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Sunday, August 25, 2019

posted Aug 27, 2019, 6:23 AM by Site Administrator

LIKE THE STARS FOR EVER AND EVER

 

Daniel 12:1-13

Key Verses 12:2,3

 

Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. 3Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.

 

First, “Everyone whose name is found written in the book will be delivered” (1). Daniel chapter 12 is the epilogue of the book of Daniel. In this chapter, the holy one showed Daniel how the world would end and what would happen at the end of the time. Look at verse 1. Let’s read this verse together:

 

1“At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. 

 

In the previous passage, we saw the holy one telling Daniel about the wars between the king of the South and the king of the North. There, he mostly was zeroing in on Antiochus IV Epiphanes because he was the foreshadow of the Antichrist. Today’s passage focuses on the end time, because the rise and persecution of the Antichrist is directly related to the end time. The holy one says that, when the Antichrist starts his persecution against the Jews with an intention to annihilate them, the archangel Michael will arise to protect them. He does not say that the archangel Michael will come down from heaven with a big sword and have a ninja style sword fight with Satan; but rather, the holy one says that Michael will arise. Revelation 12 talks about some help given to the Jews to flee from the persecution, saying, “The woman (referring to the Jews) was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place, prepared for her in the desert, where she would be taken care of for a time, times, and half a time, out of the serpent’s reach.” (Rev. 12:14) Maybe, this is the role of the USA for the Jews during the last days. 

 

The Antichrist’s persecution will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. The Holocaust was really a horrible time for the Jews beyond imagination. But once the Antichrist starts his persecution, it will be far worse than that. But the holy one says, “But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered.” During that time, how much effort he or she makes to escape from the slaughters is not important. The most important matter is whether our name is written in the book of life or not, because, everyone whose name is found written in the book, will be delivered. In this matter, no one should just assume that their names are already there in the book. Instead, with a fearful and trembling heart, we must do all possible things to make sure that our names are written in the book. One time, someone asked Jesus, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.” On that day, people will come to the gate of heaven and knock, saying, “Sir, open the door for us.” But Jesus will answer, “I don’t know you or where you come from.” At this, they will say, “We ate and drank with you, and you taught us in our streets.” How confident they were that they were in the fellowship with Jesus, eating and drinking with him; they were confident that they were taught by Jesus. But Jesus will reply, “I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!” (Lk 13:23-27) In other passage, they called Jesus, “Lord, Lord!” They even drove out demons in Jesus’ name. So, they assumed that they were already saved. But Jesus never knew them and thereby, they were called as “evildoers” and rejected by Jesus. About salvation, no one should assume anything. We are all like students waiting for the finals. How do you prepare yourself for the finals? You study hard, memorizing everything you need; even when you have memorized everything, you do not relax. Instead, you still get up early in the morning, and practice all questions over and over again. In this way, you do your best. That’s how you prepare yourself for the school finals. Then, how much more should you do your real best, making all possible efforts, for your eternal salvation? That’s what Jesus is talking about – “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because I tell you, many will try to enter and will not be able to.” About this, the apostle Paul says, “Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” (Phil 2:12) Never assume anything in this real final. Instead, make all possible efforts to make sure that your names are written in the book of life. Everyone whose name is found written in the book will be delivered.

 

Second, “Those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars for ever and ever” (2-4). Look at verses 2 and 3. Let’s read these verses together:

 

Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. 3Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.

 

In the last days, there will be the resurrection of everyone - both good and bad, both righteous and unrighteous. At that time, each person’s eternal destiny will be determined - some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Everyone will be judged or rewarded according to what each person has done here on earth, how they have lived their life, or what they have pursued in life. It is like all peoples are waiting for the finals, or all people have a court day that will determine each person’s eternal destiny. Again, even for the finals at schools, we are so concerned and struggle hard to prepare ourselves thoroughly to get good grades. Then, how much more should we for this real final?

 

What will be the standard at the judgment? Verse 3 reads: "Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.” Here, God shows us who will be greatly blessed and rewarded there. Wow! God shows us the questions and us correct answers for the finals in advance so that everyone can pass the finals and receive all A’s. Two categories of people will be blessed greatly – they will be victors; they will be all A students, receiving great scholarships and grants for eternity. One group of people are “wise people.” “Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens.” At this, some people say, “I have no luck in this, because I am not wise.” But that’s not what God is talking about. In Daniel 11:33, we already learned the definition of “those who are wise.” Wise people are those who instruct many in the way of the Lord, even at such risk or danger; even if they may be killed by the sword, even if they may be burned in fire, even if they may be captured and plundered, even if they may lose great chances for money or pleasures, they instruct many in the ways of the Lord. With such dedication and absoluteness, they struggle to instruct others in the ways of the Lord. They are the ones who live as Bible teachers, shepherds and shepherdesses. They are wise because they use their resources – time, money, talents, and youth – most effectively, in most meaningful way, while others waste their resources in pursuing worthless things. Jesus in the New Testament, talks about this as well, saying, “Use your worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.” (Lk 16:9) This passage gives us such confidence of what we are doing as shepherds and shepherdesses on our campus. In God’s eyes, we are wise people who struggle to instruct many in the ways of the Lord, despite rejections and persecutionsAgain, in what sense are those who teach the Bible wise people? They are wise because they are preparing their eternal future very wisely and effectively. Simply, we are wise investors who invest so wisely for the eternal retirement plan, far better than 401K. One time, Jesus felt very sorry that children of God are not as shrewd as the people of the world in regard to their retirement plan. Jesus says in Luke 16, “For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than the people of the light.” For their retirement plan, for their future, the people in the world struggle hard, sitting on hard chairs so long, struggling to memorize and understand their subjects so that they can secure their bright and promising future; they do all they can do to understand how the job market would change; they analyze everything to foresee how the stock market would move. But strangely, the children of the light don’t care about preparing their eternal future in heaven. They take everything for granted and assume that they will receive a rich welcome and reign with Jesus forever, while they themselves don’t do anything for their future or for God’s kingdom, but pour out their energy and time on things of this world that will perish; they are foolish investors. They are not wise at all. Those who instruct many with the word of God, those who live their lives as Bible teachers are wise people in God’s eyes, because they are storing up their treasures in heaven, and they will receive great reward at the resurrection. You will shine brightly in the heaven.

 

The next group of people who will be greatly blessed and rewarded at the resurrection is those who lead many to righteousness. “Those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars for ever and ever.” When we think about this carefully, we see that actually, they are not different from the first group of people who instruct many with the word of God. The word, “instruct,” already comes with the meaning of guiding and leading. Those who instruct many with the word of God help them repent of their worldly desires and dreams and encourage them to submit themselves to God, leading them to righteousness, to the right relationship with God. This description helps us what we must aim on as we teach others the word of God – our Bible study should not be about just giving them some more knowledge or understanding of the Bible, but about leading them to righteousness. In other words, our Bible study has a purpose; it is not our volunteer service – it is to help them have right relationship with God – for this, as we teach them the word of God, we encourage them to repent of their sins and worldliness and surrender their lives to God. Through Bible studies, we lead them to God. Our goal is to lead many, not few, or one or two, but many – all our sheep, even all college students in the world, to the right relationship with God. Those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars for ever and ever.

 

Shining like the stars is amazing. In the previous passage, we saw Gabriel’s glory; it was great. Then, we saw the glory of the holy one – his body was shining like chrysolite. His glory was so awesome that, as he approached, as he talked to him,Daniel’s system kept shutting down. God’s promise is that, if anyone is wise and thereby leads many to righteousness, he will be given such glory that he will shine like star for ever and ever. Then, he does not need to tell others who he is, or what he has done, because his glory that shines around him will tell who he is and thereby, everyone will recognize him as a glorious being and show honor and respect. That will be his own glory to keep forever. That will be his identity in eternity. Don’t you want to be such glorious ones? Don’t you want to have that kind of glory? Yes, we all want such real glory. When you have such glory, you just stand out and everyone recognizes you and bowdown to you; no one will ignore you. This is all people’s desire. People struggle to have titles and positions, authority and power, thinking that once they have such things, they will be stars, being in the spotlight. But they never shine even if they have secured such things; instead, in many cases, they stink due to their smelly sinful life. They do not have real glory. But now God promises us that if we are wise and thereby, lead many to righteousness, He will give us such real glory, and we are to keep it forever – it will be indeed ours. Let’s live as Bible teachers, even hard-core Bible teachers who are completely dedicated to instructing people in the way of the Lord. Let’s pursue this mission wholeheartedly so that we may lead many to righteousness.

 

Look at verse 4. Let’s read this verse together:

 

But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge.” 

 

God's direction for Daniel was to close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. It seemed that such revelation must be shared with people as soon as possible. But God commanded him to seal it up, not to expose it to others, butonly Daniel himself would know it. Why? God shares the reason why, saying, "Many will go here and there to increase knowledge." This statement describes people’s struggle to have knowledge – their whole concern is to have more knowledge, and more shocking knowledge – for knowledge, they run here and there. Then, what about putting what they know or learned into practice? They have no concern about it – even though they hear such a glorious revelation from God, even if they know by God’s revelation about how they can shine like the stars for ever and ever, simply, they don’t do it – they don’t live as Bible teachers; they don’t struggle to lead many to righteousness; they just want to amuse themselves with this kind of shocking knowledge, having no desire to obey God and serve Him. So it is of no use for them to have this kind of glorious revelation. Telling them such a glorious and divine secrets of the kingdom of God is simply like tossing a pearl to a pig. So, God told Daniel to seal it up and bind it so that these people who are so casual to God, those who are not sincere to God, may not know it. Simply, they are not worthy of this kind of glorious revelation from God.

 

In the book of Isaiah, we see the same thing. God said to Isaiah, “Do not call conspiracy everything that these people call conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it.” The people of Judah had the temple worship service; they had pride as God’s chosen people. But they were so casual toward God; God told them that they were just trampling on the court of his temple, instead of really seeking or worshiping God. God told Isaiah not to follow any trend, not to believe what they said. God did not give them any credit whatsoever. At this, Isaiah got a message and shouted, “Bind up the testimony and seal up the law among my disciples.” (Isa 8:12-16) His direction was clear – he would not share God’s revelation with those spectators, but with his disciples alone whose hearts and lives were dedicated to God and to him. Jesus says the same thing. One day, Jesus taught the crowd the parable of the sower; people heard his message, and they thought that Jesus was talking about farming. They left, saying that his message was too easy to understand. But the disciples sensed that he was talking about more than farming, but they couldn’t figure it out. So, after the meeting was over, they came to Jesus and asked him about the parable. At that time, Jesus said to them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that they may be ever seeing, but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding.” (Mk 4:10-12) We all need to be serious about God; we must come to Him with our heart’s determination that, from now on, we will love Him really by living for His purpose. We must be worthy of this great revelation today. Some students, when they are asked, they say, “I want to study Revelation.” Close up and seal the words of revelation. Only those whose hearts and lives are dedicated to God, only those who really want to live by God’s revelation – let them see and understand this revelation so that they can prepare themselves for their eternal future properlyand shine like the stars for ever and ever. So, close up and seal the words of revelation among the disciples who love Jesus and serve Him only.

 

Third, “Many will be purified, made spotless and refined” (5-13). Look at verses 5 through 7. One of the angels asked the holy one in Daniel’s vision, “How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?” The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and Daniel heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, “It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.” Here, “a time” refers to one year, “times” two years, and ‘half a time” half a year, total three and a half years. When the Antichrist starts his persecution on the Jews, all these things will be fulfilled. And his persecution will last for three and a half years. 

 

Daniel heard, but he did not understand. So he asked, “My lord, what will the outcome of all this be?” Daniel wondered what would be the end result of all these trials, and persecutions. He could not understand why God, who was in complete control, allowed such a persecution on his people. Look at verse 9. Let’s read this verse together:

 

He replied, “Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end. Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.” 

 

Again, as in the case of the persecution from Antiochus, the reason why God will allow the Antichrist to persecute the Jews and Christians, or God’s purpose is so that his own people who love him, who dedicate themselves to His mission, may be purified, made spotless and refined. Life’s challenges or persecutions purify those who love God. And this is God’s burning desire for you and me who love God and serve Him. He wants to purify us and make us spotless and refined. That’s why, as we struggle to live before Him, He keeps challenging us to surrender our life to Him and love nothing but Him alone. That’s why even though Abraham was completely dedicated to Him and loved God so much, still God asked him to sacrifice his only son Isaac, whom he loved, as a burnt offering to Him. Our God is love; our God is jealous for you and for me; He is completely dedicated to you and to me. 

 

The holy one says, “But the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.” When such a harsh persecution comes, people’s real identity is revealed – some as wise people whose hearts and lives are fully dedicated to God, and others as wicked people. These wicked people have no heart’s real desire for God; they have no reason to suffer or even risk their life for the sake of God. So, when things do not go well, when they lose a lot for God’s sake, they complain, saying, “Why doesn’t God bless me?” They do not understand why such terrible things occur in their lives, so they blame God, and even become enemies. While those who are wise are being purified by standing firm on God’s side despite dangers and losses, these people turn out to be wicked people. The holy one says, “None of the wicked will understand.” Fear God, and you will understand many things. The last chapter in the Bible is Revelation 22. There, God talks about how things will go during the end time, saying, “Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy." (Rev 22:11) Let’s pray that we may all be found as wise people; let’s dedicate ourselves to the task of teaching the word of God completely.

 

Look at verses 11 and 12. Let’s read these verses together:

 

11“From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. 12Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days.

 

The period of the Antichrist’s persecution is counted as “three and a half years,” but now here God gives us the exact days - 1,290 days: exactly, three years and seven months, counting 360 days as one year. After that, all the Jews and Christians must endure patiently for about 45 more days, in total 1,335 days. Then, those who wait for and reach the end of 1,335 days will be blessed – meaning the end of the Antichrist, and the time of great blessing and victory for all those who have endured patiently and loved God – it will be the time of refreshment, victory and blessing for all of them. What will be there at the end of 1,335 days that it will be the blessed day for them? Most likely, it will be the day of Jesus’ second coming. At his coming, Jesus will destroy the Antichrist’s army and all those who will be with him; He will capture the Antichrist and throw him into the fiery lake of burning sulfur where he will be tormented forever. That day, all peoples on earth will see Jesusin glory; at that time, we will be changed with the brand new resurrection body, raptured and meet him in the sky – it will be the glorious day. In this hope of victory and glory, today we live as Christians, teaching others the word of God and leading them to righteousness.

 

Look at verse 13. Let’s read this verse together:

 

13“As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.”

 

“As for you, go your way till the end.” Daniel loved and pursued God wholeheartedly. God recognized the way Daniel had lived his life. It was like God saying to him, “Well done, my good and faithful servant!” And God encouraged him to continue on, just as he had lived thus far, loving God and serving Him wholeheartedly. Then, after finishing his mission on earth, he would rest, and on the last day, he would rise in glory, and he would receive a great and eternal reward according to what he had done. We have this hope of the resurrection – when we dedicate ourselves to God and work hard for his kingdom work, what we do for God in this life follows us, and we will receive our allotted inheritance and we will enjoy it for ever and ever. We have this hope. Work hard for God, for you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 

 

One Word: Those Who Lead Many To Righteousness Will Shine Like The Stars For Ever And Ever.

 

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