Watch the most recent sermon on 3.29.2020 Go Now!
March 29, 2020 | Doug Sauder
Watch our most recent mid-week message here.
This past weekend, we continued our series, “Revealer of Mysteries: A Study Through Daniel,” as we dove into Daniel 10 and 11 with renowned Bible commentator and scholar David Guzik.
Watch the video below to see a few highlights from the teaching and share it with your friends via social media. To watch the message in its entirety, click here.
FOR THE NOTE TAKERS
Let’s recap some of the key talking points from David Guzik's message this weekend:
“He said, 'Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have now been sent to you.' And when he said this to me, I stood up trembling. Then he continued, 'Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard . . .'”—Daniel 10:11-12 (NIV): God always hears our prayers; He always inclines His ear toward those who call out to Him! He listens and stands with us, embracing us and walking through every situation and circumstance in life alongside us. He is never far away and truly does hear our supplications and prayers. It doesn’t always feel that way, though, does it? Sometimes, if we’re being honest, we wonder, question, and doubt whether God is really listening, whether He hears us, and whether our prayers will be answered.
Here, we see that Daniel—the one referred to by the angel as “highly esteemed” (NIV), “greatly beloved” (NKJV), and “a man treasured by God” (HCSB)—wrestled for 21 days in prayer and fasting. He was devoted to fervent fasting and persistent prayer, despite not hearing, receiving, or feeling a response from God. He didn’t give up . . . and neither should we! Because in Christ, we are highly esteemed, greatly beloved, and men and women treasured by God; in Christ, we can “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16 NKJV).
So, let us persist in prayer and fasting. Let us continue to seek daily so we can hear from God and have communion with Him. Why? Because He hears us and is with us always! In troubled, difficult, perilous, and uncertain times as well as in triumphant, prosperous, carefree times, we can be confident our God hears us, that He responds to all those who call upon His name, and that He has given us His Holy Spirit “to help [us] understand” (Daniel 10:14 HCSB) as he did for Daniel here in this passage.
“I have come to help you understand what will happen to your people in the last days, for the vision refers to those days.”—Daniel 10:14 (HCSB): After expanding upon what would happen through the Persian Empire and the Greek Empire, in Daniel 11 the angel proceeds to predict history over a span of 375 years and then skips ahead to a vision of the end times—and it does it all with amazing accuracy. This chapters is so specific in its fulfillment of prophecy that many critics—without any evidence—who deny supernatural revelation insist that this was written after the fact and was not prophecy. But we know the truth; we know that it’s all God! We know that it was indeed prophecy given by God and that we can look on and see it was history fulfilled with amazing accuracy.
“By the power he gains through his riches, he will stir up everyone against the kingdom of Greece. Then a warrior king will arise; he will rule a vast realm and do whatever he wants. But as soon as he is established, his kingdom will be broken up and divided to the four winds of heaven, but not to his descendants; it will not be the same kingdom that he ruled, because his kingdom will be uprooted and will go to others besides them. The king of the South will grow powerful, but one of his commanders will grow more powerful and will rule a kingdom greater than his . . .”—Daniel 11:2–5 (HCSB): Here, we see the angel reveal to Daniel what was to come of the Persian Empire, which he was now serving under. The chest and arms of silver (the Medo-Persian Empire in Daniel 2) would give way to the belly and thighs of bronze (the Greek Empire), led by a great warrior king . . . Alexander the Great.
Did you know that Alexander the Great’s time on top was fairly short lived? He died at 32 years old and, as this passage so perfectly predicted, and had no heirs to pass on the kingdom to. So, it was divided amongst his four top generals: Cassander, Ptolemy I, Antigonus, and Seleucus. And which one became the most prominent? Ptolemy, the king of the South. Again, this was written over 200 years before any of these events took place! Eventually, we come to the story of what took place in the northern kingdom. Around 130 years after these kingdoms were established, a man referred to in the NKJV as a “vile person,” rose up and seized the northern kingdom and gave himself the name Antiochus IV Epiphanes.
After having been defeated by the growing republic of Rome, Antiochus Epiphanes was made subject to Roman rule. And while retreating home to Syria, he passed through Jerusalem and brought violent retribution against the Israelites (Daniel 11:28–35). Having already spent much time persecuting the Israelites, he desecrated the temple and temple sacrifice by sacrificing a pig on the altar of the Lord and took the blood and fat and used it to desecrate the entire temple area and set up an image of Zeus at the altar (11:31), plundered and robbed what would account for approximately one billion dollars' worth of gold today, killed 80,000 Jews, and enslaved or sold almost 100,000 others.
But here’s the beautiful thing we see here in all this prophecy . . .
“But the people who know their God will be strong and take action . . .”—Daniel 11:32 (HCSB): God raised up a mighty resistance through a family known as the Maccabees and drove out the Seleucid Empire. And when they endeavored to purify the temple, they knew they needed to light the lamps of the temple and keep them burning for eight days, but didn’t have enough oil. However, God did a miracle and extended the small amount of oil they had for the eight days. It’s the miracle celebrated at Hanukkah.
This is a wonderful lesson for us right now in this moment. While the forces of darkness may seek to consume us, while things around us may seem chaotic, uncertain, bleak, and broken, we, the people who know the God of angel armies, the King of the universe, the Almighty Creator, Sustainer, Healer, and Provider, can take to heart the words spoken to Joshua in Joshua 1:9 (NIV), “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go,” and we can “take action” and be used by God to accomplish “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Ephesians 3:20 NKJV) and bring revival and breakthrough to the fearful, the hurting, and the hopeless.
“Then the king will do whatever he wants. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god, and he will say outrageous things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed . . .”—Daniel 11:36 (HCSB)”: In verse 36, we shift to a future date. In Antiochus, we see what’s called a double-fulfillment prophecy, as he also was a foreshadow of the coming evil. He was a historical preview of the future coming world leader we call the Antichrist. 2 Thessalonians 2:4 (NIV) says, “He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” Do you see the parallels in language used by Daniel and the apostle Paul?
And it says that he will be successful until the time of wrath is completed; he will be a man of great power. He will do great damage upon the earth. But his time is limited. Daniel 11:45 (HCSB) says, “He will pitch his royal tents between the sea and the beautiful holy mountain, but he will meet his end with no one to help him.” This ultimate world leader, this Antichrist, will lose in the end. He will come to his end and will be beyond help. Why? Because he puts himself against the Lord, against the Messiah of Israel, against the Savior of the world.
The future—and the present—may hold some scary things, but if these prophecies show us anything, it’s that God has a plan for the future; that He knows the future and is in control of the future. He is in control of every moment, of all of history, and of right now. The God we serve is in control, friends!
Quote to Remember: You have nothing to fear, even in a world that seems like it’s spinning out of control, because your guide knows it all and guides things to His perfect resolution.—David Guzik
1. Why is it important to be persistent in prayer?
2. What (and who) are you praying for right now?
3. Seeing how God was in control throughout, how He brought everything He had spoken to Daniel into fruition, how does this change the way you look at your world and circumstances?
4. This week, how can you walk more in trust and obedience and not fear?
5. Daniel 11:32 (HCSB) says, “But the people who know their God will be strong and take action.” What action is God calling you to this week?
As we continue to track the news and information about COVID-19 and its effects both worldwide and right here in our surrounding cities, this week we will continue to hold services ONLINE ONLY.
Join us online this Wednesday as Pastor Doug and others lead us in a special time of prayer, devotion, and worship. Then on the weekend, we’ll conclude our study through the Book of Daniel as Pastor Doug shares a powerful word from Daniel 12.
We also want to let you know about some great opportunities available so you can remain connected to the body of Christ during this time of social distancing and precaution:
If you aren't already, follow us on social media!