Daniel 12:4-7; Shattering the Power of the Holy People ~ 20230226 ~ Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org
02/26_Daniel 12:4-7; Shattering the Power of the Holy People; Audio available at: http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20230226_dan12_4-7.mp3
Daniel 12:1 “At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. 2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. 4 But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”
Daniel is told of a time of great trouble for his people, a great deliverance for those whose names have been written in the book, a great resurrection, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt, a great glorification of the righteous.
Seal The Book
Daniel is told to shut up the words and to seal the book. This does not necessarily mean that he is to keep it secret or hide it. In chapter 6, when the lion’s den was sealed over Daniel, it was to protect it, so that ‘nothing might be changed concerning Daniel’ (6:17). It’s like our tamper evident caps; don’t buy it if the seal has been broken; someone might have tampered with the contents.
In Jeremiah 32, Jeremiah was told to buy a field while Babylon had Jerusalem under siege, as a witness to God’s people that although they will go into captivity, God promises to restore the land to his people.
Jeremiah 32:9 “And I bought the field at Anathoth from Hanamel my cousin, and weighed out the money to him, seventeen shekels of silver. 10 I signed the deed, sealed it, got witnesses, and weighed the money on scales. 11 Then I took the sealed deed of purchase, containing the terms and conditions and the open copy. 12 And I gave the deed of purchase to Baruch the son of Neriah son of Mahseiah, in the presence of Hanamel my cousin, in the presence of the witnesses who signed the deed of purchase, and in the presence of all the Judeans who were sitting in the court of the guard. 13 I charged Baruch in their presence, saying, 14 ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Take these deeds, both this sealed deed of purchase and this open deed, and put them in an earthenware vessel, that they may last for a long time. 15 For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Houses and fields and vineyards shall again be bought in this land.’
The seal was not meant to conceal; there was an open copy available to be read. But the sealed copy was to preserve and protect the contents from being tampered with. Jeremiah would be dead and gone when this legal document would be opened.
Daniel is told to shut up and seal the book, the scroll, or the record. This at least applies to the vision of chapters 10-12, but likely could apply to the entire book of Daniel. Back in chapter 8:26 Daniel was told to ‘seal up the vision, for it refers to many days from now.’ Daniel is told to authenticate and preserve his writing for future generations, because it is for ‘the time of the end’. John, in contrast, is told ‘Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.’ (Rev.22:10)
Daniel is instructed to ‘shut up the words and seal the book’, but ultimately it is God who according to verse 9 will ‘shut up and seal the words until the time of the end.’ God is the one who promises to protect his own word, so that ‘heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away’ (Mt.24:35); ‘until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished’ (Mt.5:18).
Many Run To And Fro
Daniel is told that ‘many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.’ Some have taken this to picture advances in travel and information technology, but that is probably not the main point of the passage. The phrase ‘run to and fro’ is used of seeking or searching out something; the eyes of the LORD run to and fro (2Chr.16:9). Jeremiah (5:1) is told to run to and fro to see if he can find anyone ‘who does justice and seeks truth’. Even Satan (Job.1:7; 2:2; cf.1Pet.5:8) is said to roam to and fro on the earth. In Amos 8,
Amos 8:11 “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord GOD, “when I will send a famine on the land— not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD. 12 They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the LORD, but they shall not find it.
Likely this running to and fro is a search for knowledge, a search for truth. This book is to be sealed, because in the time of the end, there will be a search for truth. And unlike the days foretold to Amos, because Daniel’s book has been preserved, knowledge shall increase. Much of Daniel has been brought to light by the unfolding of history and revelation. We are privileged to understand more today about some of what Daniel wrote than what Daniel himself understood when he wrote it.
The End of These Wonders
At the beginning of this vision in chapter 10, Daniel had been fasting for three weeks, and was on the banks of the Tigris river.
Daniel 10:5 I lifted up my eyes and looked, and behold, a man clothed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist. 6 His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a multitude.
Daniel saw a mighty heavenly messenger, likely the Son of God himself, as the description matches closely the description of Jesus in Revelation 1:12-18. Now he sees two others.
Daniel 12:5 Then I, Daniel, looked, and behold, two others stood, one on this bank of the stream and one on that bank of the stream. 6 And someone said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream, “How long shall it be till the end of these wonders?”
How long shall it be till the end of these wonders? ‘Wonders’ is a word used of the mighty signs that God performed over Egypt. The Lord told Moses
Exodus 3:20 So I will stretch out my hand and strike Egypt with all the wonders that I will do in it; after that he will let you go.
After crossing through the Red Sea, in Exodus 15 Moses sang:
Exodus 15:4 “Pharaoh's chariots and his host he cast into the sea, and his chosen officers were sunk in the Red Sea. 5 The floods covered them; they went down into the depths like a stone. 6 Your right hand, O LORD, glorious in power, your right hand, O LORD, shatters the enemy. 7 In the greatness of your majesty you overthrow your adversaries; you send out your fury; it consumes them like stubble. 8 At the blast of your nostrils the waters piled up; the floods stood up in a heap; the deeps congealed in the heart of the sea. 9 The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil, my desire shall have its fill of them. I will draw my sword; my hand shall destroy them.’ 10 You blew with your wind; the sea covered them; they sank like lead in the mighty waters. 11 “Who is like you, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?
‘Wonders’ is a word used for the terrible judgments God poured out on his enemies. ‘How long shall it be till the end of these wonders?’ What are ‘these wonders’ that the angel is looking to be ended? A similar question was asked in chapter 8;
Daniel 8:13 Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to the one who spoke, “For how long is the vision concerning the regular burnt offering, the transgression that makes desolate, and the giving over of the sanctuary and host to be trampled underfoot?”
There the question was to the length of the persecution under Antiochus. Here the question must relate to the ‘time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time.’ Looking back to the end of chapter 11,
Daniel 11:36 “And the king shall do as he wills. He shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak astonishing things against the God of gods. He shall prosper till the indignation is accomplished; for what is decreed shall be done.
‘How long shall it be till the end of these wonders?’
The Lord Takes an Oath
Daniel 12:7 And I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream; he raised his right hand and his left hand toward heaven and swore by him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time, and that when the shattering of the power of the holy people comes to an end all these things would be finished.
The Lord takes an oath. This is serious. Lifting a hand to heaven is a way of expressing the seriousness of the oath. But I don’t know of any other time where two hands are lifted to heaven in taking an oath. This is doubly certain. And if this one clothed in linen is the Son of God, then God is swearing by himself.
It will be for a time, times and half a time. We have heard this before. In chapter 7, the little horn ‘made war with the saints and prevailed over them’ (7:21). Daniel is told:
Daniel 7:25 He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. 26 But the court shall sit in judgment, and his dominion shall be taken away, to be consumed and destroyed to the end.
In Daniel 9, the prophecy of the 70 sevens (or weeks)
Daniel 9:27 And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.”
Half of a seven is three and a half.
Revelation 11 says that the outer court of the temple will be
Revelation 11:2 ...given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months. 3 And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.”
Forty-two months is three and a half years. 1260 days is 42 months if a month is 30 days. This is the time the temple court and the city is given over to the nations.
We see this time period again in Revelation 12 as the time the woman Israel is protected from the dragon;
Revelation 12:6 and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days.
And then in verse 14
Revelation 12:14 But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time.
Israel is nourished in the wilderess for a time, times and half a time, 1,260 days.
And then in Revelation 13:5
Revelation 13:5 And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. 6 It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. 7 Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, 8 and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.
A time, times and half a time; half of a week, forty-two months, 1,260 days. When the little horn makes war with the saints and prevails over them, when they are given into his hand. When he puts an end to sacrifice and offering. When the nations trample the holy city. When the two witnesses prophesy. When Israel flees and is nourished in the wilderness. When the beast is allowed to exercise authority and to make war on the saints and to conquer them.
How long will this be permitted to continue? How long till the end of these wonders? God himself raises his right hand and his left hand and swears by him who lives forever that it will be for a time, times and half a time, and that when the shattering of the power of the holy people comes to an end all these things would be finished.
Shattering the Power of the Holy People
God swears that there is a limit. It will be three and a half years, forty-two months, 1260 days. This time will bring about the shattering of the power of the holy people. This is a devastating word.
In Jeremiah 51 God said of Babylon shattering his people:
Jeremiah 51:20 “You are my hammer and weapon of war: with you I break nations in pieces; with you I destroy kingdoms; 21 with you I break in pieces the horse and his rider; with you I break in pieces the chariot and the charioteer; 22 with you I break in pieces man and woman; with you I break in pieces the old man and the youth; with you I break in pieces the young man and the young woman; 23 with you I break in pieces the shepherd and his flock; with you I break in pieces the farmer and his team; with you I break in pieces governors and commanders.
Isaiah 30 spoke to God’s disobedient people:
Isaiah 30:8 And now, go, write it before them on a tablet and inscribe it in a book, that it may be for the time to come as a witness forever. 9 For they are a rebellious people, lying children, children unwilling to hear the instruction of the LORD; 10 who say to the seers, “Do not see,” and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us what is right; speak to us smooth things, prophesy illusions, 11 leave the way, turn aside from the path, let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.” 12 Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel, “Because you despise this word and trust in oppression and perverseness and rely on them, 13 therefore this iniquity shall be to you like a breach in a high wall, bulging out, and about to collapse, whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant; 14 and its breaking is like that of a potter's vessel that is smashed so ruthlessly that among its fragments not a shard is found with which to take fire from the hearth, or to dip up water out of the cistern.” 15 For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling, 16 and you said, “No! We will flee upon horses”; therefore you shall flee away; and, “We will ride upon swift steeds”; therefore your pursuers shall be swift. 17 A thousand shall flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you shall flee, till you are left like a flagstaff on the top of a mountain, like a signal on a hill. 18 Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. 19 For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you. 20 And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher.
Shattering is not pleasant, but for those who walk in pride it is necessary. God’s proud and rebellious people will finally be shattered so that they cry out to him, and when they do, they will find God waiting to be gracious to them, exulting to show them mercy. As soon as he hears their cry, he will answer.
Zechariah 12: 10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn. 11 On that day the mourning in Jerusalem will be as great as the mourning for Hadad-rimmon in the plain of Megiddo.
Revelation 1:7 Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.
2023.02.26 Sermon Notes
Daniel 12:4-7; Shattering the Power of the Holy People
Seal the book
Daniel 6:17; 8:26; 12:4,9; Jeremiah 32:9-15; Revelation 22:10
Matthew 5:18; 24:35
Running to and fro seeking truth
2 Chronicles 16:9; Jeremiah 5:1; Job 1:7; 2:2; 1 Peter 5:8
Working wonders over God’s enemies; How long?
Exodus 3:20; 15:4-11; Daniel 8:13; 11:36; 12:1
The Lord takes an oath; a time, times, half a time
Daniel 7:25 -saints given into his hand
Daniel 9:27 -put an end to sacrifice and offering
Revelation 11:2-3 -holy city trampled by nations
Revelation 12:6, 14 -woman flees to the wilderness
Revelation 13:5-8 -allowed to conquer the saints
Daniel 12:7 -shattering the power of the holy people
The purpose of affliction; shattering the power of the holy people
Jeremiah 51:20-23; Isaiah 30:8-20; Zechariah 12:10-11
Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org