Daniel the prophet is given information about the future, conflicts about his people, the nation of Israel. From his time all the way into the future, and then now, the final period of human history which will be far worse than any other time.
The prophecies about the Antichrist spell out a time of intense suffering and conflict. And yet, as Skip shares today on Connect with Skip Heitig, there are four attributes of this coming leader that give us reason to rest, knowing God will be victorious. But first, here's a resource that's designed to strengthen the soul of your marriage. Great marriages are made, not born. God wants you to have a strong, thriving, and fun marriage. The Marriage Devotional, 52 Days to Strengthen the Soul of Your Marriage, by Levi and Jenny Lesko, is designed to help your marriage not just survive, but thrive. You want to understand God's secret, the secret for fruit in your marriage, in your family, in your parenting. If you feel overwhelmed because your marriage is a long way from where you feel like it should be, or if you feel discouraged and excluded today because divorce is in your story. And here you see God's plan for flourishing, and you've disqualified yourself because of what's in your past.
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The vine has been given the tools to continue to grow. And I love this, and I want this vision in your mind. I want this vision in your heart. If you're empty nesters, if you've been married for 40, I want you to have this vision, young people, that you don't have to fear a marriage getting stale.
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That's connectwithskip.com slash offer. Okay, let's turn to Daniel chapter 11, as we join Skip for today's study. There's a boat that made its way to a dock at a tiny Mexican village. And on the dock was an American tourist watching the boat come in. Off the boat stepped a fisherman with a small modest catch of fish, but very nice fish. And the tourist said, how long did it take you to catch those fish? The fisherman said, not very long at all, I just went out, caught the fish, came back in. And he said, well, you could have stayed out longer and got more. He goes, this is sufficient to care for the needs of my family. So the tourist, curious, said, so what do you do with the rest of your time? The fisherman said, well, I sleep in late. I play with my kids. Later on, I take a siesta with my wife. In the evening, I go into the village and meet my friends and play guitar. I live a full life.
The tourist said, I have an MBA from Harvard University. I can help you. If you started your day earlier, you could go out and catch more fish. You could sell the extra fish and in time, you'd have enough money to buy a bigger boat. If you kept that up over time, you could buy a second boat, then a third, then a fourth, and eventually you'll have a whole fleet of fishing ships. And if you keep at it, you can even have your own processing plant right here in this area. And by that time, you will be bringing in so much money, you could relocate to Mexico City or New York City or Los Angeles.
And from there, you can control your vast operations. The fisherman said, how long do you think something like that would take? The tourist said, probably a good 20, 25 years.
But you'll make millions of dollars doing it. The fisherman said, after that, then what? The tourist said, after that, you can retire. You can find a nice little village by a coast. You can sleep in late. You can play with your grandkids. Take a siesta with your wife and in the evening, you can go play guitar with your friends in the village.
You'll live a full life. I think the fisherman needed to school the MBA, don't you? The title of today's message is, I Dare You, Rest, which sounds strange to our ears. It sounds like an oxymoron, I dare you, rest. An oxymoron is simply words that you put together and they seem to contradict each other, like airline food. That's an oxymoron. You're lucky if you get four peanuts on an airplane.
Government organization, that's another one. I dare you, rest, is an oxymoron. It sounds strange because a dare implies that you do something daring.
There's some element of danger or risk involved. I dare you, rest. But this would make sense as a dare to somebody who is stressed out, someone who's a worrier or someone who's the over-committed workaholic, pedal-to-the-metal manager type of person, or this would be a suitable dare to someone who is hearing bad news about their future, about pain and about conflict. And the exhortation, rest, that would make sense.
That would be quite a dare. Daniel the prophet is given information about the future, conflicts about his people, the nation of Israel, from his time all the way into the future and then now, beginning in this verse, verse 36, the final period of human history which will be far worse than any other time. I believe, however, that these verses have a particular application to us today and that this message would be very apropos because we live in a day and age when people are probably more stressed than ever before. The average citizen is filled with anxiety and sort of living on the edge, agitated with present developments economically in this world. Some of you struggle just to get by week by week. Then you hear of what's going on in the Middle East and you add all of that together and what people long for today is someone to come along and fix all this.
That can be a danger. Time magazine, in an article called Inflation Who Hurts the Worst, discussed, among others, a 43-year-old steelworker in Chicago, Illinois, married with five children on a very low wage who said, and I quote, you really want to revolt, but what can you do? I keep waiting for a miracle for some guy who isn't born yet and when he comes we'll follow him like he was John the Baptist. The Bible would say there is a guy coming.
You don't want to follow him like you'd follow John the Baptist. A coming king, a coming world ruler before Jesus Christ comes and he will come with a plan. We call him most typically the Antichrist. We've already talked about him in the book of Daniel and seen his description, but he surfaces again here in chapter 11.
He says, is again here in chapter 11. So I want to, with you, consider four attributes of this coming leader, four attributes, and then after the attributes I want to give you a scripture and then a reason to rest. A scripture and a reason to rest in the light of those four attributes. The attributes are his arrogance, his aberration, his association, and finally his annihilation.
I was looking for all A's. Can you tell this week? Let's look at verse 36 of Daniel chapter 11. This is the first characteristic, this coming leader's arrogance. Then the king shall do according to his own will. He shall exalt and magnify himself above every god. He shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished.
For what has been determined shall be done. Beginning in this verse, the angel who is giving to Daniel the revelation of the future skips, sweeps thousands of years from verse 35 to verse 36. He just sort of like stops and there's this huge gap of time until now we're dealing with somebody not historic to us but somebody who is yet future.
Now hold that thought. By now you should get used to this and I hope you are used to the fact that in the Bible you have gaps of time. There are sometimes a couple thousand year gaps. For example, in Daniel chapter 9, remember the prophecy? 70 weeks of years are determined for your people in your city and we saw how that the text shows there's a difference between the first 69 or 483 years, then a gap, and then a final week or seven year period that is coming at the end of days, the tribulation period.
The Bible speaks a lot about it. So we're used to the Bible showing us a gap. Another famous gap is if you remember the message I gave in this series but on Isaiah 61 called the world's most important comma. How Jesus one day stood up in the synagogue in Nazareth quoting Isaiah chapter 61, the spirit of the Lord God is upon me because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, to bind up the brokenhearted, to set at liberty those who are captives, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord and he closed the book. He didn't finish the sentence. He closed it on a comma. If he would have finished the sentence it would have said, and the year of vengeance of our God. The reason he closed the book is because the year of vengeance of our God won't happen till the tribulation happens.
That's the final seven year period. So we're used to these gaps and if you remember I introduced a principle to you called prophetic foreshortening which is simply the principle that the prophets could see things happening in the future, future events, but they could not delineate between the sequence of those events nor the intervals of time that happened between one event and another. So they saw the Messiah coming, they saw him suffering, they saw him dying, they saw him ruling and reigning and they did not see the gap of time between Jesus first coming and second coming. We have that here.
We're introduced to that here. In fact if you look back one verse at verse 35 you'll notice what it says, some of those of understanding will fall to refine them, purify them, make them white until here he introduces it the time of the end it is still for the appointed time. Then he says then the king shall do according to his own will. So the scope beginning in this verse is beyond the Syrian king Antiochus Epiphanes and we're dealing with somebody else in the future. There's a few reasons I know that not only because of the way the language is written but remember how I said last week that in the first 35 verses of this chapter there's 135 well-documented fulfilled prophecies. In other words we're able to plug in from history corroborating data in those first 35 verses and see that it has been fulfilled historically. The problem is beginning in verse 36 we have no such history that corresponds to what we read in this description in this final paragraph.
That's where it sort of falls off the grid. Everything has been fulfilled nothing in this verse onward has been fulfilled. We're dealing with the time of the end and so he's introduced this king this ruler as simply the king. The king is not Antiochus IV who was the king of the north if you remember against the king of the south. Here is the king who is in this text you will see differentiated from the king of the north and the king of the south. Something else I want to show you just so there's no doubt. If you continue reading and continue reading and you get into chapter 12 verse 1 there were no chapter gaps back then they were added later it's all the same narrative. Daniel 12 verse 1 it says at that time the time we're dealing with at that time Michael shall stand up remember he was one of the archangels the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people and there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation even to that time and at that time your people shall be delivered everyone who was found written in the book and many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake some do everlasting life some to shame and everlasting contempt so we're dealing with a period of time that is worse than any other period in history and number two it will end with a resurrection of the just and the unjust that hasn't happened yet so there's a gap and we pick up dealing with some future event but here's a question sort of an obvious question but it sort of needs to be answered why is there a gap why does this keep happening why is there a gap here why do we have here's the history gap and now here's the very end of this why is that here's why because the prophecies are dealing not with every nation in the world but one particular one particular nation what nation is that israel these are prophecies that center on future conflicts for the nation of israel and the only reason other nations are mentioned is because the way they affect the nation of israel that's why it says in daniel 9 70 weeks are determined for your people those are the jewish people and for your holy city that's the city of jerusalem that's why in jeremiah chapter 30 describing the same period of future history it says for this is the time of jacob's trouble that's a synonym for israel jacob's trouble so these are dealing with the nation of israel simply put all of the conflicts that we read about last week from the past are simply a foreshadow of a greater conflict and a worse time that is coming in the future and it centers around this person called the king i sort of gave it away at the beginning this is the anti-christ that's his that's his most famous name or i should say most infamous name even though did you know he's only referred to that one time in the bible and that's the book of first john he's given 25 titles about all together he's called the beast he's called the lawless one he's called the son of perdition he is called the man of sin in chapter seven of daniel he's called the little horn remember the little horn in chapter eight of daniel he's called the king of fierce countenance old fierce face in chapter nine he's called the prince that shall come all speaks of the same person a final ruler that will come to planet earth just before jesus christ the prince that shall come before jesus christ comes again one of the notable characteristics of his personality is his pride again verse seven the king will do according to his own will and he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god we've already discussed this when we were in chapter seven he's called the little horn but he has a big mouth he speaks pompous words against the most high so how can anyone rest when a guy like this has promised to come on to the scene having this kind of power a prideful arrogant ruler with power how can you rest let me ask a more personal question how do you handle prideful people in your life you probably can think of maybe one two three a dozen i don't know maybe there's somebody who goes that person he's just so you know how most people deal with prideful people they become prideful themselves so when they're around somebody who's sort of heels dug in and arrogant they sort of act the same way to one up the other person that they're confronting oh you think you're so great well let me tell you this it's the very opposite of the way it ought to be handled there's a mom who was cooking pancakes for her two boys a five-year-old and a three-year-old kevin was the oldest five years ryan the three-year-old they started arguing over who would get the first pancake you know kids do that adults do that and so she saw this as a perfect opportunity to inject biblical truth in training her kids so she bent down and she said boys if jesus were here i bet he would say i'll let my brother have the first pancake and kevin the five-year-old the older one said to ryan the three-year-old hey you be jesus but here's the scriptural promise proverbs 16 pride goes before destruction a haughty spirit before a fall though that is true generally it is never more true than of this anti-christ he will puff himself up and be prideful and a haughty spirit comes before a fall so you can rest in god's promise let's look at the second characteristic this coming leader's aberration verse 37 says he shall regard neither the god of his fathers nor the desire of women nor the desire of women nor regard any god for he shall exalt himself above them this verse is put here because there are three areas of peculiarity aberration that would be noteworthy to anyone living in biblical times three areas first of all the area of tradition we're told he shall regard neither the god of his fathers in other words he will have some religious heritage but at some point he will turn from that tradition from that heritage and forsake it then it says concerning his affection nor the desire of women he won't regard the desire of women there's all sorts of books written about what this could possibly mean some have conjectured that the anti-christ will be a homosexual but it could simply mean he'll be celibate he'll be so focused on his mission that he won't desire to marry then third in regards to religion notice the same verse says nor regard any god for he will magnify himself above them all now this is an interesting characteristic his pride is so up there out there that he would even exalt himself above god above any god that's an aberration i mean you you know there's there's arrogance and then there's arrogance and this is arrogance to an aberrational point paul says the same thing second thessalonians chapter 2 verse 4 he opposes and exalts himself above all that is called god he opposes and exalts himself above all that is called god or that is worshipped so that he sits as god in the temple of god showing himself that he is god now hold this thought because i want to tie something together that if i just move on there'll be too many loose threads i mentioned something a couple weeks ago a few weeks ago i suggested a possibility and again it's only a possibility i'm not here to say i know who the anti-christ is or from where they're from enough books have been written that are wrong but i suggested the possibility that the anti-christ may have islamic origin that the anti-christ might indeed be the one that the muslims worldwide consider as coming soon their madhi their deliverer and i quoted from islamic literature to show you that they are expecting universally somebody who is coming to this earth who is a messianic figure an unparalleled leader this is all in their literature who will take control of the world who will destroy all who resist him who will invade many nations who will enact a seven year peace treaty with the jews who will conquer israel and massacre jews and then establish an islamic world headquarters at jerusalem which when we discovered that it sounds boy that sounds a whole lot like what the bible describes as anti-christ we have two problems problem number one in most people's minds is this problem of the revived roman empire because the prophecy is that rome will in the end days have some sort of association and revive and so we expect a leader from the revived roman empire so everybody looks to europe as some white european guy who's going to come and that's the anti-christ what you need to understand and if you know history you remember this and if you know biblical history you remember that Nebuchadnezzar saw a vision of coming world empires and the last one were the legs of iron that represented rome it was the longest part of the statue it was divided into two legs in 395 ad rome indeed split east and west the western leg of the roman empire fizzled out essentially the eastern leg continued for another thousand years and it was headquartered at constantinople which is today modern day istanbul turkey if you were to take a map of the ancient roman empire you would discover that 60 percent of the lands that occupied the roman empire are under today islamic control so we can answer that part of the question the other piece of the problem deals with what we're talking about here you have a guy who's saying he's god the anti-christ is demanding personal worship how could he be a muslim any muslim would never allow this that wraps up Skip heitzig's message from his series i dare you find the full message as well as books booklets and full teaching series at booklets and full teaching series at connectwithskip.com now here's Skip to share how you can keep these messages coming your way to connect you and many others around the world with god's word we want more people around the world to find rest and hope in the gospel of jesus christ and his promise to return for us one day and you can help make that happen through your gift today to keep these messages that you love coming to you and to others one exciting thing that you'll enable is the expansion of connect with Skip broadcast into more major u.s cities on more radio stations around our country would you help make that happen with a gift today here's how you can give visit connectwithskip.com slash donate to give a gift that's connectwithskip.com slash donate or call 800-922-1888 800-922-1888 thank you for your generosity join us next time as Skip shares the ultimate reason to rest and live with hope as we await the end times ever since he uttered those words the church for 2 000 years has been waiting for him to come again and both receive us to himself as well as come over and take over the earth make a connection connect with 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