From North and South to the Beautiful Land

From North and South to the Beautiful Land

Scripture: Daniel 11:35
Date: 03/21/2020  Lesson: 12
'How can we draw comfort from knowing that, in the end, God and His people will be victorious?'

Final Events of Bible Prophecy - Paper or Digital PDF

Final Events of Bible Prophecy - Paper or Digital PDF
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Shawn Brummund: Hello and welcome to the "Sabbath School Study Hour." It's so good to be able to have you here, joining us as we come together to be able to study one of my favorite books, which is the book of Daniel. And we're going to continue to look at that as we look at one of the most complex and interesting prophecies and chapters that we have which is Daniel chapter 11 and the study guide or study lesson that we're looking at is "From North to South to the Beautiful Land." And so we're going to be able to unpack that as Pastor Luccas is going to be teaching for us here today. It's always good to be able to have all those who are watching online as well as different television stations as we continue to study this very important book.

Now, before we get into our study and we get into our song service, I want to take an opportunity to invite you to take advantage of a free offer that we have and we always like to give out a free gift offer each and every time we come and study, and today it is called "The Final Events." "The Final Events of Bible Prophecy." And so please take advantage of that. Just go and--ahead and dial into 1-866-788-3966 and ask for the free offer number 856. Now for those of you who may be interested in a personal digital download, we also offer that for free and you can get--you can actually access that on the Internet from anywhere in the world, unlike the actual physical copy which we will offer to those who live in North America. So if you have a phone, go ahead and text the code "SH057." You want to text that to the number 40544. And I know that you will be blessed if you go ahead and take advantage of that free offer.

So before we get into our lesson study here today, we're going to invite our singers to come forward as we praise the Lord in song.

♪ Be still, my soul the Lord is on thy side ♪

♪ With patience bear the cross of grief or pain ♪

♪ Leave to thy God to order and provide ♪

♪ In ev'ry change He faithful will remain ♪

♪ Be still, my soul thy heav'nly Friend will lead ♪

♪ To a joyful end ♪

♪♪♪

♪ Be still, my soul thy God doth undertake

♪ To guide the future as He has the past ♪

♪ Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake ♪

♪ All now mysterious shall be bright at last ♪

♪♪♪

♪ When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone ♪

♪ Sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored ♪

♪♪♪

♪ Be still, my soul

♪ When change and tears are past ♪

♪ We shall meet at last ♪

Shawn: What a blessing, amen? Let's pray. Father in heaven, we are so privileged to be able to come here together to worship You. We thank You so much for Your Bible. We thank You for the prophecies that You have revealed through Your servant Daniel. And, Lord, we are thankful that, again, as we study this lesson and this chapter that we're reminded that You are sovereign, that You are in control of all things, that You are the Alpha and the Omega, You know the beginning from the end. And, Lord, that You are working all things together for good for the salvation of as many of us as possible. And, Lord, as we look at this today, we want to pray that You will bless our teacher, Pastor Luccas, as he leads out in this study and, God, that You will guide each and every one of us, both those here in Granite Bay Church and those who are watching online on different television networks. Lord, that You will bless us and guide us with Your Spirit and teach us and lead us into all truth. In Jesus' name we pray, God, amen.

This morning we are privileged to be able to have our youth pastor, Pastor Luccas, as he teaches our lesson study. God bless you, Luccas.

Luccas Rodor: Happy Sabbath. It is an honor and a privilege to be here with you today and we have a very interesting study planned out for today. I'll admit something to you guys. I was very humbled this week as I studied this lesson for a few different reasons. Daniel chapter 11 has been one of the most challenging chapters to study prophetically and historically for a number of reasons, and in my personal opinion, it's among two-- the two most difficult chapters to be understood in the whole Bible. So we have Daniel 11 in the Old Testament and then we have Revelation chapter 17 in the New Testament that are quite challenging for a few reasons.

But, as I studied this week, there was one thing that resonated again and again and again in my mind as I studied this, is that overall, after all the details, after all the kings and the battles and the controversies and the political plots and all of that, there's one thing that we can be certain of: God is always in control. God is always in control. If there's one thing that emerges by the study of this chapter, is that God is always in control.

Now, when it comes to chapter 11, it becomes very easy to lose the forest for the trees, if you understand what I'm saying. Because there's just so many details and there's just so much history packed into 45 verses that if we take too long on one or two or even ten verses, we're going to lose our whole study. So today, don't be disappointed if we jump over major sections of history because there's two options. Either we spend an hour talking about 2 verses or we spend the 40 minutes that we have talking about 45, and that's what we're going to do. So don't be disappointed if we jump over a few sections of history here because many of these sections, they are easily traceable and you can easily study them in history books for yourself. All you have to do is open up Scripture, open up history, and you'll see that there are--that it becomes fairly easy for you to at least up to verse 39 you can easily accompany history through the Bible and so you can do that yourself.

But, from the get-go, I want to make two things very clear. First of all, Daniel's vision in chapter 11, it's part of a bigger section. When it comes to the last vision of the book of Daniel, you can't isolate chapter 11 because chapter 11 is the middle, it's the body of the vision that begins in chapter 10 and that ends in chapter 12. So chapter 10 is the introduction or the prolog. Chapter 11 is the body of this vision. And then chapter 12 is the epilog or the conclusion of the vision, so keep that in mind. We already began this study last week with chapter 10. Today, we're going to get the full body, the content of the vision, and then in chapter 12, you'll have the conclusion with Michael standing up. And so that's going to be a very exciting study also.

The second thing that we can make that becomes very clear is that chapter 11 is parallel to other major visions. So this is very important. When you understand that chapter 11, it's not isolated. The historical content, the details, they're not isolated inside of that vision itself, but you find major parallels inside of the other prophetic visions and the other prophetic chapters of Daniel. So you'll find a lot of parallel within verse 2 with Daniel--with Daniel 8:20, with Daniel 8:21. So Daniel 8 and Daniel 9 have many parallels with chapter 11. So when you understand that, it becomes a lot easier to interpret chapter 11 because if I can get the details from that chapter and compare it with the previous chapters that cover the same period of time, although through different perspectives, it becomes easier to identify what's going on.

Does that make sense? So you've got the previous visions. You see what they're talking about. You go to chapter 11, that's a bit more complicated and confusing. You compare that to the previous chapters. Then you can have a clear understanding of what's happening, of what's going on. Also, and here's a really interesting thing, each chapter, each prophetic chapter, their outline reaches its culmination in the fact that God the Most High, Yahweh, He is in control of history. He is in control as we already stated. So for example, in chapter 2, what happens? How does God emerge? He is the rock that smashes the feet of history, right? In chapter 7, He is the Son of man that receives the kingdom. In chapter 8 and 9, He is the one that cleanses the sanctuary.

So if there's one thing that emerges as a pattern in Daniel is that God is in control, is that the climax, the closing of history, is done by none other than God. No one else has that power. No one else has that authority. God is always in control. Now, while the lesson does give us a good breakdown of these sections, another thing to understand here from the beginning is that the whole chapter, chapter 11, can be divided in two major arcs, two major divisions of history. So you get from chapter 11, verse 1 through 22, that is the first arc, the first division, of the chapter. And then from verse 23 through 45 is the second.

Now, of course, inside of these major divisions, these major sections, these arcs, there are subdivisions. But, basically, you can--you could divide the chapter in these two parts and the reason for that is because from 1 to 22, everything that happens, happens BC, before the Prince of the Covenant appears, and then from 23 all the way through 45, that is after the Prince of the Covenant. So in the same way in which the Bible is divided between Old Testament and New Testament, this chapter can be divided between what happens before Jesus and what happens after Jesus. So let's keep that in mind. So we won't be able to cover everything. It'll be enough for us to have a main outline of what is going on.

The chapter begins describing the transition--the transition from the Medo-Persian empire to the Greek empire. Okay, that's what we find here. And this is the reason for verses 1 and 2, for us to see the transition that goes from Medo-Persia and we find this already. In chapter 2 we found that the succession of kingdoms goes from Babylon to Medo-Persia to Greece to Rome. In chapter 7 you find the same kind of outline. In--with the animals, the four animals that emerge. In chapter 8 you find that with the ram with two horns and the goat, so this is a parallel here. And in verse 2--actually 1 through 4, we find this outline where Daniel, he receives this vision of Medo-Persia transitioning into Greece. Verse 1 and verse 2, they give us some information. We're not going to read them but we find some information here about these kings that emerge. It mentions three kings and then a fourth one that is very rich.

Now, the first text, I'm going to read it for us. It'll be--it'll become easier. It says here in verse 2: "And now I will tell you the truth: Behold, three more kings will arise in Persia, and the fourth shall be far richer than them all; by his strength, through his riches, he shall stir up all against the realm of Greece. Then a mighty king shall arise, who shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will. And when he has arisen, his kingdom shall be broken up and divided toward the four heavens--the four winds of heaven, but not among his posterity nor according to his dominion with which he ruled; for his kingdom shall be uprooted, even for others beside these--besides these."

So here we have a reference to these three kings, three mysterious kings that emerge in the chapter, then a fourth very rich king. And the sequence that we find in history is exactly this. This vision is given to Daniel. Beginning in Daniel chapter 10, you'll find that the king that is in command is who? Cyrus. He is the king in charge. But the succession of history gives us three kings: Cambyses, the false Smerdis, and then Darius I. These three kings, it's really interesting when you study their life. Cambyses, he arises. He has a lot of stuff going on. He kills his brother, Smerdis. He then goes on to campaign in Egypt. While he's there, this false king, the false Smerdis, he arises and then Cambyses takes--he takes notice of this. He hears about this, and he's on his way back to the capital to take care of this problem and on this way back he dies.

Now, many say that he committed suicide. Others say that it was an accident. But what we do know is that Cambyses dies and then this false Smerdis, he also doesn't last that long on the throne. King Darius, who wasn't a direct line to the throne, he takes up power through his military conquests and so that's basically what happens in this time period. The following king that appears in verse 2 is none other than Xerxes, and Xerxes, he is the same king that we find in the book of Esther, that's the same Xerxes. He is a very wealthy king and he is mentioned here because he is the king that battles, that takes war into Greece. He is one of the only two kings in Medo-Persian history that fights or that invades Greece.

Now, the Greeks, they can't do anything immediately. They cannot retaliate immediately. They're not strong enough so over a century later, over a century later, they do invade Medo-Persia and that happens under Alexander the Great, the Great King, Alexander Magnum as many call him. And all of this happens under him. He invades the Medo-Persian empire and we find here in these few verses, in these two or three verses, we find that Alexander the Great, he conquers the known world in a very short period of time. And again, this draws a parallel to the other chapters where we find the leopard with four wings. Remember that? The leopard with four wings in chapter 7, and then in chapter 8, we have the goat that runs so fast that he doesn't even touch the ground. And that represents Alexander the Great, the first great Greek king that conquers the known world in a very short period of time, but at the height of his power when he's 32 years old, he also falls, he dies, and his kingdom is then divided among his four generals. What's interesting is that Alexander, he did have a young son but his young son, as the prophecy foretold, this young boy, he doesn't inherit any of his father's lands or power or any of that, and the land is then divided, the empire is divided, among the four kings, so--the four generals.

So what we find here is that the general, Seleucus, he has--he is in command of Syria and Mesopotamia. This is the great lighter green portion right here. We have Ptolemy down in the South with Egypt. We have Lysimachus in Thrace and parts of Asia Minor right there, up there in the Northwest. And then in the West over there, we have the last of his generals which was Cassander with Macedonia and with Greece. So that's the main map that we have. Now, from verses 5 through 15 and if it seems that I'm rushing, I am because I want to get to a certain part of history here. This, we already mostly studied. If you accompany chapter 7, chapter 8, then you already know about this. But from verse 5 through 15 of Daniel 11, what we find is an outline of the battles of two of these dynasties, the two prominent ones and the two most important ones. We find the battles of the northern king and the southern king.

Now, these two generals, Seleucus and Ptolemy, they were the ones who amassed most power, most dominion. They were the ones that if you take a look and this is why this is so important. So, if you take a look at the map, you'll find that the king of the North in this area and the king of the South in this area, what do they have between them? They have Judea. So that's why we have so much information about the king of the North and the king of the South, first because they were the two generals that emerge as the most powerful. But second of all, it's because they were the ones who were in a position to oppress the children of God.

Now, one of the main questions that arises, that a lot of people ask is, "Well, you know what? Prophecy is talking about an outline of history but why does it not mention other great nations, such as China? We know that China had great dynasties, very powerful dynasties. What about the Aztecs, here in South America? Why doesn't prophecy mention these empires, these kingdoms?" It's very simple. As powerful and as influent as these nations were, they didn't have a lot of relevance when it comes to the children of God.

What we find in history, what we find in prophecy, is that these nations that are mentioned in prophecy, they have direct impact on Judea, on the children of God. So that's why we find these mentioned. At this time, these two nations, they weren't even the most powerful in the planet. There were other arising powers on the horizon. Rome appears and we don't get the beginning of Rome. When Rome appears in this story, it's already a power. So you see that what the Bible's mentioning here are empires or countries, kings, powers, that impacted directly the children of God in Judea. That's what we find here. So here we have a great outline of the battle of the kings of the North and the kings of the South. Again, this is fairly simple for you to research in history.

Here we have, basically, five or six kings on each side that a lot happens among them. They battle, they fight. Judea is going from one to the other, constantly. Not only do they battle, but there is a lot of political drama, all right, political policies that happen. They try to have alliances through marriage and that happens with Bernice but then Bernice dies, you know, and so, so much happens. And it might seem that this is a very long period of time. Reading it, we tend to assume that this happened over centuries. But when you look at history, really, this is a period that covers about 150 years. It's not even a long time. But this is basically what we find from verses 5 through 15.

However, before we get to that, there is a short period of time there where Israel does battle, does war, for independence and, again, we can find this when we research and we study about the Maccabean Revolt. And so, Israel, for a short while, they did have their own kings called the Maccabean kings of the Hasmonean house. And, again, if you're interested in that, you can research and very easily you'll find a lot of information about that period of time. However, in verse 16--in verse 16, a new power arises. It tells us that he who comes--we find that in verse 16, "He who comes," and this he who comes cannot be either the king of the North or the king of the South. In verse 15, at the end of this whole 150-year period of time, the king of the North in the person of Antiochus Epiphanes, he emerges as victorious at the end of verse 15. And this was a terrible king. This was a terrible--a terrible king that--the king of the North that dominated this land, the children of Israel.

And one thing that I would like to mention before we enter the phase of Rome, is that this Antiochus IV or Antiochus Epiphanes, he is a--he is one of those kings that a lot of--a lot of interpreters imagine that he fulfills a major role in chapter 11 of Daniel. But we really believe that--I really believe that, that is a major stretch. When you look at what he did and you look at the timeline that happens here, it seems that it is a major stretch to assume that Antiochus Epiphanes, he is the fulfillment of many verses or many timelines here in Daniel 11, for many reasons.

First of all, the prophetic statement in verse 14 implies that these people, the people that were with Antiochus, his armies, his generals, that they--this appears in verse 12 and 13, they will be without success. Now, the fulfillment of what happens with Israel happens under people who did have success. Rome did have success to--of oppressing the children of Israel for a very long period of time. Antiochus Epiphanes, he didn't have that long.

Secondly, verse 16 tells us that "this power will stand in the beautiful land and all of it will be in his hand." Now, this again has no conceivable application to Antiochus Epiphanes because Judea was already in his hand. He didn't have to conquer it. He didn't have to invade Judea. He didn't have to conquer it. It was given to him as land from his father. So it wouldn't make sense to say that this is the great king that, you know, that came and conquered, oppressed, persecuted, the children of Israel because while he did oppress and persecute them, the land was already his, he inherited it from his father. It makes a lot more sense to understand that the conquest of this power that appears in verse 16, it emerges with Rome in the person of Pompeii when he conquers Judea in the year 63 BC.

And finally, as we already discussed before, there is an immense amount of parallelism between chapter 7 and 8. The activities of the Little Horn of Daniel with what happens to the children of Israel in chapter 11. So the Little Horn in chapter 7 and 8 is never understood as Antiochus Epiphanes. It can't be because it transverses time. Its activities happen over a span of thousands of years. It could never be interpreted as happening in the life of one king. So for all these reasons and more, Antiochus Epiphanes, at least in our study, he is not interpreted as this great king that had, you know, a big, a huge, impact on the children of Israel over a span of centuries. In any case, in verse 16, who emerges on the scene is Rome. And here we have, again, in the timeline of Rome, we have basically three Caesars that take the stage from verses 16 through 22. And you can do the comparison yourself, you can do the study yourself. We find in verse 17 through 19, Julius Caesar and the actions that he did, the things that he did, appear in verse 17, 18, and 19. We find Caesar Augustus in verse 20, the things that he did in verse, again, in verse 20.

And then finally, Tiberius Caesar and it is during the reign of Tiberius Caesar that the prince of the covenant would be broken. That's what we find here in verse 22. And that's a clear reference to the Crucifixion of Jesus. Jesus is killed in--during the reign of Tiberius Caesar. Jesus is also called the Anointed in chapter 9. In chapter--in Matthew 27, Jesus is also called the Anointed One. All of this happened during the reign of Tiberius Caesar.

This reference of Jesus as the prince of the covenant, while I was doing my study, I'll tell you something. This gave me chills when I was studying the prince of the covenant. Because it is an extraordinary indicator that reveals the flow of history. The fact that God, years before, was giving us the information or was giving Daniel the information of everything that would take place, all the way up to the Messiah, that is God telling Daniel something. He's saying, "Daniel, things might appear to be chaotic, things may appear to be happening too fast or too slow or not in the right time, but, Daniel, I need you to understand that I am in control, that I have power over history, that I know what is going to happen, and I have provisions for things that are going to happen."

So as I was studying this and I found the emergence here of the prince of the covenant, that was then broken, that was just something that gave me chills. At this point, in verse 23, we arrive at the second portion of this chapter, the second great arc or division, if you will. Verse 23 is a transition point in the prophecy of chapter 11. Verses 1 through 22, they guide the action from Daniel's day all the way down to the Messiah, to the prince of the covenant, and that means that everything that happens, the four kings of the Medo-Persians, the Great King of Greece, the four prominent ones that come out of that kingdom, all these wars with the kings of the North and the South, everything that happens, happens in the first half of that chapter. Do you understand this? There's just so many details.

Now, what's incredible to me is that God, He successively gives deeper visions about the same period of time. So in Daniel chapter 2 you have a great outline of history. In Daniel chapter 7 God kind of zones in a little bit in four--on the four kingdoms. Then in chapter 8 He zones in on two kingdoms and what happens after the second kingdom with the Little Horn. But in chapter 11, God goes in. He--it's like he puts history under a microscope and God gives just so many details that we have packed here in this first half of chapter 11.

But then the focus shifts to something different. From verse 23 through 39, Daniel deals with another power, a power that we interpret and we understand for many reasons that we're going to see here as Ecclesiastical Rome. You know that Rome came in, in verse 16. We have three Caesars but then we find here, at the height--at the height of the power of the North king, Rome comes in with Pompeii and they take dominion over Judea.

And at that point we have the prince being broken and one of the questions that is most asked at this point is, "Well, where do we go from here? Where do we go? Do we interpret the prophecy to be linear? Is it, you know, are the events that are described from verse 23 to 39, do they happen immediately after verse 22 or is there a gap in the history of prophecy? So couldn't it continue? Couldn't verse 23 continue with Imperial Rome for a further stretch? Why don't we interpret it that way? Why do we interpret it as being Ecclesiastical papal Rome right after in verse 23?"

Now, some believe that it is the case that, you know, Imperial Rome is just described from verse 23 through 29, that we have a repeat of the three Caesars: Caesar--Julius Caesar, Caesar Augustus, and then Tiberius. Some interpret it that way. But it doesn't make much sense. The--it's not very consecutive if we interpret it that way. The information that happens, happens too quickly for it to be seen as a Hebrew parallelism. Other people believe that the text beginning in verse 23 kind of skips down to the time of the Roman conquest in the year 70. Some interpret it that way, that 23 through 29, they really--they're really covering the period of the conquest of Rome in the year 70. And others yet believe that the time of Constantine would make sense due to the major historical transition with the conversion of the Roman empire to Christianity.

But, again, Constantine, he doesn't fit these few verses very well. So that way, verse 23 and--22 and 23, they jump over centuries of time, which isn't the immediate concern here anyway. The chapter--the prophecy, it's not interested in covering every single minor event in history. It's trying to tell us something that God is in control of history. So when we understand it that way, here, from 22 to 23, you jump a few centuries in time. The segment now is the emergence of the second phase of Rome, which goes from Imperial Rome all the way to Ecclesiastical Rome, papal Rome. And most interpreters, they understand that, that transition happened around the 6th century.

And so here we find Ecclesiastical Rome already in the Middle Ages. It's not Imperial Rome anymore. It's religious, spiritual, Ecclesiastical, or papal Rome. So just to be clear, Daniel 11:23 deals with the activities of Rome in its second phase, not in its Imperial time anymore, but in its spiritual condition. The players change here. We find that the king of the North, he--in name, he doesn't appear until verse 40 again. And the king of the South, it seems as though he takes a step back. The players change, but the game is the same.

A question that does arise here is, well, how did this happen? How did this switch from Imperial to Ecclesiastical Rome happen? And the answer is, well, Constantine, he switches the capital of Rome. You guys remember how this happens in the 4th century. He switches the capital of Rome to where? Constantinople, which was ancient Byzantine, and he switches the capital there. And what happens to Rome? Rome--who is leading? Who is--who has power in the city of Rome? The bishop of Rome. He has the power.

So this transition from Imperial Rome to Ecclesiastical Rome, it happens--it starts happening over there and from verse 23 through 39, we find--here we go. We find many events that characterize the activities of the northern King now in the person of Ecclesiastical or papal Rome. We find from verse 23 through 30, we have the military campaigns, all the wars that they fought. There were nine Crusades that were fought, especially from the 11th century through the 13th century. There might seem to be a gap.

So you're saying, "All right, so we jump from the Messiah, who was broken, in verse 22. You jump to the 6th century which is the transition from Imperial Rome to Ecclesiastical Rome, and then we jump again to the Crusades to, you know, five centuries later. Yeah, there's no problem with that. We find that in prophecy many times. I'll give you an example of this.

You remember--you remember how Xerxes transitions from Xerxes to Alexander the Great. We saw that in verse 2. We find this transition from Xerxes in Medo-Persia to Alexander the Great in Greece. That was a century of a transition. Prophecy jumped 100 years and it wasn't even preoccupied or worried in explaining what happened in the meantime. This is something that happens commonly in prophecy, especially in Daniel 11. Because the necessity isn't to explain each minor detail but every big figure, every relevant figure, that has to do with the people of God. So again, this is what happens here.

So the first activities of this northern king or the small, the Little Horn, of Daniel chapter 8, the activities begin with military campaigns. We find that in verses 23 through 30. Then we find in verse 31, the subversion of the system of salvation. Do you remember how this Little Horn or this another northern kingdom, how they subvert the system of salvation? When the Bible says that the temple was brought down low, this is in Daniel chapter 8, that the temple was brought down low, when the Bible gives us this piece of information, we find that--we find that the heaven being brought down low, it doesn't mean that, you know, this power, it brought heaven down. It doesn't mean that the heavenly temple up in heaven was brought down low.

What it truly means is that this power, it placed itself in the position of God. It profaned, it desecrated the temple. These are the literal words that are used in Daniel chapter 8. It was profaned, it was desecrated.

So this power, it desecrates the temple up in heaven, how? Well, it places itself in the person or in the place of the high priest of heaven, saying that it can forgive sin, saying that, well--and we all know the big boasts of papal Rome in the medieval times where it said that it was God, that it sat on the throne of God, and that, you know, in ex cathedra, when it was sitting down on its--on his throne, he had the voice of God. And that is the way that we find the papal power bringing down the temple in heaven.

The third activity that we find this power developing is from verse 32 through 35 and its persecution. And here again, we have many examples of this. This is the only time in verse--in chapter 11 that we find a persecution. It's the only time. But it is mentioned in chapter 8, it's mentioned when Jesus talks about the end of days in Matthew chapter 24. We find this persecution happening and here we have many references to this. We have the--we have the name--the Inquisition. We have the Holy Inquisition happening after following the subsequent centuries after the Crusades.

We find historically that this rivalry against the papal power and the children of God, it leads to many deaths, bloodshed, in the children of God. So this is a further activity, it's persecution. The first one that we find, again, is the military campaigns described in those seven verses. Then we have the subversion of the system of salvation. We have persecution happening in those three verses.

And finally, we have self-exaltation. Daniel 11:36 says: "He shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, he shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods." And here we find two charges: self-exaltation and blasphemy. Self-exaltation and blasphemy. These two charges correspond perfectly to the characteristics of the Little Horn as revealed in both Daniel 7:25, "He speaks great words against the Most High," and then Daniel chapter 8:10-11 where we read: "He grew until it reached the host of heavens; and set itself up to be as great as the Prince of hosts."

Now historically, this rivalry against the God of heaven was manifested by titles which this earthly power assumed and claimed for itself. So these were the activities of this Little Horn in 7, 8, and 11. Interestingly enough, the activities of the Little Horn in chapter 11, they--the last three of them, they appear also in chapter 8 and chapter 7; the last two in chapter 7, the last two in chapter 8. And these are the events all the way up to when this little--this power, the horn, or the king of the North, it is broken.

And finally, we arrive at Daniel chapter 11, verse 40, where we have a mention of the time of the end. Now, first we have to understand that there's a difference between the time of the end and the end of times. In prophecy, there's a big difference between the time of the end and the end of times. The time of the end is a period of time, it's a segment of history, in which certain events will happen. Those are the events that we find in these first--in these last five chapters--five verses of chapter 11.

Now, the end of time is a point in time. It's a moment in time. It is the end of human history as we know it. So this section is perhaps the most difficult passage to interpret prophetically because it's in the future, it hasn't happened yet. There are many of these events that have not happened yet.

At this point, we are way beyond the times of the Seleucid kings or the Ptolemaic dynasties. We're way beyond that time. Now, we're dealing with new powers that have taken their place and the question is who are these powers? Many interpretations have been given, many have been given. Many have been suggested. But there is no final answer on this question that has been ultimately given. It's been hotly debated among Adventist theologians, Adventist pioneers in more modern times. Maybe the best thing that we can say is that since these events are still in the future, we're going to have to wait until they happen, until we see them so that we can truly understand what happens.

Do you remember what is the ultimate goal of prophecy? What does Jesus say in John chapter 14, verse 29? That's where He gives us the ultimate goal, the ultimate purpose, of prophecy in the Bible. He says, "And now I have told you before it comes to pass that when it does come to pass you may believe." That's the purpose of prophecy.

You see that we can get very confused in all these details that happen but the purpose of prophecy is that when it happens, we may believe. That our faith may be increased. That's the purpose of prophecy. This is what we find at the end of chapter 11.

My dear friends, God is always in control. He always wins, and His children--as His children, we share that victory. As we study this chapter, chapter 11, and we see that throughout history God has always been taking care of His people, you know what that reassures me? That He can still do it for me. Just as He guided the children of Israel through those turmoils of the king of the North and the king of the South, as He guided His children through the Caesars and through medieval history and up to our days, I understand that, you know what, God isn't the God that is only interested in history, world history. He's interested in my history. He's interested in my yesterdays, in my battles, in my losses, in my confusions and doubts, in my failures. He is interested in taking me, a broken vessel, transforming me, and helping me become His child that will end and be victorious over the dragon.

You know, Revelation says that through the blood of the Lamb they were able to be victorious, they were able to win. So may God bless you as you study prophecy. It's not always easy. These are very difficult chapters but the Lord, He didn't reveal it for nothing. He revealed it for a purpose, which is for us to understand and our faith be believed--be increased. May God bless you. That was the lesson for today. I hope that you can join us again next Sabbath for another Sabbath School Study Hour. May God bless you.

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Doug Batchelor: Port Royal, here in Jamaica, was once considered the most wicked city in the world. They had more bars and brothels per square foot than any other place on the planet. It was said to be just full of cutthroats and pirates but during this time the king of France, Louis XIV, he began to persecute the Protestants and the Huguenots in the kingdom and many fled. That's when Lewis Galdy and his brother Laurent came to Port Royal. When Lewis Galdy arrived, he was absolutely dumbfounded at the unrestrained immorality, violence, and extravagance that filled Port Royal. That's why nobody was surprised when the judgment of God finally happened.

Just before noon on June 7, 1692, there was a massive earthquake that affected the whole island, Port Royal in particular. Two-thirds of it slid into the sea. Then came a tsunami. Thousands perished. Unfortunately, even Lewis Galdy was swallowed up in the earthquake.

You know, much of Jamaica is rock but Port Royal was built on the sand and so when the earthquake struck, the sand virtually liquefied, swallowing much of the city and thousands of people. Lewis Galdy was buried alive, but while underground he was still conscious and he prayed. He resigned himself to his fate, prayed to the Lord, and then another miracle happened. There was an aftershock with volcanic activity that exploded, blowing Lewis Galdy out of the earth, hundreds of yards, off into the sea, where he had a pretty hard landing but he was able to swim until he was rescued. Lewis Galdy dedicated the remaining 47 years of his life to serving Jesus in this island and he's even buried here still today.

You know, the Bible tells us just before Jesus comes back conditions in the world will be very much like they were in Sodom and Port Royal. There's going to be a tremendous earthquake and even islands will be swallowed up. But God's people don't need to be afraid. The same way that the Lord took care of Lewis Galdy, He will take care of you. It says in Psalm 91 that you might see 1000 fall at your side or 10,000 at your right hand, but only with your eyes will you see and behold the destruction of the wicked. He can protect you and resurrect you.

Announcer: "Amazing Facts" Changed Lives.

Brittany: I was addicted to all different types of things. I finally hit rock bottom when I got pulled over one night after a heavy night of partying with some friends. I was drunk, high on ecstasy, and I realized then that I had to make a change.

Vince: I was in the military and listening to very satanic music every day, and heard this whisper to carve "666" in my knuckles. Contemplated on it a while and I was sitting there at my desk and I had my knife on me. And I started carving the horizontal lines for the sixes into my index finger first with serrated edges and started to enjoy it. I wanted to make it known who I wanted to follow, actually, and not knowing I was following Satan at the time. Just, I thought it was a cool thing to do.

Brittany: So I met this guy online and that was my husband, Vince. And I noticed his ears. And we started talking and he was just adorable.

Vince: Flew down and actually met her here in Arizona.

Brittany: And at that point, I found out quickly after we met that I was pregnant.

Vince: So shortly after our daughter was born, it was a very exciting moment, but the nurses and doctors noticed something right away, that she was extremely orange with jaundice.

Brittany: And she ended up in the hospital very sick and it was extremely hard on us. We were teenagers, we were scared. Our baby was sick. I was with someone that was very angry and, at that point, we were in the hospital room and I remember a chaplain coming in and speaking with the people since it was like a conjoined room, we had a roommate. And the chaplain had said, you know, if he could pray for the other family and that's when I knew that there was my chance. I had to take that opportunity and I asked my husband, "Should I go talk to him?"

Vince: And I said, "No way," I wanted nothing to do with God. I wanted nothing to do with talking to this chaplain.

Brittany: I decided that I was going to get up anyway. And I got up and you could tell he was very angry that I decided to walk over. And I went to the chaplain and I asked him to come over and speak to us and he did.

Vince: He came in. We asked him questions. And he actually came to visit us every single day.

Brittany: The chaplain that we met with mentioned "Amazing Facts" study guides and just the ministries.

Vince: He showed us videos and study guides from "Amazing Facts" specifically. It was on final events and cosmic conflict. And at that point, we had transferred hospitals to an outpatient hospital and we were able to watch these videos, and we were hooked on them.

Brittany: It was a huge blessing. We would watch Pastor Doug and we would sit up late at night watching sermons and we were just teenagers. Most kids our age were out doing crazy things and here we are home with popcorn and chocolate bars, watching Pastor Doug.

Ben Lundquist: This young couple came into the Camelback Church, holding a beautiful little baby. And this was one of the first times that I had ever met Vince and Brittany.

Vince: We needed somebody to show us that they loved us, that they supported us. And Pastor Ben was there giving us Bible studies on marriage counseling as well as baptism.

Brittany: I was still smoking and drinking lightly and a few things along those lines and it was one day when I woke up, on February 15, 2011, after watching many sermons on "Amazing Facts" from Pastor Doug and having a really solid church family, that I was able to say, "No more." And from that day on, I stopped all of my addictions.

Charles White: And ultimately, their lives began to take on just a new dimension of congruity because Jesus was there and He was the one that was bringing that sense of belonging and hope and help.

Brittany: And we decided to get baptized and married. And we got baptized one day and married the next, and it was an amazing experience. Ben: We found a spot by the lake and it was absolutely perfect. The evening was coming to a close, the sun was about ready to go down.

Vince: We were standing in the water with Pastor Ben and the sky was such a deep red. The reflections of the sky was almost as if we were standing in blood. We were washed in the blood of Jesus.

Ben: And that was the moment that God painted the canvas of the sky with the most beautiful colors, signifying the journey that He was going to be laying out for Vince and Brittany.

Vince: Shortly after we were baptized, about a month later, we had realized that my scars were gone. I was completely healed physically of not having the "666" on my knuckles anymore. And I struggled with that for so long because of what I did and He forgave me.

Malcolm Douglas: Many times when we think of the way that we've been led to Christ, we think there's usually one individual but, having been able to work alongside Pastor Ben and Pastor White, it's been great to see how we've been able to work with Brittany and Vincent and seen them just really grow. And this has really been something that's been beneficial to me, you know? Sometimes I think about this and the Bible says: "More blessed is he who gives than receives," and I feel many times more blessed just seeing them and seeing all the challenges they've gone through, all the difficulties, and seeing them overcome these things. It just--it amazes me.

Vince: As I reflect back on everything I've done in my life, completely going against God, wanting nothing to do with Him, He still tried so hard as if I was the only one that was lost, just as He promises. He still went and found me, even though I wanted nothing to do with Him.

Brittany: Having "Amazing Facts" and the pastors in our lives help us so much, it's really a blessing and I feel like now we're happy and we have these two healthy, beautiful little girls and God has truly blessed us. And I just want to share it with everyone. I want to scream it. I'm so excited and I feel really blessed to even have this opportunity to share my story.

Doug: Friends, are you afraid of heights? If so, you might want to look away right now. One of the most famous attractions in the San Francisco Bay Area is the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. While this world famous bridge was named as one of the seven wonders of the modern world, few people know the story of the brave men who were involved in its construction and also known as the Halfway to Hell Club. Designed by a group of visionary engineers, at 4200 feet from end to end, the Golden Gate Bridge was at one time the longest suspension bridge in the world. During its construction from 1933 to 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge had one of the best safety construction records of any project during that time.

Keep in mind, they would factor in and calculate that one man would die for every million dollars that were spent. So with a budget of $35 million, they knew that loss of life would be unacceptable. This is why the chief engineer, Joseph B. Strauss, was absolutely adamant about using the most rigorous safety precautions that had ever been used in bridge building. He had a local manufacturer of safety equipment design special headgear that he insisted be worn on every job. This became the prototype for the modern hard hat, worn for the first time ever, but the safety precautions went even farther. Strauss provided a special hand and face cream to protect the skin from the cold biting wind, and glare-free goggles to protect their eyes. In addition, they also ate a special diet to help ward off dizziness when they were working at those epic heights.

But the most conspicuous safety precaution was a gigantic net that was suspended from end to end under the entire construction area of the Golden Gate Bridge. In fact, during construction, this net saved the lives of 19 men who later became known as the Halfway to Hell Club. Now you need to keep in mind, these were some of the most dangerous construction conditions you can imagine. The wind was constantly blowing. They were walking around on iron that sometimes had ice from the freezing fog. In places, they were over 700 feet above the icy waters. Yet the men, coming from all walks of life, were willing to take these risks because it was during the Great Depression and they would get paid up to $11 a day which was a fortune back then.

One of the other benefits of the net was they discovered that the men were much more courageous, even though they were walking high on those slippery surfaces, because they knew there was a mechanism to protect them if they should fall. This gave them the confidence and the courage to press on and get the bridge built in record time.

You know, friends, as Christians, we have a great work to do. The Bible tells us that we get to participate with Jesus in building a bridge that connects heaven and earth. And there are dangers along the way. The devil would like to paralyze us with fear that we might fall or make a mistake. But we know that Jesus has provided a safety net for us and we don't have to be afraid. We can press on with confidence because it promises in the book of Jude, verse 24, He is able to keep us from falling. But sometimes, we make mistakes. Still don't be discouraged, friends. If you read in 1 John chapter 2, verse 1, the Bible says if we fall, if we sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ. So let's press on together and build that bridge with Christ.

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