May 23 - Message Update

Joy Comes with The Morning! - Daniel 11:36-45 – Pastor Brian

“Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” Psalm 30:5

What do we know about the Tribulation?

 

Looking forward to something good in the future helps to deal with present day trials and difficulties. When you know there is something good to look forward to, we gain a broader and more positive perspective in troubling times. 

Hopefully you have learned something of God and appreciate His transparency in revealing His plans about the time of the end, called the tribulation.  It’s been challenging to apply this knowledge of the future to our daily living but our take-home-thought from Psalm 30:5 sums up today’s message from Daniel 11. This is a psalm of David who knew great suffering and pain.  He cried in anguish yet at the same time realized God in His time would make all things right.  This Psalm was personal for king David but also a metaphor of life.  For a time, we may weep but in God we can look forward to the joy that comes with the morning.  From the visions and prophecies of Daniel we are assured that in the end, no matter how tough life is, all will be well because God knows everything and knows what He is doing. 

What we know about the tribulation may not seem to relate to our take home thought at first but knowing that the tribulation is a part of God’s plan helps us to realize that He has got us covered even to the end of time. Therefore, we can find joy through the tears of difficulties we face today because God has already perfectly worked out the good, the bad, and the ugly to give us His eternal joy.

The emphasis of our Christian Education team is that we teach the Bible so our students would learn to “Think Biblically and Live Spiritually.” That is the same goal for every sermon.  Though studying the tribulation is hard to comprehend, it guides us to Think Biblically in order that we may Live Spiritually in a manner that pleases God. So, let’s begin answering the question… What do we know about the Tribulation?

 

1.   In the Tribulation there will be a world-wide ruler.  During the time of the end there will be one ruler of the world. From Daniel 9 we learned about the Seventy Weeks which is a framework of God’s events.  This morning’s Scripture focuses upon the last of the Seventy Weeks, a period known as the tribulation where the Antichrist is allowed to rule and reign.  The tribulation will be terrifying because the Antichrist will have full authority in this world until Jesus returns for a second time. 

The first 38 verses of Daniel 11 is a recap of the prophetic vision that was fulfilled by the conquering of Babylon by the Medes and Persians who were then conquered by Alexander the Great which led to the rising up of the evil king Antiochus IV Epiphanes who is the King of the North in the first portion of today's chapter.  We learned from Daniel 8 that Antiochus IV Epiphanes is a foreshadowing of the Antichrist to come.  Daniel 11 moves from the past to the future in that vv. 1-38 has already happened while vv. 36-45 is yet to come.  Hope you’re still with me in my attempt to set up today’s passage.      

As mentioned, today’s Scripture, Daniel 11: 36–45, is the final week of the Seventy Weeks.  Jesus even acknowledged this time period in Matthew 24:21 “There will be great tribulation such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.”

We know this king in verse 36 is the Antichrist because nothing like what is described in verses 36-45 has yet happened.  Whereas the events of verses 1-38 have occurred in history.  The Antichrist will reject all religion but he will oppose the Jewish religion in particular.  In verse 36 we see that he will reject the God of Israel and magnify himself above all other gods and as verse 38 tells us the Antichrist “shall honor the god of fortresses.” His god is the god of might and of military power. Further in verse 39, Those who acknowledge him, he shall load with honor. He shall make them rulers over many and shall divide the land for a price.”  The Antichrist will reward those who worship him.

Look at Psalm 73:1-3, 17, “Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.  But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. 17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end.”  This psalm was written by Asaph a worship leader during the time of King David.  He admits to being jealous of the wicked who are prosperous.

Don’t you sometimes find yourself in the same frame of mind as Asaph? We sin and become jealous of those who are successful though they are not living a lifestyle pleasing to God. In the tribulation, there will be far greater injustices than we see today.  Worse, those who follow and submit to the Antichrist will prosper while those who follow and submit to God will suffer.  Staying true to God does not guarantee it will end up the way we want but be assured that when we seek Him in His sanctuary, He is there to lift us up.  We can enter God’s sanctuary anytime and anywhere but going to church is important too.  Each Sunday when we worship God and build relationships with one another. We learn important truths like this morning that though weeping may tarry for the night, joy comes with the morning. In the tribulation, there will be a world-wide ruler who is the Antichrist. What else do we know about tribulation?

 

2.   In the Tribulation there will be world-wide conflicts. (vv.40-43) At the time of the end the un-identified kings of the north and south will unite and battle against the Antichrist for world domination.  It will be an epic fight that involves the death of thousands in Israel, the glorious land where tens of thousands will die from verse 41. This will be a cosmic spiritual battle that will have awful earthly consequences. There will be massive wars, sickness, destruction and devastation all around.  It will appear as though evil is overcoming good, yet the all-knowing and all-powerful God is in control allowing it to happen for a time according to His plan.  Verse 36, “What is decreed shall be done.” God knows what He is doing and has a plan that will be allowed to play itself out. So far, it’s not looking good. In the tribulation there is one world ruler who is the Antichrist involved with world-wide conflicts. What’s next?

 

3.   In the Tribulation the world-wide ruler will be overcome. (vv.44-45) The Antichrist will hear alarming reports from the east and from the north and become enraged.  The Antichrist will go out to destroy many of the invaders. Then he will occupy Israel and will pitch his royal tents between the seas, that is, between the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, at the beautiful holy mountain, probably Jerusalem. 

In the end it will look hopeless when the Antichrist will seek and destroy his opposition to become the one world ruler. It will be the arrogant, the proud, and deceptive who will be the major and most powerful influencers.  Those in charge will clamor for power and take deceptive steps to gain their authority. Sound familiar? World leaders today, are clamoring for power.  Those who have integrity suffer injustices and may not even gain “rewards” like those who deceive. Though we may weep for a night, a season, in God’s appointed time, there will be joy that comes with the morning. We should not forget and take comfort in that no matter how godless a ruler of the nations may be, God will see to it that, “He shall come to his end.” (v.45)

 

Today we learned from Daniel 11 that in the tribulation there will be a world ruler, who is the Antichrist, world conflicts, and in the end the Antichrist will be overcome.  Some might think, so what? What does it mean for me?  How might this knowledge apply today?  How does this biblical information affect how I live out these truths spiritually?  In other words… why is knowing about the tribulation important to my faith?

As we have learned, the end of times will be horrible, confusing and frightening yet we are privileged to know the ending will be good because God is in control.  This prophecy of the tribulation is what God uses to give us opportunity to reject evil and receive His good.  That is the good news of Jesus Christ, the Gospel.  Jesus says in John 16:33, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.  There is little doubt that we will experience troubles but we can remain hopeful in the midst of any hardship for He has overcome them.       

Jesus did not say that I will or hope to, but I HAVE overcome the world. Brothers and sisters in Christ, take heart, be encouraged, and be comforted, for Jesus is greater than any mess we encounter. Jesus already knows about and has a plan for our Zoom fatigue and COVID re-entry concerns.  He has already taken care of the political, financial and racial divide.  He knows our concerns about the injustices in America and throughout the world.  The wars and killings of entire groups of innocent people.  The sexualization of women, gender identity concerns, random beatings and killings of Asians, who are mostly the elderly and women, the growing number of homeless people, etc. The list of worries, anxiety, evil and injustice is endless and overwhelming on this side of heaven.

So, why is knowing about the tribulation important to our faith?  We are comforted knowing that in the tribulation, God wins and that Jesus has already overcome the problems we face.  This knowledge of the God’s victory is our source of hope to share with those around us.  As followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to be influencers.  We, the Church, are called to make a difference by reflecting the light of God.  Moms, dads, children, wives, husbands, friends, co-workers, etc. let’s enter into the sanctuary of God and tap into His power to be moved by faith and make a difference so that we and others may experience the joy that comes with the morning.       

Our take home thought is Psalm 30:5. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” It was personal for King David who wrote this Psalm.  He suffered greatly but knew that God was with Him and by faith he knew all would be well.  He could look ahead and know that joy would come.       

David’s words are also a metaphor for life.  There are many things in this world that may cause us to cry.  People will fail us. The problems of this world will continue. Our personal relationships and real-world concerns can cause us to weep in the night, but God promises a bright future.  With God we can look forward to the joy that He will bring.  Not only for the future but every day.  Begin each morning this week by asking God to help you appreciate moments of joy in your day.  He will not only show you the joy of the future but for the present as well.  Joyful things that may be overlooked are uninterrupted time with family, conversations with good friends, moments with God in the beauty of nature, good health, etc.  Enter into the sanctuary of God each day so that though Weeping may tarry for the night, we can look forward to joy that comes with the morning.”