Daniel 046 – Wars Are Determined (Part 2)

Dr. Andy Woods | Dec 17, 2017 | Daniel 11:13-20 | Daniel

Andy Woods

Wars are Determined, Part 2

12-17-17      Daniel 11:13-20         Lesson 46

Let’s take our Bibles and open them to the Book of Daniel, chapter 11 and verse 13.  The title of our message this morning is Wars are Determined, Part 2.  As we have been working our way through probably one of the most difficult passages in the Book of Daniel to understand, Daniel chapter 11, and I’m sure you guys got the word on the street that next Sunday we’re not having Sunday School but one service at 10:00 a.m.  So if you show up at 11 you’ll think you missed the rapture.  And then we have a Christmas Eve service that night at 6:00 p.m.  And folks are going to want to come to that because I only preach for ten minutes at that service and most people don’t think that it’s possible so you might want to come for some extra documentation.  That is next Sunday evening.  And then the following Sunday is New Year’s Eve so once again we’ll just have one service, no Sunday School, 10:00 a.m.  And then when we reconvene the first Sunday in January we’ll be back to our normal schedule at 11:00. And you want to come tonight to hear more of what we just heard.  Amen.  That’s at 6:00 o’clock, aka 5:45, right.  So let’s watch for members.

Well, I’ve got more things for you to remember because we’re going through the Book of Daniel verse by verse.  Daniel, as we started talking about last time, has some very myopic prophecies.  They are so detailed that there is no way Daniel could have known these things ahead of time unless God had told him about them.

So we’re going to get some more about what we got last week, an intricate history lesson but take heart because at the end I’m going to give you five points of application  How does this fascinating information that Daniel foresaw 400 years in advance, how does it relate to daily life.  So bear with me as we seek to navigate our way through this this morning.

Daniel, of course, in chapters 10-12 is receiving from God the final vision that he had before his death.  And the setting is given, chapter 10, verses 1-3, where the vision really starts, and it’s there that we learn that this is the third year of Cyrus, 536.  So it is the final recorded historical date in the Book of Daniel, the number 536, as I’ve said before, you want to commit to memory because Daniel is going to be seeing things that would not materialize for several centuries as we’ll be talking about today.

The heavenly messenger arrives there in Persia to give Daniel this vision, verses 4-9.  The messenger does some explaining; what’s the purpose of the vision and what took the messenger so long to get there, 21 days of spiritual warfare, as we have talked about in prior sermons.  The actual content of the prophecy that the devil worked so hard to prevent Daniel from receiving really starts in chapter 11 and verse 2.  Daniel, you’ll recall, has in verse 2 some information that he records in this prophecy about Persia; that was the empire that Daniel was serving in at the time this vision was given to him.  And we went through verse 2 and looked at the interesting information that the Holy Spirit revealed in advance concerning Persia.  It’d be like somebody coming to you and giving you want the next hundred or so years would be like in the United States.  Wouldn’t you want to know that.  On second thought maybe you wouldn’t want to know that….  But that’s sort of what Daniel received there in verse 2.

And then in verse 3 and 4 the Spirit of God shifts and begins to talk about the next empire on the horizon, from Daniel’s perspective, and this would be the Empire of Greece.  It’s a prophecy about Alexander the Great and it’s a prophecy about his soon death, very early Alexander the Great died around age 32-33.  And upon Alexander the Great’s death his empire was divided amongst his four generals.  Cassander took Macedonia; Lysimachus took Thrace and Asia Minor; Ptolemy took Egypt and Seleucus took Syria which would include the land of Israel.  That’s a map if you’re interested on what the division of Alexander the Great’s empire actually looked like when it was divided amongst the four generals.  Daniel, of course, sees this well in advance.

The two most important generals would be Ptolemy of Egypt and Seleucus of Syria. Cassander and Lysimachus drop off the radar screen, they are not the focus of the Holy Spirit’s prophecies at this point.  Why is that?  Because Ptolemy of Egypt and Seleucus of Syria would impact what part of the world?  The land of Israel.  And what you have to understand as far as God is concerned is Israel, we saw it last time, a few verses on this, Ezekiel 5:5, Ezekiel 38:12, Daniel’s contemporary, Ezekiel, indicates that Jerusalem in particular, and the nation of Israel in general, is the centerpiece of all divine activity.  [Ezekiel 5:5, “Thus says the Lord GOD, ‘’This is Jerusalem; I have set her at the center of the nations, with lands around her.’”  Ezekiel 38:12, “to capture spoil and to seize plunder, to turn your hand against the waste places which are now inhabited, and against the people who are gathered from the nations, who have acquired cattle and goods, who live at the center of the world.”]

In fact, the Hebrew word that’s translated there “center” is the word navel in Hebrew, or belly-button, or the center of the body.  Just as the bellybutton is the center of the body the nation of Israel is the centerpiece of everything that God has done and will do. It’s the part of the world where God’s redemptive program started.  We’re going to be celebrating that next week as we take a look at the birth of Jesus Christ from that part of the world.  And it’s, as Solomon said, what has been will be again.  [Ecclesiastes 1:9, “That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun.”]  History, human history is recycling back to that part of the world where the final conflict of the ages will be waged.

Isn’t it interesting today that as you pick up the newspaper and you turn on the news what are they all talking about all the time?  Jerusalem.  We made reference last week, even our own President just recognized the historic capital of Jerusalem as the capital of the nation of Israel.  The prophet Zechariah predicted that in the last days Jerusalem would become a cup of trembling that would send all nations reeling and this is the very thing that is beginning to materialize in our own time.  And these Jerusalem prophecies become the subject of what the Holy Spirit is giving to Daniel.

And so we move into verses 5-20, we started looking at these last time, which is a record of the Ptolemies and the Seleucids.  The Ptolemies and the Seleucids, Ptolemy and Seleucid started dynasties in their respective corners.  And those two dynasties fight each other for about 150 years.  Daniel is seeing that conflict taking place as these two dynasties are going back and forth over the beautiful land, something called the beautiful land, the land of Israel.

So what we have in verses 5-20 is the history of the warfare between these two dynasties, the Ptolemies of Egypt and the Seleucids of Syria.  The Ptolemies of Egypt are known in these prophecies as the king or kings of the south and the Seleucids of Syria in the north are known as the King and Kings of the North.  It’s describing ancient warfare that went on from about 323 B.C. when Alexander the Great died and his empire was divided up until 175 B.C. when a man, a Seleucid, named Antiochus Epiphanes would appear on the scene.  He appears on the scene about 175 B.C. and he becomes very significant in Daniel’s prophecies beginning in verses 21, really through about verse 35, because he is a prefigurement, if you, probably one of the best we have in the Bible, a prefigurement, or a type of the coming antichrist.

The coming antichrist will start to be described again in verse 36 right on through the end of the chapter.  So we today as we close out the year 2017 are really living in between Daniel 11:35, the end of that verse, but verse 36 is  yet future.  And so we ask ourselves, well, is verse 36 and following going to happen?  If I were a betting man I would say yes because everything prior to verse 36 has historically happened.

The track record of prophecy gives us confidence of the future related to the accuracy of Bible prophecy.  I’m an ex-basketball player and let’s say I’m at the free-throw line, I didn’t have the greatest free throw percentage by the way, but let’s just pretend here.  I make nine free throws in a row nothing but net.  And then I turn to you and I say do you think I can make the tenth one?  Most likely you’re going to say yes because you’ve seen the track record.  That’s what you have there in verses 1-35, you have a track record of how accurate prophecy is which gives us confidence that number 10 out of 10 will make it into the goal as well.

The beautiful land is Israel, Cassander and Lysimachus are not in view and there’s a big push in these prophecies to move us from 198 B.C., I’ll make a reference to that this morning because that’s when the northern kingdom got the upper hand in the in the land of Israel.  And from that northern kingdom the Syrians of the Seleucid Dynasty is going to come someone that is very, very bad, this man Antiochus Epiphanes.  You see him mentioned in the Seleucid dynasty at the very bottom of the screen.  He is the one that’s going to launch a horrific wave of persecution against the Jewish people.  By the way, which happened the same time we celebrate Christmas and this will take place in the intertestamental time period.  The Jews, under God’s provision of grace will liberate the temple at this particular point in time and these events are but a foreshadowing, the Scripture tells us, of things to come. What, as Solomon said, has happened will be again.

So there’s the list, there’s the complicated historical list of the different rulers that we have been navigating our way through in verses 5-20.  [Kings of the South (Egypt): Ptolemy I (Soter) 323-285; Ptolemy II (Philadelphus) 285-247; Ptolemy III (Euregutus) 247-221, Ptolemy IV (Philopater) 221-220, Ptolemy V (Epiphanes) 203-182. Kings of the North (Syria): Seleucus I (Nicator) 312-281; Antiochus 1 (Soter) 281-261; Antiochus Theos (251-246); Antiochus Callinicus 246-226; Seleucus III, 226-223; Antiochus III (Great) 223-187; Seleucus IV (Philopater) 186-175; Antiochus IV (Epiphanes) 175-164). Paul N. Benware, Commentary on the Book of Daniel: The Coming Judgment of the Nations; Daniel’s Prophecy of Things to Come (Clifton, TX: Scofield Ministries, 2007), 233]

Now by God’s grace we covered verses 5-12 last time, so we pick it up at verses 13-16.  I’ll read the verses and make a few historical comments and try to keep this moving, moving towards the end at the end of this sermon to five major points of application; how does this matter to us.  In verses 13-16 the subject is Ptolemy IV, Ptolemy V and Antiochus III.  With each group of material I have a brief summary just for your own edification as to what generally happened and how Daniel’s prophecies were realized.

Notice, if you will, Daniel 11:13-16.  It says: “For the king of the North will again raise a greater multitude than the former, and after an interval of some years he will press on with a great army and much equipment.  [14] Now in those times many will rise up against the king of the South; the violent ones among your people will also lift themselves up in order to fulfill the vision, but they will fall down. [15] Then the king of the North will come, cast up a siege ramp and capture a well-fortified city; and the forces of the South will not stand their ground, not even their choicest troops, for there will be no strength to make a stand. [16] “But he who comes against him will do as he pleases, and no one will be able to withstand him; he will also stay for a time in the Beautiful Land, with destruction in his hand.”

What’s going on here.  Well, Antiochus III who suffered, not a fatal blow but defeat under Ptolemy IV, Antiochus III makes a comeback.  In fact, I believe that that comeback by Antiochus III is what Daniel is speaking of there in verse 13.  Ptolemy IV and his queen suddenly and mysteriously die, or disappear (we’re not exactly sure what happened to them) thereby vacating the throne of Egypt and that paved the way for Ptolemy V to occupy the throne.  And history tells us that Ptolemy V occupied the throne there in Egypt as but a six year old; isn’t that amazing.  Antiochus III therefore saw this as an opportunity to wipe out or to attack Egypt.

So Antiochus III and his ally, Philip of Macedon, invaded Egypt and as we look at this very, very carefully it says, many Egyptians sided with the invaders.  And as we continue on, down at the bottom, Antiochus III did as he pleased, verse 16, he took Israel, verse 16, and he placed it under northern rule.  Now it is interesting to look at this very carefully.  It talks there in verse 16 that he did according to his own will.  That expression “did according to his own will” shows up over and over again here in Daniel chapter 11.  These kings, operating without God, think they’re doing their own will when in reality as they exercise their own will in opposition to God’s will they are accomplishing God’s will.

And you say well, Pastor, can you explain that to us.  No I can’t, somehow in the sovereignty of God and the providence of God, God can take the free will decisions of His creatures that are in rebellion to Him and use that to execute his own will.  God is using Satan as I speak in this very way.  This is how God is going to use the antichrist.  This is how God used Alexander the Great to bring in the Greek language, as we’ve talked about.  So the language would be in place, one of the deepest dialects known to man, to record the revelation of God’s Son.  And I really doubt Alexander the Great knew that that’s what he was doing all the way back in 331 B.C.  He just thought I’m going to bring in the Greek language, exercising his own will.  And yet God was sovereignly at work.

You know people today think they’re really getting one-up on God.  I have people that tell me all the time… you’re interested in Bible prophecy, well, I’m not interested in it at all; in fact, I hate the subject of Bible prophecy.  And my answer to them is well, you just fulfilled a prophecy.  2 Peter 3 says, “In the last days people will come following their own lusts, and saying, where is the promise of His coming.”  [2 Peter 3:3, “Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, [4] and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.’”]

People think they’re so smart, they think they’re so up on things, they think they can reject God’s will with impunity, and God is so big that He can even use a rebellious will to accomplish His own will.  And I can’t wait to get into heaven and be with Jesus Christ and be guided in a history lesson where He shows us over and over again how that happened.  God has not lost control of anything.  In fact, Psalm 2 talks about how God as the nations are in rebellion against Him, what does God do?  He laughs.  [Psalm 2:4, “He that sits in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.”]  Think of God being personified as breaking out into open hysterical laughter.  That is the attitude of God towards these tiny people that he has created who decided to rebel against Him.

So He’s doing according to his own will, verse 16, he is moving into the land of Israel, the glorious land, and notice that the nation of Israel, even in unbelief, their land is called glorious.  [Daniel 11:16, “But he that cometh against him shall do according to his own will, and none shall stand before him: and he shall stand in the glorious land, which by his hand shall be consumed.” KJV]      I had a seminary professor once that really said something that got under my skin. He said don’t call that land over there “Holy Land,” there’s nothing holy about that land; I mean, those are the people that are in unbelief, those are the people that rejected Jesus Christ, the land of Israel.  But isn’t it interesting that Israel even in unbelief in the land that they are occupying is called over and over and over again the glorious land.

Why is that?  Because the land ultimately does not belong to them, it belongs to who?  It belongs to God!  Leviticus 25, God says the land is Mine.  [Leviticus 25:23, “The land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are but aliens and sojourners with Me.”]  And  you can read all about it in the covenant that God made with Abram, a tract of real estate starting at modern day Egypt or the Nile, and going to modern day Iraq or the Euphrates.  Even in unbelief that part of the world remains holy unto God.  The city of Jerusalem is the only city that has ever existed where God has placed His own name. Multiple Scriptures in your Bible tell you this over and over and over again.  It doesn’t matter what the attitude of the people there are to God, God has claimed that city and that land for Himself.

And the day will come in the outworking of God’s purposes where that part of the world, in the millennial kingdom, will be the nerve center of the entire earth.  The nations will go to Israel, Jerusalem, to worship the King who will not be in Washington D.C., praise the Lord for that, or Brussels or any other Gentile city but He will be reigning in the city of Jerusalem.  And this is the 198 B.C. shift that I’m talking about here.  This is how, as Daniel is seeing it in verses 13-16, how these Seleucids finally got the upper hand and came into the land of Israel.

And then backing up to verse 4 it says, “in fulfillment of the vision.”  These various rulers are just stepping stones towards Antiochus Epiphanes who begins to be the subject of the Lord’s prophecies beginning in verse 21.  But they’re just stepping stones to that.  God knows exactly where history is headed and He allowed, at this time in history, around 198 B.C. for the king of the north or the Seleucids or those in Syria to get the upper hand because God knew who was coming through the Seleucid dynasty, Antiochus Epiphanes.

We come now to verse 17 and verse 17 the focus is Ptolemy V and Antiochus III.   Notice if you will what we have in verse 17 as these prophecies continue to come to Daniel.  It says, “He shall set his face to enter with the strength of his own kingdom and upright ones with him; thus he shall do and he shall give him the daughter of women to destroy it, but she will not stand with him or be for him.”  Now we continue to focus here on Antiochus III, how Antiochus III tried to regain control over Egypt.  How did he do that?  He gave his own daughter; the daughter’s name was Cleopatra.  He gave his own daughter to be married to Ptolemy V.  And that’s the history and this is what Daniel saw in advance.  Once again, verse 17, “He shall give him the daughter of women to destroy” it.  He thought well, if I just marry off my daughter she’s going to continue to be loyal to me in that empire and finally I will get the upper hand in Egypt.

But what happened is historically is Cleopatra was loyal to her husband, Ptolemy V, and not to her father, Antiochus III.  Once she married into that family her loyalty switched to her husband and not to her father who married her off.  And if you look at the end of verse 17 that’s exactly what Daniel was talking about.  “But she shall not stand with him nor be for him.”  I mean, it’s just so interesting to me how Daniel could see these things all the way back in which year?   536 B.C.  Remember I told  you to memorize that.  What is he seeing?  Things happening in 203-182 B.C.  He’s seeing these things long in advance.  That is the precision of Biblical prophecy.

And then we come to verses 18 and 19 where the subject here is Antiochus III, sometimes called Antiochus the Great.  Notice, if you will, verses 18-19, it says, “Afterward he shall turn his face to the coastlands and he shall take many.  But a ruler shall bring the reproach against them to an end and with the approach removed he shall return back on him.  Then he shall turn his face towards the fortresses of his own land, but he will stumble and fall and not be found.”

What happened historically?  Antiochus III invaded Greece instead of being content with his past victories.  Rome, who was just coming on the scene at this time, told Antiochus III to leave Greece alone.  Antiochus III did not listen to Rome.  The Roman general Cornelius Scipio defeats Antiochus III.  Antiochus III returns home and look at what it says here, in history, “he robbed the temple of Jupiter in order to address the issue of the depletion of funds because of the battle.”

Look at verse 19, I believe that’s what’s being described here. “Then he shall turn his face toward the fortress of his own land…”  Now this depletion of funds and this raiding of the temple of Jupiter caused a rebellion leading to the death of Antiochus III and I believe that the death of Antiochus III is described right there in verse 19, towards the end, “ but he shall stumble and fall, and not be found.”

And then we come to, and some of you are saying praise the Lord for this, the last verse in this very difficult, complicated history lesson, although this really isn’t a history lesson when you think about it; it’s a history lesson in advance.  That’s what you have in the Bible; you have history before it transpires.  What a great thing to think about during the season where we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.  Think of how many prophecies the birth of Christ fulfilled.  Micah 5:2, written 700 years in advance, that’s a long time, seven hundred years; the United States of America has only been around 230 something years.  This is more than double, almost triple the length of the  United States of America.  Micah 5:2 pinpoints the exact city that the Messiah would be born in and you think it would be Jerusalem given the prominence of Jerusalem throughout the pages of the Old Testament.  Micah says no, it’s not going to be Jerusalem, it’s going to be a little tiny city about two miles to the south of Jerusalem called Bethlehem.  And by the way, it’s Bethlehem of Ephrata distinguishing it from another Bethlehem in the Galilee area.  That is an astounding, astounding prophecy written 700 years in advance.  And lo and behold here at Christmas time the prophecy is fulfilled.

I could give you countless prophecies like this.  This is one of the characteristics of the Bible that makes it unique.  You have absolutely nothing like this in any other alleged holy book.  The Qu’ran for example has nothing like this.  This is unique to the Bible… prophecy!  Not just prophecies yet to come, prophecies that you can document in history that have already been fulfilled.

But notice, if you will, verse 20 and the subject now is Seleucus IV and notice what verse 20 says, it’s very interesting:  “They shall arise in His place, one who imposes taxes on the glorious kingdom but within a few days he shall be destroyed.”  Look at this, “not in anger, nor in battle.”  Antiochus III was replaced by his son, Seleucus IV who was forced to pay tribute to Rome, which was now on the horizon.  You know, there’s a reason why your Bible talks about the taxes that were so exorbitant under Rome in the days of Jesus Christ.  That’s the history of the time period; Rome was known for its extravagant taxes.  And those within the land of Israel, once Rome conquered the land of Israel, could go to work for Rome; they were called tax gatherers.  And everything that they didn’t collect for Rome, above and beyond that, they could reach into the people’s pocketbooks (if they had pocketbooks back then) or wallets, you get the picture here, and extract from the people anything they wanted above and beyond what they got for Rome.  And this is why tax gatherers, tax collectors in the land of Israel were hated, despised!  They were looked at, number one, as traitors working for Rome and number 2, they were looked at as thieves.

And who does Jesus Christ say in Luke 19, I’m coming to your house for dinner tonight?  Zacchaeus in the tree, a man that was so pushed out of society because of his detestable tax gathering practices He had to climb into a tree to just get a glimpse of Jesus Christ.  Tax gatherers were looked at in that society much like we would look at today abortionists, pornographers, the low of the low.  Jesus says in Luke 19, I’m coming to your house for dinner.

And who is it that the Lord uses to record the opening book of the New Testament revealing the regal identity of Jesus Christ?  None other than who?  Matthew, the tax gatherer.  I bring that up because a lot of people will say to themselves, I’m outside of the grace of God, I’m outside of the reach of God.  You don’t really understand my background, you don’t understand my life, you don’t understand the things that I’ve done.  Certainly God couldn’t love me. Certainly God would not want a relationship with me.  And the record of the Bible is the exact opposite; these are the people that Jesus Christ came for.  No human being, regardless of what they have done in their lives is outside the reach and the grace of God.  Maybe you find yourself in that category, thinking of yourself as unqualified for God’s grace. Well guess what?   You are unqualified; that’s what grace means… unmerited favor!  And yet in this Christmas season reflecting on the birth of Jesus Christ this is what Christ came to give to this wayward, wayward race.

Back to verse 20, “There shall arise in his place one who opposes taxes on the glorious kingdom, but within a few days he shall be destroyed, but not in anger or in battle.”  As we mentioned, Antiochus III was replaced by Seleucus IV, forced to pay tribute to Rome; he heavily taxed his own people in order to accomplish this.  He became unpopular with his own people.  Seleucus IV sent a tax collector named Heliodorus to Jerusalem who plundered treasure from the temple.  That’s what the facts of history indicate and that’s what’s being described right there in verse 20; “There shall arise in the place of one who opposes taxes on” what? “the glorious kingdom.”

What would “the glorious kingdom” be?  It would be the land of Israel.  Seleucus IV was poisoned by this tax collector.  You’ve got to watch out for those tax collectors.  Heliodorus returned and he poisoned the man who sent him to Jerusalem, Seleucus IV, resulting in a very short reign for Seleucus IV.  And I believe that that is what is described at the end of verse 20, “ but within a few days,” a short reign, see that? “he shall be destroyed,” now when a king is destroyed you would think he would be destroyed in anger or in battle and Daniel specifically predicts that’s not how he’s going to be destroyed;  “he shall be destroyed, neither in anger, nor in battle.”  And the facts of history fit that perfectly as he was poisoned to death by his own tax collector.  Seleucus IV disappears but what does all of this lead up to?

Number 7, Antiochus IV.  Antiochus IV, whose name means God manifest, is the subject of Daniel’s prophecies from verse 21 to verse 35, giving us the framework for understanding one of the most important holidays in Judaism, that is celebrated this time of the year, called what? Hanukkah, Feast of Lights, sometimes called Dedication.  You know, the interesting thing about Israel is  you can attack Israel all you want, but because that part of the world is holy unto God, because of the covenant that God gave to Abraham, not only will Israel survive the attack but she’ll even get a holiday out of it.

Haman developed a plot to wipe out the Jews and  yet from that the nation of Israel survives, as recorded in the Book of Esther, and a holiday comes out of that, added to the seven holidays that the nation of Israel already had as articulated way back in the time of Moses, Leviticus 23; another holiday is added called Purim, Lots, celebrating the miraculous protection of the Hebrew people in the days of Esther.

And what we’re reading about here is another attack that this man, Antiochus Epiphanes, Antiochus IV, the one that history has been leading up to at this point in time, he will do virtually the same thing; he will launch a horrific wave of persecution against the nation of Israel. He will forbid them from using their Scriptures.  He will try to humiliate them by sacrificing a pig in their temple.  He will desecrate the temple.  He will set up a giant pagan image in their temple, an image of Zeus.

And yet what is going to happen is the nation of Israel is going to be strengthened and will, through what’s called the Maccabean Revolt, liberate the temple from Seleucid rule.  And that liberation is such a magnificent work of God that the nation of Israel now has a feast day that they commemorate this and celebrate it called Hanukkah.

And you say well, you know, Andy, I’m a Southern Baptist, what do you bother me with all this Jewish stuff for?  The fact of the matter is Jesus Christ, God incarnate, in John 10:22 celebrated Hanukkah, Feast of Lights.  Jesus recognized all these feasts and we’re going to see the pretext for that feast as we move into verses 21-35 in our next time together, when we’re in the Book of Daniel.  And I wanted to save that unit for later; I wanted to spend the last two sermons going through some of the complicated history in verses 5-20.  Everything that Daniel has said up to this point in time, as I’ve tried to document, has been astounding accurate even though he’s seeing these things centuries in advance.   And as I’ll be continuing to show you that’s exactly the truth related to Antiochus IV who provides the pretext and the background for Hanukkah, a holiday the nation of Israel celebrates this time of the year as well.

But let me conclude today by giving you as promised, five points of application from verses 5-20.   You might be listening to some of this history saying so what?  What does it matter?  How does studying this on Sunday help me on Monday?   So here we go.

Application number 1, and we’ve already made reference to this, prophecy is proof of divine inspiration.  We believe that the Bible was inspired by God.  I come from a legal background, I can’t just believe something because somebody told me it’s true, I need some kind of evidence.  And my, how we have evidence.  One of the great testimonies or evidences that we have that the Bible is true is its capacity to predict things before they happen—history in advance!  Why can the Bible give us history in advance?  Why is it that I can read about the conglomeration of nations against Israel whether it be Turkey or Iran, or Russia, and we open up our newspapers and we see the big three (as I call them) constantly in conferences together, constantly in cahoots together.  Constantly the leaders are together describing their plan for the world.

Why is it that I read that in my newspaper?  And boy, my goodness, it sure sounds a lot like Ezekiel 38 and 39 to me.  Why is it that we are catching up historically to a time period that the Bible predicted a long time ago would happen?  Because of this capacity of the Scripture to reveal things before they happen.  It is one of the great evidences that God has built into His Word.  God does not expect you to believe something on blind faith.  He gives us evidence.  And one of the great evidences that He has given us is prophecy.

In Isaiah 48:3 it says this, God says, “I declared the former things long ago and they went forth from My mouth, and I proclaimed them. Suddenly I acted, and they came to pass.”  Isaiah 48:5, right after Isaiah 48:3 God says, “Therefore I declared them to you long ago, Before they took place I proclaimed them to you, so that you would not say, ‘My idol has done them, and my graven image and my molten image have commanded them.’”  You idol worshipers, God says, let me show you how great I am in comparison to your idols; I’m going to reveal things before they happen.  And things that I’m going to say are going to be of such precision that you will not be able to attribute them to your idol.  You will not be able to attribute them to your palm reader.  You will not be able to attribute them to your horoscope.  You will not be able to attribute them to Nostradamus.

You know, Nostradamus and the things he said were so vague and general virtually anything could act as a fulfillment.  Not so the Bible.  You have precision, the precise city of Jesus Christ was revealed, Micah 5:2, 700 years in advance.  The Qu’ran will give you nothing like this.  The Book of Mormon will give you nothing like this.  You only find this in the Bible.

Jesus said this in the Upper Room, John 13:19, “From now on I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am He.”  Jesus doesn’t say just blindly believe Me because I claim to be God.  I’m going to give you some proof.  I’m going to start making some short term predictions, many of them involving My own betrayal.  And in your lifetime, within a few days, you’re going to start seeing these things happen, and therefore you will know My true identity.

John 14:29, Jesus says virtually the same thing, “Now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe.”  The ultimate goal of God revealing these things in advance is not to put on some kind of magic show; it is to inculcate faith, to get us to respond the only way you can respond to things of this nature, by understanding who God is and by trusting in Him.

Application number two, what is the real cause of war?  What really causes war?  What have we seen here in verses 5-20?  One war after another.  Have you ever asked yourself where does war come from?  Mark 7:20-23, Jesus answered that question.  He said, “That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. [21] For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, [22] deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. [23] All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.”

In this context the disciples are being criticized and Christ is being criticized based on what they eat.  Jesus is very clear, it’s not what you eat, it’s not what comes into you that makes you unclean, it’s what comes out of you, because the reality of the situation is ever since the sin in the  Garden of Eden every single human being, with the exception of Christ Himself, who was born of a virgin, is born into the world with a nature that hates God.  I don’t have to teach myself to sin; sin comes naturally to me because of the wickedness of my own heart.

James 4:1-2 says, What is the source of quarrels and conflicts” wars, “among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members?  [2] You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask.”  Why is human history so littered with bloodshed?  Why are all of these prophecies dealing with one war after another?  Because war is in man’s heart; that is the natural state of the human heart without God.

This is why back in Daniel 9:26 it says this: “…even to the end there will be war, desolations are determined,” the normal circumstance of human events is war.  What’s abnormal is times of peace, because war is something that is part of us because of original sin.  It emanates from the heart.  This is why the Book of Proverbs, chapter 4 and verse 23 says, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”

Think if Cain, all the way back in Genesis 4:7, when he was being tempted to murder his brother Abel, and the Lord said to him sin is desiring  you but you must conquer it.    [Genesis 4:7 “”If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”]  Cain, you’ve got to get control of your heart because if you don’t get control of your heart what?  Private thoughts are going to lead to what?  Public actions.  Think of O.J. Simpson, for example, had sort of, in that moment of rage had monitored himself, had gotten into the Word of God, had received biblical counseling, and he curbed his desire, his murderous rage for revenge, think how different his life would be today.

And this is what the Holy Spirit is saying to some of us as I talk; watch your heart!  Watch the thing that you’re contemplating, watch the things that you’re ruminating on because private thoughts, private motives will quickly lead to public actions.  This is why the gospel is all about the change of heart in people.  2 Peter 1:5 says, “For by these He has granted to us precious and magnificent promises so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature.”  What does God want to do to people?  He doesn’t want to clean them up from the outside in.  He wants to change their heart!  In fact, what He wants to do is He wants to give them a new heart or a new nature.  The Book of Titus calls this regeneration.

Titus 3:5, “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,” you know what that word “regeneration” means when you actually study it?  Palingenesias;  palin means again and you recognize genesia from the Book of Genesis, the Book of Beginnings. What is regeneration?  It is a new, it is again, a beginning, a beginning new, not by something we do, that’s what the religious world promotes, do this, do that, follow this creed, follow that creed.  That isn’t Christianity.  Christianity God says I’m going to give you a new heart and a new nature, in fact, I’m going to so supernaturally touch you that I will actually change you from the inside out.

Jesus, in His conversation with Nicodemus, John 3, I call that Nick at night, called this the new birth, regeneration—beginning again.  If a person never receives that new nature this internal transformation, the only thing they’re stuck with is the warlike nature of their Adamic heart, their natural condition in Adam.  What a great thing it would be during this time period when we celebrate Christmas to receive that new nature from God., which you can do right now as I’m talking.  No, I’m not finished with the sermon yet, but you can receive it right now as I’m talking, where you simply respond by way of faith to what Jesus has done.  Not only are your sins forgiven but at the moment of faith you’re transformed from the inside out.

We’re not here teaching get your flesh under control and clean yourself up and come to Jesus.  That’s not the gospel at all.  The gospel at all.  The gospel is come to Jesus on HIS terms, faith alone, trust in what He has done.  And then the resources greater than yourself will come inside of you.  That is the only answer to this war torn world that we find ourselves in, is the condition of the human heart has to be changed through regeneration, beginning again, the new birth, becoming a new creation in Christ Jesus, 2 Corinthians 5:17.  [2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”]

Without that wars are determined.  Wars and conflict between nations, between people, between church members, between family members, just go on and on and on.

Application number three, earthly riches can be lost.  Did you catch Daniel 11:8, “He shall carry their” goods, their “gods” rather (which really are their goods) “captive to Egypt with their princes, and their precious articles of silver and gold,” there’s coming a time, Daniel says, in the course of these battles that your gold and your silver and your 401K Plan, which is now probably a 201K plan, and your bank account and your social security, it’s all depleted.  The interesting thing about worldly wealth is you can have it one day and the next day it’s gone.

It says at the beginning of verse 20, there shall arise in his place one who imposes taxes (what steals wealth greater than that) on His glorious kingdom.  [ Daniel 11:20, “Then in his place one will arise who will send an oppressor through the Jewel of his kingdom; yet within a few days he will be shattered, though not in anger nor in battle.”]  What are these passages telling us.  You can have worldly wealth one day and the next day it’s gone.

And how the Bible warns us over and over again not to despise wealth but not to look at wealth as some sort of god;  your job is not  your provider—God is your provider!  He can use your job to provide it if He wants.  Your retirement plan is not your provider, God is your provider.  The stock market is not  your provider, God is your provider.  The new tax bill that’s going through is not your provider, (maybe that’s going to turn the economy around) God is your provider.  God can use any of these things He wants but the ultimate provider is God.  That’s how you can live in a world where one day you can have wealth, the next day it’s gone and your joy never changes because your provision never came from those things to begin with.  Amen!

Jesus said in Matthew 6:19-20, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy,” I might add where inflation destroys, “and where thieves break in and steal. [20] But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal.”  He goes on and He says, “for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  If you see God as your provider your heart is with God.  If you see some sort of inanimate object as your provider your heart is with that inanimate object.

1 Timothy 6:7 says for we brought nothing into this world and it is certain we’ll carry nothing out. [“For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.”]  I have never seen a U-Haul truck attached to a hearse.

1 Timothy 6:17 says, “Command those who are rich in the present age…” who are rich, rich people, people that have resources above and beyond the necessities of life, people in this country don’t feel they are rich but they are compared to the world standards.  There’s some instructions here for us, “Command those who are rich in the present age not to be haughty,” that means arrogant, you know nothing lifts people up more with pride than an increase in their income.  In fact, I didn’t bring the statistics with me but you can demonstrate that as a person receives a higher income the chance for infidelity in their marriage increases as well.  Isn’t it interesting how having a little bit more money this year than we had last year makes us think that we can get away with things.  That’s haughtiness; it’s arrogance.

“Command those who are rich in the present age not to be haughty” watch this, “nor to trust in uncertain riches” why would I not trust in riches?  Because they’re uncertain; the economy is uncertain, the future of America is  uncertain, the stock market is uncertain, the interest rate is uncertain, the price of gold is uncertain.  It’s all uncertain1!  “…nor to trust in uncertain riches but in” who? “in the living God.”  Why would I trust in dead metal when I can trust in the God who formed me, created me, redeemed me and is alive.  And by the way, I like this little clause here, “who gives us richly all things to enjoy.”  I used to think it was God’s goal for my life to be poor; that’s not necessarily true either.  Material things are not the problem; it’s okay to enjoy the material things as God gives and God blesses.  The issue is not do you own money but does your money own you; that’s the issue!   And so application number 3 is earthly riches can be lost.

Application number 4, political leaders come and go.  I mean, isn’t that what we’ve seen here, verses 5-20, is one leader is replaced by another leader is replaced by another leader is replaced by another leader. What is the Holy Spirit saying to us through these things?  Don’t trust in political leaders.  I’ll just be honest, I like our President, I’ll put my cards on the table, I voted for our President, but it disturbs me to some extent to see a mindset in the body of Christ developing where we think that the current President of the United States is some kind of savior.  It bothers me to some extent when I’m around fellow Christians who won’t even entertain without some kind of angry refutation, they won’t even entertain criticism of the current President of the United States.

That mindset bothers me.  And the reason that it bothers me is I start to think what are people trusting in here?  What are people hoping in?  I saw a book title about a year or two ago by one of my conservative authors, favorite conservative authors, the title of it bothered me so much I’m not buying another book that this person ever writes.  The title of the book is In Trump We Trust.  Folks, I like the guy, I pray for him, he’s my President, I think generally he’s doing a good job, that’s just my opinion, but he is no savior to anybody.  Jesus is  your Savior!  Jesus is your salvation!  Jesus is the living God!

In fact, there’s such a very interesting Scripture in the Book of Isaiah, where the children of Israel are carrying around those idols and God says to the children of Israel, are those idols getting heavy in your hands?  Do you know the day is going to come when you are going to get old and you’re not even going to have enough strength to carry around this stupid piece of metal, that statue?  In fact, what you’re going to need is someone to carry you around.  That’s the foolishness of idolatry, carrying around these things, these things we trust in, when the reality is the day is going to come when we’re not going to be able to carry anything.  As old age progresses we’re going to need someone to pick us up and carry us around.

Daniel 2:44 tells us where our hope should be.  It says, ‘And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” [KJV]   That’s the only political ideology and world order I want to be a part of.  That’s my hope.  How about you?

Hebrews 12:28 says, “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken,” the economy can be shaken, the stock market can be shaken, we, as God’s children “are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.”  [KJV]

Titus 2:13, “Looking for the blessed hope” which is what?  We’ve got to get the right political party in power… NO, “Looking for the blessed hope and the glorious appearing of our great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ.”  [KJV]

Folks, political leaders are going to come and they’re going to go.  Some may be better than others but the fact of the matter is every single one of them is tainted by the exact sin nature that humanity as a whole is tainted by.

And the last point of application is this, and with this we’re finished.  God is faithful to His people.  Look at this warfare going back and forth for 150 years, an endless cycle, and yet through it all what is God going to do?  He’s going to remember and execute exactly what He said regarding Israel, even though they are in unbelief and unfaithful.

2 Timothy 2:13 says, “If we are faithless” God cuts the cord and kicks us out of the family… it doesn’t say that does it.  “If we are faithless He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.”

Let me let you in on something, what got you saved is the grace of God.  Most Christians understand that but they get deluded into thinking, because of pride and works righteousness, that somehow I’ve got to keep myself saved.  I’ve got to do X, Y and Z or stay away from X, Y and Z to keep myself in the grace of God.  Well guess what just happened there… you just became your own savior.  You are now responsible, in your way of thinking, for retaining your salvation.  That is now how grace works.  Good works don’t get you in the front door; good works don’t keep you once you get in.  Who keeps you is the power and the preservation of God, which is yours by way of grace.

Well, pastor, wait a minute now, you’re down on good works?  I’m about as pro good works as you could get with the right motive.   You don’t do good works because you’re trying to keep yourself saved.  You do good works as a Christian out of worship, out of gratitude, because you can’t believe the grace package that’s been given to you.  You start to understand that I didn’t get saved by works; I’m not kept by works.  Well, what else can I do?  If the carpet is not going to be ripped out from under me what else can I do but offer my body to God as a living sacrifice.  To pay Him back?  NO! To keep myself saved?  NO!  Out of worship.  The Apostle Paul calls this a “reasonable service.”  [Romans 12:1, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” KJV]

I fear this, I really do, I fear this in my own mind, I fear this in the body of Christ, that there’s a lot of people out there doing a bunch of things for God with the completely wrong motive.  We have to look at our hearts very carefully.  So a very interesting history lesson, wouldn’t you agree.  And the application, prophecy is divine inspiration, the real cause of war is the human heart, earthly riches can be lost, political leaders come and go, so keep an eye on that eternal kingdom which is just on the horizon, which cannot be shaken and God is faithful to His people.

It may be that you’re here today for the first time listening online, and you’ve never been internally transformed; you’ve never experienced the revolution from within, the new birth, regeneration.  And our admonition, our exhortation here at Sugar Land Bible Church is to receive that, right now, as I’m speaking.  How do you get it?  You simply trust, which means to rely upon, depend upon, to believe in what Jesus has done for you.  Not only are your sins forgiven, past, present and future, but the Holy Spirit comes inside of  you and starts to renew you, not from the outside in but from the inside out.  It’s not something you have to raise a hand to do, join a church to do, walk an aisle to do, give money to do; it’s a matter of privacy between you and the Lord, where you respond by faith in what he’s done.  And you can do that right now as I’m talking.   If it’s something you need more explanation of I’m available after the service to talk.

Shall we pray; Father, we’re grateful for this prophetic record, now historical from our vantage point of warfare, and the things that it teaches us.  I ask that You’ll be with us as we continue to move through the Book of Daniel.  Be with us next week as we celebrate the birth of Your Son.  We’ll be careful to give you all the praise and the glory.  We ask these things in Jesus’ name, and God’s people said… Amen.