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DANIEL, GOD’S MAN IN THE FIELD (PART XVI)
A SERMON ORIGINALLY DELIVERED AT
THE HIGH HILL UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
THE FEDERATED CHURCH OF ATHENS
22 OCTOBER 1989
By Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
Preparation: (Isaiah 40:10)
Behold, the Lord God will come with might, with His arm ruling for Him. Behold, His reward is with Him, and His recompense before Him.
In our study of the Books of Daniel and Revelation over the past two weeks, we saw the separation that will take place between believers and non-believers, and that it is by our own free will choice, during this lifetime, that we go to heaven or hell.
We have also talked about the disconnect that occurs even occurs among believers: between those who are compassionate peacemakers and do everything they can to live in the heavenly will of God, seeking to do no harm to any part of God’s creation (Humans, animals, or the environment); and between those who seem to go along with the pain, suffering, death and corruption of this world.
This is very similar to what James tells us in 2:19:
19 You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.
It is a sobering message for those who are playing games in their relationship with God.
It is also an encouraging message for those who wholly desire to be conformed into God's heavenly will and who truly love the Lord with all their heart, soul, and might; for even if we struggle with situations and occasionally slip into sin, we will be forgiven and will be with the Lord forever and ever.
The key is that we desire to be conformed to the Lord and not to the ways of the world.
We also saw that the world would have wars, and kingdom would overpower kingdom, before the end would come; but that if we hung on until the end, we would be saved.
It doesn't matter if we die, if we are Jesus Christ's, for we shall rise in the first resurrection and live with the Lord forever and ever.
Even the apostles struggled with the signs of the end. So, before we look at
Daniel chapter 8, let’s let Jesus explain something about this in Matthew 24:1f.
1. And Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him.
The temple was important to the Jewish people; it was the center of their
2. And He answered and said to them, "Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here shall be left upon another, which will not be torn down."
The people were seeking the temple instead of the God of the temple, and they had rejected their Messiah, Jesus Christ; thus their temple and their homeland will be taken away.
Isn't this explanation similar to what will happen to the non-believers who will have their eternal homeland of heaven taken away from them?
3. And as He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?"
It is interesting that this question was asked of Jesus upon the Mount of Olives, for it is upon this hill that He will first set foot when He returns.
4. And Jesus answered and said to them, "See to it that no one misleads you.
5. "For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will mislead many.
And there are some living among us today who are saying this very thing.
6. "And you will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end.
7. "For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes.
8. "But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.
Isn’t all this happening today?
And isn’t this also what Daniel was prophesying about?
Let's return to Daniel 8:1f and look in on another vision he had two years after the one of chapter 7.
And remember that all of this is to encourage us to stand firm in our belief and not be turned away by false teachings or fears, even if they seem like the majority opinion; for if we stand firm, we will always be with the Lord.
1. In the third year of the reign of Belshazzar the king a vision appeared to me, Daniel, subsequent to the one which appeared to me previously.
2. And I looked in the vision, and it came about while I was looking, that I was in the citadel of Susa, which is in the province of Elam; and I looked in the vision, and I myself was beside the Ulai Canal.
3. Then I lifted my gaze and looked, and behold a ram which had two horns was standing in front of the canal. Now the two horns were long, but one was longer than the other, with the longer one coming up last.
We are here again looking at the Medo-Persia Empire. Persia was the younger kingdom, but it grew into dominance over Media.
And remember that this vision is taking place during the Babylonian Empire,
and Medes and Persians had not yet captured it.
4. I saw the ram butting westward, northward, and southward, and no other beasts could stand before him, nor was there anyone to rescue from his power; but he did as he pleased and magnified himself
Remember that God did rescue those who followed Him, but He didn't rescue any nation, including Israel; for all had turned against the Lord.
5. While I was observing, behold, a male goat was coming from the west over the surface of the whole earth without touching the ground; and the goat had a conspicuous horn between his eyes.
Remember, horns represent kingdoms, and this goat is not a unicorn. It represents the Greek Empire under Alexander the Great who conquered a tremendous amount of territory in only three years.
6. And he came up to the ram that had the two horns, which I had seen standing in front of the canal, and rushed at him in his mighty wrath.
7. And I saw him come beside the ram, and he was enraged at him; and he struck the ram and shattered his two horns, and the ram had no strength to withstand him. So he hurled him to the ground and trampled on him, and there was none to rescue the ram from his power.
8. Then the male goat magnified himself exceedingly. But as soon as he was mighty, the large horn was broken; and in its place there came up four conspicuous horns toward the four winds of heaven.
Alexander the Great died, and four of his generals divided up his empire among themselves.
9. And out of one of them came forth a rather small horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east and toward the Beautiful Land.
This little horn, who himself is a type of the Antichrist, rises out of the conquests of Alexander and refers to Antiochus Epiphanes.
This is not the same horn we saw in Daniel 7:8 which rises out of the restored Roman Empire of the future as the Antichrist, but both do depict him and what he will do to the Beautiful Land, Palestine or Israel.
10. And it grew up to the host of heaven and caused some of the host and some of the stars to fall to earth, and it trampled them down.
Antiochus Epiphanes persecuted the Jewish people during his reign, as did Hitler during his reign, and as the Antichrist will do during the tribulation period.
11. It even magnified itself to be equal with the Commander of the host; and it removed the regular sacrifice from Him, and the place of His sanctuary was thrown down.
The Antichrist will do just as Antiochus. He will make himself out to be equal to God and he will desecrate the temple altar.
Why will God allow this to happen?
We are told the answer in the next verse:
12. And on account of transgression the host will be given over to the horn along with the regular sacrifice; and it will fling truth to the ground and perform its will and prosper.
Just because a Jewish person calls himself or herself a Jew does not make them a true Jew in their heart, and the same holds true for Christians.
When as a nation we don't follow God, our protection is removed.
Our nation has been turning more and more away from God, and we don't have to look very far to see that much of our protection has already been removed. We should heed this warning.
But no matter how bad situations and conditions are around us, we who are true Christians are encouraged to stand firm.
Note what the Lord tells us in Revelation 22:10-17.
10. And he said to me, "Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.
11. "Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong; and let the one who is filthy, still be filthy; and let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness; and let the one who is holy, still keep himself holy."
Haven't we all heard people say, "Come on, times have changed; people don't live that way anymore."?
What they say is true.
And what the Bible is telling us is that if we conform to their ways, we will be like them and end up in hell.
We are not to conform to their life styles; we are to live as we know God desires us to live, and as we are taught in His Word.
And we are not to worry about how they live, but we are just to live a Godly life before them as a witness. They know the difference between right and wrong, just as we all know.
12. "Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.
13. "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end."
14. Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city.
15. Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.
The dogs depicted here are not animals, but people of less value than humans. In other words, people of such low moral character that their sin is too abominable to mention.
16. "I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright morning star."
Do you hear what we are being told?
This word is for the churches, for we need to do some really good house cleaning.
The choice is ours.
Jesus is again telling us that He was before David and that David was created by Him; yet as Messiah, He has also come forth from David, but He is still God.
17. And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come." And let the one who hears say, "Come." And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.
The Spirit of God is saying to us, "Come to God"; and at the same time He is saying to Christ, "Come again."
And the same should also be said by the believing church, "the bride."
The whole of heaven is opened before us, but we must be willing to enter on God's terms.
This is what Daniel's vision is trying to tell us as well, if we truly care to listen.
Let's go back to Daniel 8:13f, and listen to what he heard:
13. Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to that particular one who was speaking, "How long will the vision about the regular sacrifice apply, while the transgression causes horror, so as to allow both the holy place and the host to be trampled?"
This is the same question that the apostles asked Jesus, and it is one that we should ask ourselves as well; for how long are we going to continue to let our own abominations come into the church?
When will we finally decide to truly clean up our own hearts and the church with ourselves?
God has given us examples of what He will do to clean up our act, and in the next verse he tells Daniel about Antiochus.
14. And he said to me, "For 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the holy place will be properly restored."
Judas Maccabeus and an army of true believing Jews restored the temple to proper worship on 25 December 165 B.C.
Does that date have another significant meaning to you?
I pray that it does, for without Jesus Christ being born in our hearts there can be no true and lasting restoration of ourselves or of the church.
We must make the choice.