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DANIEL 12:1-13
Series:  Courage - Part Twelve

Pastor Stephen Muncherian
July 16, 2006

Today is our last Sunday looking at Daniel.  Over the last several months many of you have shared with me how God has been opening up new things to you through this study.  That has been true of me as well.  God has been showing us together more about His sovereignty - challenging us to trust Him more - to use the truth that we’ve been looking at in our daily lives. Can you say amen to that?  Praise God for what He’s been showing us.

Coming to Daniel 12 - the last chapter in Daniel - think with me for a moment about the reasons we’ve been looking at this book.

In Egypt today - as it is many countries - it is against the law to convert to Christianity - going from Muslim to Christian is problematic if not deadly.  Witnessing to Muslims is a challenge.  However, there are Christians who - in spite of what is against them - with great courage - they are witnessing to Muslims.

Voice of the Martyrs - in their July newsletter - shares about one Egyptian Christian who approached two imams of a large mosque.  He told them,
“I want to know about the truth and talk about Islam.”  The imams were delighted and told him to come to the mosque the following day at one o’clock.

The next day when the Christian walked in, he was surprised to see the two leaders sitting there with 10 of their students - their disciples.  The Christian prayed,
“Oh God, help me find a way to talk to them.”  He was outnumbered and surrounded by enemies.  Sitting down on the carpet with the group, he addressed the imam with the traditional term “beloved.”  The imam stopped him.  “You cannot call me that!  I cannot love you as a friend.”  (cf. Surah  4:144; 5:51)

The Christian opened his Bible to Matthew 5: 
“But my holy book, the Bible commands me to love you.  Jesus said we should love our enemies.”  (Matthew 5:44,45)

The imam’s disciples were watching this exchange with great interest.  One of them turned and asked the imam,
“Why can’t we be a friend to him?”  Another asked, “Why does god say we must hate him, but his God tells him to love us?”  The imam stood up - furious - tried to speak - but his anger - or the hand of God - caused his voice to choke up.  He put his hand on his own throat - his face turning red - he whirled around and left the room.

The Muslim disciples moved closer on the rug - gathering around the Christian.  They asked questions for the rest of the afternoon - wanting to know more about this power to love your enemies. (1)

When we began our look at Daniel we made the observation that the kind of courage we see in our brothers and sisters in captive lands - where its often a death sentence to be a Christian - or to witness of Jesus Christ - that courage is the same courage we need to live for Jesus - right here in the greater Merced metroplex.  The same depth - same commitment - same source - as our siblings in captive lands.

Courage to live for Jesus - at school - at work - in our families.  To not go there - when going there means participating in conversation and stuff that we know is ungodly.  To not get sucked in by this society with its degrading morals.  Courage to stand for Jesus in a society that’s growing increasingly hostile to the things of God.  Courage to do what’s unpopular - misunderstood - ridiculed - to face rejection - even though what we’re doing is right before God.

Courage to tear down and build a new facility.  Courage to tithe - or to give sacrificially to a building program - when we wonder if God will take care of our needs.  Courage to share Jesus with others.

Sometimes we just need courage to get up and face a new day - to just keep going - especially when life throws stuff at us that’s just totally unfair..

The questions we asked were these:  Where does this courage come from?  What does this courage look like?  How can we have that kind of courage in our lives?

Daniel 12:1 
Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise.  And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.  Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, those to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.

Let’s stop and make two observations.

First:  The SETTING of this chapter

You’ll remember that chapters 10 to 12 make up one unit.  3 chapters together focusing on 1 last vision given to Daniel.

In chapter 10 we saw Daniel - out east of Babylon - by the Tigris river - mourning over his people - in prayer - an intense time of focusing on God.  Daniel is praying for his people who’ve gone back from Babylon to rebuild Jerusalem - and they’ve been discouraged by the opposition which has come up against them.  Daniel is in prayer for those of his people that have remained in Babylon - they’ve distracted by the wealth there.

God is ready to bless them tremendously - but God’s people - discouraged - distracted - have turned from trusting God.  Daniel is mourning over what he sees coming as very disastrous future for His people.

We saw that God sent an angel to answer Daniel’s prayer.  Remember this?  We heard that angel tell Daniel that there’s a spiritual battle going on behind the scenes of history - a reality behind our reality.  Things are going to get worse - especially for God’s people.  But, God - in a vision of future history that was fulfilled with 100% accuracy - God demonstrates His foreknowledge and sovereignty over history - to give Daniel courage to trust Him with what is yet to come.

“At that time”
- 12:1 - continues what the angel has been telling Daniel.  “That time” is the time yet to come - even for us.  The end times - the time of the anti-Christ - when future history is coming to an end.  Michael the great prince - the great angel who fights for the Hebrew people - Michael will arise - will stand to defend God’s people.  Why?  Because there’s coming a time of unprecedented distress - tribulation - destruction - evil unleashed - violence and hatred for God’s people.

There’s always distress in the world.  God’s people have always been persecuted.  But this will be so bad that nothing that has gone before will even come close.

Second observation:  Notice the PROMISE made to Daniel
.  The rescue of God’s people.

Jesus is coming up from the Jordan River to Bethany - to the home of his friends Martha, Mary, and Lazarus.  His friend Lazarus has been dead four days.  Remember this scene?  As He’s coming up the road Martha goes out to meet Him.

Martha says to Jesus,
“Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”  In other words, “You could have healed him.”

Jesus says to Martha, “Your brother will rise again.”

Martha says,
“I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.”

Where does she get that hope from?  Daniel 12:2.  She’s claiming this promise made to Daniel.

What does Jesus answer Martha? 
“I am the - what?  the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will - what?  live even if he dies and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.  Do you believe this?”

Jesus takes the promise made to Daniel - claims that He’s the fulfillment of that promise - and asks Martha if she believes.  The validation that God will fulfill this promise made to Daniel comes as Jesus calls into the tomb and Lazarus - 4 days dead - walks out under His own power.  Jesus who also raised Himself from death.

Fast forward to Revelation 20 - verse 11.  There’s an end time scene there which is a description of Daniel 12 verses 1 and 2.  Its the scene of final judgment - the great white throne at the end of future history.  Humanity standing before the throne to be judged.  Books are opened.  One book is the Book of Life.

Daniel 12:1: 
“Everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued - those to everlasting life - the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.”  Revelation 20:15:  “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was throne into the lake of fire” - which is eternal death.

Same judgment - same two eternal destinies.  Obviously the better destiny is everlasting life - having our names written in the Book of Life.  How do we get our name written in that book?  Through trusting in Jesus who’s the fulfillment of God’s promise made to Daniel.  Hang onto that reality.  Regardless of the unleashed evil that’s coming - this promise - given to Daniel - through Jesus - is for us.

Share that with the person next to you. 
“This promises is for us.”

Verse 3: 
Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.  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.

Two things we need to understand.

First:  What is meant by sealing and concealing

There’s a story about a contest between Jesus and Moses.  Forget the theology of this.  Just go with it.  Okay.  Jesus and Moses have this contest to see who is the fastest typist.

So, they’re both given copies of the collective works of William Shakespeare to type.  They sit down in front of their PC’s and are given 1 hour to type as much Shakespeare as they can type in 1 hour.

At 55 minutes they’re pretty much even - furiously typing away.  With 1 minute to go there’s a power fluctuation and both PC’s turn off.  Both Jesus and Moses reboot.  Jesus hits print and out comes the works of Shakespeare.  Moses has nothing.

Jesus wins.  Why?  Because Jesus saves!

In Daniel’s day they would make back-up copies of an original document.  When a scribe finished taking dictation - like Daniel is coming to the end writing down what the angel is telling him - when the document was finished the seal of the recording scribe was imprinted on the tablet - the original document - so it couldn’t be tampered with - or added to.  When the back-up copies were made they also had to have that same seal on them to show that the original writer verified the accuracy of the copy.

That’s “sealing.”  The original is complete - the copies - passed on to others - are accurate.

“Concealing” has a similar meaning.  “Concealing” in the original Hebrew has the idea of guarding something - preserving it - protecting it.  In other words,
“Daniel, keep the original document in a safe place.”

Point being that Daniel wasn’t to hide what was revealed to him.  He was to protect its accuracy and distribute it - so that people - even us today -  and to the end of future history - God’s people will be able to read with confidence about God’s promises.

Which is the second thing we need to understand here - that knowledge will increase

The first President Bush talked about
“a thousand points of - what?  light.”  Community organizations that are spread out across the US - brilliant points of light - shining like stars - working to contribute to society - solve problems - better the lives of others.

Verse 3 is God’s millions and millions of points of light program.

Knowledge increases because Daniel - and those who came after him - they preserved and studied this book.  Then, they explained what they knew to others - pointing them towards God - towards living rightly - righteously - before God.  Living - trusting in the promises of God.  The testimony of what they’ve done, God says, will shine like stars forever and ever.

Point being:  What we’re doing here today isn’t just and intellectual exercise - something that we can listen to and then go on with our lives.  There are serious implications for us.  We are the next in that line of stars - to preserve - study - and encourage others to trust God - to believe in His promises.  Each one of us has a responsibility to increase knowledge. 

Verse 5: 
Then I, Daniel, looked and behold, two others were standing, one on this bank of the river - the Tigris - and the other on that bank of the river.  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?”  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; and as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people, all these events will be completed.  As for me, I heard but could not understand; so I said, “My lord, what will be the outcome of these events?”

Two questions.  Question number one:  How long until the end?  People have been asking that question since people have been asking that question.  Answer:  Time, times, and half a time - until the power of the holy people is shattered.

To which Daniel replies - verse 8 -
“Huh?  I heard it.  But, I don’t understand it.”

Second question - Daniel’s question: 
“Can you clarify for me what all this means?”

Answer - verse 9: 
He said - who said?  The angel said, “Go your way, Daniel, for these words are concealed and sealed up until the end time.  Many will be purged, purified and refined, but the wicked will act wickedly; and none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand.  From the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days.  How blessed is he who keeps waiting and attains to the 1,335 days!”

That clarifies it doesn’t it?

The righteous being purged - purified - refined - the wicked acting wickedly - all that goes on until the 1,290 days and the 1,335 days are completed.  When we looked at chapter seven (7:25) we saw that
“times, time, and half a time” was a prophetic way of saying 3½ years - or halfway through the 70th week of Daniel’s 70 weeks - or halfway through the tribulation - this time of unprecedented distress - or 1,260 days.  None of which seems to fit with 1,290 or 1,335 days.  Which has prompted a lot of scholarly interpretations.  But, no agreement on what all this means.

Preparing this series - I’ve read some really solid Bible teachers that have fallen into the trap of stating with great certainty what will happen and how.  Prophetically speaking - with great certainty I’ve read that the king of the north is the Soviet Union and that Henry Kissinger is the anti-Christ.  On and on they go - prediction after prediction - all wrong.  All cheapening the purpose of God’s prophetic word.

Are we in the last days?  Sure.  Prophetically speaking - we’ve been in the last days since Jesus died on the cross.  Are the events happening around us now the final events Daniel saw?  Maybe yes.  Maybe no.

Its significant that the angel never really answers Daniel in a way that clarifies the future.  The answer is concealed and sealed - which is slightly different here than in verse 4.  Here it means that that what is written about future history - the record of what will happen - is complete, accurate, and unalterable - preserved.  But the knowledge of it will increase only as the events take place.  And, only the righteous will understand it. 

The point is that we will know what is happening as it happens. 
Someday we’ll look back on how all this was brought about and marvel at what God has accomplished.

In the meantime - its important that we study without being discouraged - even Daniel didn’t get it.  The purpose of our study - of knowing prophecy is so that as we see God unfolding His plan we can share with others that behind it all is the sovereign God at work.  To share with them our confidence in God.  Why?  So that knowledge will increase - so others will be drawn to God - to righteousness - to trust in His promises.

The bottom line here is the instruction given to Daniel in verse 9,
“Go your way Daniel.”  That instruction is repeated in verse 13.  Scripture repeats things - why?  So, we don’t miss the point.

Verse 13: 
But as for you, go your way to the end; then you will enter into rest and rise again for your allotted portion at the end of the age.” 

There’s no major climax to this book.  No epitaph. 
“And so Daniel lived  unto the ripe age of 90 years and he was buried and so he slept with his fathers.”  Or, Daniel carried off into heaven - second star on the right and straight on ‘till morning.  No chariot of fire.

We’re left with the anti-climatic impression that Daniel - now pushing 90 - just goes on with his life as he has before - serving the king - doing the ordinary things - growing in knowledge - pointing others to God.  Living daily for God - courageously - living Godly in a pagan society.

How is Daniel to respond to all that’s been revealed?  How do we respond to all this?  Keep going until the end.  Your allotted portion - all those promises that we can claim right along with Daniel - resurrection to eternal life - it will happen.

Where does courage come from?  What does courage look like?  How can we have courage in our lives?

On your sermon notes you’ll see a short summary of the main courage building points we’ve been looking at as we’ve gone through Daniel.  They’re there so that in the times when you might feel less than courageous - you can look back on these and be reminded of all that God has shown us in this book.  Briefly let’s think about these.

In chapter one we saw that we are God’s people
.  Say that together, “We are God’s people.”   We are the sons and daughters of the Almighty God of creation - created in God’s image - citizens of His Kingdom - beloved of God - heirs of the riches of heaven.

Courage comes as we learn to see ourselves as God sees us.

In chapter two we began to glimpse God’s sovereignty
- a major theme in this book.  Say that together, “God is sovereign.”

Courage comes as we remember that the sovereign God is in control over the wavering affairs of human history - even the events of our lives. 

In chapter three we saw that each of us is given a choice
.  Say that together, “We have a choice.”

Courage comes as we choose to value God - to see that He is greater than our circumstances - even physical death.

In chapter four we saw Nebuchadnezzar get pasteurized.
  Say that together, “Neb gets pasteurized.”  God taking this self-focused - proud - arrogant - king - and humbling him - making him like a beast for 7 years?

Courage comes when God rules over our hearts.

In chapter five we saw the handwriting on the wall

Courage comes when stop looking to other people and things to fill the emptiness that we feel within - as we allow God to fill us and supply the deepest needs of our hearts.

In chapter six we entered the Lion’s Den
.  Daniel - unwaveringly served God.  Courage and opportunity and blessing come as we totally rely on God.

Chapters one to six of Daniel are the historical section of the book - all about Daniel and his friends - exiles living courageously for God in an ungodly society.  Remember Who’s you are.  This is not about you.  It’s God who is sovereign.  In every situation He gives you a choice to trust him.  He is worthy of that trust.  He will be there for you.

Chapter 7 begins the prophetic section.  As we’ve gone through chapters 7 to 12 - we’ve seen that the purpose of prophecy is to move us closer to God - to encourage and motivate God’s people.

In these prophetic chapters God has been giving us a glimpse of the bigger picture - the spiritual reality behind the physical reality we live in.  There’s a spiritual battle going on that effects our lives that we’re very much a part of - that often touches our lives.  An ugly - evil battle - that will break into our world with unprecedented horror.  A battle that will only continue until God says that its finished.

Over and over we’ve seen - even in the 100% accurate fulfillment of past prophecy - we’ve seen that God is sovereign over the events of history - past - present - future - sovereign over the events that touch out lives.

That’s hard to understand - overwhelming at times - usually leaves us with more questions than answers.  But God shares all this with us to prepare us - to encourage us.

Bottom line:  Courage comes as we learn to see God at work and ourselves as a part of what He is doing.  As we learn to trust Him and to live within the promise of the life and victory we have in Jesus Christ.


1.  The Voice of the Martyrs, July 2006

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright© 1960,1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation.  Used by permission.