Daniel’s Last Vision – Part 4 of 4: The End Times (Daniel 12)

Scripture Text:

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Daniel 12

1. What do you like better; starting a task or ending it? Why?

2. For Daniel and his readers, what is the good news in verses 1 – 4? What is the bad news?

3. This is the first and only use of the term “everlasting life” in the Old Testament. What does that tell you about what most Jews in Daniel’s day believed (or didn’t believe) about life after death?

4. How does Daniel’s embryonic doctrine of the Resurrection compare with the New Testament view that we are saved “by grace alone”? In this regard, what does it mean to be “wise”? To “lead many to righteousness” (verse 3)?

5. Verses 1 – 4 imply that the kingdom of God is assured to the faithful and wise, but that destiny is born out of tribulation and soul-searching. How does that relate to the faith of Jesus (see Mark 13; Matthew 24:8; Revelation 12:1 – 6)? How does Daniel’s view compare with Jesus’ view of the Resurrection of the righteous and the wicked (see John 5:24 – 30)?

6. Compare verse 9 with Revelation 22:10. How do you account for the difference?

7. Did Daniel have all his questions answered (verses 4, 8 – 10)? What is left unanswered for Daniel (and you)? What does this say about the basis of faith for a believer?

8. Do you expect to find your name “written in the Book”?

9. Daniel was told to go on with life even if he didn’t understand. When have you had to cope in faith with the perplexities of life?

10. The bottom line for Daniel is that the royal power of the Most High God always triumphs over the kingdoms of men (chapter 7:11, 26, 27; chapter 8:25; chapter 9:27; chapter 10:13; chapter 11:45; chapter 12:13). How is that evident for Daniel personally? For the kings and subjects he treats? For the readers he comforts? For you?

This ends the record of Daniel’s life and marvelous encounters with the world beyond. Challenging as his visions sometimes may be, they are invaluable in stretching one’s imagination to the time when all mysteries will be revealed.

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Daniel’s Last Vision – Part 3 of 4: The Kings Who Exalts Himself (Daniel 11:36 -45)

Scripture Text:

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Daniel 11:36 – 45

1. If you were able to do as you pleased next year, what might you do?

2. How do you see verses 36 – 45? Support your view from the text.

  • continuing the description of Antiochus?
  • prophesying  about the coming Antichrist (of which is a prototype)?
  • a “both-and” situation?

3. In what will this Antichrist trust (verses 38 and 39)? What fierce conflicts does this evil figure wage (verses 40 – 45)?

4. To what extent will he succeed? How will he meet his demise?

5. What assumptions do the arrogant have about God? Where in your life are these assumptions at work?

6. How do Christians, churches and nations “honor a god of fortresses”? How do you rid yourself of such a fortress-mentality?

7. Daniel proclaims a relevant word from God for his current crisis. What is your relevant word from God?

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Daniel’s Last Vision – Part 2 of 4: The Kings of the South and the North (Daniel 11:2 – 35)

Scripture Text:

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Daniel 11:2 – 35

1. What war experience have you had?

  • as a veteran?
  • a friend, relative or spouse of a veteran?
  • a victim?
  • a protester?
  • from books and movies?
  • as a war buff, collecting relics and memorabilia?
  • as a kid, playing war games?
  • other?

2. If you could relive any of those wars as a war hero or commanding general, which war would you choose and why?

3. What feelings arise within when you sing Onward Christian Soldiers?

4. Would it matter to you that these kings and their successors can be positively identified from secular history? What would that add to your appreciation of this passage?

5. Which of the following kings would you consider the most important for Daniel? Why?

  • the Persian kings (verse 2): reigning 530 – 465 BC (among them, Xerxes who attempted to conquer Greece in 480 BC)
  • Alexander the Great (verses 3 and 4): reigning 336 – 323 BC
  • the kingdoms of Ptolemy and Seleucus (verses 5 – 9): reigning 323 – 223 BC
  • Antiochus the Great (verses 10 – 19): reigning 223 – 187 BC (at war with various Egyptian kings)
  • Antiochus IV Epiphanes (verses 21 – 35): reigning 175 – 164 BC

6. In describing the wars of the kings, what does Daniel have to say about such pitfalls as . . .

  • pride going before the fall?
  • the fault of alliances?
  • abuse of power?
  • lack of honor among thieves?
  • futility of war?
  • illusion of security?
  • principle of just desserts?
  • rebel in the ranks?
  • spoils of war?
  • authority corrupts and absolute authority corrupts absolutely?

7. What happens “at the appointed time” (verses 27, 29, 35)? Note: Many think this specific “abomination that causes desolation” is the altar honoring Zeus, set up by Antiochus IV Epiphanes in 168 BC, typical of a later one Jesus warned of (see Matthew 24:15; Mark 13:14) foreshadowing the Antichrist. What does this imply about God’s control of history, even heathen nations and kings?

8. Which wars sound like “holy wars”? Why do you think so? What faith and wisdom do these Jewish leaders display? With what “success” (verses 32 – 35)? What precedent do they set for suffering Christians who “know God” and are martyred for it?

9. From what vantage point does Daniel purport to be “telling the truth” (verse 2) concerning these kingdoms? How do you account for his accuracy: prophecy written with remarkable foreknowledge? Or after the fact? What from this passage support your view?

10. From what you know of secular and religious history, what impresses you about someone’s sudden rise to power and equally precipitous fall (from grace)?

11. What is the place of political ambition for the Christian who wants to avoid the pitfalls described in Daniel?

12. What are your feelings about “sons preparing for war” (verse 10)? What is your view on the call to Christians to defend, with force, certain human rights or freedoms?

13. Daniel’s portrayal of what it’s like to be a “king’s kid”is a bleak scene of betrayal and tragedy? By contrast, how do you see life as an heir to the victorious King?

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