Sabbath, June 25, 2011
“And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which stand-eth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.” Daniel 12:1.
In the eleventh chapter of the book of Daniel is a detailed description of the different rulers of the world empires briefly described in chapters 2, 7, and 8. Because in their general lines we have already studied them, we will focus on the most important events for the time of the end.
1. What was the fate of many faithful people of God during the 1,260-year period of papal persecution? What did the Lord in mercy send to His children?
Daniel 11:33, 34, first part And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days. Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help:…
“The long period of papal persecution against those who were struggling to maintain the truth and instruct their fellow men in ways of righteousness, is here brought to view. The number of the days during which they were thus to fall is given in Daniel 7:25; 12:7; Revelation 12:6, 14; 13:5. The period is called ‘a time, and times, and the dividing of time;’ ‘a time, times, and a half;’ ‘a thousand two hundred and threescore days;’ and ‘forty and two months.’ All these expressions are various ways of denoting the same 1260 years of papal supremacy.” –The Prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation, p. 279.
2. What did Jesus say concerning this time of persecution? How did Satan seek to destroy the work of Reformation?
Matthew 24:21, 22 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.
Daniel 11:34, last part … But many shall cleave to them with flatteries.
Acts 20:30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
“The persecution of the church did not continue throughout the entire period of the 1260 years. God in mercy to His people cut short the time of their fiery trial. In foretelling the ‘great tribulation’ to befall the church, the Saviour said: ‘Except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.’ Through the influence of the Reformation the persecution was brought to an end prior to 1798….
“But Satan was not idle. He now attempted what he has attempted in every other reformatory movement–to deceive and destroy the people by palming off upon them a counterfeit in place of the true work. As there were false christs in the first century of the Christian church, so there arose false prophets in the sixteenth century.
“A few men, deeply affected by the excitement in the religious world, imagined themselves to have received special revelations from Heaven, and claimed to have been divinely commissioned to carry forward to its completion the Reformation which, they declared, had been but feebly begun by Luther. In truth, they were undoing the very work which he had accomplished….
“The Romanists now regained their confidence and exclaimed exultingly: ‘One last struggle, and all will be ours.’ ” –The Great Controversy, pp. 266, 267, 186, 187.
3. Did the persecution finally end?
Daniel 11:35 And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.
“In Revelation 12, where this same papal persecution is brought to view, we read that the earth helped the woman by opening her mouth and swallowing up the flood which the dragon cast out after her. The Protestant Reformation let by Martin Luther and his co-workers furnished the help here foretold. The German states espoused the Protestant cause, protected the reformers, and restrained the work of persecution carried on by the papal church. But when the Protestants were helped, and when their cause began to be popular, many were to cleave unto them with flatteries, or embrace the faith from unworthy motives….
“Though restrained, the spirit of persecution was not destroyed. It broke out whenever there was opportunity.” –The Prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation, p. 279.
4. What did France earn for its crimes in the service of the papacy? Who took military power for himself in the middle of this confusion?
Daniel 11:36-39 And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all. But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things. Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain.
“The cruelties that were inflicted upon the innocent Protestants by the Catholics accumulated in a weight of retribution, and in after centuries wrought the very doom they had predicted to be impending, upon the king, his government, and his subjects;… It was … the suppression, of Protestantism, that, three hundred years later, was to bring upon France these dire calamities.…
“The atheistical power that ruled in France during the Revolution and the Reign of Terror, did wage such a war against God and His holy word as the world had never witnessed….
“ ‘Intimately connected with these laws affecting religion, was that which reduced the union of marriage–the most sacred engagement which human beings can form, and the permanence of which leads most strongly to the consolidation of society–to the state of a mere civil contract of a transitory character, which any two persons might engage in and cast loose at pleasure.’ ” –The Great Controversy, pp. 226, 227, 273, 270.
Kings of the north and south
Beginning the section of Daniel 11:40-43, which makes reference to “the time of the end,” the following comment is given: “After a long interval, the king of the south and the king of the north again appear on the stage of action.” –The Prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation, p. 289.
5. What will the king of the north do at the end of time in a battle that is still in the future? What important sign is this for the believers?
Daniel 11:44, 45 But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many. And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.
Daniel 12:1, first part And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people:…
“As we see the divine predictions meeting their fulfillment in history, our faith is strengthened in the final accomplishment of God’s prophetic word.
“The prophecy of verse 45 centers in that power known as the king of the north….
“It is predicted of the king of the north that ‘he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.’ Just how and when and where his end will come, we may watch with solemn interest, knowing that the hand of Providence guides the destiny of nations.” –The Prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation, p. 299.
This prophecy points to the fact that the king of the north in the time of the end will transfer his seat (“the tabernacle of his palace”) to Jerusalem. This city, according to the Scriptures, is represented as the holy mountain situated between the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea.
6. What will then end, and what will begin? What will happen before Jesus returns?
Revelation 22:11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.
Daniel 12:1, last part, 2, 3 … And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
“When He leaves the sanctuary, darkness covers the inhabitants of the earth. In that fearful time the righteous must live in the sight of a holy God without an intercessor…. Satan will then plunge the inhabitants of the earth into one great, final trouble. As the angels of God cease to hold in check the fierce winds of human passion, all the elements of strife will be let loose….
“Graves are opened, and ‘many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth … awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.’ Daniel 12:2. All who have died in the faith of the third angel’s message come forth from the tomb glorified, to hear God’s covenant of peace with those who have kept His law. ‘They also which pierced Him’ (Revelation 1:7), those that mocked and derided Christ’s dying agonies, and the most violent opposers of His truth and His people, are raised to behold Him in His glory and to see the honor placed upon the loyal and obedient.” –The Great Controversy, pp. 614, 637.
Earnest study and prayer for understanding
7. What was to happen to the vision? What assurance was given to the faithful servant of God?
Daniel 12:4 But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.
Daniel 12:8-13 And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; 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 shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days. But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.
“As we near the close of this world’s history, the prophecies recorded by Daniel demand our special attention, as they relate to the very time in which we are living. With them should be linked the teachings of the last book of the New Testament Scriptures…. The promise is plain that special blessing will accompany the study of these prophecies. ‘The wise shall understand’ (verse 10), was spoken of the visions of Daniel that were to be unsealed in the latter days; and of the revelation that Christ gave to His servant John for the guidance of God’s people all through the centuries, the promise is, ‘Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein.’ Revelation 1:3.” –Prophets and Kings, pp. 547, 548.
For personal study
“The prophecies of Daniel and of John are to be understood. They interpret each other. They give to the world truths which every one should understand. These prophecies are to be witnesses in the world. By their fulfillment in these last days they will explain themselves.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 949.
“All should see the necessity of understanding the truth for themselves individually. We must understand the doctrines that have been studied out carefully and prayerfully. It has been revealed to me that there is among our people a great lack of knowledge in regard to the rise and progress of the third angel’s message. There is great need to search the book of Daniel and the book of Revelation, and learn the texts thoroughly, that we may know what is written.” –Selected Messages, book 2, p. 392.
“When the books of Daniel and Revelation are better understood, believers will have an entirely different religious experience. They will be given such glimpses of the open gates of heaven that heart and mind will be impressed with the character that all must develop in order to realize the blessedness which is to be the reward of the pure in heart.” –Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 114.