Thursday, March 20, 2014

Thursday, March 20 ~ Miriam

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Deuteronomy 3-4; Psalm 57; Luke 13.
Today's scripture focus is Daniel 11:36-45.

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. 37 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. 38 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. 39 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.

40 “At the end time the king of the South will collide with him, and the king of the North will storm against him with chariots, with horsemen and with many ships; and he will enter countries, overflow them and pass through. 41 He will also enter the Beautiful Land, and many countries will fall; but these will be rescued out of his hand: Edom, Moab and the foremost of the sons of Ammon. 42 Then he will stretch out his hand against other countries, and the land of Egypt will not escape. 43 But he will gain control over the hidden treasures of gold and silver and over all the precious things of Egypt; and Libyans and Ethiopians will follow at his heels. 44 But rumors from the East and from the North will disturb him, and he will go forth with great wrath to destroy and annihilate many. 45 He will pitch the tents of his royal pavilion between the seas and the beautiful Holy Mountain; yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him.

Well, thank goodness for all the learned scholars who have sorted through all these prophecies for us, because I don't mind telling you that I would have no idea what was going on in these passages without them.  So, from MacArthur's sermon:

Now, as we approach verse 36, we leap across centuries to the final king, Antichrist. And we meet him in verses 36 to 45. We've seen the Persian era, the Greek era, and now we see the final form of the Roman era. The final chapter of the chastening of the people of Israel. And this amazing figure will be all the evil power of Ahasuerus, Alexander, Antiochus the Great, Antiochus Epiphanes combined and more. He is the counterfeit Christ who makes a treaty or a covenant or a league or a pact with Israel He promises to protect. He aligns Israel with the west. And then in the middle of the seven-year Tribulation, he breaks that pact, he desecrates their temple, he desecrates their religion, he blasphemes their God and precipitates the holocaust of Armageddon which is ended in the return of Jesus Christ.

Now some Bible commentators want to apply this to some historical point. They want to apply the rest of the chapter to Antiochus Epiphanes, or some other personality, primarily Antiochus Epiphanes is selected. But they don't want to allow for prophecy in the future so they want to tie it all to some past event. But that just doesn't work very well.

Let me suggest several reasons. First of all, in verse 35, the time of the end is an eschatological term. It deals with last things. In verse 40 it begins, "And at the time of the end." And both of those uses indicate a future last-days point. Secondly, the scope of the prophecy is beyond just the Persian and Greek area. The angel said this in chapter 10 verse 14. "Now I am come to make you understand what shall befall your people in the latter days." So, from the very beginning, the prophecy was said to stretch much further than just Persian-Greek times.

Further, we can follow with minute absolutely accurate detail all of the prophecy up to verse 35. But after that, we have no historical data that can at all relate to what happens from verse 36 to 45. Certainly not in the life of Antiochus Epiphanes.

Notice also in verse 36, it says near the end of the verse, all of this is going to prosper till the indignation be accomplished. Now the indignation which is to be fully accomplished simply means the final outpouring of God's wrath and that demands the last days. In fact, the indignation is almost a synonymous term with the Tribulation.

Further, the description of the ruler in this passage absolutely detail by detail parallels other Scripture accounts of Antichrist. Also, chapter 12 verse 1 tells us that at that time shall Michael stand up and they'll be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time. In other words, there is coming a time that will be worse than any other time in the history of man. And verse 2, it will be followed by the resurrection. Now that has to be the last time.

Furthermore, the last three revelations in the book of Daniel have closed with a word about the Antichrist. It is fitting that this one follow that same pattern. I just wanted you to know that there are reasons why we interpret this in relation to the Antichrist. And so, we sweep across thousands of years of history to the final world ruler. 

There is a lot more in the sermon about what the Antichrist will be like.  Honestly, I am personally more interested in what I have already pasted above about why this portion of the prophecy is still in the future and not the past, and anyway this is getting long already, so if you'd like to read more about that, please check out the sermon.  The link is above the excerpt.  I'll close with the three lessons that MacArthur pulls out of the passage at the end of his sermon:

Number one, God controls everything. Is that great? Everything. All of history under the control of God...every detail, every ruler, Ahasuerus, Alexander, Antiochus the Great, Antiochus Epiphanes, everybody in between, Antichrist, all carrying out His will within the framework of His plan. I'll tell you, it's a comforting thing to know that history is His story, that the whole thing is in His hand.

The second great lesson, not only that God controls history, and I love this one, but God will purge His people Israel. There's coming a day for Israel. And when these things begin to come to pass, said the Lord in Luke, look up, lift up your heads for your what? Redemption is near.

Third lesson, number one--God controls everything number two--God is going to purge and redeem His people; number three--the world will end in a holocaust but Christ will triumph over that and all will be well forever for the saints of God. Are you thankful?

For those of us who know and love the Lord Jesus Christ, there's a blissful forever ahead. I hope you know Him.

Tomorrow's scripture focus:  Daniel 12:1-3
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage:  Deuteronomy 5-6; Psalm 58; Luke 14

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