene and understand the conversation. Verse 5, “Then I, Daniel, looked and behold, two others were standing, one on this bank of the river, and the other on that bank of the river.” Now what river? Look back in chapter 10:4, remember when all this got started? It says in verse 4 of chapter 10, “And on the twenty-fourth day of the first month, while I was by the bank of the great river,” and that really means great river. That was a great big wide river, “that is, the Tigris.” So we see the river that he’s talking about. He’s been hearing this vision. Now look what happens. He says he “looked and two others were standing,” probably two angels, “one on this bank of the river, and the other on that bank of the river.”
Now you’re talking about a great big river. Daniel’s standing there, here’s an angel on one bank, and here’s an angel on the other bank. Now they’re in conversation with another heavenly being, and this really brings up a discussion as to who this being is. Look in verse 6, “And one said to the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river,” now that’s interesting. One angel on one bank, one angel on another bank, but here’s this heavenly being suspended above the waters in the middle of the river. And there’s a conversation going between the two angels and this heavenly being that is suspended there above the waters.
Now who is he? Well, it says a man dressed in linen. Go back to chapter 10, look in verse 5. If we follow the pattern of what we’ve already seen, I believe it has to be this same person. Verse 5, “I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, there was a certain man dressed in linen,” same thing that our verse tells us in chapter 12, “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.” In other words, that deep, guttural sound. Well, now who do you think that is? That’s the same person as right here in this particular text we’re looking at in 12:5-6.
You know who I think it is? I think it’s the Lord Jesus. I think there was a different person talking to him from verse 10 of chapter 10 as we’ve already discussed, on through, and now it reverts back to the Lord Jesus who is suspended there over the waters. And isn’t it a precious picture here, if that’s who it is? Some people say, “No, it’s been the Lord all the way through.” Well, that’s okay. Let’s don’t break fellowship over it. But whoever it is is much higher than these two angels standing on the ground. And you can see that in just the way it’s put down. Two of them on the ground. Here’s evidently a grand, heavenly visitor. If it’s the Lord, how precious. But if it’s not, it’s still one of His messengers, standing there and a conversation is going on.
Now what’s going on in the conversation? There’s a question being asked. It says in verse 6, “And one said to the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, ‘How long will it be until the end of these wonders?’” Now the first time that you look at that question you may not know what it’s in reference to. The next verse will tell you. When he talks about the end of these wonders, the word for “wonders” simply means things that are unique unto themselves. As certain as the days of the tribulation, the days particularly of the last part of the tribulation, are things unique unto themselves. And what they’re saying there is, “How long will that tribulation last? How long will that awful persecution last to the people of Israel?”
Verse 7, “And I heard the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, as he raised his right hand and his left toward heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time.” Now, how many times have we seen that? Chapter 7:25 tells us that it is the time the Antichrist, the little horn coming out of Rome, will have that power granted to him. It’s given by Satan himself, but God permits it for time, times, half a time. Three and a half years; twelve hundred and sixty days, as we’ve seen in other places; 42 months, as we’ve seen in other references. So when he asks the question, he says, “How long will the things that are unique to themselves during that three and a half year period of time, how long will it be?” And he says, “Three and a half years: a time, times, and half a time.”
But that’s not the key here. Daniel already knows that. Daniel has already seen that in his own vision. These two angels are talking to this heavenly visitor. In his answer in verse 7, he also gives the reason why the tribulation has to be there to begin with. He gives Daniel an answer that Daniel really hasn’t even asked about. Look what he says, he says, “a time, times, and half a time; and as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people, all these events will be completed.” You see, Israel’s power, Israel’s self-sufficiency, has got to be broken. Here is Daniel in chapter 10, way back, praying that God would turn away His wrath from His people. And God says, “Son, it’s not that easy. You don’t know how deep the root goes. You don’t even realize, Daniel, that the transgression of Israel will be to reject Jesus as their rightful King.” And if this is Jesus speaking to Daniel, then He’s telling him, “They’re going to have to receive Me and it’s going to take all this persecution, it’s going to take this tribulation to break them down. And once they’re humiliated, then they’ll look up and then they’ll realize that I am their King. And therefore then they will bow down and receive Me as their Messiah. So Daniel, why is going to be allowed? Because of the hard-heartedness of Israel. Because they are stubborn and they’re rebellious, I must break it down so that they then can be saved.”
I wonder how many of us today do not have chastisement in our vocabulary as Christians. We don’t like that. You know, the book of Hebrews tells the precious Jewish believers of that time, he said, “You’ve forgotten the chastening of our Lord. You have forgotten that when you are rebellious, He’s like a father to you and He will bring you into difficult times so that you’ll be broken of that self-sufficiency and so that you can turn back unto Him.” I know when many times when I was growing up I hated to be disciplined. You hate to be disciplined? But after I was disciplined I became a different creature. Then I had children of my own, and I remember many times they would just get belligerent. And, boy, you just have to do something. You don’t want to do it, but because you love them you do it. And I found the little puffy part of their body that just was perfect to fit my hand and I’d warm that thing up and it wasn’t long before they came back and I had a different child in the house, a different manner altogether. Wanted to please, absolutely thanking us for the discipline without actually saying the words.
You see, we need that in our lives. And God simply says to Daniel, “Daniel, Israel, My children, the ones I raised up, the ones that were My idea, they had disobeyed Me and I will bring this difficult time upon them, but it will be for their good. It will be for their good. It will result in their salvation.” You know, a lot of people don’t think that. When we get into the millennium, and it is coming, you know people say, “Brother Wayne, we’re in the millennium now.” Now come on, get off that case. If you believe that, I love you in Jesus, but I just think you’re flat wrong. But when we get to the millennium, when we get there I want you to find a Jew who is there with you. I want you to ask him, “How tough was it during the tribulation?” “Oh, you don’t know how bad it was. We were martyred, we were killed, all these things happened.” “Was it worth it?” You ask them. I am going to ask them too. Buddy, you’re going to see the sweetest smile come on their face. “What do you mean, was it worth it? We’re here, aren’t we? It is worth every minute of it.” Because all that brokenness resulted in their being able to reign and rule with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Back when I was first beginning to grow as a Christian—and I’m certainly not there, I still wonder if I’ve even gotten started sometimes—one of the things I used to pray, “God, break me.” If you’re here and you’ve ever prayed that, would you raise your hand, sheepishly? All of those who continue to pray that, would you raise your hand? Not me, buddy. You don’t want to be broken, don’t you ask. God’s going to do it anyway, whether you ask Him or not. Man, you don’t get to choose the tools that He uses to bring you to the foot of the cross.
And basically what I see in this is he’s telling Daniel, even though Daniel has not really said a word, he’s letting Daniel understand something by his eavesdropping of this conversation of the angelic visitors. He simply saying, “Listen, I want you to understand the tribulation is going to be necessary. Daniel, you can’t grasp it all right now, but it’s for their good, so preserve the book, they’re going to need it, and secondly, understand this tribulation is going to be necessary so that Israel might be saved.”
Daniel is to stop asking questions that don’t concern him
Well the third thing, finally, that I see as instructions—he doesn’t say, “There are six instructions here,” this is my way of putting a handle on these verses; I hope you understand that—the third thing that I see and the last thing we’ll talk about this morning is this: “Daniel, preserve the book; Daniel, understand would you that what I’m doing is right, it’s going to need this; but Daniel, thirdly, stop asking questions that don’t concern you.”
Oh me, I don’t know if you’ll get hold of this one or not. We live in America so everything has to be understood or it must not be of God. See, we don’t want by faith; we want by sight. We’ve got to figure everything out. Everything has got to be a little box. Wouldn’t God be mighty little if we could figure Him out and everything? Matter of fact, who would need Him to begin with? And Daniel here picks up something in that conversation and he doesn’t understand it. He says in verse 8, “As for me, I heard but could not understand; so I said, “My lord, what will be the outcome of these events?”
Now he doesn’t mean how long will it be. He knows that; three and a half years. He doesn’t mean who will it be that will persecute the people. He knows that it’s the little horn, the Antichrist. He doesn’t mean why are you doing it. He already heard that; he understands it, because of the hard-heartedness of Israel. But he’s asking a different question. What will be the outcome? In other words, what he’s asking here and the phrase is so clear, the outcome means what will be the last few events of that three and a half year period of time that will cause Israel to be delivered from the Antichrist.
That’s one thing that was very vague in all of his visions. That was one thing that wasn’t answered that clearly. We do know the Antichrist will be destroyed and not by any man but God will destroy him. We know that. But he wanted to know what will be the final events of that three and a half year period of time that will cause Israel to be saved. He understands now that Israel is going to be alright, but how are they going to be alright.
Now if anybody would deserve an answer, certainly Daniel would deserve it. I mean, look what he’s been through. All the visions, all the praying, all the different things; “God, just give me one little clue. What are going to be those last few events?” And since God is a respecter of persons, I’m being facetious, look at verse 9: “And he said, ‘Go your way, Daniel, for these words are concealed and sealed up until the end time.’” You know what that phrase “go your way” means? It doesn’t mean walk away from here. What it means is, “you go on and stop asking those stupid questions.” Not stupid, that’s my personal interjection there. “You stop asking these silly questions. The answer that you’re looking for you’re not going to get. It doesn’t concern you, so just cool it. And just trust me.”
Boy, doesn’t that gripe you? Last chapter of the book, one of the most thrilling things that Daniel could have possibly asked, and God said through His messenger, “I know your curiosity is great, but Daniel, what good is it going to do for Me to tell you? It doesn’t even concern you. Go your way. It’s concealed. It will take place in its due time, at the appointed time all these things will be understood. You don’t need to understand what I’m saying.”
I’ll be honest with you; I try to make a lot of applications in Scripture. If I have a gift anywhere, I like to get it off the top shelf and get the cookies on the bottom shelf so we can all eat them. Sometimes I leave them up there and I can’t quite get them off the top shelf. I’m sure somebody sitting here, particularly those who haven’t been with us for the last six months thinking, “What is he talking about? I mean, this really thrills me.” Daniel, preserve the book, well, what’s that mean to me? I haven’t even studied Daniel. What book? And then somebody is probably asking the question, ‘Well, what does it mean to understand why the Jews are going to go through the last three and a half years. I’m not even a Jew; I just came to church today to hear something that would minister to my heart.”
Well, I found a principal in there that you can latch on to and go home with today. And that’s that last one. And it just deepened into my heart. I believe that probably there are people here this morning that are struggling in this same area. You see, there are many times in our lives that we ask God to give us a clear understanding of what He’s about to do. And God refuses to answer us, only with the understanding that in its appointed time it will take place. In the meantime you just trust Me.
How many of you right now could be in a circumstance this morning, I know somebody’s here because it’s so strong on my heart; how many of you here this morning that you’re going through something and if God would just open up the heavens it would be really nice. If He would put it on a letter and send it to you it would even be better. If He would personally walk in your living room and tell you what’s going on, you would love Him to death for it. How many of you are going through something like that right now? A lot of us.
Well, I want you to know the thing that comforted me in this is that I don’t have to know all the answers. When there is no apparent answer, it doesn’t mean that God doesn’t have one, it just means that right now, for where you are and where I am, He is the answer. Just trust Him. In the appointed time you’ll understand if you need to, but right now you don’t need to know.
Several months ago I prayed and asked many of you to pray with me that I could sell my house. Evidently you did, because I sold it. Well, we had a place picked out. I’ve never really randomly done things like that. I always had a place I had zeroed it and I was going to move to if I sold the one I was in. And the one that I had prayed about and thought was going to be mine was still available when we sold ours. But would you believe it, it sold out from under us before we could get it. So here I am, back at square one. “Where are you going to live, Wayne?” I don’t know. The reason we sold it was to take care of my mother and father-in-law. My father-in-law is disabled and we’ve had such a burden on our hearts to just take care of him in all the latter years that he has left. We want him to live with us; we just love them to death. But now what are we going to do?
And I’ve been before the Lord. Have you ever done this and you grab the Scriptures. You’re looking for a word, “God, speak a word to me.” Trying to find a word, “God, would you speak to me.” The next thing you do is pick up the phone and call all your friends. “Now what would you think I ought to do?” “And what would you think I ought to do.” And by the time you’ve talked to all of your friends, they told you two different things and now you’re more confused than you’ve ever been. Anybody going through that right now? Because boy, I am.
Listen, let’s have a meeting and encourage one another for what we don’t know about what God’s doing. “I got to do something.” No, you see, when you get to that point, what God spoke to my heart was, “When you need to know, you’ll know. But right now just understand something, I’ve got it all planned out. You just trust Me and don’t you dare get involved in trying to figure this thing out.” That to me would be the handle somebody needs to take home with them today.
We don’t deserve to have an answer to anything. Anything less that hell is grace. We don’t deserve anything. When we ask we ask as beggars and when God answers, He answers in His own time and in His own way. In the meantime, don’t you fuss because you don’t have an answer. Let Jesus be your answer. Just trust Him. Just trust Him. And at the appointed time, when you need to understand, you will understand.
As a matter of fact, look what it says in verse 13 and we’ll quit. “But as for you,” we’ll talk about this tonight more fully, “go your way to the end.” In other words, you keep right on going now, stay away from what you just asked awhile ago. You just stay right on, you be faithful, Daniel, to the end, “then you will enter into rest,” you’ll die and your soul will go into that special place for the Old Testament saints, “and rise again for your allotted portion at the end of the age.”
Do you realize what He told him? “Daniel, you just keep right on trucking, just like you’ve been trucking, keep your eyes on Me. You’re going to die.” “Am I going to die?” “Yes, you’re going to die. And don’t worry, got that covered, and one day I’m going to raise your body back up and you are going to be rewarded, not for trusting what people said, not for trusting what you came up with in your own figuring, but for trusting Me, there’s a reward at the other end.”
So folks, if you can’t get moved by Daniel, preserve the book. If you can’t get moved by why the Jews will go through the tribulation, then understand there are some things in your life that you’re asking God about and God says, “Cool it, you don’t need to know right now, and I am not going to tell you. But at the appointed time I’ll let you know if you need to know. In the meantime, do what you need to be doing and trust Me. I’ll reward you for your faithfulness.”