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World History and the People of God



“These things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.” 1 Cor. 10:11


“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Rom. 15:4


1. The Horses: the secondary causes of history

     - Sin 


“In his place shall arise a contemptible person to whom royal majesty had not been given. He shall come in without warning and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.” Daniel 11:21


“By his cunning he shall make deceit prosper under his hand.” Daniel 8:25


“And the king shall do as he wills. He shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak astonishing things against the God of gods…He shall pay no attention to the gods of his fathers…He shall not pay attention to any other god, for he shall magnify himself above all.” Daniel 11:36-39


“He shall pitch his palatial tents erected between the sea and the glorious holy mountain. Yet he shall come to his end, with none to help him.” Daniel 11:45


     - Invention


“He shall honor the god of fortresses.” Daniel 11:38


     - Judgment 


“His kingdom shall be broken and divided toward the four winds of heaven, but not to his posterity, nor according to the authority with which he ruled, for his kingdom shall be plucked up and go to others besides these.” Daniel 11:4


“God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity” Romans 1:24

“God gave them up to dishonorable passions” Romans 1:26

“God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.” Romans 1:28 


     - Mission 


“And some of the wise shall stumble, so that they may be refined, purified, and made white.” Daniel 11:35


“Since, therefore, Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.” 1 Peter 4:1


“During the progress of such atrocious cruelty, who would not have thought the whole seed of God to have been extinct? But the angel here shows the true result to have been different, namely that the sons of God should be purged, cleansed, and whitened. He signifies that all events should not prove destructive, but should rather promote their salvation.” Calvin’s Commentary on Daniel, pg 335. 


2. The Carriage: the Church 

     -  The true church feels, teaches, learns, stands, acts, and suffers


“And I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for some days. Then I rose and went about the king’s business, but I was appalled by the vision and I did not understand it.” Daniel 8:27


“The wise among the people shall make many understand.” Daniel 11:33


“We never came with words of flattery, nor with a pretext for greed...Nor did we seek glory from people... 

We were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children... 

Being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us... 

We worked night and day, so that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God... 

For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you... 

For you are our glory and joy.” 1 Thes. 1 and 2 (various) 


“If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of the prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” Deut. 13:1


“Oftentimes to win us to our harm, the instruments of darkness tell us truths, win us with honest trifles, to betray us in deepest consequence.” (Macbeth I.iii). 


“The people who know their God shall stand firm and take action. And the wise among the people shall make many understand, though for some days they shall stumble by sword and flame, by captivity and plunder”. Daniel 11:32(b)-33


     - The False Church 


“[Antiochus] shall come in peaceably and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.” Daniel 11:21(b)

“[Antiochus] shall seduce with flattery those who violate the covenant. Daniel 11:32

“Many shall join themselves to [the faithful] with flattery.” Daniel 11:34


3. The Driver: God 


“For not from the east or from the west and not from the wilderness comes lifting up, but it is God who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another.” Psalm 75:6-7


“The Lord will cause his majestic voice to be heard...And every stroke of the appointed staff that the Lord lays on them will be to the sound of tambourines and lyres.” Isaiah 30:30


"Behold these are but the outskirts of his ways, and how small a whisper do we hear of him." Job 26:14


Application: Their Prophecy and Ours 


“Therefore brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” 1 Cor. 15:58

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