Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Daniel, and more specifically, is found in the twelfth and final chapter of the book. This final chapter of the prophetic book of Daniel opens with Michael standing up at a very specific time—a time that was referenced and mentioned in the previous chapter. In order to properly recognize and understand this particular time Michael stands up, it’s necessary to return to the previous chapter and examine the events that took place. It’s in the previous chapter where we uncover the specific events that took place which warranted Michael standing up and acting in the manner we read in this chapter. Consider the language that is found in the eleventh chapter of this prophetic book:
“And in his estate shall stand upa. Vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries. And with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the prince of the covenant. And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: For he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people. He shall enter peaceably even upon the fattest places of the province; and he shall do that which his fathers have not done, nor his fathers’ fathers; he shall scattered among them the prey, and spoil, and riches: yea, and he shall forecast his devices against the strongholds, even for a time. And he shall stir up his power and his courage against the king of the south with a great army; and the king of the south shall be stirred up to battle with a very great and mighty army; but he shall not stand: for they shall forecast dev ices against him. Yea, they that feed of the portion of his meat shall destroy him, and his army shall overflow: and many shall fall down slain. And both these kings’ hearts shall be to do mischief, and they shall speak lies at one table; but it shall not prosper: for yet the end shall be at a time appointed. Then shall he return into his land with great riches; and his heart shall be against the holy covenant; and he shall do exploits, and return to his own land. At the time appointed he shall return, and come toward the south; but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter. For the ships of Chittim shall come against him: therefore he shall be grieved, and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant: so shall he do; he shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant. And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate. And such as so wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and to exploits. And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days. Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries. And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed. And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indibnation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any God: for he shall magnify himself above all. But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things. Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain. And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over. He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon. He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape. But h e shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps. But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many. And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him” (Daniel 11:21-45).
Upon reading the language and text that is found in this particular set of verses it becomes quite clear and quite obvious that the prophet Daniel not only foresaw events that would transpire in the coming days leading up to the manifestation of the New Covenant, but the prophet also foresaw events that would take place in the latter days at the end of time. The events which the prophet Daniel witnessed in the eleventh chapter are directly linked to that which he saw in the seventh chapter—events which would foreshadow the emergence and activity of the antichrist. When attempting to read and understand the prophetic narrative of the book of Daniel beginning with and from the seventh chapter, it’s necessary to understand that the prophet was given tremendous insight into the events that would shape the whole earth in the coming days. The prophet Daniel foresaw the various kingdoms and empires that would emerge upon the earth, and even the conflict that would engulf the earth at that time. It can also be said that Daniel foresaw the tremendous conflict that would ensue upon the earth during the time of the end—the time when the antichrist would be present upon the scene. Daniel not only saw the havoc that would be unleashed upon the earth from the kingdoms, the empires, the kings and rulers that would emerge upon the earth in the coming years, but he also saw to the end of time and the havoc that would be unleashed during the time of the end. The prophet Daniel would be given tremendous insight and understanding into the activity and motives of kings and rulers that would emerge upon the earth in the kingdoms and empires that would proceed after the Babylonian empire, and he would ultimately see the final king and ruler who would emerge on to the scene during the time of the end, and his activity upon the earth. If you want to fully and completely understand this activity—specifically surrounding the emergence of the antichrist—you must turn and direct your attention back to the seventh chapter. It’s within the seventh chapter of the same prophetic book that we discover another description of the activity of the antichrist upon and within the earth.
“I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mount speaking great things. I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time. I saw in the night visions, and behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed” (Daniel 7:9-14).
There is a particular passage found in the second chapter of the apostle Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians congregation that further describes the activity of the antichrist upon the earth, and warrants consideration if we are to understand what we read in the prophetic book of daniel. Beginning with the first verse of the second chapter we find a description of the latter times and the Last Days as was revealed unto the apostle Paul: “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letters will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might brew saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12).
The manifestation of the antichrist is further revealed in the thirteenth chapter of the prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ beginning with the first verse of the chapter. “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.l And I saw one of. His heads as it were wounded to death;a nd his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two m onths. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any man have an ear, let him hear. He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints” (Revelation 13:1-10).
The first ten verses of the thirteenth chapter of the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ describe the emergence and activity of the antichrist, yet we need to continue reading in this chapter to further understand the activity of the antichrist upon the earth. When we come to the eleventh verse we read of another beast which came up out of the earth and joined himself unto and assisted the first beast. “And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them w high dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both Sam all and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might guy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the bast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six” (Revelation 13:11-18).
What we read and what we find in the twelfth chapter of the prophetic book of Daniel is directly linked and connected to the activity of the antichrist that takes place upon the earth. Within Scripture we find Michael the archangel and chief prince of the nation of Israel rising upon on a few rare occasions. The first is of course found here in the twelfth chapter, for beginning with the first verse we read of Michael standing up, and doing so for a very specific purpose. “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever” (Daniel 12:1-3). A second reference is found in the tenth chapter of the same prophetic book concerning the one clothed in linen who appeared unto daniel by the great river Hiddekel: “And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands. And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling. Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia. Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days” (Daniel 10:10-14).
A third reference concerning Michael is actually found in the twelfth chapter of the New Testament prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ concerning a great wonder which appeared in heaven: “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: and she being with child cried, traveling in birth, and painted to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days. And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angles, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth, and of the sea! For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath because he knoweth that he hath but a shore time” (Revelation 12:1-12). A fourth reference is actually found in the New Testament epistle of Jude and begins with the ninth verse of the book: Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves. Woe unto them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core” (Jude 9-11).
The twelfth chapter of the prophetic book of Daniel opens with Michael—the great prince which standieth for the children of thy people—standing up, and there being a time of trouble, such as never was since there’s was a nation even to that same time. What’s so incredibly interesting and powerful about the twelfth chapter of this prophetic book is that Daniel actually sees the rapture of the saints of God. If you read this chapter beginning with the second verse you will read an Old Testament description of the rapture of the saints, and the resurrection of the wicked. Consider if you will the language that is found within this particular passage of Scripture: “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased” (Daniel 12:2-4). The words we read in this particular chapter concerning the resurrection of the saints—the rapture of the Church of Jesus Christ—are found in specific passages within the New Testament. One such passage is actually found in the fourth chapter of the apostle Paul’s first epistle to the Thessalonians congregation. Beginning with the thirteenth verse of this chapter we find these words: “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lor Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the ari: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). A second such reference is found in the fifteenth chapter of the apostle Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians. Starting with the fiftieth verse we read the apostle’s words concerning the rapture of the saints of God: “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:50-55).
In the twentieth chapter of the New Testament prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ we discover a second reference to the resurrection of the wicked—a resurrection that leads to the second death. “And I saw a great white Thorne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away: and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:11-15).
Within Scripture there are essentially two distinct resurrections that are presented unto us—one which is preceded by the other. According to Scripture the first resurrection is actually the rapture of the saints of God and the rapture of the Church of Jesus Christ. There is a lot of speculation concerning when the rapture of the saints does in fact take place—before the tribulation, during the tribulation, or at the end of the tribulation. There has much much debate surrounding when exactly the tribulation takes place, yet the more I consider this very concept, the more I am convinced that it really doesn’t matter when the rapture of the saints takes place. If there is one thing I am convinced of, it’s that regardless of when the rapture of the saints takes places, we must strive with all effort, energy and diligence to be ready for that moment. The apostle Paul described that moment as taking place in the twinkling of an eye, and Jesus described it as when lightning flashes from the east to the west. Concerning the rapture of the saints of God, the single greatest reality is that we strive to ensure we are ready and prepared to experience it. The entire twenty-fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew is centered upon the last days, and specifically the second coming of the Messiah. There are two distinct manifestations of Jesus the Christ in the Last Days—the first of which is when He comes in the clouds to meet His saints in the air and usher them into His Father’s house. The second manifestation of Jesus the Christ is when He emerges riding upon a white horse accompanied by the host of heaven to come to the earth where He will rule and reign with His saints for one-thousand years. How absolutely incredible it is to think that the saints of God will meet Him in the air and be ushered into His Father’s house, and will later emerge with that same Christ riding upon horses and clothed in white linen in order that they might rule and reign upon the earth for one thousand years. RAPTURED TO THE FATHER’S HOUSE AND LATER RETURNING TO THE EARTH TO REIGN WITH CHRIST! RAPTURED TO CHRIST, RETURNING WITH CHRIST!
What we find in the twelfth chapter of the prophetic book of Daniel is directly connected to the emergence and activity of the antichrist upon the earth, and the resurrection of both the saints and the sinners. If there is one thing the prophetic book of Daniel reveals concerning the latter times, it’s that not only will there emerge one final ruler upon the earth who will rule according to the power of a strange god—Satan, who is also known as the devil and the adversary—but there will also be a tremendous war and conflict that will ensue against the saints of God. The activity of the antichrist upon the earth will not only be to make war with the saints in order to wear them down and wear them out, but to also deceive as many men and women as he possibly can. I am utterly and absolutely amazed that the prophet Daniel witnessed both the emergence and activity of the antichrist, as well as the rapture of the saints, and the resurrection of the wicked. Perhaps the single greatest question we must ask ourselves is which resurrection we are going to find ourselves being a part of. Are we going to find ourselves taking part in the rapture of the saints, or the resurrection of the wicked? There are many whose fate is and has already been sealed because of their wickedness, transgression and iniquity before the Lord. There are, however, those upon the earth right now whose fate and destiny is still being written, recorded and determined. As I read the prophetic language of the second half of the prophetic book of Daniel I am not only confronted with the activity of the antichrist within and upon the earth, but also the need to be ready and prepared while walking in the Last Days. The prophet Daniel was not only spoken to concerning the wise, but also those of understanding and those of righteousness. There is coming a day when the books will be opened and the accounts will be received, and the verdict will be rendered. It was Jesus Himself who encouraged and instructed us to not allow ourselves to be deceived during the last days, and to be ready, watchful and prayerful in order that we might find ourselves able to partake in the first resurrection. If you are truly being honest with yourself right now, which resurrection are you going to take part of? Are you going to take part in the first resurrection of the saints, or will you take part in the second resurrection—the resurrection of the wicked in order that you might stand before the Great White Throne of judgment and be judged according to what is and has been written in the books.
WHAT IS BEING WRITTEN CONCERNING YOUR LIFE? WHAT IS BEING RECORDED CONCERNING YOUR LIFE? What the prophetic book of Daniel reveals, as well as the prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, is that there are records which are being kept, and books which are being written concerning your life, and concerning mine. If you were given the ability to see what has been written concerning your life up until this moment in time, what would that record say? If you were given the ability to see what was being written in such books concerning your life right now, what would you read? I am convinced that we must devote our lives into focusing on what has been, what is, and what will be recorded concerning our lives. How important are your thoughts? How important are the words that proceed forth from your mouth? How important are your deeds and actions? Do you think you’d be happy if you were permitted to witness the record of your life, or do you think you would be utterly disgusted, and perhaps even fearful and afraid. IN the modern sports world there is a certain point in the season when we are presented with what would happen if the season ended today. What this usually centers upon is who is leading their division at that particular time, and what the playoffs would look like. While we are not to focus on what would happen if the season ended today, I am convinced we must focus on what would happen if the books were closed today. What would happen if the books were closed today and there could no longer be any additions or subtractions? If Jesus were to return right now at this very moment, would you be ready? If the book(s) concerning your life were opened, what would be contained within that book? How confident are you in the written record of your life in the annals and books of heaven? What has heaven written and recorded concerning your life? If there is one thing I am confronted with when reading this final chapter of the prophetic book of Daniel, it’s what has been recorded concerning my life, and what is still being written and recorded. There was a popular song that was released by Natasha Bedingfield entitled “Unwritten,” and I am incredibly confronted by the concept of that which may still be unwritten in the books concerning our lives. We must not only concern ourselves with that which has been written, but we must also concern ourselves with that which is still unwritten, for we can determine what has yet to be written concerning our lives for all of eternity.