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Jul 21, 2013

Judgment Day's a Com'in

Passage: Daniel 11:1-12:13

Preacher: John Repsold

Series: Daniel: Overcoming Under Siege

Keywords: judgment, wise, war, end times, great tribulation, antichrist, prophecy


This last vision Daniel has in his sunset years is one filled with war, calamity and hardship for the people of God. This message looks at the yet-to-be-fulfilled section of this prophecy and what the implications are for all people, especially God's people.


Judgment Day’s a Com’in

“Overcoming Under Siege” Series

Daniel 11-12

July 21, 2013


Fellowship Questions: 

  • If you were here last week, what did you tell God you would do with some truth from Daniel 10…and how did it go this week seeking to do that?
  • If you weren’t here, share with someone your answer to this question:  If war broke out in America, what one thing would you be most fearful about? 


Today we’ve arrived at the end of a book which has a lot to say about the end…the end of time and life on this earth as we know it, the end of the nation of Israel as a people, and the end of God’s plan for humanity. 

So just for fun, let’s do a short 10-question quiz on what Daniel teaches about some of these end-of-history issues.  The good news is it’s a true/false quiz so even if you don’t have a clue what the question is about, you still have a 50-50 chance of getting it right.  So number your paper 1-10.  And hopefully by the end of today, we will have covered all of these questions.  Here we go.


  1. Daniel teaches that everyone will face a final judgment.
  2. Daniel teaches that God’s children will be protected from death during the Great Tribulation.
  3. Daniel teaches that life with God is eternal but that spiritual death separated from God is temporary.
  4. Daniel teaches that how you live as a child of God doesn’t impact how God rewards you eternally.
  5. Daniel teaches there are several resurrections of the dead.
  6. Daniel teaches everyone will receive some sort of eternal reward.
  7. Daniel teaches that there are only two distinct eternal destinies for people’s eternal souls.
  8. Daniel teaches everyone will eventually come to accept God and his truth.
  9. Daniel teaches that great suffering awaits many of God’s children.
  10. Daniel teaches we are responsible to lead others towards faith and righteousness in God.

Hang onto your quizzes.  We’ll see how you did as we work through this morning. 


So at this point in the book of Daniel, Daniel is in his late 80’s or early 90’s.  He had been taken as one of the captives of war when he was a teenager and he may have been made a eunuch when taken captive as he apparently never married or had children.  He had spent his life serving in the governments of pagan rulers.  He He was no stranger to the devastating effects of war.  He’s lived through various major changes of kingdoms, not just rulers.  And he is one of the few biblical characters who apparently never experienced major failure in his faith though his faith was tested through some of the most challenging experiences anyone might have in one lifetime. 


Chapter 11 of Daniel starts in the year 539 B.C. with the reign of king Darius the Mede.  The vision covers nearly 400 years of what was then-future prophecy for Israel but is now past history for us.  It covers the series of wars that would rage back and forth across Israel as first the Persian Empire gave way to the Greek Empire under Alexander the Great and then deteriorated into a series of wars from Egypt in the south to Syria in the north.  [We won’t take time this morning to chart the very detailed chronology of history that chapter 11 prophesied.  Instead, I would like to look at the part of this prophecy that is still to be fulfilled, still future…and mostly what God wants us to DO as a result of what he has told us.]


So let’s pick it up in the latter part of Daniel 11.  By the time we get to 11:31, we’ve arrived at the period in Jewish history known as the Maccabean revolt when the 5 sons of a man named Mattathias, refused to offer profane sacrifices as commanded by blasphemous pagan ruler Antiochus Epiphanies in the Jerusalem Temple. This Mattathias truly raised warrior sons.   Here’s how Daniel prophesied those events.  Speaking about Antiochus Epiphanies, he writes,

31 “His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation. 32 With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him.”

            The Maccabeans eventually prevailed in their revolt, in 164 B.C. recaptured Jerusalem and reconsecrated the Temple to the worship of Yahweh. That period of Jewish self-rule lasted just about 100 years until the Romans swept through Palestine in 63 B.C. which ushered in the New Testament period half a century later with the coming of Jesus Christ, God in human flesh.    


So go to 11:36.  When we come to vs. 36, we have arrived at what Daniel calls “the time of the end” (vs. 35).  The king he begins to talk about there seems to be someone who is yet to come, even from our view of history 2,500 years later.  So this is the part of the prophecy that pertains to us or our offspring.  WE or some of our spiritual offspring will experience what Daniel is writing about.  (That ought to wake us up just a little, don’t you think?)


As we read this, remember that “the king” spoken of here is probably the Antichrist that Paul speaks of in 2 Thess. 3:8 when he says, “Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.”


Revelation 13 in the N.T. describes a deceiving imitation of the Trinity that will include Satan, the False Prophet, and the antichrist during the 7 year period of the Great Tribulation. 

The dragon is what is often referred to as Satan throughout the Bible and is clearly identified as Satan in Rev. 12:9.  The beast (who is the Antichrist) and the false prophet who comes next (Rev. 13:11) will be given power by Satan and they will rule the world for 42 months, the last 3.5 years of the Great Tribulation talked about in Rev. 13:5-7.  They will rule over the earth and place themselves in the place of God and demand to be worshipped (Rev.13:4).  Listen to this passage in Revelation 13 that parallels this passage in Daniel 11.


Revelation 13:1ff-- The dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name.

            Many biblical scholars think John is describing a 10-nation reborn or contemporary Roman Empire in which the European powers come together under the Antichrist’s leadership and form a revived Roman Empire.  In fact, this is where the late Dr. Dwight Pentecost thought the United States might figure into future prophecy.  He says,

      “Now what is our origin, politically, socially, economically, and linguistically?  We have come from the nations that originally belonged to the Roman empire.  Our customs and laws have all come from that European background, from nations that emerged out of the Roman empire.  Daniel speaks of those nations as the ten horns and the ten toes that will be brought together under the power and the authority of the beast.  Even though we are not one of the ten by virtue of the fact that we did not emerge directly out of the old Roman empire, we may be one of the ten by virtue of our heritage.  The United States may well cast her lot with Europe and come into this confederation of nations, and become part of that confederacy that will be drawn into conflict, and will be judged by the Lord at his second [coming].  It is interesting to note that this confederation of the former Roman empire nations includes almost all of the nominal Christian nations.”[Quoted by David Jeremiah in his commentary on Daniel,  The Handwriting on the Wall, pp. 228-9.]


Back to Revelation 13:2--

The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was filled with wonder and followed the beast. People worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can wage war against it?”

The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.

Whoever has ears, let them hear.


This is precisely what Daniel is also prophesying here in Daniel 11.  Look at it.

Daniel 11:36 “The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath [God’s wrath poured out on this world in the Great Tribulation] is completed, for what has been determined must take place.

37 He will show no regard for the gods of his ancestors or for the one desired by women, nor will he regard any god, but will exalt himself above them all. 38 Instead of them, he will honor a god of fortresses; a god unknown to his ancestors he will honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts.

39 He will attack the mightiest fortresses with the help of a foreign god and will greatly honor those who acknowledge him. He will make them rulers over many people and will distribute the land at a price.


So the first key participant in these “last days” will be the Antichrist that is to come during the Great Tribulation. But he will face opposition from various sides.  Let’s keep reading.

40 “At the time of the end the king of the South will engage him in battle, and the king of the North will storm out against him with chariots and cavalry and a great fleet of ships. He will invade many countries and sweep through them like a flood.

            Many see the “king of the north” as the military powers to the north of Israel, namely Syria and its northern ally, Russia.  It is very possible that the “king of the South” refers to the North African powers, namely the Muslim world. 


With these two major forces defeated, the Antichrist and his renewed Roman confederacy (possibly EEU/USA) will move into that region in force.

41 He will also invade the Beautiful Land. Many countries will fall, but Edom, Moab and the leaders of Ammon will be delivered from his hand. 42 He will extend his power over many countries; Egypt will not escape. 43 He will gain control of the treasures of gold and silver and all the riches of Egypt, with the Libyans and Cushites in submission.

            So having gained control over the wealth of the Middle East, and having moved his armies into the land of Israel (“The Beautiful Land”), something will happen from the east and north that will trouble him. 


44 But reports from the east and the north will alarm him, and he will set out in a great rage to destroy and annihilate many. 45 He will pitch his royal tents between the seas at the beautiful holy mountain. Yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him.

Just what nations might be from the east and north?  Revelation 9:16 speaks of an army of 200 million that will come across the Euphrates River and kill 1/3rd of the world as part of the “trumpet judgments” of Rev. 8 & 9.  Just who might be able to field that size of army today?  China or India are the only two countries currently large enough to do that and they both lie to the north and east or Israel.  Numerous Islamic countries lie to the east (see map). 

So you will have all the great powers of the world gathered together in the Holy Land, ready to wipe out God’s people.  But here is where we think the Battle of Armageddon comes in where God miraculously intervenes to save what remains of the Jewish people. 


Chapter 12 of Daniel gives a little more information about the Great Tribulation.  Let’s read it and then we’ll see what difference all this can make in our lives.

12 “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise.

So here we have Michael, the great warrior archangel we saw back in chapter 10 battling demonic principalities in response to Daniel’s prayers (10:13, 21), coming into play again as the heavenly angel assigned to the Jews, the people of God.  Identified as “the great prince who protects your people” (i.e. the Jews), seems a little strange to me.  After all, this entire vision is about all the wars and power struggles the Jews are going to have to endure in the years to come.  “Protects your people?”  Really?  Well, if you are expecting every Jew to be spared from suffering and death then, no, he’s not doing a very good job.  But if you are talking about the existence of the Jewish people, then over the millenniums that Satan has been trying to snuff out the Jewish race and invalidate the many promises given to the Jews, then, yes, Michael has done a darn good job.  Very few if any other race of people has survived this long and that much opposition and genocide.  And this time of Great Tribulation that is to come will be one more time that Michael enters into this tremendous spiritual battle.

Vs. 1 continues:

“There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then.”  If you read Revelation, you will believe this.  The level of devastation and suffering predicted there will make even the atrocities of man’s horrible history of war pale in comparison with the “distress” to come.  This is what Jeremiah called “the time of Jacob’s distress” (Jer. 30:7).  Jesus himself talked about it in Mt. 24:21-22 when he said, “then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall, and unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved.” 

According to Zech. 13:8, 2/3rds of the Jews will lose their lives during those 3.5 years.  But God in his sovereignty will not allow Israel to be totally obliterated.  He will, however, allow that remaining 1/3rd to suffer severe persecutions.  And when he is done refining and purging Israel, “all Israel” as Romans 11:25-31 says, will then enter the future Kingdom of God as saved saints in Jesus Christ. 


Daniel continues:  “But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered.”   

Daniel doesn’t say what “book” this is, but from the New Testament, we can pretty well determine it.  Four times in the book of Revelation (3:5; 17:8; 20:12, 15) and once in Paul’s letter to the Philippians (4:3), God talks about “the book of life.”  It is the one book in time and eternity that you want to be sure your name is in.  John describes the final judgment of those who reject God in the last book of the Bible, Revelation 20:11-14, this way:

11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.”

            Some of you may be thinking, “How does my name get in that “book of life”?  It’s very simple…but very costly.  The cost was paid by Jesus Christ himself, God in human flesh, when he bought your life from sin and death at the cost of his sinless life.  And it is by simple faith in His work for you, belief in Him as Lord and Savior, that you have your name written in that One Book that really counts.  Jn. 3:16  makes it crystal clear:  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

[Call to surrender to Jesus Christ by faith.]


Now Daniel begins to talk about the resurrection of the dead in vs. 2:  Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.

First, this is one of several passages in the Bible that uses the same word “everlasting” or “eternal” when referring to everlasting life in heaven and everlasting separation from God in hell.  Some have tried to make those two identical words in the same context mean two different things—eternal life in heaven but non-eternal death in hell.  You cannot be faithful to the context or the majorative meaning of the term either in Hebrew or Greek translated “everlasting” or “eternal” by doing that. 

            Furthermore, there has been a belief (not new) about God’s judgment of sin that says all people, even all demons (and yes, Satan too), will eventually be won over to belief and submission of their lives to God given enough time in hell (or as this texts says, “everlasting contempt”).  There is something else in this passage that explains why that ignores a hard reality about humanity as well.   Look at vs. 8 where Daniel asks God for further clarification about the last part or the closing stage of these “end” events. 

I heard, but I did not understand. So I asked, “My lord, what will the outcome of all this be?”

He replied, “Go your way, Daniel, because the words are rolled up and sealed until the time of the end. 10 Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.

            The belief that sinful people and demons will one day “see the light” and repent while living on in hell has absolute no basis biblically.  In fact, as this and other verses indicate, quite the opposite.  Sinners, separated from God and left to themselves, continue down the rebel path of sin and become more confirmed in their hatred of God the longer they exist.  Check out Jeremiah 5:3 and Rev. 16:9 & 11.  The more pain of punishment people feel for their sins, the more hardened against God they become. 

Even the wicked rich man in Luke 16, being in torment in Sheol, wasn’t interested in repentance, just relief.  Abraham made it clear that there was no way to traverse from Sheol to heaven OR from heaven to Sheol.  And that story further clarifies that the deciding issue was really repentance—an agreeing with God about one’s sin and a turning from it to God’s sin-solution, Jesus.  Listen to what Jesus said in Luke 16.  After reminding the rich man how he and Lazarus had lived differently in life, Jesus quotes Abraham as saying about the gulf between heaven and hell,

26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’

30 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”…which is precisely what Jesus’ resurrection proves every day of the week!


Back to Daniel 12:2.  We don’t know from this passage alone that there will be several different resurrections in the future.  That comes to us from other passages in the Bible.  Without going too much into detail, it appears that there will be 1.) a resurrection of believers at the rapture of the church (assuming we’re right about a rapture) according to I Thess. 4:17.  There will be another resurrection 2.) of those believers who are killed/die during the Tribulation.  When Jesus returns to set up his Millennial kingdom, they will be resurrected to reign with Him (Rev. 20:4-6, 11-15).  This passage in Daniel seems to indicate that O.T. saints will also be resurrected at this time (along with the Tribulation saints).  Then 3.) Rev. 20 also teaches that all the unsaved of all ages who have rejected God will be resurrected for the Great White Throne Judgment after the Millennial Kingdom is finished.  (See I Cor. 15:20-24 for different resurrections.)


And now we get to the difference all this is to make for all of us who love God through faith in Jesus Christ. 


Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. But you, Daniel, roll up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge.”


Let’s spend the last few minutes asking, what are we to do in a world like the one God prophesied through Daniel?  How are we to live in a world of certain uncertainty?  What are we to be to those around us in a world of change, of violent ambition, of ruthless, brutal evil people and international leaders who disobey and deny God and are indifferent to the untold suffering they inflict upon people?  Look at what Daniel tells us.


1.)  11:32“With flattery he [Antiochus Epiphanies] will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him.”  This particular prophecy was clearly addressing the period in Jewish national history when the Maccabean revolt would take place and there would be a generation of spiritual and national warriors who would say “no” to the blasphemous call of Antiochus to worship false gods.  The only way the nation would have people who stood up to this blasphemy and desecration was to have people “who knew their God” and would “firmly resist” evil.  

Here is a call to every one of us who will ever face the pressure of this world or persecution from those who have made themselves of something else “god.” 

1.) Our call is first and foremost to “know our God.”  What is one thing you could do this week/month to help you know God better? 

  • Spiritual practices—expanded or new for you?
  • Is it time for you to dig more into His word?  To get into a Discovery Bible Study? 
  • To read one of the devotional classics about God like Tozer’s Knowledge of the Holy or J.I. Packer’s Knowing God or Jerry Bridges The Pursuit of God or The Nature of God by Arthur Pink???
  • To spend more time each day praying? 
  • To fast occasionally?
  • To undertake serving others regularly in the power of the Spirit and name of Jesus?
  • To take a Sabbath rest every week?

What is one way you would like to come to know God more deeply this week?  (30 seconds of silence)


2.) Knowing God is the only way we will grow into that place where we “firmly resist” evil and evil people. 

  • What evil is God asking you to resist in or around you? 
  • Some temptation of your own flesh?  The allure of compromise and the culture that wants to pull us away from God. 
  • Is there some evil of our day or some evil in your workplace or school that God is telling you not only to not give into it but to actively seek to change and overcome it? 

What evil is God calling you to resist?  [30 seconds of silence.]


3.)  Throughout this passage, God calls us to “be wise.”  That seems like a pretty general call.  But in this vision, God gives some very specific instruction about what the wise person will do and be. 

  • Look at 11:33Those who are wise will instruct many….” And according to Daniel, it may come at a great cost.  Vs. 33 goes on to so, “…though for a time they will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered.”  If we are going to be wise people who call others to faith in God in the midst of suffering, we need to be people who live faith in God in the midst of our own suffering.  We will need to say “no” to ease and pleasure sometimes and embrace occasional hardship and suffering.  AND we will need to be active and proactive about seeking to “instruct” others. 

12:3 says pretty much the same thing but focuses more on what we do to teach others how to come to righteousness or right-living in Christ.  Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.” 

Wise people are witnessing people. 

  • Are we in the habit of sharing something about God every week, every day, with the people around us?  It can be as simple as verbally thanking God for something…or telling someone what you learned about God or his Word today or any day. 
  • Who is God asking you to instruct in the gospel or in further wisdom of God? 
  • What’s your plan to do that? 
  • If you are at a loss, who can you ask for help?  Do you need to get around someone who is doing it so you can learn how to disciple anyone God brings into your path. 

The next three weeks:  Chris Buck will be leading us  in a 3-week discipleship series on Sundays. This fall we’ll be doing some further teaching on Sundays and during the week on how anyone can lead others to becoming truly reproducing disciples of Jesus. 

[30 seconds to think about how you might obey this call to wisdom.]


4.)  Lastly, vs. 35“Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end….”  This is virtually repeated in 12:10 too when it says, Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.”  Wise people DO stumble…and they understand that is part of growing.  They aren’t perfect.  They still make mistakes and need refining.  God allows us to stumble, humbling as it is.  I thought I’d stop “stumbling” when I got to be about 25 or 30.  Then 40.  I’m now 56 and I’m still stumbling!  And I’m watching some of you who I really respect stumbling at 60 and 70 and beyond.  There’s nothing shameful about that.  Wise people don’t run from their failures; they learn from them…they get refined by them

  • Have you stumbled lately?  Been tripped up by something?  You can just lie there and wallow in defeat OR you can seek to understand how God wants you to grow through it.  Wise people are humble people who ask God and others for help when they need it.  Proud people think they can handle things on their own. 
  • What is God trying to use to purify and refine you lately?  Some relationship? Some person who is difficult in your life?  Some circumstance or weakness? 

What is God bringing to your mind right now? 

And what is He asking you to do to learn more from it? 

--This is why support and recovery groups are SO important.

--This is why accountability and encouragement groups matter.

Both involve humble personal transparency AND both should take the time to dig deeper into the roots of some of our failures.

APP:  What can you do this week that will help you start dealing in a refining way with something that may be tripping you up over and over again? 

Summary:  Choose just one thing you will DO this week with one of these truths. 

PRAY—asking God to help each of us DO what He has spoken to us about.

CHALLENGEtell someone (right now?) what you are going to try and DO this week to obey God’s challenge from this passage.