End Times

Bible Book: Daniel  7
Subject: End Times; Final Days; Return of Christ; Judgment on the World

End Times

Dr. J. Mike Minnix
Introduction

Daniel 7

When we open the passages before us, in the Book of Daniel, we observe some of the most exciting pages in God's Word. This Scripture concerns the time of the end. It is as if lightning leaps from the words before us as we read them, for they declare a time soon to come in which the fury and glory of the Lord will be revealed as in no time before or since.

The Scripture we are consideriung reveals the truth about the coming of the Lord, the end of the world as we know it, the blessings of the saints in eternity, and the Kingdom of Christ which is established already in God's purpose and plan. Surely everyone of us feels the sense that we are moving ever more rapidly toward a climatic day within the divine design. In other words, we are waiting for something to happen.

A man once went to a hotel room about midnight. He had been in a long, important business meeting with a big client all day. He was so exhausted that he sat down on his bed, took off his right shoe and dropped it loudly to the floor. Just then he realized how thoughtless that was. He thought to himself that someone in the room below him might be trying to sleep, so he took off his other shoe and gently placed it on the floor. About 45 minutes later someone woke him up with a knock on his door. He went to the door and there stood a bleary eyed man who said, I am from the room beneath you. I need to get some sleep, would you please drop the other shoe so I can quit waiting for it to drop.

Yes, we are waiting for the last shoe to drop. We know in our hearts and minds that it is coming sooner rather than later. In fact, we are actually doing more than waiting for something to happen, we are acutally waiting for SOMEONE to come - even our Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

As this time grows nearer for our Lord to return, our world grows ever stranger. Our world is more religious and less Christian than anytime since the first century of the Christian era. Satan has manufactured a counterfeit world of religion into which many have fallen.

After WWI the world proclaimed that it hadk been the war to end all wars. Everything was going to be better in the years to come, they prophesied. The Roaring Twenties in America, along with a roaring stock market, seemed to point to the future the world dreamed of experiencing. Actually, Communism was already starving millions of people to death in Russia. Also the Great Depression came to America and brought millions to financial ruin. In Germany disruptions in the financial and political life of the nation caused people to turn to a former German Army corporeal for leadership - Adolph Hitler was moving into a position that would plunge the world into WWII, which killed tens of millions of people around the globe.

In our day, the computer, world communication advances, medical miracles, and a false sense of reliance upon human nature, has made many predict that the world will soon solve the problems that have plagued mankind for generations. Nothing could be further from the truth, and we can see that with the rise of terrorism, the rise in power from Communist China, the war begun by Russia under Putin, the drug culture that is killing millions, sex trafficing worldwide, the rise in diseases that seemingly defies a cure, and the threat of catastrophic weapons being used by rogue nations like North Korea.

I'm not trying to depress you, in fact I know that a better day is coming. But the new day coming will not be the result of human activity. It will happen because the King of Glory is coming to this earth. There is a new world coming. It will not be long till Jesus comes in the clouds of glory. Then will come to pass the Biblical prophecy which states that the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ. The new world will be established by our Lord with fire and fury.

Actually, my friend, I get the feeling that Gabriel is licking his lips, for he is getting ready to blow that trumpet revealing that the Lord is on His way. The saddle is being placed on the white stallion of heaven and Jesus is polishing His sword. The world is heading for a fiery meltdown when the Captain of the Lord of Hosts comes to unleash His fury against Satan and all who follow Him.

The Bible puts the time of the end like this ...

"But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up" (2 Peter 3:10).

This tells us that Christ is coming to clean up the mess that sin has created. Some people think that the most difficult mess to clean up in this world is all the nuclear waste from weapons and energy plants around the globe. That would be child's play compared to cleaning up the problems that sin has caused. Jesus will rid this world of sin and the terrible horrors it has produced.

The church used to be enthralled with the ideas of heaven and the kingdom. In recent days heaven has fallen out of favor as our attention has turned to prosperity and pleasure. Let me tell you that it won't be long till we fall in love with heaven anew. As this world grows ever more wicked, ever more violent, and ever more anti- Christian, we will long for our Savior to come for us.

Daniel basically saw three things regarding the time of the end in his vision.

  1. First, he saw the Son of Man receiving power as His Kingdom is formally established. This is also described in Revelation 5.
  2. Secondly, he saw the saints with the Savior, ruling and reigning with Him. This is also described in Revelation chapers 4, 5, and in other passages.
  3. Thirdly, he saw the lost and the devil who leads them, judged. This is described in Revelation chapters 19 and 20.

So, we are taught here, as in other places in the Scripture, that Jesus is Lord and rules over an everlasting kingdom. He has great plans for His saints, those who are saved by grace. And, we see that the devil is doomed, along with all who follow him. What does this mean to us today? I want you to see two purposes which the Lord has for telling us about His coming and His Kingdom rule.

I. The Message of His Coming Should Comfort Us

A. He Is Coming To Rescue Us

Look at verses 18 and 21 of Daniel chapter 7. Here we see that we are living in a world hostile to the Lord and to those who serve Him. Christian, do not be surprised when things in this world are not working out right for you. After all, this is not your final home. All of us who know and love the Lord must live in this sin-cursed world till He comes for us. He wants us to have joy here, for He told us Himself that He was giving us His joy. But He also said that in this world we would have tribulation. But one day, child of God, He is going to take you home to be with Him. He is coming to rescue you. He is coming to get us out of this world.

He will bring about this great victory by setting up His Kingdom forever. He rules over His Kingdom, but the fullness of His Kingdom has not yet occurred. The final Kingdom will be ushered in by the Lord at His coming for the saints. Look at Daniel 2:44 and you will see the promise of his coming Kingdom.

The first time Jesus came He was not given the kingdoms of the world. Satan falsely promised Jesus the kingdoms of the world, if only He would bow down and worship the devil. Jesus rebuked the devil, and He promised His disciples later that He would one day set up His Kingdom under His authority forever.

  1. You see, the first time Jesus came he was placed in a manager; the next time He comes He will come in majesty and splendor.
  2. The first time He came He was rejected; the next time Jesus comes He will reign and rule.
  3. The first time He came He wore a crown of thorns; the next time He comes He will wear the diadem of sovereignty.
  4. The first time He came men took the Lord in their hands; the next time He comes men will be in His hands.
  5. The first time He came He was crucified; the next time He comes He will be crowned.
  6. The first time He came He stood before Pilate; the next time He comes Pilate will stand before Him.

For all of us who belong to Jesus, the second coming of Jesus should comfort and thrill us. For Jesus will come to set up His righteous Kingdom forever. Jesus taught us to pray, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."

Look at Luke 1:31-33 and note the special prophecy by Gabriel. You will see that everything Gabriel prophesied has come to pass except for one thing - the Kingdom has not yet been set up on earth forever. But it will come to pass. Be assured that Jesus will come and He will reign.

"What a day that will be, when Jesus I shall see,

When I look upon His face, the One who saved me by His grace,

He will take me by the hand, and lead me through the promised land,

What a day, marvelous day that will be!"

B. He Is Coming To Reward Us

When He comes to set up His Kingdom, He will reward us. How? We are not totally sure, but one way He will likely bless us is by giving us work to do in His name. Heaven is not like a retirement community in the Sunshine State. We will not float on clouds and play harps there. Heaven will be a place where we are given responsibilities in service to our Lord. We will work without being weary. We will work without temptation and trial in our lives. Our service will be perfect. What a marvelous time that will be. Do not be discouraged with the problems of this life, soon and very soon He will bring about the end time.

Harry Ironside tells of working for a shoemaker when he was very young. The leather used to make the shoes was soaked it water before being applied to the shoes. To make the leather perform at its best, the leather had to be pounded to remove the majority of the water. This was a very boring and difficult task - pounding, pounding, pounding the leather to remove the water. Harry Ironside watched a competitor making shoes and noticed that he took the leather right from the water and attached it to the shoes. He commented to the competitor that this was not as he was used to doing it. The competitor said, Yes, but the people come back for shoes more often this way. In other words, the competitor was deliberately making the shoes in such a way as to make them last a shorter period of time. Harry raced back to his boss and told him what he had seen. His boss said, "Harry, I am not making shoes for money, I am a Christian and I am making them in a way that pleases Jesus, for one day I will answer for this work."

Ironside said that he learned a great lesson that day. This is exactly what the Bible teaches us. We should be faithful, for we will one day face our Lord as believers and we may well be blessed to serve in greater or lesser ways due to our faithfulness here.

Now this leads directly to our next thought.

II. The Message of His Coming Should Compel Us

When we read what Peter wrote about the endtime, we note that the promise of His coming was meant to stir up our hearts and minds. His message is meant to stir up a hope in us - to keep us from being anchored to this world and helping us remember that our true anchor is secure in heaven.

A. The Coming Destruction Should Compel Us

Everything humankind is attached to -- all that people hold precious, all that they labor a lifetime to earn and enjoy -- is going to dissolve in a sudden moment.

Try to imagine it: All Wall Street firms, all corporate offices, all banks, all computer headquarters -- gone! The United Nations will vanish. State and federal capitol buildings will burn to oblivion. Fort Knox and all its gold will disappear. There won't be any more manufacturing plants, skyscrapers, bridges, tunnels, airplanes, trains. There won't even be any ashes left! God's Word clearly says that all these things ...shall be burned up...dissolved...(verses 10-11).

The Greek word for dissolved here means to loosen, break up and melt down. In other words: God is going to break up the party! He will pry people loose from everything they lust after -- and then melt it all in intense heat. How will He do this? We don't know how He will accomplish this, but scientists are predicting that a great catastrophic event from space will melt everything in our solar system (and perhaps beyond) one day in the future. Is that science or is that prophecy? Perhaps it is both.

In Revelation 14:14-16 we read ...

"I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one 'like a son of man' with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. Then another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, 'Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.' So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested."

Yes, there is coming a day of harvesting by the Lord. He will harvest the souls of the earth.

B. The Covenant Determination Should Compel Us

God has determined that those who belong to Him will never lose the promise giving in His Son, Jesus. He gives us an eternal salvation - something we cannot lose.

God is not going to create a new world without having a people to inhabit it. And in every generation He has preserved a people whom He will translate into this wonderful new kingdom. This is not a joke or the idea of some raving fanatic - this is the prophecy of the Bible you hold in your hand. The same Bible that tells you about Jesus, salvation, and heaven, tell us about the endtime prophecy.

Believe it or not, Peter says we are to earnestly desire the end of the present world. You may think that this sounds morbid. Yet the apostle writes that we are to anticipate the dissolving of this evil age ...

"Looking for the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat..." (2 Peter 3:12).

This truth also is meant to stir us up about the kind of people we are to be ...

"Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness..." (verse 11).

You can be sure that every true believer can trust Christ to keep him or her from falling away. God has a plan and the power to preserve you. Look at what the Lord says to you ...

"The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore" (Psalm 121:7-8).

Look again in Psalm 37:28 ...

"For the Lord loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever." We need to see one New Testament passage.

Consider also 2 Timothy 4:18 ...

"And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever."

The word preserve here means "to guard, protect, keep, make safe, hedge about". God is saying that He will guard you, protect you, keep you, make you safe, hedge you about so the devil can't touch you.

Conclusion

Are you ready for the Lord to come?

The Christian should so deeply love the Savior that he or she is constantly watching for His return. We are to be working to bring people to faith in our Lord. We are to honor Him with our words and actions. In essence, we are to be ready should He come today.

An anonymous poet put it like this:

"One little hour of watching for the Master,

Eternal years to walk with Him in white;

One little hour to bravely meet life's duties,

Eternal years to reign with Him in light.

One little hour for weary toils and trials,

Eternal years for calm and peaceful rest;

One little hour for patient self-denials,

Eternal years of life where life is best."

Those of us who know the Lord ought to take this opportunity to rededicate ourselves to our coming Lord. Anyone here today who does not know the Lord ought to come to Him now - turn to Jesus Christ and trust Him as Lord and Savior this very moment. The End Times will be the best of times for those who have turned from worst of time to trust Jesus as Lord and Savior.