Daniel 023: The Blessed HopeDaniel 7:15-22 • Dr. Andy Woods • May 21, 2017 • Daniel
Our Blessed Hope
5-21-17 Daniel 7:15-22 Lesson 23
Let’s take our Bibles if we could and open them to the Book of Daniel, chapter 7 and verse 15; as God allows it we’re going to try to make it through verses 15-22 this morning. The title of our message this morning is Our Blessed Hope… Our Blessed Hope. What is your “blessed hope”? Is your “blessed hope” in seeing a different political party get control? Is your “blessed hope” in your retirement account? Is your “blessed hope” in the goodness of man and perhaps the progress of the church or the gospel. None of those things are held out to us in the New Testament as our “blessed hope.”
Rather, our “blessed hope” is the soon return of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is the next event on the prophetic calendar. This is the doctrine called imminency which means it could happen at any moment, the return of Christ. Do you believe that? The return of Jesus Christ for His church in an event called the rapture could happen before this sermon is even over, and some of you are probably praying for that to happen. But we’re going to be bringing this up today because there’s a lot of confusion out there today on the doctrine of the rapture.
There’s a cottage industry which has arisen where people are misapplying Biblical texts, one of them is right here in Daniel 7 that we’re going to be going over today, to teach that the next event on the calendar prophetically is not Jesus Christ but the antichrist and somehow the church is going to be plunged into the wrath of the antichrist and the wrath of God Himself. According to this theology it’s like a man who asks a woman to marry him and then beats the daylights out of her before the wedding day. That is the mindset of many, many people when they think about the end times. As they look into the future they’re filled with fear and dread, not with a hopeful expectation of the return of Jesus Christ for His church.
We are going to make these comments as we continue to move systematically through the Book of Daniel. Daniel, of course, has been raised up by God to explain a very difficult time that the nation of Israel is going through. Notice that’s a key expression, “the nation of Israel.” The church, as I’ll be showing you today, didn’t even exist when Daniel penned this book. He’s not giving a blueprint for the church (which doesn’t exist yet); he’s giving a blueprint for the nation of Israel. And yet because so many people have so limited teaching on the difference between Israel and the church they take passages that are clearly aimed at the nation of Israel and they present this doctrine that somehow the church is going to be in the wrath of God in the tribulation period. And I don’t know about you but that’s no hope at all, is it? How can that make any sense when Paul says “Comfort one another with these words” as he talked about the rapture in 1 Thessalonians 4:18. Oh, by the way, did I mention the fact that you’re going to go into the wrath of God and you’re going to eyeball it with the antichrist, and most of your heads are going to be cut off… BUT, “comfort one another with these words!” [Matthew 4:18] It doesn’t really pass the smell test does it?
We find ourselves towards the very end of a long study through an Aramaic chiasm; we’ve already done a lot of teaching on what a chiasm is. It’s a literary pattern where the events of chapter 2 are repeated in chapter 7; the events of chapter 3, at least the scene, is repeated in chapter 6. The theme of chapter 4 is repeated at least in chapter 5. And we come to the very end of this chiastic structure which is Daniel’s vision of the four beasts. We’ve seen the historical setting; Daniel is prophesying during a time period about 553 B.C. That becomes very important because if you take that time period at face value; he’s obviously predicting things that hadn’t happened yet from his timeframe. How did he know these things in advance? Well God, who knows the end from the beginning and the beginning from the end revealed these things to Daniel. Do you believe God can do that? I believe He can, and that’s why I view Daniel as a 6th century writer.
Daniel is in his mid-sixties at this particular time. The last reigning king of Neo Babylonia is in power, a man named Belshazzar. And as I mentioned before the vision that Daniel received is largely a recapitulation of the vision that Nebuchadnezzar received back in chapter 2. You remember Nebuchadnezzar saw that giant statue and then he saw that stone cut without human hands shattering the feet of the statue bringing an end to the kingdoms of man, and the statue growing until it filled the whole earth. It’s a description of the reigning kingdoms of man up until the return of Jesus Christ, not in the rapture. The rapture concerns the church; since God is dealing with Israel in the Old Testament and He’s dealing with Israel in Daniel 7 you won’t find the teaching of the rapture of the church here for the simple reason that the church doesn’t exist yet. All of this teaching concerns God’s program for the nation of Israel.
And what Nebuchadnezzar saw in the form of a statue Daniel saw the same thing in the form of various beasts that would arise to power. Nebuchadnezzar sees this vision from the Gentile point of view; Daniel on the other hand (in chapter 7) sees the same period of time from the Jewish angle, or Jewish point of view. We’ve explained the difference, how it’s the same vision in both chapters, the outer edges of that chiasm, but it’s from a different perspective. What Daniel saw in chapter 7 are four beasts arising out of the sea. The first beast was a lion which represented the coming reign of Babylon, an empire that was actually already in place when Daniel had this prophecy, and would continue to be in place until Daniel 5 when Daniel would be overthrown by the Persians, the second beast in Daniel’s vision which Daniel saw as a giant bear with three ribs in its mouth.
Over the course of time, long after Daniel left the scene the Persians would be replaced by Greece, the leopard. And over the course of time, long after Daniel had died, the leopard would be replaced by a ferocious beast, which is Rome itself, a terrifying beast. And as Daniel kept looking he began to see things that are far distant in the future, even from our time frame in the year 2017. There are probably (in the middle of verse 7) about two thousand years that are unaccounted for. What is God doing in that two thousand year time period? That’s where His program with the church began, in Acts 2. We are part of that program for the church; Daniel is not describing the church.
Daniel is describing the end time program for the nation of Israel and he sees in the future, after the church has been removed, a terrifying beast coming to power, apparently an extension, if you will, of ancient Rome but this beast will be very different. It will conquer the entire world and this is the one-world system of the antichrist that is trampling down the nation of Israel just before the second advent of our Lord Jesus Christ, not the rapture, but the return of Christ to rescue the nation of Israel after a time of unparalleled distress at the end of the great tribulation period, leading to the destruction of the antichrist’s empire and the coming kingdom of God.
Notice that we are premillennial; what does that mean? What does millennium mean? I don’t see the word millennium in the Bible. Well, you don’t because that’s a Latin term; it’s a term used to describe the thousand year reign of Christ that we find in Revelation 20:1-10. The Greek word for a thousand is chilia meaning a thousand. It says it six times in the book of Revelation.
[Revelation 20:1-10, “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand.  And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;  and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time.  Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their 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 on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.  The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection.  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.  When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison,  and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore.  And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”]
The millennium is a Latin word that comes from two words making up one word, milia, a thousand and anorum meaning years, and so when we say we are premillennialists what we mean is that Jesus Christ comes back first, chapter 19, and then His kingdom, which will last a thousand years, takes place after He comes back at the end of the tribulation period. The second advent of Christ, not the rapture for the church, the second advent of Christ is described in Revelation 19; the kingdom of God is described in chapter 20. Now would you all not agree with me that chapter 19 comes before chapter 20? Does anybody here disagree with that? If chapter 19 comes before chapter 20 and chapter 19 is the return of Christ, and chapter 20 is the kingdom of Christ, that would put the coming of Christ before the kingdom of Christ, wouldn’t it?
So if you believe that, that makes you a fancy word, premillennial, which is another way of saying you have reading comprehension ability because you can put things in order. In other words, you don’t need all these fancy terms that I spent a lot of tuition money to learn in seminary, you just need to read the Bible. You say well who cares? Well, it’s a big deal because it relates to what the church is supposed to be doing today. Why would I waste my time trying to set up the kingdom of God now when the Book of Revelation tells me that chapter 19 comes before chapter 20? In other words, the kingdom is going to be set up by who? The King! So my job in the present is not to set up a kingdom of God; it is to reach and teach, to evangelize and disciple (that’s your task as well!). You’re not trying to set up the kingdom. How could you when only the King can set up the kingdom; you’re trying to win citizens of this coming kingdom, inheritors of this coming kingdom.
But before the kingdom comes Daniel sees these beasts trampling down the nation of Israel, the final beast being the empire of the antichrist. And then what does Daniel see? Verses 9-10, the ancient of days, God the Father, verses 9-12, turning the kingdom over to the Son of Man, verses 13-14, and that is the manifestation of the kingdom of God on the earth. The supplementary reading for that would be chapter 19 and then chapter 20.
And this is what Daniel saw. Now what happens in this particular chapter is Daniel asks for an interpretation and you start to see this interpretation develop in verses 15-27. We’ve seen the vision of the four beasts, really a fifth beast if you count the empire of the antichrist. And now we have an interpretation given in verses 15-27 and we’re going to start working our way through this morning this interpretation.
Notice, if you will, verse 15, after Daniel sees these things in his mid-60’s what happens to him. It says this: Verse 15, “As for me, Daniel, my spirit” maybe that’s the Holy Spirit within him, maybe that’s his inner man, “As for me, Daniel, my spirit was distressed within me, and the visions in my mind kept alarming me.” I want you to see something about this man, Daniel. Prophecy touched his heart; it didn’t just touch his mind, or his intellect, but it touched him at a personal level to the point where he is distressed over what he sees.
And may I just say to you beloved, that that is the great purpose that God has given in prophecy. So many times it’s tempting to draw our charts and to get the whole thing figured out and the data just rests in the mind but it never personally impacts how we live. And when prophecy becomes just an academic subject we miss the Holy Spirit and why he gave prophecy. 2 Peter 3:11 makes a prophetic statement and it says, “Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness.” In other words, the knowledge that this world is going to be destroyed by fire should change how we live. If you know that the Titanic is sinking you’re not going to spend your time rearranging the deck chairs; you’re going to be trying to get other people off the boat and yourself off the boat because the ship is going down.
In other words, the knowledge of the future revolutionizes the person’s priorities in the present. And you look at so many of our Christian lives and we’ve spent them on such trivial pursuits, things that don’t matter, that we are literally like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Our lives are not vested in eternal things and the things that matter.
1 John 3:2-3 says, “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears,” that’s the return of Christ, “we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.  And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” The doctrine of the second coming and all of these eschatological and prophetic details aren’t there just to tantalize the intellect; they are there to create holiness amongst God’s people.
Titus 2:13 says, “looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.” Prophecy should give you hope in the present because you know that what is present is just temporary. Hope for the future! How easy it is to get our kingdoms confused where we begin to act as if the things of this world are really what matters. And yet we come to the pages of God’s Word and we learn that our hope is not in the United States of America. I love the United States of America, I pray for the United States of America, I will show up and vote in every election, I will support people and causes that are godly, I will do all of that but that is not my hope. My hope is in the soon return of the Lord Jesus Christ, the next event on the prophetic horizon, to rescue me out of this satanically energized world. That’s my hope. And I can go through life with optimism, regardless of what happens to America, regardless what happens on any scene in the world system.
See, Daniel, when he had this vision, didn’t just take it in as an intellectual academic subject but this touched his heart to the point where he was troubled about certain things that he saw, and he asked, consequently, for further information. Notice Daniel’s request there in verse 16. It says in verse 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:”
I want you to notice a couple of things here; notice the expression “exact meaning.” Notice also the expression “interpretation.” An interpretation will follow and see, this is how biblical prophecy works. God oftentimes reveals something that is mysterious, it is new, it’s couched in the form of a dream or a vision and unfortunately we have a lot of people that stop reading after they’ve read the vision and they try to interpret it through what I call their own sanctified imagination, attaching bizarre and strange meanings to visions that they find in the Bible, as if the Holy Spirit has given us the freedom to do that, when in reality the Bible interprets itself. The Bible is its own interpreter.
John Walvoord in his commentary on the Book of Revelation says this: “There are twenty-six symbols in the Book of Revelation,” Twenty-six! “which are defined in the same context in the same chapter.” So you have symbol, definition, symbol, definition, symbol, definition. This occurs 26 times. God has not left prophecy to our own creativity or ingenuity. He’s interpreting these things for us. Daniel, apparently, understands this about the character of God; that’s why he seeking not meaning but the exact meaning. And he’s seeking an interpretation of these things.
God doesn’t give Daniel a vision and say okay, figure it out on your own; use your sanctified imagination. Go onto You Tube and find any bizarre conspirator theory you can find and read that into the passage. That’s not what Daniel was told at all. He was told to be patient and to wait for the interpretation. So many times we just don’t have the patience to do this; we don’t wait for God to explain Himself and yet God is in the explaining business because we know from the New Testament that He is not the author of confusion. God doesn’t want His people going through this life confused about eschatological or prophetic subjects. He wants the mind sharp on these things because He knows if the mind is sharp on these things it will affect how we live in the present.
Who is Daniel inquiring of here? We’re not told. If I had to hazard a guess, maybe I shouldn’t hazard a guess because I just got finished telling you not to guess, but if I had to hazard a guess I would say he’s inquiring of Gabriel because Gabriel in the Book of Daniel has the function, you see it in Daniel 9 with the Seventy Weeks Prophecy, he has the function of revealing new truth. In fact, it was Gabriel that shows up in early Luke and explains to the mother of John the Baptist, to the mother of Christ exactly what is happening.
The other angel that’s mentioned in this book is Michael; we’re not going to have any references to him until chapter 12, around verse 1. Michael seems to have a function of protection the nation of Israel during the time of distress… and let me tell you, they’re going to need it! They’re going to need every ounce of protection they can muster, including from the angelic realm because they will be under the thumb or the rod of the antichrist and Satan himself, who doesn’t want the kingdom to come! Satan doesn’t want Revelation 20 to come so what does Satan do? He seeks in history and it reaches its zenith in the tribulation period, he seeks to blot out the instrument through which the kingdom will manifest itself, the nation of Israel.
And that’s why even today the nation of Israel is always under the gun, they’re always being derided by the world community, they’re always being pushed into one deal or the next to give up land in exchange for the illusory promise of peace because it’s part of the outworking of the fallen angelic kingdom concerning the nation of Israel. That’s why we, as God’s people, as we are told in Psalm 122:6 are to pray for the what? The peace of Jerusalem. [Psalm 122:6, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: ‘May they prosper who love you.”] Is that part of your prayer life? Do you pray for the protection of the Jewish people? Whether you do or not demonstrates whether you understand the angelic conflict that the Bible so clearly depicts for us.
So Daniel, then, is asking a question concerning Gabriel, perhaps, and his interpretation of the things that Daniel has seen. And an interpretation is given there in verses 17-18. Notice what the angel says, “‘These great beasts, which are four in number, are four kings who will arise from the earth.  But the saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come.’” What is the interpretation? What you have seen Daniel is various kingdoms of man that ultimately are satanically controlled, that will trample down the holy people, the nation of Israel, right up through the tribulation period itself, and the second advent. The conditions of this world will not improve until Jesus Christ returns at the end of the tribulation and overthrows these beasts that will then manifest themselves in the final kingdom of man, the antichrist kingdom himself.
So this is a description of the course of human history until the kingdom of God comes. If I had to give my own interpretation of this I would say this: don’t look for the world to get better; look for the perpetual onslaught of the devil, intercede accordingly, pray accordingly, but have the mind of God—things in this world will not get better until Jesus shows up.
Then in verse 18, “the kingdom” will be given to who? “the saints,” verse 18. Notice that “saints” there is plural, just like when you go back to verse 9 it says, “thrones” not throne, singular, but “thrones” plural. [Daniel 7:9, “I beheld till thrones were placed, and one that was ancient of days did sit: his raiment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames, and the wheels thereof burning fire.”]
In other words, when all is said and done God is going to surrender His kingdom to God the Son, and we, as the bride of Christ, will participate according to the New Testament, not from Daniel, but according to the New Testament in the reign of Jesus Christ under His delegated authority. Whether you feel like it or not, whether you acknowledge it or not, whether you understand it or not, if you are related to Jesus Christ by way of faith, right now, as I am talking, you are destined for authority; you’re destined for a throne. You might be despised and rejected, minimized and marginalized in this life but a throne awaits you and the degree of authority that you will wield in that coming millennial kingdom, that glorious age of time that we are to pray for, “Thy kingdom come” is largely determined by the choices that you’re making now as a Christian, because you see, the Bible, in Luke 16:10 says if you are faithful with the little things then God can trust you with what? the big things. [Luke 16:10, “He that is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much: and he that is unrighteous in a very little is unrighteous also in much.”]
If you’re faithful in your small ministry at Sugar Land Bible Church God can trust you with five cities and ten cities, or perhaps more in the kingdom age. If you’re faithful to God as you go through a trial and you don’t lose heart in God but you continue to trust in Him, God can trust you with greater things, not only in this life but in the age to come. Choices matter, decisions matter. Ultimately the greatest decision is whether a person is going to trust in Christ for salvation or not. That determines their entrance into the kingdom but as we grow in Christ we are confronted over and over again with little choices and we have the tendency to think that those little choices don’t matter. If you understand the doctrine of the kingdom correctly you’ll understand that choices do matter. It may not determine salvation, which has already been secured, but it will determine degrees of authority in the kingdom itself.
This is Paul’s frustration with the Corinthians who had become so petty in their Christianity that they were suing each other. Can you imagine that? I’m glad backbiting and backstabbing doesn’t happen in the church today but that’s the kind of thing that was happening in Corinth and it got so bad that they were taking their disputes before pagan judges and discrediting the gospel in the presence of the pagan judge who was saying to himself I thought you Christians were known by your love for each other. And Paul, in that environment says, “Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life?” [1 Corinthians 6:3,]
Revelation 5:10 says, “You have made them” that would be us, as the church, New Testament, “to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will” not might, “they will reign upon the earth.” The authority is just around the corner for the child of God. That should give us optimism in the present and it should have a bearing on the choices that we make as Christians today.
As we move into verses 19-22 you’ll notice that Daniel, in his questions, presumably of Gabriel, starts getting more specific. There is a part of this vision that he has just seen that really bothered him, that really gets under his skin and that would be the final empire of man in the tribulation period itself, before the second advent. It says in verse 19, “Then I desired to know the exact meaning” notice how that expression “exact meaning” is repeated, “I desired to know the exact meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others, exceedingly dreadful, with its teeth of iron and its claws of bronze, and which devoured, crushed and trampled down the remainder with its feet.”
I want to know, Daniel says, about not just Rome but the last phase of Rome. This Revived Roman Empire (which we’re going to be studying in verse 23) is going to actually cover the whole earth. Daniel says the part of this that’s interesting to me… and he could have focused on many, many things, but he chose to focus on the end of the kingdoms of man before the kingdom of God comes.
He wants to know about the last phase of the times of the Gentiles. And His questions continue to get more specific as you move down into verse 20, “and the meaning of the ten horns that were on its head and the other horn which came up, and before which three of them fell, namely, that horn which had eyes and a mouth uttering great boasts and which was larger in appearance than its associates.” I want to know about these ten horns and what they mean. I want to know about the little horn that comes up amongst the ten and actually becomes greater than the ten and how three of the ten have to be subdued. The other seven seem to submit to what the little horn wants to do. This little horn, as we’ll be learning, is the description of the antichrist himself.
Notice how the antichrist is described: “eyes and a mouth” in fact if you go back to verse 8 it says of this little horn that he had eyes like the eyes of a man. [Daniel 7:8, “”While I was contemplating the horns, behold, another horn, a little one, came up among them, and three of the first horns were pulled out by the roots before it; and behold, this horn possessed eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth uttering great boasts.”]
There is a belief out there that when the antichrist comes he will not be a human being but he will be an institution. He will be some kind of religious system but not an actual person, not an actual man. They get this teaching largely from a misunderstanding of 1 John 4:3 which says, “and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.” Many people today say don’t look for an actual person called the antichrist, an actual human being. What you need to look for is this coming great system of the antichrist, a system of thought, some sort of religious institution.
And may I just say to you that that is a false teaching; there is a system of the antichrist that is coming and even now is in the world 1 John 4 tells us. [1 John 4:3, “and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.”] But that doesn’t distract from the point or detract from the reality that the antichrist will be an actual person that heads this system.
2 Thessalonians 2:3 puts it this way: “Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man” did you catch that, “and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,” notice how Paul called the antichrist a man. The Greek word anthropos, where we get the word anthropology, is used to describe this coming antichrist.
Revelation 13:18 says, “Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man;” anthropos, “and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.” Just as there was a man in history, Jesus Christ, who came into the world, not to do His own will but the will of His Father, there is coming in the history of the world the opposite of Christ, one who comes, Daniel 11:36 and following says not to do his father’s will but his own will.
[Daniel 11:36, “Then the king will do as he pleases, and he will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will speak monstrous things against the God of gods; and he will prosper until the indignation is finished, for that which is decreed will be done.  He will show no regard for the gods of his fathers or for the desire of women, nor will he show regard for any other god; for he will magnify himself above them all.  But instead he will honor a god of fortresses, a god whom his fathers did not know; he will honor him with gold, silver, costly stones and treasures.  He will take action against the strongest of fortresses with the help of a foreign god; he will give great honor to those who acknowledge him and will cause them to rule over the many, and will parcel out land for a price.’”]
And if a person has never trusted in Jesus Christ they are a dead ringer for the deception of the antichrist that’s on the horizon because he will do what the world thinks a Messiah ought to do; he’ll solve the Middle East conflict, he’ll bring peace to the world, he won’t talk too much about personal salvation, if at all, he won’t talk about sin, he won’t talk about repentance. But he will give man what he wants and consequently the whole world is going to wonder and wander after this man, the beast, or the coming antichrist.
Not only are his eyes described but you’ll also see a description there in verse 20 of his mouth. “he spoke great things” [Revelation 20:20, concerning the ten horns that were on its head, and the other horn which came up, and before which three fell, even that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spoke great things, whose look was more stout than its fellows.”] In fact, the mouth of the antichrist keeps showing up, doesn’t it, in this chapter? Verse 8, verse 11, verse 20.
John, the apostle, when he has his vision of this coming antichrist says this in Revelation 13:5-6, “There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him.  And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven.” One of my favorite Bible teachers calls the antichrist Mr. Big Mouth. His mouth is big in terms of oratorical power over the human race. His mouth in terms of blasphemy, treacherous things, evil things spoken against God Himself.
What do all of these tin-horned dictators have in common in their places of power? They have the ability to sway the masses to oratorical pizzazz. I’m reminded of the speeches by Fidel Castro; I’m reminded of the speeches by Adolf Hitler who could enthrall a nation, speaking for hours at a time. You think my sermons are long, good grief. And convincing people that their way was the right way and to follow him. This is exactly what the antichrist will be like. Well, I’m glad in our country we don’t elect people based on how they sound. I’d better leave that one alone.
Verse 21, we have a further description of this antichrist that’s on the horizon. Notice, verse 21, [Daniel 7:21] “I kept looking, and that horn was waging war with the” who? “the saints and overpowering them….” This verse becomes a tremendous source of confusion concerning the blessed hope of the church. I can’t tell you how many people I know will use this verse as some sort of proof text that the church of Jesus Christ is going into the Tribulation period itself, because after all, it says right here that the little horn, the antichrist, is “waging war” and “overpowering” the saints.
Probably within the last century there’s been a debate going on amongst people who believe in a future tribulation period and a kingdom that follows concerning when the catching away of the church will take place. The Apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 describes the harpazo, from the word harpazo we get the word harpoon, this idea you stick a spear into something and pull it to yourself, harpazo. It means to be seized or caught up by force. It is the event, the miracle that God will do to end the age of the church, which has been going on for 2,000 years, beginning in Acts 2.
And what people do is they debate, when does this catching away happen. We have, at the top, the correct view, the pretribulational rapture view which is the belief that we will be taken to heaven before the tribulation starts. The competition would be the mid tribulation view, the catching away happens in the middle of the tribulation. The post tribulation view means we’re here for the whole tribulation and we’ll not experience the harpazo until the very end and only to strangely come right back down to the earth; it’s like an elevator ride.
And if that weren’t enough along comes this view called the pre-wrath rapture view which argues that the wrath of God really doesn’t happen until the final 25% or so of the tribulation period, so the church will be here for roughly three quarters of the tribulation period. Some of them will object to this view where I’m describing them as three quarters and they’ll say but we don’t know the exact time so you can’t say three quarters exactly. So I think to be fair what they’re saying is sometime in the second half of the tribulation period the church will be raptured. These are people who do not believe the wrath of God starts at the beginning.
I want you to think about how bizarre and strange that is because in Revelation 6, the beginning of the tribulation period Jesus is in heaven opening a seven-sealed scroll. And every time He opens a seal a judgment comes to the earth, including famine, including global warfare, and including a destruction of a quarter (if I remember right) of the world’s population. And that’s not the wrath of God? If that’s not the wrath of God tell me what the wrath of God is. And even the pagans that are experiencing these judgments say to themselves, they figure out, these unbelievers, what pre-rapturists don’t even understand, the wrath of God has come upon us. You’ll see that in Revelation 6:16-17. [Revelation 6:16-17, “and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb;  for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand.”]
Here’s the four views in terms of how they look in picture form: pretribulational rapture, midtribulational rapture beneath that, postribulational rapture the third one down, and then what’s called pre-wrath rapture.
So many views how can you be dogmatic? A lot of people come to Sugar Land Bible Church thinking that this church is like the Oxford Debating Society; they come into the church with some pet belief that they have and they try to get the believers or the elders to sign on to this belief. And they adopt a negotiation sort of posture or strategy, maybe we can find some middle ground on that, and there’s a mentality in this church, not so much anymore but when I came that people had this view that they could come in here and they could debate the elders about this issue or that issue. And I’m here to tell you, beloved, that that is not what Sugar Land Bible Church is. The leaders of this church are not here to debate anything with anyone. What this church believes is clearly spelled out in the teaching statements of this church. And when someone gets into a pulpit or Sunday School class or leads a small group, they are not there to have a debate; they are there to authoritatively teach what we believe the Word of God says based on the teaching statements of this particular church.
But you see, we have this mindset today where all views are valid, everybody is right as long as you’re sincere. That would be like my daughter, who’s eleven, telling her parents, you know today I just want to eat Hostess Twinkies all day long. The fact of the matter is that’s not up for negotiation; that’s not up for debate. And when you become a member of a church, like Sugar Land Bible Church, there has to be an understanding in your mind that God put the pastor here as your shepherd and God put the elders here as your shepherd.
Now if you don’t believe that and you think the church is wrong on this point or that point and you want to get into this Oxford debating society mentality there are, beloved, 3,000 to 4,000 churches in the Houston area to select from. We’re here to guide you, not to debate you, to guide you into what we think is the right understanding of the Bible. We’re very clear on what we think the right understanding of the Bible is; it’s expressed in our teaching positions and that’s the angle from which we come.
Now you say well, gee, can’t we ask questions? Of course you can! Clarification on what the Bible says is instrumental in a person’s growth in Christ but where it crosses the line is when people start to think the elders are incorrect, start to think the elders are inaccurate, start to second-guess the doctrine statement of the church. That becomes a different matter because you are no longer submitting to the parental authority of the elders, the function of elders, the function of a pastor-teacher is to guide the sheep into maturity. Clarification is one thing but coming in to second guess leadership is an entirely different matter. And to folks like that we say there’s 3,000 to 4,000 churches in this area, you’re destined, I believe, to find one that lines up with the way you think because we’re not here to negotiate, we’re here to teach authoritatively truth and the fact of the matter is, the rapture of the church, pretribulational, is what we say in our teaching statement. We do not believe in mid-tribulationalism. We do not believe in post-tribulationalism. We do not believe in prewrath rapturism. We believe in pretribulational rapture.
You say well can’t these other views be brought up? Yes, to expose them for the false teaching that they are; they will be brought up, but they will not be brought up in a sense that we’re just going to grab four views, toss it out to the sheep and say which one do you think is the best? There are a lot of churches that will do that. That is not at all our posture here at Sugar Land Bible Church. In fact, that posture doesn’t even respect the leadership of the church. There is, in this society, and antiauthoritarian mindset in people, and that comes into their thinking in the church where they think they can come in and dictate and control the theological perspective or the theological persuasion of the church. I’m here to tell you that our church is not set up that way nor to my mind is the New Testament church set up that way as the function of shepherds is to guide the sheep into maturity.
Why do we believe in this pretribulational rapture idea? Because it’s in the Sugar Land Bible Church Teaching Position Statement? Well, that’s part of it but that Teaching Position Statement comes from the Bible. I believe this idea that the church is going to be caught up to heaven before the tribulation begins. I have seven reasons:
Number 1, the tribulation period concerns who? Israel. The purpose of the tribulation is to bring Israel to faith; the church is already in faith so how could we be present during this time period?
Number 2, there is no biblical reference to the church on the earth, ever, in any tribulation passage in the Bible, most notably Revelation 6-19. The word “church” is not found ever on the earth, although the word is used 19 times, ecclesia, in the first three chapters. Once you get into the eschatological section of the Book of Revelation you will not find any reference to the church… EVER! Not in verbal form or in concept form either, where Jew and Gentile are in one new man, the body of Christ.
Number 3, the church is promised an exemption from divine wrath. 1Thessalonians 1:10, 1 Thessalonians 5:9, Romans 5:9, Romans 8:1. [1 Thessalonians 1:10, “and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.” 1 Thessalonians 5:9, “For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:9, “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.” Romans 8:1, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”]
What is the tribulation period? It’s wrath; it’s Jesus in heaven opening at the very beginning a seven-sealed scroll which brings the wrath of God to the earth. How could the church be in that time period when we are promised an exemption from divine wrath.
Number 4, the rapture is imminent; the rapture is always something that we’re to be looking for; it’s the next event on the prophetic horizon. I enjoy studying the doctrine of the antichrist but beloved, let me tell you something, I’m not looking for the antichrist; I’m looking for Jesus Christ.
Did you know that we are the only view that teaches imminency. We are the only view that Jesus could come back today. Mr. Mid Tribulationalist, can Jesus Christ come back today? No, there’s got to be 42 months of hell on earth first. Mr. Post Tribulationalist, can Jesus Christ come back today? No, there’s got to be seven years of hell on earth first. Mr. Prewrath Rapturist, can Jesus Christ come back today? No, He can’t, there’s got to be roughly three quarters of the tribulation period before Jesus Christ can come back. Mr. Pre Tribulationalist, can Jesus Christ come back today? You bet… I hope He does. I hope He comes back in the next second. I’m the only person of this panoply of views that can stand up and authoritatively teach that in the next second there is the potentiality of the trumpet sounding, you being raised in your body, changed into incorruptible and instantaneously ushered into the presence of God. All these other views say no, something has to happen first.
You know, and it breaks my heart to see this, there is so much of the church today that’s amping it up for the antichrist. They’re getting arms, not that that’s a bad idea, they’re buying gold, not that that’s a bad idea either. They’re storing this and storing that, now I do all those things but it has nothing to do with my belief in eschatology, it’s just common sense. But so many people don’t have that mindset and they are literally amping it up, preparing to eyeball it with the antichrist. Try this out for seven days; get your focus off Jesus and onto the antichrist and look at what’s going to happen to your emotional makeup, your psychological makeup, your expectations, your optimism. It will shift everything. And this is why this doctrine of pretribulationalism, as much as people make it sound like it’s not important when in fact it is important.
Another reason that we believe that we will be raptured before the tribulation period of Paul says “Comfort one another with these words.” Jesus, when He unfolded the doctrine of the rapture for the first time in John 14:1-3 said, “Let not your heart be troubled;” are you telling me I’ve got to go through 42 months of hell on earth and assuming my head is not cut off by the antichrist I can have the hope of being raptured. Maybe I’m a little old fashioned but that’s not a lot of hope for me. I don’t feel a lot of comfort in that. [John 14:1-3, “Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.  If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”]
The only view up here that I feel any comfort in is the correct one at the top, pretribulationalism. And by the way, the antichrist himself can’t even come to power while the church is here; we are the restrainer that is holding him back, 2 Thessalonians 2:6-7. [1 Thessalonians 2:6-7, “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.  Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming;”]
And beyond that when you look at the days of Lot and the days of Noah, what did Jesus say? Do you want to understand about the end? Understand the days of Lot and the days of Noah. What do both of them have in common? In both cases, whether it’s Noah in the ark or Lot being rescued from Sodom and Gomorrah God takes His people out first and then the wrath of God, whether it be the flood or Sodom and Gomorrah itself, iron and brimstone coming down on that city happens second. It’s a pattern of God. And since Christ said study those two sections of the Bible to understand the end, by way of symbolic parallelism we could argue also that the church would be raptured before the tribulation period itself begins.
I don’t think any one of these seven arguments seals the deal but when you step back and you look at these arguments cumulatively, collectively, powerful certainty emerges that we will be rescued by Jesus Christ before the tribulation period comes. I believe that this doctrine becomes just as clear as the Triunity of God Himself, which is a complex doctrine but I believe in the Trinity, I believe that it’s clear when all of the passages are considered. In this belief of the pretribulational rapture I believe it is clear; it’s something that you can expectantly hope and look forward to.
People say well, you’re just teaching an easy way out; you’re teaching escapism. Let me ask you something for a minute: isn’t all of Christianity escapism? Aren’t you escaping the wrath of God in hell itself by placing your personal faith in Jesus Christ? Why is escapism a problem? People say well, this is just an American doctrine, don’t you know that Christians all over the world are suffering. The reality of the situation is suffering and escape from it is not part of the doctrine. We are promised in the Bible that we will have trials. John 16:33, “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” We are promised in the Bible that as we grow in Christ man will persecute us, 2 Timothy 3:12. [2 Timothy 3:12, “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”] We are promised in the Bible that Satan himself will exercise his wrath on us. That’s why we are to put on the full armor of God, Ephesians 6:11-12.
[Ephesians 6:11-12, “Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”]
We’re promised in this world that the world will hate us, John 15:18-19. [John 15:18, “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.  If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.”] But beloved, there is a form of wrath that’s coming that we are not candidates for—that’s the wrath of God. I may be a candidate for trials, man’s wrath, Satan’s wrath or the world’s wrath but not the wrath of the Lamb, not the wrath of Jesus Christ. Or else Paul’s statements in 1 Thessalonians 1:10, 1 Thessalonians 5:9, other passages, make virtually no sense. [1 Thessalonians 1:10, “and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.” 1 Thessalonians 5:9, “For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.”]
You say well if this is so clear then you explain to me, Mr. Theologian, Daniel 7:21. If there are no biblical references to the church on the earth during the tribulation period you then explain to me Daniel 7:21, which says, “I kept looking, and that horn” or the antichrist “was waging war with the saints and overpowering them.” Who are these people? Notice what the verse does not say. It does not say I kept looking and the horn was waging with the church. What does it say? It says the antichrist “was waging war with the saints.” What’s the difference? There’s a world of difference. “Saints” in the Bible, is a nontechnical term which simply means a word that doesn’t always mean the same thing everywhere it’s used, and it’s used generically to describe the people of God. Those in Old Testament times, Psalm 149:1 are called saints. [Psalm 149:1, “Praise ye the LORD. Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints.” KJV]
We, in the church age, are also called “saints.” The term “saints” can apply to Israel, it can apply to Gentile believers, it can apply to the church itself, so the reality of the situation is the word “saint” in and of itself does not automatically put the church into the tribulation period. And how could this be the church, verse 21, “I kept looking and the little horn was waging war with the saints and” what? “overpowering them.” The antichrist is winning here, is he not? At least it seems that way.
How does that correlate at all with Christ’s promise to the church, Matthew 16:18, “I will build My church and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” “The gates of Hades will not overpower it.” “The gates of Hades will NOT overpower it!” What does verse 21 say, “I kept looking and the little horn was waging war with the saints and” what? “overpowering them.” The word “church” isn’t there, this is the generic word “saints.”
Who are these people. There’s something to understand: the church is a mystery. If you’ve been tracking with us on Wednesday nights you’ll see the Apostle Paul, in Ephesians 3:3-6, calls the church a mystery. Verse 9 of Ephesians 3 he calls the church a mystery. [Ephesians 3, “that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief.  By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ,  which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit;  to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel,”]
What is a mystery? Have you ever asked that? A mystery is a truth concealed but now revealed. The church itself is a mystery, meaning that the church was always in the mind of God but man knew nothing about the church until Paul was raised up to explain the church. The church started in Acts 2, Paul gives the explanation of what the church is, in his 13 letters so you can read the book of Daniel all you want, you can read the Old Testament all you want. My goodness, you can read the Gospels all you want, except in a few cases in the Gospels, very narrow cases, the church is not in view. How could this be a prophecy about the church when the church is an unknown mystery at this time, back in the 6th century?
Well, then, who are these people? I want you to understand something; this was written before the church existed and it is prophesying a time period after the church has gone. Do you see that? Daniel doesn’t see the church age which is shrouded in mystery at this time. If you had a discussion with him about the church back in the 6th century he wouldn’t even know what you’re talking about. We know about it because we have the light of the New Testament. Daniel knew nothing about the church. When he received this vision it was before the church existed and it concerns a time period after the church is gone. If you start understanding that you can see how multiple passages that people target as the church have, quite frankly, nothing to do with the church.
Well then, who are these people? Who are these saints that are being overpowered. Let me tell you something, after the rapture of the church what the church has left incomplete in terms of world evangelization will be completed by the nation of Israel in the ministries of the 144,000. Who are these 144,000? Revelation 7:1-8 says there are 12,000 emanating from the twelve tribes of Israel.
[Revelation 1:1-8, “After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, so that no wind would blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree.  And I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the seal of the living God; and he cried out with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea,  saying, ‘Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads.’  And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel:  from the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand were sealed, from the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand, from the tribe of Gad twelve thousand,  from the tribe of Asher twelve thousand, from the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand, from the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand,  from the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand, from the tribe of Levi twelve thousand, from the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand,  from the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand, from the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand, from the tribe of Benjamin, twelve thousand were sealed.”]
This has nothing to do with what the Jehovah’s Witnesses [tape fades in and mostly out for a few minutes] 144,000 are considered…in fact one man defected from the Jehovah’s Witnesses, he was allegedly one of the 144,000 and he wrote a classic book entitled 143,999. This isn’t talking about anything related to what the Jehovah’s Witnesses say. This is talking about God’s hand is going right back on the Jewish people. In fact, these people, Revelation 7:1-8 are the firstfruits. They’re converted first. How are they converted? I don’t know, we’ll have the best seat in the house though to see it happen. And God starts to use them to complete world evangelization. In fact, in the tribulation period itself it says this: Revelation 7:9
Daniel doesn’t see the church age, which is shrouded in mystery at this time. He wouldn’t know it if you went up and had a discussion with him about the church, back in the 6th century, he wouldn’t even know what you’re talking about. We know about it because we have the light of the New Testament. Daniel knew nothing about the church. When he received this vision it was before the church existed and it concerns a time period after the church is gone. If you start to understand that you can see how multiple passages that people target as the church have, quite frankly, nothing to do with the church.
Well then, who are these people? I want you to understand something. This was written before the church existed and it is prophesying a time period after the church is gone. Do you see that? Daniel doesn’t see the church age which is shrouded in mystery at this time. He even wouldn’t know it if you went up and had a discussion with him about the church back in the 6th century he wouldn’t even know what you’re talking about. We know about it because we have the light of the New Testament. Daniel knew nothing about the church. When he received this vision it was before the church existed and it concerns a time period after the church is gone. If you start to understand that you can see how multiple passages that people target as the church have quite frankly nothing to do with the church.
Well then, who are these people? Who are these saints that are being overpowered? Let me tell you something; after the rapture of the church what the church has left incomplete in terms of world evangelization will be completed by the nation of Israel in the ministries of the 144,000. Who are these 144,000? Revelation 7:1-8 says there are 12,000 emanating from the twelve tribes of Israel.
This has nothing to do with what the Jehovah’s Witnesses say, [blank space] 144,000 are considered [blank space] In fact one man defected from the Jehovah’s Witnesses, he was allegedly one of the 144,000 and he wrote a classic book entitled 143,999. This isn’t talking about anything related to what the Jehovah’s Witnesses think, this is talking about God’s hand is going right back on the Jewish people. In fact, these people, Revelation 7:1-8 are the firstfruits, they are converted first. How are they converted? I don’t know. We’ll have the best seat in the house, though, to see it happen.
And God starts to use them to complete world evangelization. In fact, in the tribulation period itself it says this: Revelation 7:9, “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands;  “Then one of the elders answered and said, these who are clothed in white robes, who are they and where did they come from. I said to him, Lord, You know, and He said to me, ‘These are the ones who have come out of the great tribulation and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”’
Let me tell you something: we have a very high view of ourselves in terms of our ability to get the gospel out to the whole world. Let me tell you something, beloved, “you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.” The small paltry work that God is doing today through world evangelization in the church, and I praise God for all of the world evangelization that’s going on but what God is doing today is small potatoes compared to what He will do through 144,000 Jews.
Do you know that when the Apostle Paul got saved, a devout Jew, and the Holy Spirit in Arabia began to connect the dots for him and began to show him that Judaism points towards Christ, do you realize what a revelation that was to him. There isn’t a man on the earth that did more for the cause of evangelism and missions than Paul. Read the book of Acts, you’ll see it. Can you imagine the Apostle Paul multiplied by 144,000? That is what Revelation 7 is describing.
People say okay Mr. Wise Guy, then who are these saints? That’s an easy question to answer. They are those that are saved through the ministries of the 144,000 after the church is gone. No problem at all. Matthew 24:14 says, “This” this is after the rapture, “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to” some of the nations… sorry, it doesn’t say that, “as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” And we sit here in our arrogance and say to God, well God, you’d better use us greatly in world evangelization or You’re not going to be able to get the gospel out. Do you know what God is saying to us? I’m putting up with you and one of these days you’re going to be put on the bench and I’ll bring out subs and those subs will start to play like Larry Bird, Matthew Johnson and Michael Jordan. You know, we deceive ourselves into thinking how important we are when the reality is we’re used by God in any way He sees fit to use us.
It’s like when I was teaching my daughter about emptying the dishwasher, which is a tribulation in and of itself, and she was really little and she was getting the cups and putting them away and I said to myself, you know, I ought to just do this myself because it would get done a lot faster but then I said to myself, you know, if I do it she’s deprived of the joy of learning, she’s deprived of the joy of participating, she’s deprived of the joy of contributing. Let me tell you something folks, God’s work is going to get done. The only issue is do you get the joy of participating or not? God doesn’t need me, God doesn’t need you, God’s got the whole thing under control. The issue is are we going to cooperate with God and experience the joy of participating in His work? Are we going to get off the bench and get into the game? The game is already won! The only issue is are you a starter? Are you a contributor?
Verse 22 and with this we’re finished. “until the Ancient of Days came and judgment was passed in favor of the saints of the Highest One, and the time arrived when the saints took possession of the kingdom.” How does it all end? The “ancient of days,” the Father, returns, He exercises judgment at the end of the times of the Gentiles and the saints receive the kingdom.
Be encouraged, you’re on the winning side of history. I watched, not too long ago, a basketball game and through that whole game I was sitting on the edge of my seat because I didn’t know who was going to win, it was a close game. I was nervous, my palms were sweating, I had half a mind to go into the locker room or the closet and put on my own jersey, but the thing doesn’t fit me any more. And so I was all emotional and amped up about the whole thing until the end. And then you know something interesting happened. The same game came on in tape delay. I wasn’t nervous any more when I saw the game because I knew what was going to happen.
You don’t have to sit on the edge of your seat worried, has God got this whole thing under control? The fact of the matter is the prophetic pages remind you who’s going to win; you know who’s going to win, and you can rest in the fact that you are on the winning side of history. The only issue is how much of a contributor are you going to be in a game that’s already won?
You know, it’s possible someone could be here today and never know how to get into the game. It’s possible someone could be here today and think well, this teaching on the rapture, I really don’t know should the rapture happen now if I will be taken into heaven or not. And your right as a child of God is that you can know. It’s called the assurance of salvation through the gospel. Jesus Christ stepped out of eternity into time and did for us something that we could never do for ourselves—He fixed the sin problem! And by simply trusting in what he has done on your behalf you are ushered into the grace package of our Lord Jesus Christ which includes all kinds of benefits, arrival in heaven, participation in the rapture, the right to be used by God… by simple faith.
And so Christianity is not about what we do for God, it’s what God has done for us. And the gospel is something that you can trust in right now as your seated, as the Spirit of God places you under conviction, which is what the Spirit does. He bothers you because He loves you too much to see you go into an eternal hell. And until the day you die, praise God, the convicting ministry of the Spirit is going to keep bothering an annoying you because of His love for you.
So our exhortation here at Sugar Land Bible Church is to respond to the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit. Trust in what Jesus has done, not what we do for ourselves but what He has done, and be ushered into the glory and the grace and the goodness of God. Join the team that’s the winner. Shall we pray.
Father, if anybody is here today and they’re unclear of their salvation I pray that they will trust Christ even as I’m speaking. I pray people also, Lord, will have the incentive to reach out to leadership here if they’re unclear about the gospel. I pray, Father, that You’ll continue to use the Book of Daniel in our lives to give us Your blueprint, Your big picture so we can walk by faith in these last days. We’ll be careful to give you all of the praise and the glory. We ask these things in Jesus’ name, and God’s people said… Amen.