Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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When We Know the End of the Story (Daniel 12)

Dannah Gresh: We’ve lived through some surreal times. But Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth reminds us, God hasn’t been surprised by any world events.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: All history is moving toward a predetermined, ordained end. And it will take place exactly and how God has ordered, because Heaven rules.

Dannah: This is the Revive Our Hearts podcast with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of The First Songs of Christmas, for October 14, 2021. I’m Dannah Gresh.

Nothing surprises God. And when you walk with Him, you’ll be a lot less jostled as life gets bumpy. Daniel lived through tumultuous times, and Nancy will give us insight from the book he wrote. She’s continuing the series, “Heaven Rules.”

Nancy: Well, what an incredible journey this has been for me, and I hope for you through the book of Daniel. I didn’t know how much I didn’t know. Every time I read the book or listen to the book, which I’ve been doing a lot recently, I learn new things. I see new things. I wish there was time to share it all with you, but we’ve been trying to really focus on sightings of Heaven rules. I’ve encouraged you to be marking those in your Bible.

Today is the last chapter of Daniel, but it’s not the last day in this series, because we’re going to do one more wrap-up episode tomorrow to just take an overview of what we’ve seen in the book of Daniel. 

Now, the last two chapters of Daniel are in response to Daniel’s prayers. God sends an angelic messenger, we think it was probably Gabriel, to tell Daniel about things to come—particularly for his people, the Jewish people. The end of chapter 1,1 we talked about this in the last episode, we read about what we now know is the rise of the final Antichrist. 

This is a powerful evil ruler who seeks to reign over the earth and persecutes God’s people. But Heaven rules. Right? So, Daniel chapter 12, we come now to verse 1, “At that time . . .” during the Great Tribulation when this Antichrist is reigning and ruling trying to control the world. 

At that time Michael, the great prince who stands watch over your people, [the people of Israel] he will rise up. 

Now, Michael the Great Prince referred to here, is an angel. And in Scripture, he’s always connected with spiritual battles. He’s mentioned three times in the book of Daniel, and he seems to be specially assigned to protect Israel. 

In the book of Jude in the New Testament, he’s called Michael the Archangel. He confronts Satan. In Revelation chapter 12, he’s mentioned again. War breaks out in heaven, and Michael the Archangel, the Great Prince, leads a cohort of angels who defeat Satan, and Satan is thrown out of heaven. So he’s an important character in the angels of heaven. 

During the Great Tribulation, when the Antichrist rises up, at the time God ordains, Michael will rise up to defend God’s people. It’s a reminder to me that when the powers of evil arise in this world, God does not leave His people to fend for themselves. He has powerful servants. He has angels who stand watch to protect those who trust in Him. And these angels, these servants of the Lord, these messengers, they represent and they act on behalf of the Lord of hosts who stands watch over His people. They represent Him. 

At that time, Michael will stand watch, and he will rise up. Now verse 1 goes on tell us, 

There will be a time of distress such as never has occurred since nations came into being until that time.

Does that verse sound familiar to you? It should because in Matthew chapter 24, Jesus said exactly the same when talking about the Great Tribulation and the end times. This would be a time of distress such as has never happened before in history. 

Throughout history there have been many times of tribulation and persecution for Israel. And there’s more distress yet to come—the greatest tribulation ever in history, a final great tribulation. Yet in the midst of that, there’s a message of hope. 

But at that time, [the angel says to Daniel] all you people [the Jews] who are found written in the book will escape. (v. 1) 

It’s a great time of distress, but at that time this angel, this mighty angel servant of the Lord, will stand up. He will defend God’s people. He will rise up, and at that time the people who are found written in the book will escape. 

Now, what’s the book? Well, it’s the Book of Life of the Lamb who was slaughtered, Revelation 13 tells us. It’s a record of all Jews and Gentiles who are in Christ, and they will escape. They will be delivered from the distress. Now, that is a message of hope, but it doesn’t mean that believers won’t suffer or that they won’t be persecuted.

In fact, they will be persecuted, and some will be killed. But that persecution, whether it’s leading up to the Great Tribulation or the Great Tribulation itself, that persecution is not the last chapter. Those whose names are found written in the Book of Life, they will be delivered from final death, final destruction, and most importantly from the judgment of God. 

And by the way, the incidents we’ve seen in the book of Daniel with the three Hebrew young men being delivered from the fiery furnace, and Daniel being delivered from the lions’ den, these point us to the gospel. It is Christ who delivers us from the wrath to come. The persecution and temptation and fiery furnaces and dens of lions, and sometimes we feel like we live in all of the above, it is not forever. There will be an end. Those whose names are found in the Book of Life will escape. 

He says in verse 2, 

Many who sleep in the dust of the earth [a metaphor for dying, physical death] will awake.

 What’s that make you think of? Resurrection. Now, there are two very different outcomes described here. For those who die and then are resurrected, it says, “. . . some to eternal life and some to disgrace and eternal contempt” (v. 2).

There’s the resurrection of those who are saved and are in Christ, and they will be raised to eternal life. And then there’s the resurrection of those who are under God’s judgment, and they will be raised to disgrace and eternal contempt. At the end of time, God will execute judgment on the wicked, and He will deliver His people. You see, judgment and salvation, these parallel tracks going all through the Scripture. You want to be sure you’re in Christ, because that is your only hope to be spared from the wrath to come. 

Look at verse 3, 

Those who have insight [some of your translations say “those who are wise”] will shine like the bright expanse of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. 

“Those who have insight,” we saw this phrase in the last chapter , chapter 11. “Those who have insight,” some of your translations say “those who have wisdom.” It’s a Hebrew word, and I’m going to really mess up the pronunciation, but the best I can say it, (I don’t have the Hebrew accent) it sounds like sahow. It looks like s-a-k-a-l, but apparently, it’s pronounced sahow. This is those who have insight. This word is used nine times in the book of Daniel. 

Sakal, sometimes it’s translated “to be wise,” or “to understand,” or “to have skill,” or here “to have insight.” Daniel was a sakal man. As a teen he was taken captive by an idolatrous nation that hated Jews. He lived in a dark, pagan world. But he was placed by God in strategic positions of influence. His life in Babylon was a bright light. It stood out. It made a difference, because he was a sakal man. He had insight, he had wisdom, he had understanding. 

Interestingly, in Proverbs chapter 19:14, it says, “A prudent wife is from the LORD.” It’s the same word “prudent”—sakal. A sakal wife, a wise and understanding and insightful wife is from the Lord. Her life is a bright light. It shines. It stands out in a dark sinful world that desperately needs to see Jesus. 

I have a friend who is a prudent wife. She’s a sakal woman. Her husband has recently been appointed as the president of one of the top universities in the United States. It’s a division 1 school, tens of thousands of students. It’s facing a number of difficult issues and scandals. This man is being thrown into the lions’ den, the fiery furnace. He’s been put into a Daniel-like position. I thought about this couple as I was soaking in this passage over the last few days. 

I texted my friend, and I said, “I’m praying for you and your husband as you start into this new chapter. I’m sure there will be hard moments and rough patches, but heaven’s angels are standing watch and ready to rise up on your behalf, anytime God says the word!” And then I shared this verse with her about those who have insight, those who are sakal, are shining like stars. I said to her, “What a gift you are as a prudent, sakal to your husband, for such a time as this! And what a gift he will be as a sakal man to this institution and to those with whom he serves.”

As Daniel served a succession of kings in Babylon, we’ve read about them over the last few weeks, this man in this university setting is serving the leaders of a huge secular institution. But like Daniel, he’s a godly man. He knows that ultimately, he is serving the King, capital “K.” This sakal couple is living for eternity and for the kingdom of Christ that will never end. It's a plum job. It’s a tough job, but their identity isn’t in this job or in this position. They’re there as ambassadors of Christ, and as a result, their lives are shining as bright lights pointing many to Jesus. 

In the midst of the darkness and distress of this world, we are called to be sakal, to be wise,  to lead and point others to the righteousness that is in Christ. Philippians 2 says it this way, “Be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world” (v. 15). 

We may not be considered wise or significant by the world’s standards, but if we have that wisdom, that insight, the sakal, we will radiate to our world the wisdom and the beauty of Christ that never fades forever and ever. 

Well, verse 4 the angel says, 

“But you, Daniel, keep these words secret and seal the book until the time of the end.” 

Time and end—when you study the Bible, you want to take particular note of recurring words and phrases. And these two words, “time” and “end,” are recurring in important themes throughout the book of Daniel and especially in the prophetic chapters that we’re looking at now. Until the time of the end, as you study those words you see that God controls the game clock. And when He says, “It’s time,” the buzzer will sound, signifying the end. You see, all history is moving toward a predetermined, ordained end. It will take place exactly when and how God has ordered, because Heaven rules, Heaven rules. 

Look at verse 5, 

Then I, Daniel, looked, and two others [these were angels] were standing there, one on this bank of the river and one on the other. One of them said to the man dressed in linen . . . (vv. 5–6) 

Let’s just pause there because you saw this phrase in Daniel chapter 10, the man dressed in linen. The description is almost identical to the vision of Jesus that we read in Revelation chapter 1. So, we believe this is likely a preincarnate appearance of Christ. 

So, one of these angels said to the man dressed in linen, whom we believe to be Christ, “. . . who was above the water of the river . . .” Was He walking on the water? Maybe. One of the angels said, “How long until the end of these wonders?” (v. 6) 

Then I heard the man dressed in linen, who was above the water of the river. He raised both his hands toward heaven and swore by him who lives eternally that it would be for a time, times, and half a time. (v. 7) 

Three-and-a-half years. This is a reference to the last half of the seven-year tribulation.

If you’ve studying Daniel chapter 9, as we did a few days ago, it’s Daniel’s seventieth week, in his prophecy. This is the end of that seven-year tribulation. Well, Daniel says in verse 8, “I heard but did not understand.” I have felt that way many times while studying the book of Daniel, and my guess is that you have felt that way as you’ve listened to me teach on the book of Daniel. But Daniel asked, “My lord, what will be the outcome of these things?” (v. 8)

So, two questions here, and they are the questions we have when we are in times of distress. The one in verse 6, “How long will this last?” and the one in verse 8, “How’s all this going to turn out?” We want to know the end of the story.

I was talking to a friend this week about a really difficult situation with one of her grown children. I was talking with another friend who was the long-term caregiver for an elderly parent, and lots of challenges in that situation. Then I have another dear friend who had a mastectomy recently. They just got the pathology report back, and she has cancer in multiple lymph nodes. 

Each of the people and people you know and perhaps you, yourself, in a time of distress, each is asking two questions: “How long is this going to go on?” and “How is this going to end? What’s going to be the outcome?” 

Now, let me say it’s not wrong to ask the questions, but at the end of the day, we have to be willing to trust the One, the only One, who we know knows the answers to the questions. Because we know He is trustworthy. The future is unknown, by large, to us. But it is fully known to Him. When He doesn’t choose to answer our questions, we have to trust, Heaven rules. 

Daniel says, “What will be the outcome of these things?” Here’s the response of the angelic messenger, verse 9, he didn’t give the outcome. He didn’t really answer the question. Here’s what he said,

“Go on your way, Daniel, for the words are secret and sealed until the time of the end.” (v. 9)

We saw that same concept in verse 4, “You, Daniel, keep these words secret and seal the book until the time of the end.” 

We’re reminded that many of the plans of God will remain unknown to us until the end of time. Not even Daniel got to know all of what this would mean, and when it would be, and what it would be like, and what the outcome would be. God said, “Seal it.” Close it up; there’s more that you don’t know then you do know about what’s coming. 

Look at verse 10, here’s what we do know: 

“Many will be purified, cleansed, and refined, but the wicked will act wickedly; none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight [There’s that phrase again, those who are sakal, those who are wise] will understand.”

So when the rest of the world is clueless and acting the way wicked people act, which is wickedly, those who know their God will be of great contrast. They will have pure hearts. They will have wisdom; they will have understanding. They will know what to do. 

“From the time the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. Happy is the one who waits for and reaches 1,335 days.” (v. 12)

Now, a lot of commentators and Bible teachers over the years have tried to figure out what these days refer to. When do they start? When do they end? What do they mean? And I’m not even going to say anything about that, except that it says to me that the God who is the ultimate mathematician, the God who invented mathematics, knows the answer to the question, how long? He knows the exact number of days. We’re not sure what those days, when they start, when they end, what they exactly mean, but God knows the answer to the question, “How long?”

We may not be able to figure out all the calculations, but we can wait, verse 12, “Happy is the one who waits,” the one who waits for and reaches. We can wait for God to reveal the end of the story. Those who wait on the Lord, those who trust in Him will be happy. It’s the Old Testament word for “blessed.” They will be sustained by God’s strength and His grace and His power all the way to the end. 

Verse 13, “‘But as for you . . .’” he repeats what he said in verse 9, “‘. . . go on your way . . .’”

“Go on your way to the end; you will rest, and then you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance at the end of the days.” 

Now, this prophecy was sealed, hidden until the end. There’s much that is still unknown, future. It is mostly not revealed by God for us to know. He gave Daniel some glimpses. He’s given us some glimpses in His Word, but there’s way more we don’t know then we do know. 

But what we do know is that there will be an end. There will be an end to the mysteries. There will be an end to everything that opposes God and His people. 

Sometimes it looks endless, and that’s why we get ourselves so bent out of shape and so upset and so angry and so fuming and so ranting, because we forget, it’s all going to end. All that evil is coming to an end. 

So what do we do in the meantime? Just close our eyes and hope like crazy for the rapture? Well, in the meantime, the angel said to Daniel, “As for you, Daniel, go on your way.” He said it twice, verse 9 and verse 13—“go on your way.” 

Now, Daniel was an elderly man, probably close to the end of his life. He was in his late 80s, but he was supposed to keep on keeping on. I want to say this to you older folks, you decide if you fit that, keep on keeping on. You’re not supposed to check out; you’re supposed to keep on keeping on. Go on your way. I want to say it to you younger folks, too. You can decide if you’re that. You’re supposed to go on your way, keep on keeping on. Not checking out. Not checking out of what’s going on in our world. We care, we’re observant, we have insight, we have wisdom, we live sakal lives, but we don’t get bent out of shape about it. We keep living as faithful servants of the Lord living in Babylon. Faithful, all the way to the end of our lives, that’s what the angel said to Daniel, “Daniel go on your way to the end.”

And then the promise of God after Daniel had served and labored faithfully was, “You will rest.” It means first of all, you’ll die. There will come an end to your life, and when die, you will enter into the eternal rest of the presence of God. Revelation 14:13, “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord . . . they will rest from their labors.”

So you keep serving. You don’t just retire and say, “Okay, I’m done. Let all the younger people do all the serving.” No, you keep serving with the energy and the wisdom and the sakal that God gives you while you’re living here in Babylon. But you know that the time will come when you will rest. Your body will be laid to rest in the earth, and your soul will enter the eternal rest found in the presence of God. 

“You will rest, and then you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance at the end of the days.” (v. 13) 

So at the end of his earthly life, Daniel would enter into rest. And at the end of the age along with all other believers of all eras, he will rise, he will be resurrected. We have that hope. We have that promise. First, rest, our bodies laid to rest. Our souls will rest in the presence of the Lord. Then the day will come when these earthly bodies are raised, and they become a new glorified eternal body, likened to Christ, an incorruptible body. You will rise, you will be resurrected, and you will be rewarded. 

This is the Word of God, not just to Daniel, but to all of His people. To you, to me, as for you, go on your way. Keep serving. Yes, there’s a lot of crazy stuff going on. There’s one king after another. Yes, they don’t know God. They don’t respect God. They hate God; they hate God’s people. It’s going to happen. It’s been happening for thousands of years, and it’s going to keep happening until Jesus comes back. But as for you go on your way, keep serving. Be faithful, be steadfast, endure all the way to the end of your life, holding fast to the assurance that Heaven rules. 

That’s the command of God to His people, go on your way. And the promise of God to His people, to you and to me, then you will rest and then “you will rise, to receive your allotted inheritance at the end of the days.” You will be rewarded. Every faithful deed, every time you persevered in the hard places and through the tears, in all of the questions you’ve trusted God with it. You didn’t have any clue what the answers were, your faith will be rewarded. Faith will be sight, prayer will be praise, and we will be with the Lord forever. 

Dannah: I am ready to keep on keeping on! After listening to Nancy, that doesn’t just sound like a trite phrase, but a command from the Lord for all of us. We need this message for our strange, crazy days. Nancy’s been giving us insight we can cling to as the world threatens to shake us. She’ll be back to lead us in prayer in a moment. Nancy talked about becoming people who are wise. We want to help you do that by pointing you to God’s Word. We can’t find true wisdom apart from the Bible.

I wanted to let you know about the Advent cards we’re featuring this month. If it seems too early to be talking about Advent, you could be right. But think about it this way: The Advent cards start with December 1. You want to be sure you have them in time so you can start with day one. Plus, in my book, it’s really never a bad time to talk about Jesus coming to earth to give us His wisdom. Right? These are excellent little reminders of truths from God’s word, coupled with thought-provoking and inspiring quotes from Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth.

You can display them in your home on a clear acrylic stand. They’re just lovely! And this month, they’re our way of thanking you for your donation to Revive Our Hearts. Ask about the Advent cards by Nancy when you contact us with your gift. To make a donation, head to ReviveOurHearts.com, or call us at 1–800–569–5959. We look forward to hearing from you.

Tomorrow Nancy wraps up this series by taking one more look at the major themes we’ve seen all through the book of Daniel. I hope you’ll join us for that. Now, let’s pray with Nancy.

Nancy: So, Lord, these are strange crazy days. But really no worse than what Daniel lived in, and the prophecies that were shown to him, and what we know is coming in the last days, in the Great Tribulation. So, we pray to be men and women and families, and husbands and wives, and moms and single women and students and workers who are sakal—who are wise. We go on our way; we keep doing what You’ve called us to do. We keep being what You’ve called us to be. We are like the stars that shine forever and ever. May the light and life of Christ shine through us to our world that lives in darkness. Help us to go on our way. And then, give us the confidence, the faith, the assurance, that one day we will rest, and we will rise, and we will be rewarded. We give You thanks, because Heaven does rule. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

Reminding you Who controls the end, this is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. Calling you to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ.

All Scripture is taken from the CSB.

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About the Teacher

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love for Christ and His Word is infectious, and permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.

She has authored twenty-two books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Seeking Him (coauthored), Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, and You Can Trust God to Write Your Story (coauthored with her husband). Her books have sold more than five million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world. Nancy and her husband, Robert, live in Michigan.

About the Host

Dannah Gresh

Dannah Gresh

When Dannah Gresh was eight years old, she began praying that God would use her as a Bible teacher for “the nations.” When she sees the flags of many countries waving at a Revive Our Hearts event, it feels like an answer to her prayer.

Dannah is the founder of True Girl which provides tools for moms and grandmothers to disciple their 7–12 year-old girls. On Monday nights, you’ll find Dannah hosting them in her online Bible study. She has authored over twenty-eight books, including Ruth: Becoming a Girl of Loyalty, Lies Girls Believe, and a Bible study for adult women based on the book of Habakkuk. She and her husband, Bob, live on a hobby farm in central Pennsylvania.