question mark September 10 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): Daniel 10, 11, 12

What’s Next?

We all have curiosity as to what will happen in the future in our lives, the lives of our nation, and even that of the world. People listen to political commentators, professors of history and philosophy, and other prognosticators; and some even consult tarot cards, palm readers, and horoscopes to try to determine the future. The Almighty God of heaven and earth, creator of all things, and Sovereign of the universe, does not leave us in the dark. His Word, the Bible, reveals many things which will happen in the future, and we can trust Him. Shouldn’t we consult Him first and foremost? The prophet Daniel did.

In Daniel's lifetime the Jews from Judah were in exile in Babylon for seventy years (the Jews from the northern kingdom of Israel were in exile as much as 150 years longer—first in Assyria, then under Babylonian control, and finally under Persian dominion). Then, the LORD over-ruled. By the providence of the almighty, merciful, and gracious God, and in answer to Daniel’s prayer, King Cyrus signed a decree to allow the Jews to return to the land of Israel to rebuild their temple. Now an old man, Daniel asks the LORD, what’s next for Israel? He is given a disturbing vision, and fasts and prays for three weeks before he receives an answer to what will happen. How long are we willing to seek God for answers to our prayers?

In answer to his prayer, a messenger clothed in splendor visits Daniel. Some theologians think this is Jesus Christ because His appearance to Daniel is similar to the appearance of Christ described in Revelation 1:13-15. Others believe He cannot be Jesus because He is a messenger which has trouble conquering the prince of Persia (probably a powerful demon in Satan’s army). However, somehow this messenger gives physical strength to Daniel when he faints at the sight of Him and is weak and trembling. Is this the Christ or an angel like Gabriel? We do not know. Angels are messengers and ministering spirits (Hebrews 1:14), and angels are at war with demons. We need to understand we are in a spiritual conflict and be prepared (Ephesians 6:10-18). Demons do not want Israel, God’s chosen people, to prosper, and demons do not want Christians to prosper. This strange man tells Daniel many things about the future of the Jewish people. To understand what he said, we must first know about the format of most Bible prophecies (more...)

According to the messenger (Daniel 11:1-35) four more Persian kings will rule and then be defeated by Greece (history reveals these Persian kings to be Cambyses, Pseudo-Smerdis, Darius I Hystaspes, and Xerxes or Ahasuerus). Alexander the Great will come to power, conquering Persia and every other nation, and do as he pleases until he suddenly dies in 323 B.C. His four succeeding generals will have territorial wars, and Israel will be caught in the middle. During the wars between the Ptolemies and Seleucids (kings of the south and kings of the north respectively) she will be trampled on and devastated for a long time. Afterward, one Seleucid (northern) general will seize power by intrigue and bring much trouble to Israel. History reveals this madman to be Antiochus Epiphanies. He will desecrate the temple by placing an idol of Zeus in it and offering a pig sacrifice on the altar. Antiochus Epiphanes serves as a prototype for the Antichrist who will arise in the end times (Daniel 8:23-26; Daniel 12:1-2, 11; Matthew 24:3-25; and 2Thessalonians 2:2-12). This is quite possibly the Satanic-empowered beast written of in Revelation 13:1-18.

Although not mentioned by name in Daniel 10-12, a reference is made to a fourth kingdom in Daniel 7:19-27, which we know from history to be the kingdom of Rome. When Rome comes to power after Greece, she will rule the whole known world. She will bring rule and order and an enforced peace. This will all happen in preparation for the appearance of Jesus Christ.

None of the events of Daniel 11:36–Daniel 12:13 have happened yet, but because all other prophecy has been fulfilled literally, it is expected these will, too. In future days, Israel will be in a great time of tribulation for three and a half years (the latter half of the seven year tribulation, recorded in Revelation 6-19, and spoken to Daniel as times, time, and a half of time). The first half of the tribulation period will be a time of peace for Israel after a peace treaty is successfully negotiated with the nations. Once again, there will be daily sacrifices in a new temple until the treaty is broken. Other Scriptures mentioned earlier reveal that a beastly world leader will rule with more power than all the other kingdoms of the earth. Troops and armory will move against Israel, and she will be threatened with annihilation until Jesus Christ Himself comes back suddenly to destroy them and save her (Ezekiel 38). He will then rule and reign from Jerusalem (The Bible Knowledge Commentary of the O.T. edited by Walvoord and Zuck, © 1985, pp. 1367-74).

What’s next for our nation? What’s next for our lives? The answer depends on how we respond to prophecy. If we live oblivious to God or in opposition to Him, He will judge us either in this life or the next. If we respond with a fear of the LORD, repent and seek Him for salvation, and if we conduct our lives in holiness and righteous living, God will be merciful and gracious to us, protect us, and perhaps even prosper us. Psalm 33:12 says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance.” (NIV) Is your God the LORD, the maker of heaven and earth, and the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him? Do you want a forgiveness, peace, and spiritual life? (more...)

Lessons to Live By

  • We need to seek the LORD earnestly and not depend on anything or anyone else to determine the future.
  • Let's persevere in prayer, and wait on the LORD for answers.
  • If we learn to be a student of Bible prophecy, we can better understand what is coming next.
  • Let's have a proper response to prophecy: Live in fear of the LORD and repent of our sins. Seek His mercy and grace. Walk in His ways in all holiness, righteousness, humility, justice, and mercy. We will be rewarded.

Focus Verses

Psalm 37:37-38 (NIV) “Consider the blameless, observe the upright; there is a future for the man of peace. But all sinners will be destroyed; the future of the wicked will be cut off.”

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A Look Ahead: Israel's neighbors threaten her and stop the work. Two prophets encourage them to get back to work. Join us in our Next Lesson to bolster your courage. Don't Be Intimidated!

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