“And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished. And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.” – Daniel 12:7-10
This passage is but part of the prophecies given to Daniel of the coming Antichrist and the End Times. Outside of John of Patmos, recorded in the book of Revelation, there is no other man in scripture that received more revelation about the end times and the Antichrist then Daniel. One reason for this was because, though he may not have fully understood the things he was being told, he was able to relay it correctly because he had a knowledge of this Antichrist governmental structure and system, having lived under the rule of Nebuchadnezzar, who was himself a type of Antichrist.
One example of this can be found in Daniel chapter 3, where Nebuchadnezzar erects an image and decrees that all who do not bow and worship his image will be killed. We see this play out again in the last days under the Antichrist’s rule when we read:
“And he (the Antichrist) had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.”- Revelation 13:15
Now, the Antichrist’s image in the last days seems to be a bit more technologically advanced then that of Nebuchadnezzar’s, but it is the same premise nonetheless. God had given Daniel a life experience that provided him with a knowing that allowed him to receive these end time prophecies with faith and compassion, because he had lived a captive in Babylon. Yet he been faithful to his God in the midst of it, even in the face of persecution and threat of death.
So having that understanding lets look again at our opening passage. In the verses leading up to this passage Daniel had been given great detailed information about the end times, so he asked the angels that spoke with him when all of this would end. They replied “when he (the Antichrist) shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.”
The first very important bit of information to note here is that the Christians are here and they are not only being persecuted but overcome and scattered. So do not believe the lie that you won’t be here for the tribulation, you will, the word is very clear about that. We all need to prepare our hearts, minds, and spirits for that reality, strengthening our resolve and relationship with God that we might be able to walk as Daniel did, in difficult times.
Again this is confirmed in the book of Revelations when we read:
“And it was given unto him (the antichrist) to make war with the saints (Christians), and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.” – Revelation 13:7
It is also confirmed by Jesus Himself when asked about the end times. As well as numerous other verses and passages throughout scripture. In Mathew 24 Jesus gives a clear account of what will come in the last days and makes it very clear that His people will be here during the tribulation.
“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” Matthew 24:21-22
Scripture makes it abundantly clear that tribulation is coming against Christians and the church first before the wrath of God ever comes against the world. Though His wrath and vengeance will surly come against the ungodly persecutors of His bride. This is why scripture says:
“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” – 1 Peter 4:17
The truth is that it is already happening. Christians are being persecuted, beheaded, and dismembered by the thousands all over the world right now! How arrogant of the American church, or any church, to think that God will send a rapture when it gets to them. As if to say that their suffering has more value to God then the suffering of their brethren, the saints of old, the disciples, or even Christ himself. It’s exactly this kind of mindset that tribulation is coming to strip away. God is no respecter of persons. If He allowed it to happen to others, and even to His own Son, it will happen to you. The question now is, will you serve Him anyway?
“Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you;…” (Jesus’ Words) – John 15:20
So now that we have established that Christians will be here during the great tribulation and will be persecuted and overcome by the antichrist, we must ask, “what is the purpose for all this immense hardship”?
For the answer to that I bring you back to Daniel and our opening passage which says: “Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried;“. It’s about forcing us to be real, to choose a side and stop walking the fence, it’s about purification. Know that Christ is coming back for a pure, holy, and spotless bride/church (Ephesians 5:27). The church of today, in general, does not fit that criteria, but through the refining and purifying fires of trial and tribulation, the remnant church that stands true through the persecutions to come, will be. True repentance comes from a heart of brokenness and desperation. Therefore, tribulation is all about separating the sheep from the goats and clothing the bride of Christ in pure white robes of righteousness. It’s about fighting for our first love, it’s about compassionately and selflessly helping our brethren in need, it’s about exercising our faith, showing our fruits, and being used by God in the face of total opposition… It’s about becoming Daniels.
“Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.” – Daniel 12:10
“And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.” – Revelation 6:9-11
Perhaps the greatest revelation that Daniel has afforded us is the one he never spoke and no one sees. That of the testimony of his life and the revelation that, though immensely difficult and even painful, it is possible to maintain your faith, loyalty, and obedience to God through persecution and tribulation, even in the midst of Babylon.
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” – Matthew 24:29-31
“When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:… …“Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:”- Matthew 25:31-34, 41
“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” – Revelation 20:4