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Lesson 13: From Dust to Stars *

Introduction: This week we finish both Daniel's final vision and the book of Daniel. Are you ready for Jesus to return and bring an end to sin and death? This last chapter not only talks about the end of sin, it gives us additional information on what we have previously been told about the vision. Let's jump into our study of the Bible and see if we can learn more!

  1. The Time of the End


    1. Read Daniel 12:1. Does it seem to you that there is a tension in this first verse? We have Michael, "who protects your people" and an unprecedented "time of distress." What is your understanding of those two statements? (Rather than tension, it appears that Michael is coming at just the right time to help us.)


      1. What kind of help does Michael bring? (God's people are delivered. God's people are described as "everyone whose name is found written in the book.")


        1. What book is this? (Read Revelation 7:13-14 and Revelation 3:5. This is the book of life. Those listed in it are those who are saved by faith in Jesus.)


        2. Notice that Revelation 7:13-14 says that these have come out of the "great tribulation." Is that a familiar topic? (It sounds exactly like what we are reading about in Daniel 12:1)


    2. Look again at the first part of Daniel 12:1. It says, "At that time." What time is this? (Read Daniel 11:40. This is the "time of the end" reference that we last considered. I'm not sure how long the time of the end extends, but we have the kings of the North and South in a huge battle. This confirms in my mind that we are not now talking about the generals that followed Alexander the Great.)


    3. Read Daniel 12:2. What does this tell us about the state of the dead? (It says death is like a "sleep." It would be odd to have a spirit that is conscious in heaven and at the same time refer to the dead as being asleep and then coming "awake." This is strong evidence in favor of the doctrine of "soul sleep" - the belief that the dead are unconscious rather than conscious in heaven.)


      1. What are the two outcomes that we face in life? (Everlasting life or shame and everlasting contempt.)


        1. Which do you want?
        2. Who, only, is given everlasting life? (Only the righteous are given "everlasting life." The lost are given everlasting shame and contempt. Notice that the lost are not also given everlasting life.)


    4. Read Daniel 12:3. What is our goal? (Being "wise" means that you have accepted Jesus as your Savior and desire His guidance for your life. Bringing others to salvation means that you have applied His Godly wisdom to your life. You have shared it. It is not merely theoretical knowledge.)


  2. Sealing the Scroll


    1. Read Daniel 12:4. Should we be able to understand this vision that we have been studying for the past two weeks? (I think our understanding of the early parts of the vision are pretty clear. However, the further along in the vision we progress the more unclear the understanding is to me. This suggests that some of the vision remains sealed and not open to understanding until "the time of the end.")


      1. When is the time of the end? (Look again at Daniel 11:40. We previously discussed its connection to Daniel 12:1. Daniel 11:40 does not seem to be theoretical or spiritual. It is very detailed about the nature of the weapons used. I suggested last week that the involvement of the United States in the Middle East is one possible interpretation. If that is the case, then the "time of the end" is at least now.)


      2. If the "time of the end" is now, why is it that we have so much dispute over what Daniel 11 and 12 mean? (One answer is that the "unsealing" is progressive. As we see these events unfold we say, "Now I understand.")


    2. Read Daniel 12:5-6. How many "people" do we have here, aside from Daniel? (Daniel sees two "others" standing on opposite sides of the river. In addition, there is a "man clothed in linen" who stands above the water between them.)


      1. Who are these people? (They seem to be angels. The description of the "man" above the river sounds like the person referenced in Daniel 10:5. He is even in the same place ( Daniel 10:4). The subsequent discussion in Daniel 10:13 leads me to believe that this is again Gabriel.)


      2. Notice the question asked of the man above the river: "How long ... before these ... things are fulfilled?" What things? (This must refer to the events leading up to the resurrection. I've consulted other translations and the question seems to be "When will the resurrection take place?")


    3. Read Daniel 12:7. Notice that this is the same time period mentioned in Daniel 7:25. Recall that we previously determined that this is 3.5 years (or 42 months or 1,260 days). If these are prophetic days, then this means 1,260 years. Is that the time for the end of the world? (No. Gabriel says that this is when the "power of the holy people has been finally broken." That hardly sounds like the end of the world. Instead, when you compare Daniel 7:25 it tells us that the "holy people" will be "delivered into [the] hands" of the little horn for that period of time. That event sounds more like the holy people being defeated.)


      1. Why does Gabriel swear that this is true? What are we to understand from this? (He is telling us that this is absolutely accurate.)


    4. Read Daniel 12:8-9. Are you feeling like Daniel at this point? If Gabriel is swearing that this is true, why isn't he more concerned that Daniel does not understand? (Gabriel says that understanding will be in the future.)


      1. Do you think that the 1,260 years is the full answer to the timing of the end? (I do not believe that Gabriel has given the full answer about the end of the world. He has simply discussed part of the total time frame.)


    5. Read Daniel 12:10. Is our lack of understanding due to the fact that we are "wicked?"


    6. Read Daniel 12:11. What does this tell us about the 1,260 years reaching to the end of the world? (If we have the same starting date, this makes clear that Gabriel is giving us partial answers.)


      1. What explanation do you have for this 1,290 years? (We previously rejected Antiochus Epiphanes as the "little horn" of Daniel 7. Instead, we decided that it better fit Papal Rome. If you use 508 A.D. as the starting point because Clovis, King of France, converted to the Catholic faith then, the 1,290 days reaches to 1798, when the Pope was taken prisoner by French General Berthier. The Pope died in exile.)


        1. Do you think that the two events mentioned in Daniel 12:11 bracket the 1,290 days or are they the beginning point of the 1,290 days? (It seems to me that they are the beginning point.)


        2. Does the King Clovis explanation make sense to you? (In the abstract, it seems more likely that the abolition of the daily sacrifice refers to either the death of Jesus on the cross or the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D., rather than the conversion of a French king. However, the King Clovis explanation seems more likely if you look at Daniel 8:9-11 which has the "Little Horn" taking away the daily sacrifice. If we accept that the "Little Horn" of Daniel 7 is the same as in Daniel 8, that strengthens the King Clovis explanation.)


    7. Read Daniel 12:12. Does the 1,335 days (years) seem to be Gabriel's date for the time of the resurrection?


    8. Read Daniel 12:13. Does Gabriel's advice to Daniel also apply to us? (Gabriel tells Daniel that he will die and God will fulfill what He has promised. I think that is a great promise for us.)


    9. Friend, perhaps those who are more "wise" than I am are clear on Daniel 11 and 12. For me, not everything has been "unsealed." I'm waiting, trusting, and keeping my eyes open. What the book of Daniel very clearly teaches us is that God is in control. Will you accept Him and trust Him today?


  3. Next week: We start a new series on how to interpret the Bible.


* Copr. 2020, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2020 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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