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DANIEL, GOD'S MAN IN THE FIELD (PART XIV)
A SERMON ORIGINALLY DELIVERED AT
THE HIGH HILL UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
THE FEDERATED CHURCH OF ATHENS
8 October 1989
By Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
Preparation: (Deuteronomy 33:2-3)
And he said, “The Lord came from Sinai, and dawned on them from Seir; He shone forth from Mount Paran, and He came from the midst of ten thousand holy ones; at His right hand there was flashing lightning for them. Indeed, He loves the people; all Thy holy ones are in Thy hand, and they followed in Thy steps; everyone receives of Thy words.”
In our last discussion in the Book of Daniel, we looked at part of the prophetic message and how our understanding of such messages requires our faith.
We saw that Daniel’s vision was similar to Nebuchadnezzar’s vision concerning four beasts which represented four kingdoms. But in Daniels’s vision, the fourth kingdom was different and represented not only the coming Roman Empire, but also another but similar future kingdom, as we shall have further confirmed.
This future kingdom, however, had one striking difference: it involved the rule of Satan and his Antichrist.
Let’s go back and pick up where we left off, as Daniel continues to ponder over his vision, beginning at 7:9 –
9. "I kept looking
Until thrones were set up,
And the Ancient of Days took His seat;
His vesture was like white snow,
And the hair of His head like pure wool.
His throne was ablaze with flames,
Its wheels were a burning fire.
10. "A river of fire was flowing
And coming out from before Him;
Thousands upon thousands were attending Him,
And myriads upon myriads were standing before Him;
The court sat,
And the books were opened.
11. "Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking; I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire.
12. "As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time.
Daniel kept looking and pondering over this fourth beast and in particular the little horn that rose up and uttered great boasts. And in answer to his request to God, he sees this portion of his vision which takes place before and at the end of the thousand year reign of Jesus Christ upon the earth, all of which are in the future.
Let’s take a look at an expansion of this prophecy as given to John in
Revelation and in particular to that time at the end of the tribulation period –
the battle of Armageddon.
Please turn in your Bibles to Revelation 19:17-21 –
17. And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in midheaven, "Come, assemble for the great supper of God;
18. in order that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great."
We are looking at the great army of the unbelievers who believe they have the power to come against God’s chosen people and against His authority; and in their pride they are heading for destruction.
God is no chooser of people because of their race, or color, or sex, or position, or rank in society.
God sees the intent of the heart and mind of every person who either saves or condemns himself or herself by their own intent, either for or against God.
We can also look at this as whether or not a person desires to live in the heavenly will of Father who is in heaven, just as Jesus taught us to pray for in The Lord's Prayer.
All who decide to fight against God will lose.
Now, note something here. Fighting with God is an open rejection of His will; but if we believe, and yet struggle over something, God is willing to wrestle with us over these points, just as He wrestled with Jacob.
Our wrestling is our prayerful struggle to seek God’s answer to our problems.
Those who fight with God have already rejected His authority and want no part of His answers; thus they have condemned themselves and fall into God’s final judgment.
But now, note what John sees in his vision:
19. And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies, assembled to make war against Him who sat upon the horse, and against His army.
This is Jesus Christ’s second coming.
He will be coming on a white horse with an army of His saints – those who are born again.
Did you notice that the beast was also with these armies that are coming against the Lord? This is the same beast that Daniel saw in his vision.
20. And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone.
21. And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat upon the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.
The Lord does not need to use a physical sword. All He has to do is speak. The words which He speaks are sharper than any two-edged sword.
It is a terrible thing to fight with God.
It is a fight that no one can win.
Yet every day, we encounter people who are doing just that to try preserve they corrupt ways of living.
They are totally indifferent to the pain and suffering they contribute to by their lustful ways of living, which results in the horrible suffering and death of millions of human beings and billions of animals every year.
This is the separation that both Daniel and John saw.
But there is more to this vision.
In Daniel’s vision there was a time set, and extension of life was given to the beasts. Since these beasts represent future kingdoms, their destruction was in the future; but with the fourth beast there is something else.
Let’s continue in our look at Revelation, beginning at 20:1 –
1. And I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand.
2. And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years,
3. and threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he should not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time.
As we have said, God’s ways are not always our ways.
We would think that once God had bound Satan, He would keep him bound forever and ever; but He says that He must release him for a short time.
Hang on to this thought.
We also saw in verse 20:2 that this dragon, Satan, is also the serpent of old. This serpent is the serpent that deceived Eve in the Garden of Eden. Not that Satan was the physical serpent, but the power behind the serpent.
This is why I believe that this is also the time when Satan fell from the presence of God; for in this act he tried to assume God’s position of rule over the earth which God had given to humans.
There is a lot going on here, and it is taking place over a period of slightly over a thousand years, and the vision keeps going back and forth from the beginning to the end.
So as we learn about these things, just relax with your thoughts and seek God’s interpretation; and He will give the answers to you just as He gave them to John and Daniel.
And there is something else that takes place before the thousand year reign of Jesus Christ.
Let’s go back and look again at Daniel’s vision beginning at verse 7:13 –
13. "I kept looking in the night visions,
And behold, with the clouds of heaven
One like a Son of Man was coming,
And He came up to the Ancient of Days
And was presented before Him.
14. "And to Him was given dominion,
Glory and a kingdom,
That all the peoples, nations, and men of every language
Might serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
Which will not pass away;
And His kingdom is one
Which will not be destroyed.
Daniel is looking forward to a period of time after the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
According to the tradition of Daniel’s day, only the Hebrew people were the chosen of God, and all others would have to become Jews in order to be with God. Yet here we see that people of all nations are serving Him.
He is looking directly into the throne room of God, and he sees all of this.
15. "As for me, Daniel, my spirit was distressed within me, and the visions in my mind kept alarming me.
Any person who looked into or entered the Holy of Holies, the inner room of the temple where the Ark of the Covenant was kept, would die. Even the high priest could enter the Holy of Holies only once a year.
Daniel is looking into, and probably being inside, something greater and more holy, and he is still alive; thus he is alarmed.
He is also alarmed at the message of his vision:
16."I approached one of those who were standing by and began asking him the exact meaning of all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of these things:
17. 'These great beasts, which are four in number, are four kings who will arise from the earth.
18. 'But the saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come.'
Those who believe in the coming Messiah and the saints will be with the Lord forever, and will receive and possess the kingdom forever and ever. It doesn’t matter if they were born Jewish or not.
Now let’s go back to Revelation 20:4f and see the separation of the believers and followers of God from those who rebelled against Him:
4. And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of the testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
These are the true believers who did not follow Satan and his false leaders.
Many of these believers were killed, for they would not deny their faith.
5. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection.
Only those who truly believe and follow God will be part of the first resurrection; all others will be part of the second resurrection.
6. Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.
This is part of the reason why I became a pastor: so that I might be able to encourage everyone I can to believe in and to follow Jesus Christ, and that they would be part of the first resurrection and live forever with the Lord.
This is also one of the reasons that I take no money for doing what I am doing: so that no one could ever have an excuse and say that I just say the things I do because I am being paid to say them.
I do what I do because I love the Lord and truly desire to serve Him. I have no other reason.
That is all that God is asking of each of you.
Next week we will look at what happens to those who don’t follow God, and I pray that none who hear my words will ever be part of that second resurrection.