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                         "THE TIME OF THE END"

                         The Visions In Daniel

INTRODUCTION

1. Much confusion regarding end times is related to prophetic
   interpretation...
   a. Especially regarding prophecies in the books of Daniel and
      Revelation
   b. The use of such books is common among the cults with their end
      time scenarios

2. Dispensational premillennialism also depends heavily on such books...
   a. With its interpretations of the visions found in Daniel
   b. With its interpretations of the book of Revelation as a whole

3. Because many are acquainted only with dispensational premillennial
   views regarding the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation, we will...
   a. Offer some alternative views
   b. With links for further study

[In this lesson, our attention will be on the visions in the book of
Daniel.  We start with...]

I. NEBUCHADNEZZAR'S DREAM

   A. THE VISION...
      1. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, has a dream - Dan 2:1-13
      2. God reveals the dream to Daniel - Dan 2:14-23
      3. Daniel then explains the dream and its interpretation to the
         king - Dan 2:24-45
      -- A vision of a great statue of gold, silver, bronze, and iron
         mixed with clay, struck and destroyed by a stone that would
         become a great mountain

   B. ITS MEANING...
      1. Daniel describes the image as depicting four kingdoms which
         shall rise and fall
      2. The first one, represented by the head of gold is definitely
         Babylon - Dan 2:37-38
      3. World history confirms that the next three kingdoms would be:
         a. The Medo-Persian, represented by the chest and arms of
            silver - Dan 2:39a
         b. The Grecian, represented by the belly and thighs of bronze
            - Dan 2:39b
         c. The Roman, represented by the legs of iron, with feet mixed
            with iron and clay - Dan 2:40-43
      4. During the days of these kings, God would establish a kingdom
         that would never be destroyed, and itself would destroy the
         kingdom of iron and clay - Dan 2:34-35,44-45
      5. When was this vision fulfilled?  Note what happened during the
         days of the Roman empire:
         a. The announcement of the angel Gabriel to Mary - Lk 1:31-33
         b. The message of John the Baptist ("the kingdom of heaven is
            at hand") - Mt 3:1-2
         c. The proclamation of Jesus concerning the kingdom ("the time
            is fulfilled") - Mk 1:14-15
         d. What "time" was fulfilled?  The time described by Daniel!
      -- The dream of Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled with the first coming
         of Christ!

[For more on Nebuchadnezzar's Dream and it's fulfillment, look here.
Let's now turn to...]

II. THE VISION OF THE FOUR BEASTS

   A. THE VISION...
      1. The four beasts from the sea - Dan 7:1-8
      2. An awesome judgment - Dan 7:9-12
      3. The coronation of the Son of Man - Dan 7:13-14
      4. The interpretation explained to Daniel - Dan 7:15-29
      -- A vision of four great beasts, followed by two related visions
         involving the Ancient of Days and the Son of Man

   B. ITS MEANING...
      1. The similarities of this vision with Nebuchadnezzar's dream
         should not go unnoticed
         a. Both visions refer to four kingdoms
         b. The four kings of Dan 7 represent four kingdoms - cf. Dan 7:
            17,23
      2. The four kingdoms of Dan 7 are likely the same kingdoms of Dan
         2
         a. The lion with the eagle's wings represents Babylon - Dan
            7:4; cf. 2:36-38
         b. The bear with ribs in its mouth represents Medo-Persia - Dan
            7:5; cf. 2:39a
         c. The leopard with four wings and four heads represents Greece
            - Dan 7:6; cf. 2:39b
         d. The dreadful beast with ten horns (plus one) represents Rome
            - Dan 7:7-8; cf. 2:40-43
         e. The ten horns and little horn may represent emperors or
            kings who ruled during events involving the establishment of
            God's kingdom (see below)
      3. In response to these four kingdoms, God would judge them and
         everlasting dominion would be given to the Son of Man and His
         saints - Dan 7:9-28
      4. The vision is similar to visions in Revelation; they likely
         refer to the same thing
      5. When was this vision fulfilled?  Consider what is said about
         the establishment of the "everlasting kingdom" (i.e., the
         church):
         a. To be established in the days of the Roman empire - Dan
            2:44; Lk 1:30-33; Mk 1:14-15
         b. Which began when Jesus ascended to heaven - Dan 7:13-14; Ac
            1:9; 2:36; Ep 1:20-23;
            1Pe 3:22; Re 1:5,9
         c. Which suffered great persecution at the outset - Dan 7:25;
            cf. 2Ti 3:10-12; 1Pe 1:6; 4:12-13; 5:8-11; Re 1:9; 2:10;
            17:14
         d. Yet saints who persevered even to death continued to reign
            with Christ in heaven (i.e., they "possess the kingdom")
            - Dan 7:18; cf. 2Ti 4:17-18; Re 2:26-27; 3:21-22; 20:4-6
      -- The vision of the four beasts was fulfilled in the early
         centuries of the church!

[For more on The Vision Of The Four Beasts and its fulfillment, look
here.  We next turn to...]

III. THE VISION OF THE RAM AND THE GOAT

   A. THE VISION...
      1. A two-horned ram and a one-horned male goat - Dan 8:3-8a
      2. The goat's horn replaced by four notable ones - Dan 8:8b
      3. A little horn that became great, arrogant, and sacrilegious
         - Dan 8:9-12
      4. The sanctuary and host trampled underfoot 2300 days - Dan 8:
         13-14
      -- A vision of two beasts, and great persecution to follow

   B. ITS MEANING...
      1. Explained by Gabriel - Dan 8:15-19
         a. Refers to "the time of the end" - Dan 8:17; cf. 8:26
         b. Refers to "the latter time of the indignation" - Dan 8:19
      2. The two-horned ram depicts the kings of Media and Persia - Dan
         8:20
      3. The one-horned goat depicts the kingdom of Greece - Dan 8:21-22
         a. The broken horn likely refers to Alexander the Great
         b. The four notable ones likely refers to his military leaders
            that divided the Grecian empire
      4. A fierce king will arise, but will eventually be defeated - Dan
         8:23-25
         a. Likely Antiochus Epiphanes, ruler of Syria (175-163 B.C.)
         b. Who imposed Greek culture and desecrated the temple
      5. The vision of the 2300 evenings and mornings - Dan 8:26
         a. May refer to over six years of abomination by Antiochus
            Epiphanes (171-165 B.C.)
         b. Was to be sealed, for it refers to many days in the future
            (about 400 years later)
      6. When was this vision fulfilled?  Gabriel does not leave us to
         wonder:
         a. It was fulfilled with the rise and fall of Media-Persia and
            Greece
         b. It involved the abominations that occurred during the
            inter-testamental period
         c. Thus "the time of the end" refers not to the end of the
            world
         d. Rather the ending of the Jewish dispensation that came to an
            end eventually with the coming of Christ
      -- The vision of the ram and goat is straightforward, and provides
         keys to help us understand other visions (see conclusion)

[For more on The Vision Of The Ram And The Goat, look here.  Now let us
consider...]

IV. THE VISION OF THE SEVENTY WEEKS

   A. THE VISION...
      1. The angel Gabriel appears to Daniel - Dan 9:20-23
      2. Seventy weeks are determined for Israel and Jerusalem - Dan
         9:24
         a. To finish the transgression
         b. To make an end of sins
         c. To make reconciliation for iniquity
         d. To bring in everlasting righteousness
         e. To seal up vision and prophecy
         f. To anoint the most holy
      3. The start and end of sixty-nine weeks - Dan 9:25
         a. From the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem
         b. Until an anointed one a prince (ESV)
      4. After the sixty-nine weeks - Dan 9:26
         a. The anointed one will be cut off, but not for himself
         b. The people of the prince will destroy the city and the
            sanctuary
         c. The end of it will be with a flood, desolations are
            determined until the war is ended
      5. During the seventieth week - Dan 9:27
         a. The prince will confirm a covenant with many
         b. In the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice
            and offering
         c. On the wings of abomination shall be one who makes desolate
         d. Until the determined consummation is poured out on the
            desolate
      -- A vision of seventy weeks, describing events greatly affecting
         Israel and Jerusalem

   B. ITS MEANING...
      1. Most agree that the sixty-nine weeks terminate with the first
         coming of Christ
      2. Dispensational premillennialists believe that the "clock
         stopped," and the seventieth week will be a seven year
         tribulation prior to the millennium
      3. When was this vision fulfilled?  I agree with Albert Barnes'
         interpretation:
         a. The seventieth week started with the beginning of Jesus'
            earthly ministry (at age 30)
         b. Three and a half years later Jesus was crucified, bringing
            an end to the need for sacrifices
         c. Through the preaching by His apostles to Israel for 3-4
            years following Pentecost, His
            new covenant was confirmed
         d. The "people of the prince" proved to be the Roman army that
            destroyed Jerusalem and its temple in 70 A.D., just as Jesus
            foretold - cf. Mt 24:15; Mk 13:14; Lk 21:20
      -- This vision was fulfilled in it entirety during the first
         century A.D.

[For more on The Vision Of The Seventy Weeks, look here.  Finally, let's
take a look at...]

V. THE VISION OF THE TIME OF THE END

   A. THE VISION...
      1. A glorious man appears to Daniel to tell him what will happen
         - Dan 10:1-21
         a. To his people "in the latter days" - Dan 10:14
         b. A vision that refers "many days yet to come" - Dan 10:14
      2. There will be conflict between Persia and Greece - Dan 11:1-4
         a. Four Persian kings will arise - Dan 11:1-2
         b. A mighty Greek king will rise, whose kingdom will break into
            four pieces - Dan 11:3-4
      3. There will be conflict between Egypt and Syria - Dan 11:5-20
         a. The king of the South (Egypt) will gain in strength - Dan
            11:5
         b. There will be a failed alliance with the king of the North
            (Syria) - Dan 11:6
         c. The South (Egypt) will rise in anger - Dan 11:7-8
         d. The conflict will accelerate, involving other people
            including Jews - Dan 11:9-14
         e. A powerful king of the North (Syria) will rise then fall
            - Dan 11:15-19
         f. Followed by another who will rule but a short time - Dan
            11:20
      4. The rise of a vile man - Dan 11:21-45
         a. Whom the people will not honor - Dan 11:21
         b. He shall take the kingdom peaceably, but with intrigue - Dan
            11:21-24
         c. He shall provoke the king of the South (Egypt) - Dan 11:
            25-28
         d. He will bring blasphemies against Israel - Dan 11:29-32
         e. Those who resist him will do valiantly - Dan 11:32-35
         f. The blasphemies of this king - Dan 11:36-39
         g. The king's conquests during "the time of the end", and his
            own end - Dan 11:40-45
      5. The ultimate victory of Daniel's people - Dan 12:1-3
         a. "At that time" Michael the great prince shall stand, during
            great trouble - Dan 12:1
         b. There will be deliverance for those who names are found
            written - Dan 12:1
         c. Many who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake - Dan
            12:2
         d. Those who are wise and turn many to righteousness will shine
            - Dan 12:3
      6. Final instructions and answers given to Daniel - Dan 12:4-13
         a. Seal the book until the time of the end - Dan 12:4; cf. 12:9
         b. "How long shall the fulfillment of these wonders be?" - Dan
            12:5-7
            1) Three and half times
            2) When the power of the holy people is completely shattered
         c. "What will be the end of these things?" - Dan 12:8-13
            1) From the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and
               the abomination of desolation is set up, - 1290 days
            2) Blessed is he who waits and comes to 1335 days
      -- A vision that would affect Daniel's people "in the latter days"

   B. ITS MEANING...
      1. It reveals what would happen to Israel "in the latter days"
         - Dan 10:14
      2. Yet it begins with the Persian kings who live shortly after
         Daniel - Dan 11:2
      3. The mighty king of Greece is undoubtedly Alexander the Great,
         whose empire was divided by his four generals - Dan 11:3-4
      4. The Egyptian-Syrian conflict, vividly described, occurred from
         300-175 B.C. - Dan 11:5-20
      5. The vile man who commits blasphemies was likely Antiochus
         Epiphanes - Dan 11:21-35
      6. From Dan 11:36-45, views of the identity of this vile man vary:
         a. He is still Antiochus Epiphanes of Syria
         b. He represents the Roman emperors during the first century,
            A.D.
         c. He is the Antichrist, a world ruler still to come
      7. One's interpretation of Dan 11:36-45 will affect their
         interpretation of Dan 12:1-13
      8. When was this vision fulfilled?  I agree with those who say:
         a. The entire vision leads up to and pertains mostly to the
            Antiochian persecution
         b. Which occurred during the inter-testamental period between
            Malachi and Matthew
         c. That "the time of the end" refers to the closing days of
            God's dealings with Israel as His covenant nation
         d. Which is how the phrase is used in "The Vision Of The Ram
            and The Goat" that depicts many of the same events - cf. Dan
            8:1-27 (esp. 17,26)
         e. And therefore Dan 12:1-3 may refer to a "spiritual
            resurrection" in which many are aroused during the
            Antiochian persecution to do great things while others will
            do shameful things

[For more on The Vision Of The Time Of The End, please look here, here,
and here.]

CONCLUSION

1. Because of such phrases as...
   a. "the time of the end" - Dan 8:17; 11:35,40; 12:4,9
   b. "the latter time", "the latter days" - Dan 8:19; 10:14
   c. "many days in the future", "many days yet to come" - Dan 8:26;
      10:14
   -- It is easy to assume that the visions of Daniel pertain to the end
      of time as we know it

2. But such phrases are used in "The Vision Of The Ram And The Goat" to
   describe...
   a. Events involving Israel during the days of the Media, Persia,
      Greece, and Syria empires
   b. Events which occurred before the coming of Christ, from 400 to 150
      B.C.
   c. Events which are said to be so far in the future that Daniel was
      to seal up the vision - Dan 8:26
   -- Thus I would caution against assuming the visions of Daniel
      pertain to the end of time as we perceive it

There are good reasons to believe that the visions of Daniel have been
completely fulfilled.  We are certainly better off looking to the
apostolic teaching of the New Testament concerning the end of time,
rather than basing systems of eschatology on dubious interpretations of
Old Testament prophecy...
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