Sermon/Study Guide: Daniel: Revealer of Mysteries

Author: Steve Hixon

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Revealer of Mysteries
the book of Daniel
Lesson 8 Daniel 10-12

Near the end of his life, Daniel has one final vision, which spans the last three chapters of the book. The prophet has spent all but his childhood years in captivity; he is now almost 90 years old. He will never see Jerusalem again; tradition says that he was buried in Susa, east of Babylon. Prayerful until the end, Daniel is greeted by an awesome visitor who gives him one last glimpse into the end of all things, and the future of his beloved nation Israel.

In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia, a revelation was given to Daniel (who was called Belteshazzar). Its message was true and it concerned a great war. The understanding of the message came to him in a vision.
2 At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. 3 I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.
4 On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river, the Tigris, 5 I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of the finest gold around his waist. 6 His body was like chrysolite, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude...

In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah, the LORD moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and to put it in writing:

"This is what Cyrus king of Persia says:
"`The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Anyone of his people among you--may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the LORD, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem.”

EZRA 1:1-3


READ Ezra 1:1-3 in the box to the right.
How does this “fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah”? (Hint: see Jeremiah 29:10)

How do you think the Jews of Babylon would have responded to this?

Chronologically, when is the Ezra passage in relation to this section of Daniel?

Verse 5. Who do you think this “man” was? (Factor in the information in verse 13.)

Verses 10-17. Describe the interaction between Daniel and this “man”:

What insights do verses 12-14 and 20-21 give us about the behind-the-scenes but very-real world of supernatural heavenly beings?

“Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?”(Hebrews 1:14)

“But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses...”(Jude 1:9)

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”(Ephesians 6:12)

11:2 "Now then, I tell you the truth: Three more kings will appear in Persia, and then a fourth, who will be far richer than all the others. When he has gained power by his wealth, he will stir up everyone against the kingdom of Greece. 3 Then a mighty king will appear, who will rule with great power and do as he pleases. 4 After he has appeared, his empire will be broken up and parceled out toward the four winds of heaven….

21 "He will be succeeded by a contemptible person who has not been given the honor of royalty. He will invade the kingdom when its people feel secure, and he will seize it through intrigue...

36 "The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place…

45 He will pitch his royal tents between the seas at the beautiful holy mountain. Yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him.”

“In the first 35 verses of Daniel 11 there are at least 135 prophecies which have been literally fulfilled and can be corroborated by a study of the history of the period.”

Donald Campbell,
Daniel: Decoder of Dreams


Verses 2-4 rehearse information that has already been given several times in the book of Daniel. Verse 2 refers to the kingdom of ______ - __________ , while verses 3-4 describe what happens to the kingdom of _________ and its first leader, ___________ the ________ .

Verses 5-35 detail 5 periods of history from 323 BC (the death of Alexander) to 164 BC (the restoration of the Temple after its desecration by Antiochus Epiphanes). Verses 21-35 specifically outline the military campaigns of Antiochus (the king of the North), who was humiliated by the Romans during his second attempt to conquer Egypt (the king of the South). He unleashed “his fury against the holy covenant” (verse 30) by sending an army of 22,000 soldiers into Jerusalem, killing thousands, and taking women and children into slavery. Attempting to Hellenize the Jews by forcing Greek culture upon them, he forbade the Jewish sacrifices and worship of the God of Israel. On December 16, 167 BC he set up a statue of Zeus (the god of Greece) in the Temple (see verse 31), forced the Jews to sacrifice a pig on the altar, and decreed that they should do the same on the 25th of every month in honor of his (Antiochus’) birthday. All of this is described in verse 31. Some Jews actually capitulated and went along with Antiochus; others remained steadfast and suffered for it.

In verse 36 there is a change, however. The person described in 36-45, although similar to the historic figure of Antiochus, is yet future: he is the anti-Christ who operates during the Great Tribulation at the end of history.

Make a list of the events that will take place in this section (36-45).

Next, make a list of the characteristics of the anti-Christ from this same section:

12:1 "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. 2 Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 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. 4 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."
5 Then I, Daniel, looked, and there before me stood two others, one on this bank of the river and one on the opposite bank. 6 One of them said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, "How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?"

MICHAEL (Heb. ‘who is like God?‘-synonymous with Micaiah and Micah). The name of eleven biblical characters, only one of whom gets more than a passing reference. The exception is the angel Michael, who in apocryphal literature is regarded as the patron of, and intercessor for, Israel (1 Enoch 20:5; 89:76). In the book of Daniel he is more particularly the guardian of the Jews from the menace of the godless power of Greece and Persia (12:1), and is styled as ‘one of the chief princes’ and as ‘your prince’ (10:13, 21). In this capacity it is peculiarly fitting that he should be the archangel represented (Jude 9) as ‘contending with the devil . . . about the body of Moses’. Michael further appears in Rev. 12:7 as waging war in heaven against the dragon.

The New Bible Dictionary

Daniel is understandably concerned about the future of his people. What kind of assurance does he get in the first part of chapter 12?

At the end, two questions are asked, the kinds of inquiries we’d probably make if we had been there ourselves:

Question #1 (an angel) - verse 6:
“How long will it last?”
Answer: “a time, times and half a time” - in other words, 3 1/2 years.

Question #2 (Daniel) - verse 8:
“How will it all end?”
1. I can’t tell you the whole thing now.
2. Many will be saved, others will perish.
3. Something will happen after 1290 days.*
4. Something will happen after 1335 days.*
5. Keep the faith until you die; you’ll be resurrected and receive your reward.

* Some scholars think this extra 30 & 45 days past the 3 1/2 years (of 360 days each, according to the Jewish calendar) of the Great Tribulation refers to 2 1/2 months required by God to judge the nations and set up the Millennial Kingdom, ruled by Christ Himself.


If prophecy doesn’t supply us with the exact dates of the end times, then what is it for? How are we supposed to respond to this information? List at least 3 responses:



“Prophets were spokesmen for God to their own generation. Today, they minister to us in two ways. First, they call us to that same holy and righteous life to which they called their contemporaries. Second, they portray a future determined by God's plans and purposes. We can be sure that history is not careening out of control. History marches toward a divine denouement, an ending that will give all that has happened meaning and purpose.”

Larry Richards, Expository Dictionary of Bible Words

Copyright © 2001 Steve Hixon - All Rights Reserved.