God sent His Son into the world, provided a means by which we could hear that Gospel message, be it an evangelist, a pastor, a book, a track, a radio program, whatever it might be, and we respond to that.
But that's just the beginning. Our whole life should be built on response to God. Every relationship involves some form of response from one person to the other. Our relationship with God is no different. And as Skip shares in his message today on Connect with Skip Heitzig, Daniel chapter 12 offers insight into what our response to God should be. But before we get started, we want to tell you about a resource that will help you better understand and follow God's will. What is God's will for your life? Skip Heitzig has biblical direction. The will of God is not some mystical, impractical, ethereal process that makes you weird.
It is not a maze, it is not a puzzle that you have to put together and figure it out. In fact, sometimes the will of God is so plain and straightforward, the Bible just tells you what the will of God is. Shed the Bible's bright light on your path ahead with Discovering God's Will, an eight message package from Pastor Skip. You can uncover and understand what the Lord wants to show you about his will.
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That's connectwithskip.com slash offer. Okay, we're in Daniel 12 today as we join Skip for today's study. I have a little Welsh Terrier named Matt, a little puppy dog. You've seen him before, I've introduced him to you before. He's a creature like most dogs that live by conditioned response. There's certain things you do and your dog will respond to what you do. For instance, when he hears the garage door open, he goes over to the door and wags his tail and waits for somebody to come in. He's all excited like, wow, you came home.
So awesome. Conditioned response. When I put certain shoes on, he spins around in circles, gets all excited because he knows we're going to go for a run.
Conditioned response. When it's morning time, he knows there's a certain morning treat that he deserves. And when it's nighttime, there's a certain evening treat that he deserves because conditioned response.
He's a dog in my family and the quality of his life depends on the initiation and care of his owners. I also am a creature that lives by conditioned response. I'm married. And when I hear my wife stirring in the morning, I know it's time for me to get out in the kitchen and make her coffee. Just what I do, it's what we've done. When I know she's about to come home, time to clean up the house, straighten it up. When we get in the car together, it's a little bit different. When I'm in my car alone, I usually have the stereo pretty cranked. When she's in the car with me, it's down really low so we can talk.
She's got me trained pretty well. I heard about a man who said to his doctor, Doc, my wife is hard of hearing. I need to bring her in to see you. Doctor said, no problem. We'll set up an appointment. But until then, there's a simple little test you can give to your wife to find out how bad this hearing loss has gotten.
So here's what you do. You're about 40 feet away from her in a normal conversational tone. Say something to your wife. If she doesn't respond, move closer, like 30 feet.
Say it again, that no response, go about 20 feet, no response, 10 feet, to kind of find out how bad this hearing loss is. So that night, his wife is cooking dinner in the kitchen. He's in the living room, and he says in a normal tone, honey, what's for dinner? No response. He moves a little closer, says, honey, what's for dinner? No response. Moves into the dining room now. Honey, what's for dinner? No response. Moves into the kitchen, honey, what's for dinner? No response. Gets right up behind her and says in a firm voice, honey, what's for dinner?
She turns around and says, for the fifth time, honey, I said it's chicken. So she didn't have the problem, did she? He had the problem. Every relationship, if it's a healthy relationship, has a response mechanism to it. We have a relationship with God, and essentially our part is to respond to His initiation. 1 John 4, verse 19, we love Him because, finish it up, He first loved us. God initiated, we responded.
God sent His Son into the world, provided a means by which we could hear that gospel message, be it an evangelist, a pastor, a book, a tract, a radio program, whatever it might be, and we respond to that. But that's just the beginning. Our whole life should be built on response to God, and we're going to look at that as we finish out the book of Daniel. Now, just to refresh your memory, we're closing in chapter 12, a long vision that has lasted three chapters, chapters 10, 11, and 12, is the fourth and final, probably the longest of all the revelatory visions that Daniel has received in this book. The messenger projects all the way to the end of days for Daniel.
He sees the scope of world history from his time onward into the Great Tribulation period. Now, as we begin in verse 4, I'm going to make three statements based upon the text, based upon the principles in the text, three statements, and then three questions that I consider to be appropriate responses to God. And my hope is that my sincere hope and prayer has been is that we will respond to God as instinctively as my little dog Mac responds when he spins around when we're going to go out for a run, or I respond when my wife gets up in the morning and I make her coffee, that when God does something or says something, it will be second nature to us to respond to Him.
That's a good relationship. So let's begin in verse 4 with the first principle. Here it is, God reveals the truth. God reveals the truth.
Question, do I respond to His authority? Verse 4, the messenger says to Daniel, but you, Daniel, shut up the words. Now, please read that the right way. He's not saying, Daniel, dude, shut up. He's simply saying, close up or seal up or shut up the words and seal the book until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro and knowledge shall increase. In other words, Daniel, you're getting a revelation. You are not to keep this revelation private and to yourself. You are to seal it or preserve it until the end of days. Now, I find it significant that after 2,600 years, that's how long ago this vision of Daniel was given, 2,600 years have passed and the book of Daniel has never been more relevant than it is today in this generation.
Seal it, keep it until the time of the end. Then notice what it says, many shall run to and fro and knowledge shall increase. I was reading something I wanted to pass on.
I found it fascinating. You know who Isaac Newton is, yes, Sir Isaac Newton. He's called the father of modern physics. Did you know that Isaac Newton was a Bible scholar as well? Did you know that he actually wrote a commentary on the book of Daniel? He was fascinated with the end times and he was reading Daniel chapter 12. He came to verse 4 and his comments are something along these lines. This verse can only apply to the very end of history in the future, the end of time itself. He said, it is my belief that knowledge will increase to the extent, now he wrote this in 1680, knowledge will increase that men will be able to travel from country to country in an unprecedented manner and that people, because knowledge increases so much, will be able to travel as fast as 50 miles an hour.
Now that, you laugh, but that's not even the funniest part. First of all, he was right. He wrote that in a day and age when top speed on a horse was 30 miles an hour and that's at a short burst. You're going like 20, 25 miles an hour typically.
50 miles an hour. We laugh at that. So did, a few years later, a French atheist named Voltaire. He was reading Sir Isaac Newton. Voltaire was not a believer. He was a skeptic. Listen to what he wrote.
See what a fool Christianity makes of an otherwise brilliant man. A scientist like Newton, for he actually writes that men may travel at the rate of 50 miles an hour. Has he forgotten that if a man would travel at this rate, he would be suffocated that his heart would stand still? That his heart would stand still? That's the funniest part. Here we are scoffing at Voltaire who scoffed at Newton.
Because we live in a day and age, the space shuttle has conveyed men at the rate of 18,000 miles per hour. Knowledge shall increase. It is a difficult verse, I will admit that, and it has been interpreted in a number of ways. Most often this verse is interpreted as, in the last days, general knowledge will increase and people will have all these technological capabilities.
Now in some ways that is true. I remember when I bought my set of Encyclopedia Britannica. Remember those are called books? Remember books?
Okay. Encyclopedia Britannica weighed like 75 pounds. Takes two complete shelves in my library. Imagine my surprise a few years later when I found a CD-ROM, which is sort of history to us now.
It's like, oh, I remember those. CD-ROM weighing only a few grams that has the entire set of Encyclopedia Britannica and then some. Now those things are outdated. Now we have clouds in the internet and information stored. And you can access it not just with a computer, but your phone can access it. The four most dreaded words in business today are these, our servers are down.
Four most dreaded words, our servers are down because that stops the flow of information. Someone once noted that from the time Christ died to the year 1700, knowledge on earth doubled. It took 1700 years, in other words, for all of the previously accumulated knowledge to double on earth. In the year 1900, it doubled again only 200 years later. In the year 1950, it doubled again only 50 years later.
In the year 1970, it doubled again only 20 years later. Now information doubles every two years. Prognosticators are pointing to a day very soon when knowledge on earth will double every single day.
So we read that and we're just sort of taken aback by how that applies to today. Many shall run to and fro and knowledge shall increase. However, having said that, and that is generally true, I do not believe that's the primary intent of verse four. I think the context of verse four is the time of the end.
And it's already been discussed and described what that means. It's the great tribulation period, the last three and a half years principally. Knowledge shall increase and people will go to and fro. I think what the intention and context of that verse is is simply this. At the end of time, people will be going to and fro looking for answers to the questions, why are all these events happening?
Why are all these things happening? And they're going to look at the book of Daniel and they're going to find answers, and the book of Daniel will become clearer and clearer and clearer, especially to those living at the end of days. I have 50 books, right around 50 books, 50 commentaries on the book of Daniel alone. And one of the most helpful books is by a guy named Leon Wood, and he gives a paraphrase of this verse I'm going to share with you. Many shall run to and fro in their desire for knowledge of the last things and finding it in Daniel's book, because it will have been preserved to this end, their knowledge shall be increased. In the tribulation period, people will be running around looking for answers as to why things are so bad on the earth. They're going to find Daniel, as well as Revelation.
It's going to be like a play-by-play book, giving them all the answers they need. Knowledge of the end times will be increased. But there's a greater principle in verse 4, and here it is. Daniel was told to preserve the revelations given to him so that people at the end of the age could refer to them, could read them, could understand them.
And here's the principle. God reveals truth. Are you responding to His authority in your life? When you read the Bible or hear a sermon, are you responding to God's authority over your life? Now, I ask that question because this is one of the great frustrations that Bible teachers and pastors have, is that we hear sermons every week, we go to church every week, we're exposed to life-changing principles every week, but not many lives are changing every week. Every week in Christian churches around America, husbands are still dumping their wives, women are still leaving their husbands, people are still lying to each other, people are refusing to forgive each other, Christians are still gossiping with each other. And we ask, how can that be? Being exposed to God's life-changing truths every week. Here's how.
Here's how. You can listen two different kinds of ways. There's the active listener, then there's the passive listener. When I watch TV, I watch very passively. In fact, I go through channels like crazy. I'm going up and down.
I've told you that before. I can't really lock in. It's like, okay, I got to listen.
I can't do this for an hour. So we can listen to sermons passively, not actively. Not like, man, God is speaking to me. I'm going to apply it. It's like, oh, nice message.
That's it. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and he was a president way, way before my time, like in the 40s, early 40s. He was wondering, when he would give a speech, how much people were really listening to him. So he decided he would experiment one night at the White House. There was a little reception dinner, and people were going to meet him, and he was going to shake hands with him. So he decided to say something to see if people were listening. So people would come up and shake his hand, and they'd form a line. And to each person in line, he would say something just to see if they were listening. They were all excited to meet the president. So he would shake their hands, and then he said, I killed my grandmother this morning. He flashed that big smile. I killed my grandmother this morning. And most people said, great job, Mr. President.
Keep up the good work. Or how lovely. Shake his hand and walked away. He goes, nobody's listening to me, except for one foreign diplomat.
And when he leaned in and said, I killed my grandmother this morning, the diplomat leaned in and said, I'm sure she had it coming to her, Mr. President. You know, Jesus said, take heed what you hear. But he also said, take heed how you hear. Let me give you a few suggestions on how to respond to God's authority. Number one, expose yourself to the truth. Number two, evaluate yourself by the truth. And number three, engage yourself with the truth.
Let me explain those. Expose yourself to the truth. You're doing it right now. You're here in church.
Bible's open. Now, let me make it a suggestion to take that to another level. Start taking notes in church.
Because if you're like every other human being on earth, you will forget most of everything you hear right after you hear it. If you write down what you believe God is speaking to your heart out of the word, you can go back and refer to that later and engage at a different level. You're exposing yourself at a different level.
You want to take it a step further? Get into a small group and discuss those things. That's exposing yourself to the truth.
Number two, evaluate yourself by the truth. It's possible when we listen to a sermon, a message, to deflect the message. See, we think thoughts like, I know somebody who needs to hear this. Yeah, you and me.
We all need to hear it. You know, we can become like spiritual Houdini's. Remember Houdini could get out of like anything. So God is trying to wrestle us to the ground with his truth and we're really good at getting out of it. Evaluate yourself by the truth. We're good at evaluating truth.
We're just not that good at evaluating ourselves by the truth. Number three, engage yourself with the truth. What do I mean by that? When you're reading your Bible, when you're listening to a sermon, you ask yourself this question, is this a command that I'm reading that I must obey? Is this a warning that I must heed? Is this something I must stay away from or a promise that I must gather? That's engaging yourself with the truth.
G. Campbell Morgan wrote, I personally believe the reason why many people have lost their love for the Bible is that they have failed to recognize the necessity for obedience to its moral claims. So God reveals the truth. Do I respond to his authority? Here's the second principle and second question. God regulates the future.
Do I respond to his sovereignty? Verse five, then I, Daniel, looked and there stood two others, one on this riverbank and the other on that riverbank. And one said to the man clothed in linen who was above the waters of the river, how long shall the fulfillment of these wonders be? Then I heard the man clothed in linen who was above the waters of the river when he held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven and swore by him who lives forever that it shall be for a time, times, and half a time. And when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished.
Although I heard, I did not understand. I said, my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? Aren't you glad that Daniel said, I didn't get it? I am, because I've studied and taught now the whole book of Daniel.
I come to the end going, there's a lot I still don't get. And I know you feel that way, don't you? Daniel felt that way and he confessed it.
And here's an interesting answer. Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the end of time. Many shall be purified, made white and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand. And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be 1,290 days.
Blessed is he who waits and comes to the 1,335 days. Daniel sees two angels, one on one side of the Tigris River, if you remember, and the other on the other side of the Tigris River. I've been to the Tigris River.
It's a very wide waterway. So these angels were at a considerable distance from each other. And then above and between was this man clothed in linen that we already saw in chapter 10. And one of the angels has a question, which is interesting. How long until the fulfillment of these things?
In other words, how long will all of these oppressive events that have been described so far, how long are they going to last? In verse 7, this being above the waters raises his right hand and his left hand. Sort of interesting. You know, the other day my grandson came to my house. Door opened. He was there. First thing he did is this. Not, I'm praising you, Grandpa, but pick me up, Grandpa. He raised both hands. Now, in ancient times when a Jew wanted to make a solemn oath, he would raise his right hand. To raise both hands was like, this is like a super solemn oath. It's sort of like, verily, verily, I say unto thee. It's a very important, solemn, truthful thing that is about to be said.
The question is, how long is this going to last? Here's the answer given. Time, times, and a half a time. Remember that phrase back in chapter 11?
We discussed it. Time, time, times, and a half a time. Time, one. Times, plural, two. So one and two is three and a half, three and a half. It's an ancient way of saying three and a half years. Time, times, and a half a time. So here's the deal. Here's the answer. The reign of the Antichrist and the worst period of history will last three and a half years.
That's the timing of it. You'll 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 broadcasts into more major U.S. cities on more radio stations around our country.
So to help make that happen with a gift today, here's how you can give. Several books of the Bible to gain new insights. Just search Skip Heitzig in the YouVersion Bible app. Tune in again next week as Skip encourages you to respond in a personal way to God's sovereignty and authority, knowing that he rewards his own. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never changing truth in ever changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-03 05:00:43 / 2023-03-03 05:09:59 / 9