The Prophecy of Daniel
Lesson Number 39
TRANSLATION LEGEND: ASV=American Standard Version (1901), BBE=Bible in Basic English (1949), DRA=Douay-Rheims (1899), ESV=English Stand Version (2001), KJV=King James Version (1611), NKJV=New King James Version (1982), NAB=New American Bible, NASB=New American Standard Bible (1977), NAU=New American Standard Bible (1995), NIB=New International Bible, NIV=New International Version (1984), NJB=New Jerusalem Bible, NLT=New Living Translation, NRSV=New Revised Standard Version (1989), RSV=Revised Standard Version (1952), TNK=JPS Tanakj (1985), YLT-Young’s Literal Translation (1862).
A GLIMPSE OF THE FUTURE and
“ 12:5 Then I Daniel looked, and, behold, there stood other two, the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river. 6 And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? 7 And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished. 8 And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? 9 And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. 10 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand. 11 And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. 12 Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days. 13 But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the day.” KJV (Daniel 12:5-13)
There is a certain spirit that pervades this book, and it is encapsulated in the prophet Daniel himself. It is the spirit of holy inquiry – a quest to know the truth. Wherever such a spirit is found, there will be a response from heaven! Truth is never lavished upon the disinterested, and the Lord does not long remain where He is not wanted.
Also, when understanding was given to Daniel, he was thankful, and sought the more to understand what was shown to him. Ponder the many times this spirit surfaces in the holy prophet.
Together with Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, he sought for God to make known to him the dream of Nebuchadnezzar, together with its meaning (2:17-19).
Daniel knew God gave wisdom to the wise, and knowledge to those with understanding. Therefore, he sought to obtain wisdom and understanding (2:21-23).
He received understanding of Nebuchadnezzar’s second dream of the tree that was hewn down (4:19-27).
He received understanding of the message written by the hand on Belshazzar’s palace wall (5:24-28).
He “considered” the vision of the beasts, focusing upon the horns of the fourth beast (7:7-8).
He looked intently into the vision of the four beasts until he beheld “the Ancient of days” (7:9-10).
He came near to one of the angels he had witnessed and asked the truth concerning the visions he had seen (7:16).
He wanted to know the truth concerning the fourth beast, its ten horns, and the “little horn” that sprang from them (7:19-20).
He deeply considered the vision of the ram and the he goat, and was given to see more (8:5-12).
He “sought for the meaning” of the vision of the ram and he goat (8:15).
Through the books of Jeremiah he concluded the Babylonian captivity was about to come to an end (9:2).
He sought for understanding through prayer and fasting (9:3-23).
He sought for insight for three full weeks, setting his heart to understand (10:2-14).
The remarkable things that were revealed to Daniel were preceded by his longing to know and understand the things of God.
THE TRUTH OF GOD IS NOT LEARNED INADVERTENTLY OR CASUALLY
There is something to be learned from Daniel the prophet – something that is vital for our time. The truth of God is not learned inadvertently, or suddenly and without cause. Spiritual insights do not come to those who are caught up in the things of this world. Nor, indeed, are they granted to those whose affection is not set on things above (Col 3:1-2). A preoccupation with the things of this world closes the door of heaven, so that the things of God become hidden to the individual.
The truth of God is not learned casually. That is, where there is not a quest to know the things of God, they simply will not be known. Truth is not an intellectual novelty, and it cannot be discerned if it is so viewed. Only those who seek actually find (Matt 7:7-8). In our time, there is a new emphasis placed on religious expression – “praise and worship.” Of itself, this is commendable. However, this expression is being taught by rote, without a dominating quest to know the truth itself. Jesus said the truth will make us free if it is known, and only so. Yet, with all of the emphasis that is being placed on “praise and worship,” a staggering ignorance of the truth of God exists in the professed church. This ignorance betrays a lamentable condition. The “love of the truth” has not been received! As a result a certain casualness is gaining popularity that has disarmed the soul and obscured the truth of God.
Where there is a disinterest in the truth of God, there is an inevitable ignorance of it. During spiritually primitive times Solomon instructed his son, “Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding” (Prov 23:23). Isaiah spoke of the same thing when the Spirit moved him to write, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price” (Isa 55:1). Jeremiah echoed the same sentiments. “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jer 29:13).
THE LOVE OF THE TRUTH
The appropriation of the truth is necessarily preceded by the love of the truth – a preference for it, and an insatiable thirst for it. The Spirit informs us that the “love of the truth” is “received,” and is necessary if we are to be saved. It is also essential to the appropriation of understanding – spiritual understanding, which is a facet of salvation (Col 1:9). If “ignorance” alienated us from God in the first place (Eph 4:18; Col 1:21), there is surely no allowance for it once we are “in Christ.”
Among the people of God there must be a certain intolerance for an ignorance of the truth. When the things that can be known by believers are not known, there is to be an earnest quest to appropriate such knowledge.
The Lord cursed the Gentile world for not appropriating knowledge that was available to them. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold [back] the truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them” (Rom 1:18-19). Because “they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind,” which cannot take hold of the truth (Rom 1:28).
God brought certain things within the grasp of Daniel, and the prophet reached out for them because he loved the truth. He had an appetite for the things of God, and therefore earnestly sought them. Now, in Christ Jesus, much more has been revealed. It has been brought within the reach of His people, and will be appropriated if they seek it.
A SERIOUS DEFICIENCY
If there is a single deficiency in the modern American church, it is the lack of a love for the truth. It is exhibited in a preference for religious entertainment, infrequent gatherings, and brief periods of preaching and teaching. The combined teaching activity of the average church rarely exceeds one or two hours a week. This could hardlybe described as continuing “steadfastly in the Apostles doctrine” (Acts 32:42).
If Daniel had such a spirit, we would not have the book of Daniel. He would have died in a state of ignorance concerning the things of God, just as many are doing in our day. He would have spent more time in the courts of the various kings he served than in the courts of the Lord.
If men and women are ever to advance beyond spiritual infancy they must be delivered from addiction to superficiality and brevity. Neither of those dreadful traits are found in the glory, and they must not be found among those who wear the name of Jesus.
Daniel Was Superior During An Inferior Time
Daniel lived before “life and immortality” were “brought to light” through the Gospel (2 Tim 1:10). He lived before “the Sun of righteousness” arose with “healing in His wings” (Mal 4:2). His life was lived prior to “the fulness of the time,” when the Son entered the world to redeem those who were “under the Law,” giving them “the adoption of sons” (Gal 4:4). Yet, Daniel’s commitment to, and interest in, the things of God so far transcends that of the average churchman that a comparison between the two can scarcely be made.
This condition contradicts all that the Prophets said of the era of the Savior, the time of the New Covenant. It violates the very nature of the New Covenant itself, which describes all of its constituents as knowing the Lord, from the least the greatest. Both their hearts and minds have God’s law written upon them, so that there is accord with the truth, and unanimity with the “Lord God of truth” (Psa 31:5; Jer 31:31-34). Understanding and insightful speaking are hallmarks of the day of salvation (Isa 35:5-6). Those who are in Christ are described by the Prophets as drawing water with joy out of the wells of salvation (Isa 12:3). Their hearts have been circumcised to love the Lord with all the heart and soul (Deut 30:6).
Paul assessed those in Christ as being “the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh” (Phil 3:3). Yet we are living in a time when Daniel, who lived in an inferior time, possessed more of these qualities than many who are living in the blazing glory of the exalted Christ.
As we come to the conclusion of this book, it is imperative that these things be clearly seen. We must yield to the influence of Daniel, who was “greatly beloved” of God (Dan 9:23; 10:11,19). It is possible to be favorably provoked by this man of God to “walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing” (Col 1:10). Blessings are not sent indiscriminately upon the sons of men, and we do well do know it. Truth is for those who love and seek for it.
DANIEL IS ALERT, AND SEES TWO PERSONALITIES
“ 12:5 Then I Daniel looked, and, behold, there stood other two, the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river.”
Daniel has already received an astounding amount of revelation – the only man in the history of the world to receive such detail concerning the inter-testamental period. He was a custodian of things that were written in “the Scriptures of truth,” the book of Divine destiny. The things he was shown were not simplistic, and often impacted upon both his mind and his body (4:19; 8:17-18; 10:7-9,16-17).
Keep in mind, this was not a young man, but an aged prophet, probably near ninety years of age. However, his mind and spirit were vigorous. Therefore, he will be given even more insights.
A Kingdom Principle
This is, of course, a principle of the Divine economy, and is embodied in our Lord’s words. “For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance” (Mat 13:12). Conversely, “whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath” (Mat 13:12). When an individual does not take seriously what is given by God, even what he was given will be taken away from him – just as in the text just quoted. This was Jesus’ explanation of why He spoke to the multitudes in parables. He did not do it to clarify the truth. The disciples, who inquired concerning those parables, were given “more” than the parables themselves. Their interest in the words of the Lord became the channel through which more was given to them.
The same truth is taught in the parable of the talents. The master distributed talents (a sum of money) to his servants according to their ability. One received five, another two, and another one. When the master of the house returned for a time of accounting, the man with five had gained five more The man with two had gained two more. The man with one talent had buried his money, and had only what was originally given to him. The first two men were called “good and faithful” servants, were made rulers over “many things,” and entered into the “joy” of their lord.
The last servant was severely upbraided. “Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strowed: thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.” The single talent was then taken from him, and the master ordered that it be given “unto him which hath ten talents.” The Savior then explained why this was done, “For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath” (Mat 25:29).
The Relevance of this Principle
This principle has particular relevance to the reception of the truth. Those who, through meditation and spiritual thought, realize a greater understanding of the truth will be given more. Those who neglect the truth, having no real appetite for it, will even lose what they were given.
Daniel stands among those noble souls who hid the Word in their hearts, meditating upon it day and night (Psa 1:2). This is the reason he was given to see more – he faithfully handled what he was given.
The prevailing ignorance of spiritual things that envelopes many a soul is the result of neglect and unfaithfulness. No person will be given more by the Lord, who treats with disdain what he has already received. However, for those who treat the truth of God as a precious jewel, buying it and refusing to sell it (Prov 23:23), more insights will be given. Such will find their “spiritual understanding” (Col 1:9) being enlarged.
I LOOKED, AND BEHOLD
“Then I Daniel looked, and, behold . . . ” The angel has just told Daniel to “shut up the words,” for the revelation he was sent to deliver was now finished (12:4). However, Daniel does not gather up his belongings and return home. It was “then” that Daniel “looked.” He seemed to sense there was more to be realized. Because one facet of the truth has been revealed does not mean there are no other aspects to be disclosed. He lingers in the vestibule of revelation, looking about with interest, as though desiring to remain in this holy place. And, “behold,” there was something more to be seen!
A Case Against Brevity
Daniel has just experienced an extended revelation (10:5-12:4). Yet, more remained to be known. It is my contention that many people never linger long enough with the Lord to receive anything significant. Their exposure to the Lord and His truth is too brief for things of any magnitude to be seen. Their appetites are too small, and in unbelief, they cater to them. Those in Christ Jesus are capable of receiving infinitely more than they imagine. And even when they seem to be reaching the end of their capacities they can pray, “I will run the way of Thy commandments, when Thou shalt enlarge my heart” (Psa 119:32). God can give wisdom and understanding “exceeding much,” together with “largeness of heart” (1 Kgs 4:29). I know of no place in Scripture that suggests there is any virtue or safety in minuscule spiritual appetites.
We live in a time when the things of God are being associated with both brevity and shallowness. Such things are even extolled, and represented as having superior value. But this is a gross misrepresentation of the facts in the case. If Daniel could not receive his revelation in such a culture, you may be sure we will not be able to do so. Until the truth of God is perceived as valuable, to be preferred, and worthy of extended exposure, not much of it will be made known.
“ . . . there stood other two, the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river.”
It is probable that Daniel is still by “the great river, which is Hiddekel” (Dan 10:4). This is now known as the Tigris river. As holy people are prone to do, the prophet is slow to leave the place where he has received so much.
The sacredness of this place is confirmed by the heavenly personalities that can be seen there. Now, on either side of the great river, Daniel sees “other two” – that is, two additional angels. We will find they were not there to draw attention to themselves, but rather to the truth of God – to Divine determinations. Angels are ever ministers, sent to serve the heirs of salvation (Heb 1:13-14).
“ 6 And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? 7 And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.”
We will find that the two heavenly beings Daniel now sees have been present all along, undetected until this time. He had, in fact, been conversing with a mighty angel with other angels listening.
Much, if not all, of what goes on among men is being observed by holy angels. Perhaps this is why Solomon wrote, “Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands?” (Eccl 5:6). Also, when commenting on the necessity of honoring the order set in motion by God Himself, Paul wrote, “Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels. Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord” (1 Cor 11:9-11). That is, among the assembly of the righteous, no one can operate in a completely independent manner. The angels know this, and so should we.
Such knowledge is not intended to provoke withdrawing fear. We will find in our text that there are certain advantages to the presence of angels. There is a certain sanctifying influence that comes when we consider the presence of holy angels. Make a practice of considering such things and see if this is not true.
I cannot leave this point without mentioning that the holy angels are also intrigued by the Gospel that has been “preached to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven.” It is written of that glorious Gospel, “things which angels desire to look into” NKJV (1 Pet 1:12). I have often pondered their possible reaction to professing Christians who entertain little or no interest in that Gospel – God’s “power unto salvation.”
A THIRD ANGEL
“And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river . . . ”
This is the angel who delivered the rather lengthy discourse just heard by Daniel. We are introduced to that angel by these words, “Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz” (Dan 10:5). Now we see that he was “upon the waters of the great river.”
There are a variety of renderings of this verse in the various translations. Some say the “man clothed in linen” was “upon” the waters. KJV Others that he was “above” the waters. NKJV,NASB,NIV,RSV Still others read “upstream,” NRSV,NAB “over,” BBE “stood upon,” DOUAY and “standing further up the stream.” NJB The meaning of the word used here is “higher part, upper, past, above, on top of, and upwards.” STRONG’s The meaning seems to be that the heavenly messenger was separate from the waters themselves, as being superior to them – even though they were a “great river.” This is the imagery of heavenly superiority and power over the elements of this world.
The great Tigris River must certainly have been impressive to men, both in sight and in its history. Today, the average width of this river is two hundred yards. It has been a prominent river from the Garden of Eden throughout Bible history. It is over 1,140 miles in length, whose waters, together with the Euphrates supply waters to Mesopotamia, referred to as the cradle of civilization. Yet, when “the man clothed in linen” is seen above its waters, there is no further thought of the “great river.” The attention of the angels, and Daniel as well, is immediately upon the heavenly messenger. That is what happens when a person is made aware of heavenly realities. The earth in its grandest form recedes into the background, and is no longer prominent. Many professed Christians have never experienced this perspective. However, if they will give heed to this text, it may very well whet their appetite for the things of God. The world loses its powerful attraction to the hearts of men when they become conscious of heavenly beings and realities.
“How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?” Other versions read, “How long shall the fulfillment of these wonders be?” NKJV “How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?” NIV“How long shall it be to the end of these appalling things?” NAB “How long will it be until these shocking events happen?” NLT
In keeping with what has been consistently revealed about angels, this text confirms they have an intense interest in God’s working among the sons of men. Thus, they have been listening to the words of this mighty angel, taking in what he has been saying. They want to know about the fulfillment of the “wonders” of which he has spoken – even though he was not speaking to them. These were extraordinary things – even to angels.
An Appropriate Question
The question is appropriate, for “times and seasons” are in the Father’s power (Acts 1:7), from whom this angel has been sent. The angel is asking what time has been assigned to the things revealed to Daniel. He does not ask when they will begin, but when they will conclude?
Holy angels and godly men are both interested in knowing when great blessings will begin, and when great judgments will conclude.
These holy personalities were not inquiring about the rise and fall of worldly empires. Such things were not wonders, or “shocking events.” NIV The activities of the Grecian Empire could not have been the object of their inquiry, for all worldly kingdoms are destined to fall beneath the overwhelming kingdom of God (2:44).
If holy angels are intrigued by matters that do not even pertain to them, how ought men to feel about Divine appointments and activities that DO pertain to them? Where there is a lack of interest in what God has made known, a certain brutishness exists that is unbecoming of any mortal.
While the angel spoke to Daniel, these two angels listened to what he was saying. Now, when a word is addressed to these personalities, Daniel listens to what is being said. This is a most excellent example of the fellowship that exists between the people of God and lofty beings in heaven. While that fellowship is not always marked with perfect clarity, yet there is a marvelous harmony that is created in the Lord. Something of the grandeur of this circumstance is revealed in the twelfth chapter of Hebrews . “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel” (Heb 12:22-24).
Such marvelous unity was introduced in men like Daniel. It is realized more fully in Christ Jesus. It will be brought to its culmination in the fulness of times, when God will “gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him” (Eph 1:10). One of the measures of a profitable assembly is the degree of harmony that is promoted between heaven and earth. Such harmony is a context in which God will work more freely, and to the greater benefit of those so assembled. However, where that harmony is lacking, very little, if anything at all, will be experienced that is of eternal benefit.
A TIME, TIMES, AND A HALF
“And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half . . . ”
An angel has been asked a question by another angel – and Daniel heard it, just as he did earlier (8:13). Now the prophet will hear the answer as well.
I Heard the Man
It is as though Daniel’s heart was tuned to the heavenly frequency. When this angel first appeared to him, he alone saw the vision, even though others were with him. Of that occasion he wrote, “And I Daniel alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw not the vision; but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves. Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength” (10:7-8). Apparently those men could not tune in to this lofty spiritual frequency. What drew Daniel into the vortex of revelation repelled them. They did not have “ears to hear.”
Not only is Daniel keenly aware of the presence of these three heavenly beings, his ears are tuned to what they are saying. He has “ears to hear,” which ears not only refer to a capacity, but to interest and inclination as well. Only those who do not have “ears to hear” fail to hear! If we are able to handle such things, this accounts for the high level of disinterest that exists within the professed church. I will wax bold and affirm this is evidence that such people have not been born again, for the Scriptures know nothing of people with new hearts and spirits who lack a fundamental interest in heavenly things. From time to time, the godly may have to be stirred up – but it is “pure minds” that are “stirred up” by holy remembrances (2 Pet 3:1).
He Lifted Up Both Hands
The revealing angel raises both of his hands – “his right hand and his left hand unto heaven.” This is a most uniquing heavenly gesture. John the beloved saw am angel stand with one foot on the sea, and the other on the earth. He raised “his hand to heaven” (Rev 10:5). But here, the angel raises both hands to heaven.
Because of the gravity of the revelation given to Daniel, the angel raises both hands to heaven, as though confirming the word with a solemn oath. Ponder the enormity of the things revealed to Daniel.
An enemy would have indignation against the holy covenant (11:30a).
Many of the people would forsake the covenant (11:30b)
The sanctuary will be polluted (11:31a).
There would be an abomination that would make desolate (11:31b).
Holy people will fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, for many days (11:33).
Some of them with understanding shall fall, to purge and make them white (11:35).
A wicked king will speak marvelous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper in doing so “till the indignation be past” (11:36).
The “glorious land” would be invaded (11:41).
A time of trouble would come to Israel such as had never occurred from the time nations began until that time (12:1).
For those with a keen interest in the people of God, these were soul-jarring realities. Even holy angels were moved by hearing of them, and wanted to know how long they would last. Daniel is also intensely interested in these matters, for he had a profound love for God, His service, and His people. Therefore, the mighty angel confirms the certainty of the things that have been declared, and that they will have an appointed conclusion.
Since the introduction of the “Age of Reason,” also called “The Enlightenment” (the eighteenth century) there has been an unusual assault against the people of God. Reason and the human intellect have been vaunted above faith. All manner of Biblical textual criticism has been popularized and embalmed in paraphrased translations of the Bible. Joining together with the rise of religious institutionalism, pioneered by Catholicism, very grievous circumstances now exist within the Christian community. Man has actually been exalted above God, by means of varied interpretations and approaches to understanding the Scriptures.
The religious environment has been so polluted that few people are even aware of the departure from the faith that has taken place. A powerless and fundamentally ignorant church now fills the land, and few souls appear to be alarmed by the condition.
All of this is very much like the things that confronted Daniel and the holy angels overhearing the revelation given to him. Corruption was brought in, together with defilement and decline, and it was great concern to both the prophet and the angels. How long would such abuses be permitted to continue? How long would truth be “cast down to the ground” (8:12)? How long would oppressors ravage the people of God?
One cannot read the prophecies of a great falling away without sensing the gravity of such a situation (Matt 24:12; 2 Thess 2:3; 1 Tim 4:1-3; 2 Tim 3:1-5; 4:3-4; 2 Pet 2:1-3). Sensitive souls cannot hear such things without being moved – without making inquiry about them.
It is possible – yea, imperative – that souls surface within the professed church who are appalled by disinterest, chagrined by indifference, and startled by the dominance of human reasoning over Divine revelation.
Him that Liveth Forever
The mighty angel swares by Him who “lives forever.” NKJV These words are not an angelic assessment, but an appeal to revelation. Through Moses God revealed, “For I lift up My hand to heaven, and say, I live for ever” (Deut 32:40). When John the beloved heard an angel sware while raising his hand to heaven, similar words were said. “And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer” (Rev 10:5-6). What is the significance of such words? Are they merely an affirmation of God’s eternality? Indeed not!
In all of these cases, God Himself is placed along side earthly circumstances. He is eternal, they are not. He is the one who governs, not men and circumstance. He Himself overshadows what occurs upon the earth, and is the proper object of our affection and inquiry.
If we have difficulty understanding the words now before us, we must be sure we do not have difficulty understanding the God who sent them. One of the characteristics of the New Covenant is this: “they shall all know Me” (Jer 31:34; Heb 8:11). There is no promise that they will “know,” or understand all circumstances. Sometimes, although what God will do is known in detail, yet the hearer must respond, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counselor?” (Rom 11:34). Something of that spirit will be found in this text.
Time, Times, and an Half
Some versions read “two times” in the place of “times” (NRSV, RSV, GENEVA, NJB). One version reads “a year, two years, a half-year” (NAB).
The Etymology of the Word
While there are some good reasons to suppose the word “times” means two times, that is not what the word itself means. At this point I am careful to say it is not right to hang doctrine or spiritual understanding on the frail nail of language. There is, however, a point to be made here.
The Hebrew word translated “times” (mow’ed) is quite common in Scripture, and is translated in a variety of ways. It is translated “seasons” in Genesis 1:14 and Psalm 104:19, “set feasts” in 1 Chronicles 23:31, 2 Chronicles 31:3, and Nehemish 10:34 “solemn feasts” in 2 Chronicles 8:13 and Ezekiel 46:9, “solemnities” in Ezekiel 46:11, and “feasts” in Zechariah 8:19.
Add to this the consideration that God has been specific in speaking of multiple “times.” Nebuchadnezzar, for example, was judged by God for a period of “seven times” (4:16,23,25,32). In this case, however, a different word was used – ‘iddan, which denotes “year.” This is, incidently, the same word translated “times” in Daniel 7:25.
When it comes to speaking about appointed years, God can also speak with unquestionable clarity. The Israelites captivity in Egypt was 430 years (Ex 12:40). Their wilderness wanderings were 40 years (Deut 2:7). The Babylonian captivity was 70 years (Jer 29:10). The length of Israel’s rule by Judges was 450 years (Acts 13:20).
In all of these uses, Divine appointment is the emphasis. As with the feasts, the duration itself was appointed by God. I draw attention to this circumstance to emphasize that special care must be taken not to miss what God is saying. As I have said, there are seemingly sound reasons for saying the word “times” stands for “two years.” However, our theology must not be bent around that view. The edifying quotient will be found in the fact that God has appointed the times. The outworking of that appointment, from the view of duration, is incidental, although it is not to be avoided. In my judgment, these observations are necessary in view of the crystallized doctrines men have created regarding these things.
A Similar Period Mentioned Earlier
In the seventh chapter, Daniel was introduced to another “little horn” that would spring out of the ten horns on the fourth beast. It was said of that “little horn,” “And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time” (Dan 7:25).
The above mentioned “little horn” was not Antiochus Epiphanes. Antiochus came out of the third kindom (Greece). The “little horn” of Daniel seven came out of the fourth kingdom (Rome).
In the seventh chapter the ruler of reference sprang from among ten horns on the fourth beast, that was diverse from all before it (7:7,20-24). Antiochus sprang from among four horns on the he goat (8:8,22).
The “little horn” of Daniel seven had “a mouth speaking great things,” and prevailed against the saints “until the Ancient of days came” (7:8,21-22). The “little horn”of Daniel 8-12 was noted for his exploits of the “pleasant land,” or “glorious land” (8:9; 11:16,41). He was also noted for the desecration of the Temple (8:11,13,14; 11:31).
The “little horn” of Daniel seven, is not the “little horn” of chapters eight through eleven. The first depicted an aggression against the church, which was initiated from the fourth kingdom, Rome. That aggression is also declared in the book of the Revelation, where the “ten horns” are mentioned (12:3; 13:1; 17:3,7,12,16). The second was an initative against the Jews, and was Satan’s effort to thwart the coming of the Messiah.
Further, there is also a reference to “time, times, and half a time” in the Revelation (12:14). In this instance, the time specified a period of Satanic aggression during which the saints of God would be nourished. This differs from the thrust of our text, and blends more with the revelations given in the seventh chapter of Daniel.
Other Complicating Factors
There are other considerations that confirm the sobriety with which we must approach this text.
The period of time, times, and half a time is also mentioned in the Revelation – 12:14. There it has to do with being “nourished from the face of the serpent.”
If the period is three and one-half years, by using the standard thirty days for a month, the period is forty-two months. In the account of the flood, the 30-day view of a month was revealed. The flood began on the seventeenth day of the second month, and the ark rested on the seventeenth day of the seventh month – a period of five months. That period is identified as 150 days, making each month 30 days long. Using this calculation, 3 ½ years would be 42 months – a period mentioned in Revelation 11:2 and 13:5. There it has to do with the Gentiles treading down the holy city and corrupting the “court that is without the temple.” It also describes a period during which a “beast” was given a “mouth speaking great things and blasphemies,” who was “given to make war with the saints, and to overcome them.”
Using the same formula of a thirty day month, 42 months translates into 1,260 days – a period mentioned in Revelation 11:3 and 12:6. During that time God’s two witnesses prophesied in sackcloth, and the people of God fled to a place prepared by God, where “they should feed her.”
What Does It All Mean?
In view of these considerations, what is the meaning of the phrase, “time, times, and a half?” As I have shown from the various texts, and references to this period from different perspectives, the answer is not a simplistic one. Neither, indeed, will it fit handily into a preconceived theology.
There are some commonalities in the references to time, times, and half (Dan 7:25; 12:7; Rev 12:14), and in 42 months (Rev 11:2; 13:5), and in 1,260 days (Rev 11:3; 12:6).
Words were spoken against the Lord (Dan 7:8,25; 11:36; Rev 13:5).
A place sanctifed by God trodden down (Dan 8:11,13; Rev 11:2).
The things of God known, but subdued (Dan 12:3; Rev 11:3).
Divine protection (Dan 11:32; Rev 12:6, 14).
In every instance, the opposition seemed invincible, yet the cause of the Lord survived, and the people of God were not obliterated.
There is also something else to note in these references. They all had to do with visions, not doctrine. None of them were an exposition in the ordinary sense of the word, and a certain veil of obscurity is spread over all of them.
There is a sense in which this scenario has been repeated throughout history. Seemingly impossible circumstances were introduced, yet the cause of the Lord prevailed. This is seen in Able being slain by Cain, Noah surviving the wickedness of the world, and Israel enduring their Egyptian bondage. The continuance of the Israelites after their wilderness journeyings and their Babylonian captivity also attest to this truth. There was also the inter-testamental period which is being especially revealed to Daniel, and the bloody persecutions of the church of God.
The Holy Spirit has schooled us to associate this period of time (3 ½ times, 42 months, and 1,260 days) with Divine appointment, the survival of the righteous, and the frustration of the wicked! It may very well be that the language is intended to convey what will happen, not when it will happen. The duration itself may not be the real point, but the outcome of it all.
For the moment, I will affirm the language is designed to speak of these very things – (1) an intelligent and aggressive assault against the people of God, and (2) The sustaining and ultimate survival of the people of God. All of this is by Divine appointment, with nothing occurring outside of God’s power and ultimate purpose.
Possibly Fulfilled in Antiochus, But Not Exhausted
This period roughly coincides with the time when Antiochus first entered Jerusalem until the temple was cleansed -- about three and a half years. A similar period occurred between the desecration of the Temple and the death of Antiochus. If you mark the period from the time Antiochus set up the abomination until the Jews (15th day of Casleu, 145) until the Jews again offered sacrifice in the rededicated Temple (25th day of Casleu, 145), you have three years and ten days. Some also feel this is the period of time during which public sacrifices and and worship were discontinued through the persecution of Antiochus. The temple was in fact defiled for about three years and seven months.
Although the precision sought by the intellect cannot be strictly accounted for, yet the general fulfillment of the text can be seen in the demise of Antiochus, and the cessation of his persecution.
However, this cannot be the thorough significance of the text, as the same language is used elsewhere of other oppressions. The Revelation, in which much of the same language is used, refers to the oppression of those in Christ, while the revelation given to Daniel by this angel had to do with what would befall his people, the Jews.
The Principle Seen Elsewhere
The same principles were seen in the devastation of Jerusalem by the Romans in A.D. 70 – an appointed chastening of the Jews because of their rejection of the Lord’s Christ.
As I have already mentioned, they also apply to the oppression that was initiated against the church by the Papal Rome corruption – also an appointed judgment owing to the lethargy that had crept into the church.
There may also be other similar oppressions toward the close of time.
The following verses will bring more clarity, although all mysteries will not be resolved.
“ . . . and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people . . . ” Other versions read, “when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered” NKJV “When the power of the holy people has been finally broken,” NIV “and all these things will come true, once the crushing of the holy people's power is over,” NJB and “When the shattering of the holy people . . . all these things will have happened.” NLT
The language here is very precise, and worthy of noting. The text does not say “the people will be scattered,” but that the power of the people will be scattered. Etymologically, the word translated “scatter” means “to dash in pieces, beat in sunder, broken, dashed in pieces.” STRONG’S
The Wearing Down of the People
To “scatter the power of the holy people” is to wear them out. All of their strength would be dissipated, and they would have no power of themselves to stand. This same language was used of the oppressor mentioned in the seventh chapter. “And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time” (7:25). As I have already indicated, that revelation was given by another angel (7:16), and concerned one that proceeded from the fourth great kingdom, represented by a beast with ten horns. The “wearing down” of chapter twelve is not historically the same as chapter seven. It does, however, involve the same principle.
The book of the Revelation also contains similar language. There, the church is being oppressed by “the beast.” “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations” (Rev 13:7).
There were also earlier experiences that drained the Israelites of all of their power. It happened during the Egyptian bondage. It occurred again in the Babylonian captivity.
In all of these instances the balance of power appeared to be in the favor of the enemy. The natural power and strength of the people of God was completely drained. No amount of human ingenuity or military power could sustain them. There simply was no help outside of the Lord.
In the sense of religious oppression, this first occurred in Antiochus Epiphanes. The sacking of Jerusalem by Rome also brought Israel to absolute strengthlessness. The bloody persecutions of the Roman Empire did the same. The Roman heresy stripped the saints of power as well. Events related to the latter times will also result on the thorough dissipation of the strength of the saints.
A Brief Summation
The following events are characterized by the thorough draining of the strength of the people of God.
The 430 year Egyptian bondage.
The 70 year Babylonian captivity.
The oppression of Antiochus Epiphanes.
The destruction of Jerusalem by Rome.
The persecution of the Roman empire.
The oppression of Papal Rome.
The “last days” oppression.
In each of these instances, with the single exception of the Egyptian bondage, the oppression was induced by the falling away of the people of God. In the case of the Egyptian bondage, the purpose was to prepare the people for their national beginning, and to create in them a certain discontent with Egypt.
The prophetic language of our text applies to each of these events. The message that must come across to our spirits is this: the power of God is absolutely essential to the maintenance of God’s people. God will bring those who trust in the arm of the flesh to a state of helplessness. It is not only morally and spiritually wrong to trust in men, it will not ultimately succeed. “Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD” (Jer 17:5).
The “arm of the flesh” is the strength of the natural man – man without union with God, on his own, and operating independently of Divine intervention. Such power is contrasted with the power that comes from God. In reference to Sennacherib king Hezekiah declared, “With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles” (2 Chr 32:8).
The scattering of the power of the holy people means that all of their natural wisdom, strength, military prowess, and survival techniques would be drained of their effectiveness. The people would not be able to repel their enemies, hold to their customs, or maintain their cause. They would be reduced to what appeared to be a hopeless state.
This did occur with Antiochus Epiphanes – but not only with him. It also took place in the Egyptian bondage, and the Babylonian Captivity. It would also take place in the sacking of Jerusalem by the Romans, the oppression of Hitler, the oppression of the church, and some last days opposition of the Jews.
In this case, the language itself it more important that the events it foretells. Both nations and individuals know what it is like to have their natural powers dissipated – to be brought to a state where none but the Lord Himself can deliver. As I have already mentioned, much (but not all) of this kind of experience is a judgment of God against the lethargic and indifferent state of His people.
“ . . . all these things shall be finished.” Other versions read, , all these things will be completed,” NIV and “has finally come to an end.” NLT
A Divine assignment had been made concerning the duration of these trials. The aim of Antiochus, for example, was to eliminate the Jews. His purpose, however, would not be realized. He would only be allowed to drain the resources of their natural power. He would prove superior to them in the flesh, but once that had been sufficiently shown, and there was no hope of resistance, the time allotted to him would abruptly terminate, or “come to an end.” NIV
The meaning of the text, therefore, is this: when all of their power has been exhausted, and there is no hope of deliverance coming from any other source, their trial will be over. Have you not found this to be true – even on a personal level?
Over and over this point is made in Scripture. The Egyptians oppressed the Jews with hard bondage, until all of their strength was gone. Then God intervened, and Egypt lost their power. In the Babylonian captivity, I am sure the Chaldeans did not intend for that captivity to last only seventy years. Nevertheless, at the appointed time, God intervened and Babylon lost its power.
Thus we see it is God’s manner to come to the aid of His people AFTER all other resources have dried up, and all human strength has been expended.
This principle has been confirmed throughout the history of God’s people.
Israel was sustained with manna and miraculous water when all other resources ran out. Manna and water from a rock were not alternative supplies, they were the only supplies (Ex 16:35; 17:3-6).
Noah’s ark was lifted above the waters, delivering he and his family, only after all other avenues of escape were removed (Gen 7:18).
Abraham and Sarah had the child of promise only after all of their natural reproductive powers were rendered totally incapable (Rom 4:19).
Lot was delivered from Sodom when all other possibilities were exhausted (Gen 19:15-24).
Israel was delivered from Goliath and the Philistines only after all other hope had dried up (1 Sam 17:4-50).
The widow of Zarephath received a miraculous supply of meal and oil only after her resources became inadequate (1 Kgs 17:9-12).
A widow of the sons of the prophets received a miraculous supply of oil to pay her debt only after all other resources had been exhausted (2 Kgs 4:1-7).
Peter was lifted from the ranging waves only when all hope was lost (Matt 14:31).
Lazarus was raised from the dead only after four days had expired (John 11:39).
Paul and those on the ship with him were saved only after all hope was “taken away” (Acts 27:20-44).
God does not allow us to be tempted “above” what we are able to bear (1 Cor 10:13). However, it is His manner to often bring us to the very end of all of our strength before delivering us.
A Point to be Seen
God has declared “vain is the help of man” (Psa 60:11; 108:12). Again it is written, “Stop trusting in man, who has but a breath in his nostrils. Of what account is he?” NIV (Isa 2:22). It is further revealed that all strength of men will fall, and those who trust in it will fall as well. “Now the Egyptians are men, and not God; And their horses are flesh, and not spirit. When the LORD stretches out His hand, Both he who helps will fall, And he who is helped will fall down; They all will perish together” NKJV (Isa 31:3).
In keeping with this principle, the false church, spiritual Babylon, will be stripped of its pretentious power. This is because it has aligned itself with the world and its manners. It has brought the wisdom of the world within its walls, together with its business strategies, psychological expertise, and motivational techniques. It has borrowed from its its educational perceptions, drinking deeply from its academic wells.
None of these things are genuine sources of spiritual power, as those with understanding know. They have not been able to sustain the world, much less are they able to sustain the church. Yet, the professed church continues to flirt with the world as though it is all harmless. When many churches want to raise money, they consult the worldly-wise on the matter – just as though there was no God. When they want to expand their numbers, they borrow from the world’s strategies, hardly considering the Head of the church, from which all valid wisdom and supplies proceed.
Even at this present time the organization, power, and influence of the modern church has not been able to stem the swelling tide of divorce, all manner of immorality, falling away, and lukewarmness within itself. Many church staffs have more problem solvers than preachers and teachers. It is all said to be an attempt to “help people.” Indeed, where such legitimate helps are administered, we give thanks, for that is not to be despised.
However, there is something greater to be seen in all of this. What we are witnessing is the scattering of the power of the Western church. God is depleting its resources and draining its powers. There are massive disruptions at the foundational level of many denominations. Hundreds of local congregations close their doors every week. North America is now said to be the only continent in the world where Christianity is not growing. Religious division is now found not only in matters of doctrine, but in the area of peer groups – youth, singles, the elderly, the married, families, etc. Division is even found in areas such as the type of music preferred.
What does all of this mean? Simply this: the power of the modern church is being scattered. There is a fundamental breakdown in Christianity itself. Its foes are overwhelming it! It is found in higher criticism, where the Scriptures themselves are critiqued to determine their accuracy and validity. It is found in modified views of creation that have resulted from giving ear to the evolutionist – theistic evolution. It is found in the approach to, what is called, counseling. It can be seen in the new approach to a “Bible College” education.
But with all of this, sin is increasing in unparalleled measure – even within the church. Its power is being scattered! Yet, we must not allow these conditions to drive us to despair. It all indicates that something of significant magnitude is on the horizon – some great work of God. If it is true that when the power of the holy people is scattered, the termination of the oppression is at hand, then we have good reason to look up.
The Word’s of Jesus
This should not surprise us. It is the very thing Jesus taught His disciples regarding the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world. He told them a time was coming when the Jews would “fall by the sword,” and be “led away captive into all nations.” He spoke of a global distress that would be a time of “signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars.” He declared there would be “distress of nations” upon the earth, with “perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring.” He spoke of a time characterized by “Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.” But then, He said, there would be a Divine intrusion! In the midst of these hopeless conditions “shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”
At this point, our Lord affirmed the very principle that is enunciated in our text – namely, that when all appears hopeless, the trouble will be brought to an end for His people. How sweet are His words! “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28).
That is the principle that is to be seen in this text! When Antiochus will have beat the people down, he will not be allowed to proceed one inch further! The Lord will intervene, and the people of God “shall be delivered” (12:1). Then, and only then, “all these things shall be finished.” The same truth applies to the destruction of Jerusalem, the impact of “the man of sin,” and “the antichrist.”
Settle it in your mind that truth will ultimately triumph. When the smoke of battle finally clears, and the end of all things comes, the saints of God will be obvious victors, standing on a sea of glass (Rev 15:2).
A QUEST FOR UNDERSTANDING
“ 8And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?”
We will now see that although these words appear to be perfectly clear to the angel, they are not clear to Daniel. However, the prophet is not content to remain in a state of ignorance. He will apply his “heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things” (Eccl 7:25).
I HEARD, BUT DID NOT UNDERSTAND
“And I heard, but I understood not.” Other versions read, “Although I heard, I did not understand,” NKJV “As for me, I heard but could not understand,” NASB and “the words came to my ears, but the sense of them was not clear to me.” BBE
It was not that the angel spoke in an unknown language. The words were clear enough. It was their meaning, or import, that eluded Daniel. An explanation had been given that apparently satisfied the angel, yet it remained beyond the reach of this man, who was noted for excelling in wisdom.
Daniel is not speaking as one who is characterized by total ignorance, but one who does not understand the matter at hand. Daniel knew a principle declared earlier through Isaiah the prophet. “I have not spoken in secret, from somewhere in a land of darkness; I have not said to Jacob's descendants, ‘Seek me in vain.' I, the LORD, speak the truth; I declare what is right” NIV (Isa 45:19). Having this truth in his heart, Daniel presses to obtain more understanding.
WHAT SHALL BE THE END?
“ . . . then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?” Other versions read, “what shall be the outcome of these events?” NASB “what will the outcome of all this be?” NIV and “How will all this finally end, my lord?” NLT
This is nearly the same question asked by one of the angels: “How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?” (v 6). The angel asked concerning the length of these events, or how long it would be until they were consummated. Here Daniel asks concerning the outcome of it all. We can tell by the answer of the angel that both questions concerned the fulfillment of the events foretold. What would be their duration, and what would result from them.
Daniel, therefore, was in accord with heavenly beings in his interests. What holy angels desired to know, he also desired to know. The reverse is true of those who are in Christ Jesus. What they have come to know in the Gospel, holy angels desire to know (1 Pet 1:12).
There are many areas of knowledge and understanding that can be pursued. Some are intrigued by the knowledge of passing and novel things that have little importance in life. Other seek expertise in certain areas, like history, language, music, art, science, etc. Many of these areas are lawful pursuits, yet are not the proper thrust of life itself. In order to confirm the true value of matters of earnest inquiry, you might ask the following: “Are angels interested in this area of understanding?”
I am careful to say we are not to make laws in this area that make life more complicated than it already is. However, here is an area of personal evaluation that I have found valuable.
There are Divine messages that can be spoken, even though they may not be thoroughly understood. Such messages will be recalled and understood at the appropriate time, and must thus be declared. In our text Daniel heard something he did not thoroughly understand, yet wrote it down and passed it on to succeeding generations. He could not elaborate on the words, but he could affirm them.
It is always in order to repeat what the Lord has said. The Holy Spirit will work with such words, for the Word of God is His sword. He will bring wortds of truth to the remembrance of the hearers when they are needed, and grant understanding of them at the proper time.
While I do not desire to linger on this subject, it has long been an area of concern to me that so few professing Christians are noted for inquiry into the things of God. They are too content with a state of ignorance, and appear happy to continue their lives with much of the things of God unknown. Such poor souls must be encouraged to receive the “love of the truth” (2 Thess 2:10). Ultimately, it is that love that provokes a fervent and consistent quest to “know the truth.” Then, and only then, will the truth be known and spiritual freedom realized.
SEALED TO THE TIME OF THEIR FULFILLMENT
“ 9 And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.”
Here we confront a Divinely appointed circumstance that must be seen. A failure to perceive the principle enunciated here has occasioned all manner of “prophetic views” that lack edifying power because they do not convey “the mind of Christ” (1 Cor 2:16).
GO THY WAY
“And he said, Go thy way, Daniel.”
Daniel’s quest was a proper one, but it was not the proper time. The angel’s words – “Go thy way” – meant Daniel would not receive any further knowledge on the matter. This was not because what he asked was wrong, but because a further understanding was not available for that time. As we will see, there are “times and seasons” assigned for the appropriation of understanding, as well as for appointed events (Acts 1:7). There are times when certain things cannot be fully known or comprehended.
THE WORDS ARE CLOSED AND SEALED
“ . . . For the words are closed up and sealed . . . ” Other versions say the words are “concealed and sealed,” NASB “are to remain secret and sealed,” NRSV “secret and shut up,” BBE and “hidden and sealed.” YLT
The words “closed up” mean they are like words put into a box, with the lid closed. The word “sealed” means they are inaccessible, like words place in a box with the lid closed and locked.
Daniel had much knowledge and wisdom, but it could break the Divine lock put on these words, or open the door to their meaning. When God shuts up a word, it cannot be comprehended – period! The angel knew this, so told Daniel to go on his way.
Those who say a knowledge of the original language can unlock the meaning of Scriptural texts must take this into account. Daniel knew the language in which he heard the message. He was also uncommonly wise in understanding, particularly in matters pertaining to the Lord. Yet all of that knowledge was of no avail in this matter.
Daniel’s experience was much like other prophets who spoke of “the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow.” Their hearts were pure. Their minds were sound. They had uncommon knowledge and understanding. Yet, when it came to the matter of the great salvation we presently enjoy, their quest for knowledge was denied.
“Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven; things which angels desire to look into.” NKJV (1 Pet 1:10-12).
There is an approach to Scripture that assumes because the Word is written, it can be thoroughly understood. But what will those who have embraced such nonsense say of the text before us? Daniel heard it. Daniel wrote it. Daniel did not understand it. Further, he was told he could not understand it – it was shut up and sealed.
Moses referred to this circumstance when He was moved to write, “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deut 29:29). Some have concluded that if it is said or written, it has revealed. Yet, here is a word that was said, and then written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Yet, at the time, was not revealed.
THE TIME OF THE END
“ . . . till the time of the end.” Other versions read, “the appointed time.” DOUAY
The words “time of the end” are not synonymous with “end of time,” as some translations suggest. The phrase “the end of the time” means the conclusion of the time, or period, that was prophesied – when the events had transpired.
Versions that read “end of time” include, NAB, and NAU. Other versions also cause confusion by reading “end time” (NASB This is wholly inappropriate, and a little thought should easily confirm it. The angel was not saying the words were forever closed, or for as long as time existed. The word “end” refers to the events that were prophesied, not the conclusion of time itself. In other words, what was said could not be understood until the events themselves had taken place.
In our previous lesson we dealt with a similar word – one that was “shut up” until the time of the end (v 4). At that time I gave the example of Peter on the day of Pentecost. It was when the events prophesied by Joel and David came to pass that their prophecies could be expounded. Until then, they were “shut up.” (Lesson 38, pages 38-39). Similar events occurred at the birth of John the Baptist (Lk 1:68-79), the birth of Jesus (Matt 2:5-6), the betrayal of Jesus (Matt 27:5-10), and the resurrection of Jesus (Lk 24:5-8).
When They Happen
Prophecies of the order of the one we are considering are opened when they are fulfilled, or occur. At the time of the prophecy, enough details are provided so that those with faith will be able to recognize its fulfillment. However, it simply is not possible to have perfect understanding of prophesied events until the “begin” to take place (Lk 21:28). Divine predictions are, in a sense, vague, even though elements of specificity are there. For instance, the place of the Messiah’s birth was specified by Micah (Mic 5:2). However, that prophecy was not seen with clarity until the Savior was actually born. The same is true of the pouring forth of the Holy Spirit upon all flesh (Joel 2:28), and the acceptance of the Gentiles (Isa 49:6).
What prophecy was ever comprehended with any detail prior to its fulfillment? The promised Seed (Gen 3:15)? The flood (Gen 6:17)? The deliverance of Israel from Egypt after 400 years of affliction (Gen 15:13)? The Babylonian captivity (Gen 29:10)? The coming of the Messiah (Isa 32:1-4)? None of these things were understood in detail until they began to come to pass.
This is why there is a certain vagueness in Paul’s reference to “the man of sin” (2 Thess 2:3) and John’s reference to “antichrist” (1 John 2:18), “the beast” (Rev 13:18), and “the false prophet” (Rev 19:20). Many have taken in their hand to precisely define coming events. By putting certain texts together, they imagine they are able to tell us more than the Holy Spirit did. They think they are able to tell us the sequence and detail of events to come before they happen – even though such details are not clearly articulated by Scripture.
Such men are in great error. Unless the events that have been prophesied have actually come to pass, their theology of last things is only pretension. God never has allowed a thorough understanding of things to come until they actually began to occur.
More Can Be Known
There are dimensions of truth that can be more fully known in our time than during the first century. That is not owing to any superiority on our part. Rather, it is the nature of God’s dealings with men to clarify what He has said when the things He declared come to pass. Who could have hoped, for example, to comprehend the new birth prior to Pentecost? Or the marvelous scope of the New Covenant prior to its realization?
A Temporary Sealing
Thus the prophecy of Daniel was sealed temporarily – until the time those things came to pass. Then, the details of the prophecy would become more apparent to those with faith.
The Principle Taught by Jesus
During our Lord’s earthly ministry, He often spoke of things the people did not comprehend. A single example will suffice to confirm this point -- namely that when the reality comes to pass, it can then be understood. “I have many things to say and to judge of you: but He that sent Me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of Him. They understood not that He spake to them of the Father.“Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father hath taught Me, I speak these things” (John 8:28).
This is precisely the principle of which Jesus spoke on the night of His betrayal. For example, He said the following of His betrayal by one of them – something they were not able to grasp at the time. However, when it came to pass, it would become apparent to them. “I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with Me hath lifted up his heel against Me. Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am He” (John 13:18-19).
The same was true of when Jesus earlier washed His disciples’ feet. At that time they did not realize what He was really doing. Therefore He said to them, “What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter” (John 13:7).
Ezekiel’s Prophecy of the Dry Bones
The same principle is seen in Ezekiel’s prophecy concerning Israel – when they were shown to him as a valley of dry bones. “And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, and shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD” (Ezek 37:14).
A Restatement of the Principle
Allow me to affirm this principle once again. The thorough understanding of “things to come,” as declared prophetically, is only available when they begin to come to pass. Such things cannot be opened by scholarship, language expertise, historical proficiency, or human reasoning.
Neither can they be perfectly clarified by piecing prophecies together. Daniel had received several prophecies – many of them, relating to very things mentioned in this text. Yet he was not able to put them all together and thus map out their meaning – and he was a gifted prophet, “greatly beloved” of God!
Never Apparent to Unbelief
These things would never be apparent to those in the grip of unbelief. This is why the types, shadows, and prophecies concerning the coming Messiah and the New Covenant remain obscure to Abraham’s offspring according to the flesh. That is why the Spirit affirms, “But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away” (2 Cor 3:16). In this case, the prophecies have been fulfilled, meaning “we have a more sure word of prophecy” (2 Pet 1:19). Those prophecies are now unsealed, and are no longer shut up. Yet, unbelief seals them to those without faith.
Because of this circumstance, it is possible for the language to apply to more than one historical fulfillment. This principle can be seen in a statement made by Hosea. “When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called My son out of Egypt” (Hos 11:1). Reaching backward, that applied to the exodus of Israel from Egypt. Looking forward, it applied to taking the young child Jesus into Egypt during the threat of Herod (Matt 2:14-15). The former provided an understanding of what happened in the past. The latter, however, could only be profitably known when it came to pass – when Jesus was brought out of Egypt at Herod’s death.
THE LINE WILL BE DRAWN BETWEEN THE RIGHTEOUS
AND THE WICKED
“ 10 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.”
The angel now elaborates briefly on “the time of the end,” or when these prophecies would be fulfilled. This is the context in which the sealed prophecy will be opened, making it more understandable. However, it will not become apparent to everyone.
PURIFIED, WHITE, AND TRIED
“Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried . . . ”
The trial of reference was induced by the condition of the God’s people – “by reason of transgression” (8:12). Thus, when they are effectively corrected, their oppression will be “cut short in righteousness” (Rom 9:28). That is, for “many” the chastening will yield great benefits. They will be “purified,” “made white,” and proven by trial.
Let us now behold the effects of the atrocities experienced during the malicious reign of Antiochus Epiphanes. These same effects would be realized in the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, any latter day oppression of the Jews, and the rise of “the man of sin.”
Many Shall Be Purified
Some versions read “purged,” NASB “shall purify themselves.” ASV “make themselves clean,” BBE “will be cleansed.” NJB
Strictly speaking, the cleansing produced by oppression will not be self-induced. However, that oppression will produce in “many” the strong and unquenchable desire to be clean and free from sin. Because that desire will come from the heart, it will be realized. The opposition and persecution would cause these “many” to want to be pure, and to zealously seek that purity!
Many Shall Be Made White
The word “purified” refers to the process. The word “white” relates to the result of that process. Being made white is similar to having impurities “sifted” out through affliction (Lk 22:31-32). When a person is “made white,” they are no longer “spotted by the world” (James 1:27). Unacceptable manners are thus removed, which leads to Divine acceptance. They are “white” in His eyes.
Many Shall Be Tried
The grievous times that were coming were a period of testing – when the faith and love of the people would be carefully examined and made known.
The wilderness wanderings of the Israelites were a time of testing, when what was really in the heart of the people was pushed to the surface. Thus it is written, “And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no” (Deut 8:2). That is the kind of thing that would be accomplished in the trials of which the angel has spoken.
Such trials, however, are intended to do more than make known hidden things, whether good or evil. They are also the prelude to the experience of good things. Therefore it was said to Israel, “Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that He might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end” (Deut 8:16).
The angel, therefore, tells Daniel that what is ahead is being administered by the Lord, not Antiochus Epiphanes, or some despot in the future. Although very difficult and oppressive, the experience will purify many, making them white, and bringing out their spiritual strengths.
THE WICKED SHALL DO WICKEDLY
“ . . . but the wicked shall do wickedly. . . ” Other versions read, “the wicked will continue to be wicked,” NIV “the wicked shall continue to act wickedly,” NRSV and “the transgressors will transgress.” Septuagint
“The wicked” does not refer to Antiochus Epiphanes, or some other enemy of the Lord’s people. These are “the wicked” among the people of God. Prior to the trial, they did not appear to be wicked – yet they actually were. The trial brought out what they were, driving their wickedness to the surface. Historically, these were the ones who sided with Antiochus. They were the ones who caved in to the Romans when they destroyed Jerusalem. In the history of the church, they are the ones who yield to a “form of godliness” that denies the power thereof (2 Tim 3:5).
The trial, though hard and extended, will not enable to wicked to become better. The righteous are made better by trial and chastening (Rom 5:3; Heb 12:11), but the wicked are not. During perilous times “evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse” (2 Tim 3:13).
The Manner of the Kingdom
That is the manner of the Kingdom: trials, testings, and chastening, are an appointed means of discovering the basic person – who people really are. When all manner of confusion and erroneous teaching broke out in Corinth, the Spirit explained the reason for such an outbreak. “For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you,” or No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God's approval” NIV (1 Cor 11:19).
There is a sense in which, Antiochus Epiphanes and “the man of sin” are threshing instruments (Isa 41:15), used of God to purify and make white the remnant, while exposing all the more those who are wicked.
The Righteous Go Through Trial
Those who imagine the Lord necessarily removes the godly before periods of trial are not in their sound mind. God can, and often does, spare some from trial, as He did the church at Philadelphia (Rev 3:10). That, however, is the exception to the rule. Their deliverance was because their true character had already been made known. Normally, the people of God are in the trial, in order that their true value may be discovered. It was the Israelites, not the Egyptians, who were proved in the wilderness. Floods, dens of lions and furnaces of fire are where the righteous are discovered, and through which they survive.
The Response of the Wicked
But when the wicked pass through such times, they only become more wicked. This is made known in the pouring forth of the seven vials of Revelation. When the fifth angel poured his vial upon the throne of “the beast,” it brought out the corruption of his empire. His kingdom “became full of darkness, and they gnawed their tongues because of the pain.” Instead of calling upon the name of the Lord, “they blasphemed tbe God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their deeds” NKJV (Rev 16:10-11).
Those who choose to follow the world and satisfy unlawful lusts must know this: in the hour of trial, they will become worse, not better. Sin gradually weakens both nations and individuals, putting them into a state of sleep – “the sleep of death” (Psa 13:3). Eventually it renders them incapable of any favorable response to the working of the Lord, even when it is severe judgment.
THE WICKED WILL NOT UNDERSTAND
“ . . . and none of the wicked shall understand . . . ”
Not a single wicked person will be able to make an association of the coming atrocities with the God of heaven. They will not see it as a trial, or an opportunity to be “purified” and “made white,” but will see it only as a threat that cannot be resisted.
Here is one of the enormous penalties of being “wicked.” Such a condition makes one deaf to the voice of the Lord, and blind to His workings. What appears very evident to the godly is completely hidden to the wicked. Thus they stumble on in their sin until they fall over the precipice of eternal ruin. I have often heard ungodly people say they would turn to the Lord when their time comes. They speak as though sin has no impact upon their minds and hearts. They are wrong – seriously wrong! As long as a person lives in sin, deterioration is advancing in heart, mind, soul, and strength. It finally reaches the point where, even when epochal events take place, the wicked are not able to see anything in those epochs, and so they “add sin to sin” (Isa 30:1).
There is a sense in which you can only teach the righteous, or godly. There can certainly be announcements and proclamations made to the wicked through which the Spirit will work. But spiritual instruction is not for the wicked, for they cannot learn until they are first convicted. In particular, things that can be learned from trial cannot be picked up by the wicked. It is still true, “none of the wicked shall understand.”
THE WISE WILL UNDERSTAND
“ . . . but the wise shall understand.” Other versions read, “but those who have insight will understand,” NASB “but all will be made clear to those who are wise,” BBE and “Only those who are wise will know what it means.” NLT
Even when the prophecy was unsealed, it would only be understood by the wise, who have some understanding of the ways of the Lord.
In the final assault of Antiochus, this did, in fact, take place. The Maccabees, under the awakened leadership of Judas Maccabeus refused to yield to him. After refusing to defend themselves on the Sabbath day, they rose up in zeal and defeated Antiochus’ armies. Their zeal flowed from their understanding. They saw the significance of what was happening, and sided with the Lord. The following account provides some of the details of that occasion.
“He (Antiochus Epiphanes) therefore left Lysias, one of his highest lieutenants, to take charge of hi kingdom, from the River Euphrates to the confines of Egypt, and having etrusted his son Antiochus to his care, and enjoined Lysias to conquer Judaea and destroy the nation of the Jews, he went into Persia. The success of Judas called for immediate attention. The governor of Jerusalem was urgent in his entreaties for assistance; Lysias therefore sent an army o 20,000 men, under the command of Nicanor and Gorgias, into Judaea. It was followed by another of the same number, with an addition of 700 horses, under Ptolemy Macron, the son of Dorymcnes, as commander-in chief The united forces encamped in the plains of Emmaus. To oppose the formidable host Judas could only muster 6000 men at Mizpeh. Here, as Samuel had done a thousand years before at a like period of national calamity, he fasted and prayed, and, in compliance with the Mosaic injunction, advised those who were newly married, or had built houses, and the like, to return to their homes. This reduced his number to one half. The heroic spirit of Judas, however, rose against every difficulty, and he marched towards Emmaus. B.C. 166. Having heard that Gorgias had been dispatched with a force of 6000 men to surprise him in the passes by night he instantly resolved to attack the enemies' camp. He rushed upon them unexpectedly, and completely routed them; so that when Gorgias returned baffled and weary, he was dismayed at finding his camp in flames. In the brief struggle which ensued the Jews were victorious, and took much spoil The year following, Lysias gathered together an army of 60,000 chose men, with 5000 horsemen, went up in person to the hill-country of Judaea, an pitched his camp at a place called Bethsura, the Bethzur of the Old Test Here Judas met him with 10,000 men, attacked his vanguard, and slew 5000 of them, whereupon Lysias retreated with the remainder of his arm to Antioch. After this series of triumphs Judas proceeded to Jerusalem There he found the sanctuary desolate, shrubs growing in the courts of it and the chambers of the priests thrown down; so he set to work at once to purify the holy places and restore the worship of God (1 Macc. 4:36, 41 53) on the 25th of Kislev, exactly three years after its profanation (1 Mace 1:59; Grimm on 1 Macc. 4:59). In commemoration of this cleansing of the Temple, the Jews afterwards kept for eight days annually a festival which was called Lights, and was known as the Feast of Dedication (John 10:22). McClintok and Strong’s Cyclopedia of Bible Knowledge
Thus the angel informs Daniel that the events he has foretold will not be comprehended until they begin to take place. However, even then, only the wise will be given to discern them, and none of the wicked will understand. The angel, therefore, confirms a truth given to Daniel many years previously, when he was a young man. “He giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding” (Dan 2:21).
Let the religious prognosticators and sensationalists learn from this passage to cease their attempts to break Divinely imposed seals! We must be content to know there are times during which certain events cannot be fully known, even though they can be believed. In the wake of such knowledge, we must subdue fleshly curiosity and learn more fully to live by faith. At the proper time, such noble souls will understand.
ONE THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED AND NINETY DAYS
“ 11 And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.”
Before Daniel goes his way, the angel has a further word for him. It is one of those words that will be comprehended when the things involved begin to come to pass.
A number of different time period are revealeded to Daniel.
“Two thousand, three hundred days” – 8:14 (From setting up of the abomination until the cleansing of the Temple).
“Time, times, and a half” – 12:7 (The time it took to scatter the power of the holy people).
“One thousand, two hundred, and ninety days” – 12:11 (What was accomplished is not specified).
“One thousand, three hundred, and thirty-five days” – 12:12 (What was accomplished is not specified).
All of the expressions are obvious clear to the angel, but they are not so readily apparent to those upon the earth. Further, they all apply to the period during which Antiochus (who sprang from the four rulers who followed Alexander the Great) ravaged Jerusalem and defiled the temple. All of this indicates that something of unusually epochal proportions occurred at that time. It does not mean these words are limited to that time. However, something of a more revelatory nature occurred then that is a sort of index to spiritual understanding.
FROM THE TIME
“And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away . . . ” Other versions read, “from the time the regular sacrifice is abolished,” NASB “from the time the daily sacrifice is abolished,” NIV and “from the time that the regular burn offering is taken away.” NRSV
There is a sense in which the daily sacrifice was ended when the Lord Jesus laid down His life a ransom for many. This, I understand, is the point of Daniel 9:27, which is associated with the Messiah. However, that cannot be the point of reference here, for that did not relate to the setting up of the “abomination that makes desolate,” mentioned in the next clause. This prophecy refers to the event mentioned previously (8:11-12 and 11:31). It can also apply to the destruction of Jerusalem. In both of those occasions the Temple was profaned, not merely terminated as the center of worship and service.
THE ABOMINATION THAT MAKES DESOLATE
“ . . . and the abomination that maketh desolate set up . . . ” This phrase also distinguishes the time. Historically, the abomination was “set up” when an idol-altar was place the top of the altar of burnt offerings, and swine’s flesh sacrificed to a false God. This so profaned the Temple that it had to be brought to desolation.
A THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED AND NINETY DAYS
“ . . . there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.” From the time the abomination was set up there would be 1,290 days. The angel does not specify what will occur at that time. He also does not signify if that would mark the time of something occurring in the heavenlies (like a spiritual prince being cast down), or upon earth (like the end of an empire or the coming of the Messiah).
After all is said and done, I must acknowledge I am uncertain was the precise fulfillment of this prophecy. There are some compelling reasons that have driven me to this conclusion.
The angel does not identify what will occur at the conclusion of this period – or if a conclusion is even the point.
If we measure 1,290 days from the setting up of the abomination, we cannot with confidence identify some epoch taking place upon the earth.
We are dealing with a message that was closed up until the time of its fulfillment. Even then, only those who were wise would understand. It would not be historically apparent.
There are some who have taken in hand to identify this period with other events, ranging from the fall of Antiochus, and the rise of the coming of the Messiah, to the rise of Mohammedanism, and a coming antichrist. This has required shifting the calendar from a thirty-day month a 365 day year. For some it is necessary to convert the days to years, and others have mathematical formulae to assist them in proving their point.
I am not comfortable adopting such approaches to Scripture. I therefore acknowledge I am not sure what is conveyed by this word. It is difficult for me to accept that this not somehow related to all that has been said about the fading Grecian Empire, and particularly as it regarded Antiochus Epiphanes. If the angel changed subjects, it was not apparent.
I will reserve some comments on certain lessons to be learned from this text until after the following verse.
ONE THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED AND THIRTY FIVE DAYS
“ 12 Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.”
Something of nature of life of faith is seen in this word. There is some specificity, but not enough to formulate an elaborate teaching.
BLESSED HE THAT THAT WAITS AND COMES
Daniel has received a word concerning great trial, spoil, and defamation. From one point of view, the word brought news of a gloomy future. However, the trial would come to an conclusion, and do so at the appointed time. Things would be made clearer, and the prophecy would be unsealed. The wise would then understand what they could not understand at the time.
“Blessed is he . . . ” Other versions read, “How blessed is he,” NASB “Happy are those,” NRSV “A blessing will be on the man,” BBE and “Oh the blessedness of him.” YLT
The word “blessed” is a large one in meaning, involving happiness and great satisfaction. To be “blessed” is to recognize the experience of the favor of God. It is to realize the hand of the Lord for good, and to be joyous over it. Jesus contrasted blessing with mourning (Matt 5:4). Isaiah spoke of the “oil of joy” that was granted in the place of “mourning” (Isa 61:3). Blessing is more than mere euphoria, or a feeling of well being and elation. This is the “joy of faith” (Phil 1:25) that is able to associate personal experience with the promises and mercy of the Living God.
“ . . . that waiteth . . .” Other versions read “keeps waiting,” NASB “who persevere,” NRSV “goes on waiting,” BBE and “who has patience and perseveres.” NAB
Waiting is a posture of faith. It is not being idle, but being expectant. While one waits, he continues the race, keeps on believing, and “holds on their way” (Job 17:9). Those who “wait” continue the pilgrimage of faith even when it leads through the Red Sea, the terrible wilderness, famine, or persecution and the sword!
Daniel has received word about a future in which his people will be subjected to all manner of hardship. He has even been told it will be owing to their own transgression. Yet, it will all come to an end. The details of these things have often been very sparse, and sometimes no details have been provided at all. This is all too difficult for the flesh to handle. Upon hearing of such things, some conclude there is no point to being faithful, and thus abandon their God.
But there are those who see a glorious future beyond all times of trial and hardship. In the prospect of that future, they “wait patiently,” enduring all manner of difficulty, and refusing to abandon the strait and narrow way in favor an easier and less cumbered path. Such will receive the blessing!
“ . . . and cometh to . . . ” Other versions read, “attains to,” NASB “reaches,” NIV “arrives,” ESV “until,” NAB “reaches,” NIB and “remain until.” NLT
There was an undefined goal to be reached – a point that would vindicate all who continued faithful. For them, the point was not merely enduring, but to arrive at the goal – to enter into a blessed conclusion.
There are some conclusions, or appointed destinies, that have been defined. They include death (Heb 9:27), the resurrection, or changing of the body (1 Cor 15:51), the coming of the Lord (Matt 24:44), and the day of judgment (2 Cor 5:10). In these, the time has not been revealed. In our text, the time has been revealed, but the event or object has not!
A blessing is pronounced upon all who arrive at this point of time in a state of readiness. These are those who have not been distracted by the trials that were sure to come.
THE THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED AND THIRTY FIVE DAYS
“ . . . the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.”
It is apparent from the tone of these words that the angel knew very well the specifics of these words. He specifies a particular period: “THE 1,335 days.” NASB
He does not tell Daniel when the days will begin, when they will conclude, or the identity of their objective. Nevertheless, they are there because they have been Divinely appointed.
What We DO Know of These Days
First, we know from what is said of them that these are days of testing and trial, for they must be endured. Survivors must “wait” in faith until they are passed. They must endure.
Second, these are appointed days, not a random and ungoverned period. They are not 1,335 days, but THE 1,335 days. They are under Divine supervision, and are not thus not capable of separating the trusting one from God.
Third, there is a special benefit to be obtained by all who survive this period of testing – who “keep the faith” during the somewhat lengthy trial.
Fourth, this is a period extending beyond the 1,290 days, being 45 days longer. Here is an extended period of some kind – a sort of additional testing.
Some things are made known to the sons of men that remain relatively obscure. The chief of these is the coming of the Lord, of which it is said, “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh” (Mat 25:13). Mark says of Christ’s coming, “ye know not when the time is” (Mark 13:33).
However, even though such days and times remain unknown, faith can take what has been said and prepare for the time, living triumphantly while waiting patiently. Faith does not need to have particulars! Just tell faith a blessing is coming, and it will live in expectation. Tell faith a trial is coming, it will live in a state of sobriety and preparation. We have such a text before us.
Nothing in the text indicates that the 1,335 days start at the same time as the 1,290, although that is quite possible. The 1,290 day period is said to begin with the setting up of the “abomination of desolation” (12:11). Earlier, a period of 2,300 days was initiated when the daily sacrifice was taken away, lasting until the sanctuary was cleansed (8:13-14). There was also the period of “a time, times, and a half,” the beginning of which is not made known, although the time of cessation is made known (12:7).
1,335 day period is 45 days longer than 1,290 days. There is evidence that Antiochus Epiphanes died forty-five days after the overthrow of his armies by the Maccabees. After that, the trials of the Jews were lifted, and they entered into a time of relative peace. However, some contend this cannot be derived with certainty. I will leave it to you to determine the worthiness of such a thought.
It does not seem to me that a specific period called “the 1,335 days” be considered in such a manner. Remember, it is not the beginning of this period that is the point, but its conclusion – which is not specified. By contrast, note the following.
2,300 days (8:14). The length of time the daily sacrifice ceases, and during which the sanctuary is trodden down. It concludes with the cleansing of the sanctuary.
Time, times, and a half (12:7). A time assigned to wonders declared by the angel. They would conclude when the power of the holy people was scattered.
1,290 days (12:11). These days commence with the taking away of the daily sacrifice, when the abomination of desolation is set up. The events related the cessation are not specified. They undoubtedly include the cleansing of the Temple, and the restoration of the daily sacrifices.
1,335 days (12:12). Neither the beginning nor ending are identified, nor are the matters that will be accomplished or done during the period.
Thus Daniel has heard of a period during which the daily sacrifice would cease, and the Temple be defiled (2,300 days). He has been told of a time during which the power of the people would be dissipated, and they would be reduced to a state of utter helplessness (time, times, and a half). A period beginning with the setting up of the “abomination that makes desolate” (1,290 days). He has also been told of a period of time that will conclude with great blessing for those who wait, passing through the period in faith (1,335 days).
Something to be Noted
You must determine how you will view such texts as this. You may very well desire to perfectly correlate it with history. In fact, you may be able to develop some time table that makes sense to you. That is your prerogative.
However, your view must have an edification quotient to be worthy of your embrace. It must assist you in making preparation for the future, whether it is one of trial or blessing. It must assign a greater value to faith and hope than to historical fact and circumstance.
Living With this in Mind
There are things about the future, the details of which, you do not know. There are periods plotted for you on the trestle boards of eternity that have not been made known to you. You do not know when they will begin, or when they will end. They are like 1,335 days. Faith, however, will make you equal things unknown. You can rest in the Lord, who will surely direct your paths (Prov 3:6).
APPROXIMATE CHRONOLOGICAL TABLES
An approximately chronological time table is provided before for your reference. This covers a sizeable segment tijme, beginning with the Babylonian captivity, and concluding with the inter-testamental period covered in the last revelations given to Daniel. The period is remarkable for length, covering more than 445 years. This does not include His references to the vicarious death of the Lord Jesus (), His enthronement in glory (7:13-14), the day of judgment (7:10), and the resurrection of the dead (12:2).
Jehoiakim, — 608-597 B.C.
Zedekiah. — 597-588 B.C.
Jerusalem taken, — 588 B.C.
Death of Nebuchadrezzar, — 561 B.C.
Evil-merodach, — 561 B.C.
Neriglissar, — 559 B.C.
Laborosoarchod, — 555 B.C.
Nabunaid, — 555 B.C.
Capture of Babylon, — 538 B.C.
Decree of Cyrus, — 536 B.C.
Cambyses, — 529 B.C.
Darius, son of Hystaspes — 521, B.C.
Dedication of the Second Temple — 516 B.C.
Battle of Salamis, — 480 B.C.
Ezra — 458 B.C.
Nehemiah — 444 B.C.
Nehemiah’s reforms, — 428 B.C.
Malachi, — 420 B.C.
Alexander the Great invades Persia, — 334 B.C.
Battle of Granicus, — 334 B.C.
Battle of Issus, — 333 B.C.
Battle of Arbela, — 331 B.C.
Death of Darius Codomannus. — 330 B.C.
Death of Alexander, — 323 B.C.
Ptolemy Soter captures Jerusalem, — 320 B.C.
Simon the Just high priest, — 310 B.C.
Beginning of Septuagint translation, — 284 B.C.
Antiochus the Great conquers Palestine, (?)— 202 B.C.
Accession of Antiochus Epiphanes,176 B.C. — Daniel 7:8, 20.
Joshua (Jason), brother of Onias III., gets the priesthood by bribery, and promotes Hellenism among the Jews 174 B.C. —Daniel 11:22-24, 9:26.
First expedition of Antiochus against Egypt. — Murder of Onias III., 171 B.C.
His second expedition, 170 B.C.
His plunder of the.Temple and massacre at Jerusalem, 170 B.C.—Daniel 8:9, 10; 11:28.
Third expedition of Antiochus, 169 B.C. — Daniel 11:29, 30.
Apollonius, the general of Antiochus, advances against Jerusalem with an army of 22,000. — Massacre. — The abomination of desolation in the Temple. — Antiochus carries off some of the holy vessels (1 Macc. 1:25); forbids circumcision; burns the books of the Law; puts down the daily sacrifice,169-8 B.C.— Daniel 7:21,24, 25; 8:11-13, 24, 25; 11:30-35, etc.
Desecration of the Temple. — Jews compelled to pay public honour to false gods.Faithfulness of scribes,and Chasidim. — Revolt of Maccabees, 167 B.C.— Daniel 11:34, 35; 12:3.
Jewish war of independence. Death of the priest Mattathias. — Judas Maccabaeus defeats Lysias 166 B.C.
Battles of Beth-zur and Emmaus. — Purification of Temple (Kisleu 25) 165 B.C. — Daniel 7:11, 26; 8:14; 11:45, etc. Death of Antiochus Epiphanes 163 B.C.
Judas Maecabaeus dies in battle at Eleasa, 161 B.C.
These dates are only approximate, but provide a consistent basis for comparison. They also reveal a remarkable diversity of experience.
REST FOR NOW, YET DANIEL WILL STAND IN HIS LOT
“ 13 But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the day.”
Mindful of the holy prophet, “greatly beloved,” the mighty angel leaves Daniel with a word of comfort and consolation. He knows the great heart of the prophet yearns to know the meaning of what has been revealed to him – to comprehend the purposes of God and know them more fully. His words to Daniel will ministry to our spirits also.
GO THY WAY
“But go thou thy way . . . ” The time of the revelation has come to a close. The prophet must go his way, resuming the normal course of his life. He must leave the mountain, and it was, and head for the valley. He will leave carrying a storehouse of holy considerations – things to ponder, and upon which he may meditate. This has been the answer to his prayer concerning the land of Judah, the Temple, and his people, and how abundant it has been! Heavenly evil principalities have made every effort to stop it. Daniel’s physical constitution could not stand up under the weight of the message. He needed supernatural strength just to hear it, to say nothing of comprehending it. Now he must leave, as it was, the holy of holies and return to the holy place and the outer court. Secondarily, he must return to do the business of Cyrus, king of Persia. Primarily, he will take up the mantle of Divine service once again.
It is estimated that the Babylonian captivity began around 606 B.C. At that time Daniel was a young man – probably somewhere between thirteen and eighteen. The Captivity lasted for seventy years, concluding in 536 B.C. At that time, Daniel would have been somewhere between 83 and 88 years old. The revelation recorded in the last three chapters was received during the third year of king Cyrus, around 534 B.C., at which time Daniel would have been between 87 and 92 years of age.
Therefore, when the angel says “Go thy way,” he probably meant Daniel’s life would soon conclude. Jewish tradition places his death in the year following this revelation.
UNTIL THE END
“ . . . till the end be . . . ” Other versions read, “until the time appointed,” DOUAY and “go on to the end.” YLT
There are ast least three possible meanings to this expression.
The end of Daniel’s life.
The time when the prophecies would be fulfilled.
The end of all time itself.
There is a sense in which all of them are true.
Daniel was to live the remainder of his life in faith, looking forward to the fulfillment of all things.
Because only the body died, he would continue awaiting the fulfillment of the angel’s words in another realm.
He would await the conclusion of time itself, when all would be made plain, and he would know as also he was known.
Because of the words that follow, the emphasis must be placed on latter, even there is some truth to them all.
THOU SHALT REST
“ . . . for thou shalt rest . . . ” Other versions read, “enter into rest,” NASB “take your rest,” BBE and “you will rest.” NLT
This refers to the “rest” into which the faithful enter at death. In the spiritually primitive times of the patriarch Job, saints who passed through troublous times were depicted as “prisoners resting together” in death (Job 3:18).
After Jesus’ exaltation, the Spirit spoke more expressly on this matter. Those who “die in the Lord” are said to “rest from their labors” (Rev 14:13). In their death they pass beyond the region of trouble and trial, being “present with the Lord” (2 Cor 5:8).
What a pleasant contemplation that must have been for the aged prophet. No more experience of captivity, threats from an angry king, lion’s dens, or the likes. However, although his life on the earth ended, he continued to remain in expectation “until the end” of all things, when the Lord will “make all things new” (Rev 21:5).
THOU SHALL STAND IN THY LOT
“ . . . and stand in thy lot at the end of the day.” Other versions read, “and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days,” NKJV “and rise again for your allotted portion at the end of the age,” NASB “you shall rise for your reward at the end of the days,” NRSV “and shall stand in your allotted place at the end of the days,” RSV “you will rise again to receive the inheritance set aside for you.” NLT
What a marvelous picture of the outcome of the life of faith and faithfulness! Just as the various tribes of Israel received a particular inheritance in Canaan (Num 26:55; Josh 14:2; 19:51), so each believer will receive a particular inheritance in glory. How blessed will be the inheritance of Daniel, whose ministry in a foreign land extended over the reigns of Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Darius, and Cyrus.
There is not a single sin recorded against this man. Every time the Lord sent a message to him he received it, pondered it, inquiring further into matters that were not clear to him. He was a faithful custodian of the truth, recording, protecting, and declaring it. When he was given a message of judgment for a king, he delivered it. When He was Divinely protected, he confessed it before men. When he prayed, the Lord answered him. Over his long and productive life he maintained a consistent interest in God’s land, His Temple, and His people.
Daniel was one of three men God associated with deliverance (Noah, Daniel, and Job – Ezek 14:14,20). The wisdom he possessed was used as a point of Divine comparison (Ezek 28:3).
And what do you think his “lot” will be? Surely, he will be a prince in the world to come, with a God-glorifying stewardship. There is a place and an inheritance reserved for Daniel, and he will obtain it at the conclusion of time. He received much from God in this world. He will receive infinitely more in the world to come, and the mighty angel from heaven knew it!
We cannot leave this text without drawing attention to the inheritance that is reserved for the saints of God. In a way, the words spoken to Daniel can be said to every person in Christ Jesus: “at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.” NIV Much is made of this by the Holy Spirit, and much should be made of it by us.
A Promised Eternal Inheritance. “And for this cause He is the Mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance” (Heb 9:15). Remove that inheritance, and even the death of Christ becomes meaningless.
Begotten to an Inheritance. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Pet 1:3-4). Remove that inheritance, and there is no real point to being born again.
In Christ we Obtain an Inheritance. “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will” (Eph 1:11). Remove that inheritance, and there is no proof that anything else had,. Or can, be received.
The Holy Spirit is the Pledge of the Full Inheritance. “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory” (Eph 1:13b-14). Remove that inheritance, and the Person and ministry of the Holy Spirit become vague and beyond understanding.
We Live in Anticipation of the Inheritance. “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ” (Col 3:23-24). Remove that inheritance, and there remains no real reason for living.
As believers, we will be noted for some kind of emphasis – some primary thought to which we always revert, and upon which we always build. The “eternal inheritance” of the saints is an integral part of any valid theological emphasis. Whether a person wishes to acknowledge it or not, there is no true value in a religion that does not make much of the inheritance that is “reserved in heaven for us” (1 Pet 1:4). Such a religion should be abandoned.
JESUS’ REFERENCE TO THIS TEXT
The passage with which we have dealt was referenced by the Lord Jesus, confirming its criticality to our understanding. The occasion during which the reference occurred was, what is commonly called the Olivet discourse.
Following the witnessing of a widow casting all that she had into the Temple treasury, Jesus drew the attention of His disciples to what she had done. “Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: for all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living” (Mark 12:43-44).
Alarmed by His words, the disciples spoke to Him as “He went out of the Temple.” As though suggesting the Temple could not be maintained with such meager offerings they said, “Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!” (Mark 13:1). Jesus responded, “Seest thou these great buildings? There shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down” (Mark 13:2).
Following this, Jesus “sat upon the Mount of Olives opposite the Temple.” There, in full view that majestic building, “Peter and James and John and Andrew asked Him privately,” “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Mark 13:3-4; Matt 24:3). He then delivered some of the most detailed events in all of history. He covered three episodes, addressed in the questions of the first four men called to follow Him – Peter, Andrew, James, and John. First, the destruction of the Temple (“these things”). Second, the sign of His coming. Third the of the end of the world (Matt 24:3).
Time does not permit a delineation of His coming and the end of the world. However, in addressing the destruction of Jerusalem in general, and the Temple in particular, the Lord Jesus referred to Daniel’s prophecy. He accents a sin of the greatest magnitude, which He terms an abomination that mandates desolation. Here are His words.
“When ye therefore shall see THE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION, SPOKEN OF BY DANIEL THE PROPHET, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes” (Mat 24:15-18; Mark 13:14-16).
Notice that Jesus applied the very principle made known in our text, namely that when the events begin to take place, an understanding of them can be obtained.
Concerning the appointed destruction of Jerusalem Jesus provided some remarkable details. These things were carried out with the Roman armies sacked Jerusalem in A.D. 70.
The destruction was appointed because Jerusalem did not know the day of its visitation by God through His Son (Luke 19:44).
Their enemies would build an embankment against them (Lk 19:43a).
Their enemies would encompass them, hemming them in on every side (Lk 19:43b).
The city would be laid to the ground, together with the children within her walls (Lk 19:44a).
One stone would not be left upon another (Lk 19:44b).
There would be “great tribulation” in those days (Matt 24:21).
Unless God shortened the days, no flesh would be saved (Matt 24:22).
These would be days of vengeance – Divine vengeance, that “all things written may be fuilfilled” (Lk 21:22).
There would be “great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people” (Lk 21:23).
They would “fall by the sword and led away captive into all nations” (Lk 21:24).
Jerusalem would be “trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” (Lk 21:24).
In profound love for His people, the Lord urged the people to prepare for these awesome events.
When they saw the events begin, they were to “flee into the mountains” (Matt 24:16; Mk 13:14; Lk 21:21).
Those in other countries were not to come into the city (Lk 21:21).
They were not to take time to remove anything from their houses (Matt 24:17; Mk 13:15).
Those in the field were not to return home to gather their clothes together (Matt 24:18; Mk 13:16).
A woe was pronounced upon those who were either about to deliver children, or were succoring them (Matt 24:19; Mk 13:17; Lk 21:23).
They were to pray that their escape would not be in the winter or on the Sabbath day (Matt 24:20; Mk 13:18).
When they saw Jerusalem encircled with armies, they would know the desolation was at hand (Lk 21:20).
All of this because they “did not know the time of their visitation!” The very thought of being unaware of Divine visitations should strike fear into every person.
Jesus gave two indicators to the people that the judgment was upon them. First, the city encircled by armies. Second, and of primary importance here, “the abomination of desolation” mentioned by Daniel.
This confirms that the revelation given to Daniel was broad in its scope, and not confined to judgments brought upon the people prior to Christ. During the inter-testamental period “the abomination of desolation” referred to the blasphemous act of Antiochus Epiphanes, when he defiled the temple with an altar to an idol, and the sacrifice of a swine, whose broth he scattered throughout the sanctuary. Now, Jesus affirms the same sort of thing would occur in the destruction of Jerusalem.
Concerning this “abomination of desolation,” Mark adds the words, “standing where it ought not” (Mk 13:14). That equates with “the sanctuary” of Daniel 8:11-14 and 11:31. Of the Romans invasion of Jerusalem Josephus writes, “And now the Romans, upon the flight of the seditious into the city, and upon the burning of the holy house itself, and of all the building round about it, brought their ensigns to the temple, and set them over against its Eastern Gate; and there did they offer sacrifices to them, and there did they make Titus imperator,with the greatest acclamations of joy.” Jewish Wars, Book 6, Chapter 6, #316.
The profanation of reference included the holy city, where God had placed His name (1 Kgs 11:36). It is thyerefore referred to as “The city of God” (Psa 46:4), “the throne of the Lord” (Jer 3:17), and “the city of truth” (Zech 8:3). The Temple itself was “the Temple of the Lord” (2 Kgs 11:10), “the house of God” (1 Chron 29:2), and His “sanctuary” (2 Chron 20:8).
When the Roman ensigns were brought into the Temple, extolling their gods and rulers, it was an especial abomination before the Lord. Unholy things were brought into a holy place, thereby bringing a defilement that mandated destruction.
This was not the immediate application of Daniel’s prophecy, but one of implication and principle – as in Hosea’s reference to God calling His Son out of Egypt (Hos 11:1).
There is a certain abomination related with corrupt religion – when things that God hates are brought into His presence. This is particularly true when it is represented as being religion, associated with sacrifices and worship.
The applicability of this to our day is worthy of notation. For example, God has repudiated the “wisdom of this world,” declaring it to be “foolishness” (1 Cor 3:19). Yet, it has not only been brought into the church, but highly lauded, as though it were in any way acceptable to God. We are regularly confronted with the vaunting of psychological principles, language expertise, hermeneutical principles, human logic, and the likes – all of which come from the well of human wisdom. Such things cannot be dignified by religion, but rather bring a contaminating influence into the sanctuary.
A VIEW TO CONSIDER
I will wax bold and give my assessment of the situation. The very presence of these things is to our day what the compassing of Roman armies was to Jerusalem, and the profanation of the Temple was to those of Antiochus’ day. It is a prelude to Divine judgment. The unusual popularity of such things is evidence that the professed church has been abandoned by God, like Jerusalem was in the days of Antiochus, and the Temple in the destruction of Jerusalem.
The Gentile World
When the Gentile world refused to retain God in its knowledge, He “gave them over to a reprobate mind,” and, as a consequence, all manner of iniquity broke out among them (Rom 1:28-32). It was a veritable flood of immorality and corruption. The dominance of iniquity was itself the evidence God have given them up (Rom 1:24-26).
When Israel would “have none” of God, He “gave them up to their own hearts’ lust: and they walked in their own counsels” (Psa 81:11). The corrupt manners of the people, therefore, was confirmation that God had delivered them over to the dictates of their corrupted hearts.
The Modern Church
Now, in the professed church, a similar situation has arisen. Division exists on a massive and unprecedented scale, even though Christ is not “divided” (1 Cor 1:13). Iniquity among professed Christians is increasing at remarkable levels. Within the church people are found who are “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (2 Tim 3:4). Yet, there is nothing about salvation that encourages or contributes to such things – nothing at all! How, then, can we account for their presence? It is simply because the Divine presence has been, at the worst, withdrawn. In the most favorable light, the Holy Spirit has been quenched and grieved, and thus His fruitage is not being found.
The importance of the principle revealed in the phrase “the abomination of desolation,” exists in our time, and we do well to behold it. God’s people must not learn to live with corruption. That includes moral, spiritual, and doctrinal corruption.
All filthiness of both “flesh and spirit” are to be purged from us. In fact, God will not “receive” us unless this takes place, as confirmed in Second Corinthians 6:17-7:1.
Thus we have come to the conclusion of the book of Daniel. He was an unusual and faithful man, blessed with a unique and faithful ministry. His tenure was lengthy, yet he never deviated from his faith in, and commitment to, the Lord. Although he was a captive in a foreign land, he never lost his love God’s land, His house, or His people. He was a good and faithful servant, handling the things given to him in such a manner as brought glory to God.
In his youthful days, he was an example for the young. As a young man, he was a premier representative of the years of zeal and ambition associated with beginning manhood. As a mature man, he set the tone for godliness. As an aged man he held the standard high for the Lord. Even though he was a leading politician, he never compromised his faith. When his godly manner of life was threatened, he remained faithful. If he had to choose between lions and the Lord, he chose the Lord. When he did not understand, he sought understanding from the Lord. When he was given a message he declared it, even if it was to a king. When he was told to go his way and wait, he did so.
We do well to follow in the steps of such a noble and choice member of “the household of faith.” He left steps that are worthy of following, and a life worthy of imitation. Daniel is an example of what happens to the person who dares to believe God, and keep on believing.