A Sealed Book
Dr. Joe Temple

Open your Bibles, please, to the book of Daniel, chapter 12. I would like to say a word or two of explanation because I have discovered that the questions that are in the minds of some are usually the questions that are in the minds of others. I was recently asked the question: Why do we take the time to study the book of Daniel? The question was not asked in criticism; I want to make that plain. The individual said, “Our studies in the book of Daniel have been enlightening, and I have learned things that I didn't even know were in the Bible. But what is the practical good of studying the book of Daniel?” That is a very good question, and I would like to suggest a few things to you as reasons for the type of studies, the type of books in the Bible, that we have been looking at for quite some time now.

Rightly Dividing The Word Of Truth

The first reason is given in II Timothy, chapter 2, verse 15; you are familiar with it:

II Timothy 2:

15Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

You are aware that the word study does not mean to peruse a book. It means, “Be in earnest, apply yourself, exercise your minds and your spirits, be an accomplished craftsman, a skilled craftsman,” for that is the meaning of the word workman —“a skilled craftsman that need not be ashamed of the way he handles the Word of God.” A skilled craftsman will rightly divide the Word of Truth.

It is impossible for you to “rightly divide the Word of Truth” unless you understand a book such as the book of Daniel in relation to all the rest of the Word of God.

From time to time we have pointed out to you errors which have been made in interpretation because people did not study the entire book of Daniel. For example—this comes to mind and we may as well look at it at the moment, though I had not planned to do this—you will notice Daniel, chapter 8, verse 13:

Daniel 8:

13Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?
14And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.

You will notice the phrase, “two thousand and three hundred days”—twenty-three hundred days. Daniel said, “How long after the sanctuary has been defiled before the sanctuary is cleansed?” The angel said, “Twenty-three hundred days.”

Example Of Error In Dividing God's Word

The Seventh Day Adventists take this passage of Scripture and compare it with the second epistle of Peter, chapter 3, and tell us that twenty-three hundred days actually means twenty-three hundred years. Then they advance the idea that the Lord Jesus Christ died on the Cross as an offering for the sins of the world, but waited until 1884 to go to Heaven and offer His blood as a sacrifice. All the time in between, the sanctuary, which they say had been defiled by sin, waited to be cleansed. Then they couple with that chapter 17 of the book of Leviticus and say that the Devil was actually the bearer of our sins and not the Lord Jesus Christ; they even say that the Devil had to bear the sins of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I see that some of you are shaking your heads, and some of you are looking amazed, which indicates possibly that you didn't realize that this sort of thing is being taught. The only reason I mention it at all is to illustrate what I am talking about. If those individuals had rightly divided the Word of Truth, they would never have come up with a foolish idea such as that. This passage of Scripture to which I have just called your attention, as we saw when we studied this portion of the Word verse by verse and chapter by chapter, is something that has already been fulfilled. It refers to the desolation of the then existing temple in the days of Antiochus Epiphanes, and it refers to the cleansing of the temple under the tenure of the Maccabees, the leaders in the nation of Israel during the five hundred silent years from the end of the book of Malachi to the beginning of the gospel of Matthew.

Our Responsibility As A Witness For Christ

You see, the reason we must study these difficult portions of the Word is that if we expect to be skilled craftsmen, we must rightly divide the Word of Truth. That is one reason. There is another reason. You and I have a responsibility to every individual concerning his relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ. There is a great segment of our population which is sadly neglected by the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ as far as witness is concerned. I refer to those people we usually call Jews , members of the Hebrew race, members of the nation of Israel. Christ died for them. They must be saved in exactly the same way in which we are saved.

But as we are going to see in our discussion of these concluding verses in the book of Daniel, there is a veil over their faces. There is so much they do not understand. When you approach them about their relationship to Jesus Christ in the way that you might approach any other individual, all that they can think is that you want them to change from a Jew to a Christian. All they can remember is that their people have suffered as few other people have, chiefly at the hands of Christians. Quite naturally they react antagonistically toward any such suggestion because they don't want to become Christian and to support the people who have persecuted their own people for so long.

But if you are familiar with the Old Testament passages of Scripture, you do not need to talk to them about becoming a Christian. All you need to talk to them about is accepting and acknowledging their Messiah, who is our Savior. Of course, as you go from one Scripture to another, it will be impossible for them to acknowledge Him as their Messiah without recognizing Him as their Savior as well.

We are not suggesting that they may be saved in any different way from the way anybody else is saved. But we are suggesting that they should be approached in a different way from that in which other people are approached. For example, if I am dealing with a member of the Hebrew race concerning eternal things, I do not begin in the gospel of John as I do with a Gentile. I begin with the 40th chapter of the book of Isaiah, and eventually we will get to the first chapter of the gospel of John. But by the time we do, he has swallowed the hook, and he is ready to listen to what we have to say. This is the reason it is important to rightly divide the Word of Truth, the reason it is important for us to study such a portion of the Word as we have been studying for some time now.

A Blueprint Of The Times Of The Gentiles

The third reason, which is exceedingly important, is that the Bible presents a blueprint of the times of the Gentiles. Now you are Gentiles for the most part, I suppose, and you should be interested in the times of the Gentiles, for the way in which God is going to deal with you is based upon the times of the Gentiles. The prophetic portion of the Word such as we have been looking at tells us when the times of the Gentiles will come to an end. We should live in the light of the fact that time is running out. We dare not sit down as though we have all of eternity in which to do the job which God commissioned us to do. We need to recognize that the job lies before us, for the most part yet undone, and there is not much more time left for us in which to do it. If we did not understand these portions of the Word, we would not know how to act in the light of our relationship to God through Christ.

These things have come to mind not only because the question was asked, but because the portion of the Word which we are going to consider is the last portion of the book of Daniel. I would like for you to notice with me the paragraph in chapter 12 which begins with verse 4:

Daniel 12:

4But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.
5Then I Daniel looked, and, behold, there stood other two, the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river.
6And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?
7And 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.
8And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?
9And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.
10Many 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.
11And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.
12Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.
13But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.

You will keep in mind that we began some time ago a discussion of what we referred to as the last vision in the book of Daniel. We told you that that last vision begins with chapter 10 and concludes with verse 3 of chapter 12. So though we have been thinking about a number of different things in this particular portion of the Word of God, we have been thinking about the same time, the same incident, and the same people.

The Battle Of Armageddon

We have learned as we have looked at this particular portion of the Word that Daniel was given a vision concerning a series of wars which began with the successor to Cyrus the Persian and continued over a period of hundreds of years. These wars will be resumed in the future, and they will culminate in the last great battle that this world will see—a battle more familiarly known to many of you as the Battle of Armageddon.

You will remember that we discovered in the last verse of chapter 11 that the Antichrist will have his army occupying the area between Mount Zion and the Mediterranean Sea in the land of Palestine. He will be awaiting the advance of the armies of Egypt and the armies of Russia. The land of Palestine and the Jewish nation will bear the brunt of that battle.

The Reason For Great Suffering In Israel

We learned in verse 2 of chapter 12 that at that particular time, the time of the end, our God will call from all the nations of the entire world all the Jewish people, and will make it possible for them to return to the land of Palestine. The Bible even teaches that God will see to it that a great super highway will be built to lend easy access to the land of Palestine for this purpose.

The Veil Shall Be Removed

In verse 3, chapter 12, we learned that at that particular time, there would be a great national revival. The veil that is hanging over the eyes of the nation of Israel today will be removed, and they will understand as they do not understand at the present hour the reason all the persecution and trouble that they have known has come upon them. They will realize that it is because they have rejected Jesus of Nazareth as their Messiah.

The Ecumenical Movement

May I digress for a moment in relation to what I said in our introductory remarks. There is a movement abroad in our world today called the Ecumenical Movement . You see that word in your newspapers and in your periodicals. I don't know whether you realize its importance or not, but it is a tremendously important word. You may as well get used to seeing it because you are going to see it again and again. The Ecumenical Movement is a movement designed by the Devil and carried out by men who are ignorant of the Scriptures, whereby all the so-called churches of the world will be united in one great world church.

You recognize that if such a thing becomes an actuality, there is going to have to be a lot of giving and taking. That is the reason the Roman Catholic Church is holding the conferences which she is holding and is backing up on positions which she has held for hundreds of years. The reason usually given for that is that the present Pope is a liberally minded man. If you are familiar with your Bibles, you will realize that it would be happening whether the present Pope was occupying the throne of Rome or not because God's Word says that that is exactly what is going to happen.

As the Roman Catholic Church has had to give in about a great many things, so have a great many other so-called Christian churches had to give in about a great many things. But there is a great segment of religious people who could not possibly be included in this great world church if people go on saying what they have been saying for two thousand years. That is that the Jews crucified Christ.

So in order to further the Ecumenical Movement, religious leaders are making bold to say that the Jews are not guilty of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Now if there is an unsympathetic mind in our audience, I will be labeled a Jew hater. I am not. I am a friend of Israel, but I believe the Word of God, and I do not believe that any individual has any right to change the Word of God. The Word of God plainly says that the Jews crucified Jesus Christ, and the Pope and everybody else to the contrary cannot change that fact. I am saying to you that if you understand even this portion of the book of Daniel, you will not be guilty of lending your assistance to the so-called Ecumenical Movement, and you will have a basis of fact upon which you can speak out against it. For this passage of Scripture at which we are looking emphasizes the fact that the Jews are in blindness today. But at the end of the age, the veil is to be removed from their faces, from their eyes, and they will acknowledge that they crucified Jesus Christ, and if you want the exact words of their acknowledgment, they are recorded in chapter 53 of the book of Isaiah.

No one could say the words which are in chapter 53 of the book of Isaiah and in the same breath say, “I did not crucify Jesus of Nazareth.” There will be a great national revival.

An Epilogue To The Book

And so the book of Daniel comes to an end with verse 3. The rest of the book, beginning with verse 4 and concluding with verse 13, is what we might refer to as an epilogue. You may be familiar with the word. Webster defines the word epilogue as an addition to existing writing in which other facts and comments are made.

When we refer to these words as an addition, we do not mean that they were added by another individual at a later date. We simply mean that after Daniel finished the book in verse 3, as we have mentioned to you, God gave him some added information which was related to questions which would naturally rise in the minds of individuals, and Daniel recorded that information in what we have referred to as the epilogue.

We are not going to take the time to think about all of it, but I would like to suggest to you some of the things that you are going to find in this epilogue. You are going to find the people and the time for whom this book was particularly intended. You are going to find in this epilogue a statement of three different periods of time which are to come upon the earth as designated parts of world history. You are going to find in this epilogue what is going to happen to Daniel, not only at the end of his immediate life, which is now past history, but what is going to happen to Daniel in the time of the end. In so doing, your own heart should be encouraged because you will learn what is going to happen to you as well at the period of time to which we refer as the time of the end.

A Message To Daniel

Will you notice verse 4: “But thou, O Daniel.” God said, “I've been talking about the people who are going to be living in the time of the end. But now, Daniel, I have something to say to you. Shut up the Word and seal the book even to the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro and knowledge shall be increased. Will you look down at verse 9. He said:

Daniel 12:

9And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.
10Many 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.

These two verses of Scripture emphasize the fact that this book is not for us today. It is for the people who will be living at the time of the end. That does not mean that there is no blessing in it for us. It does not mean that we cannot understand it. But it does mean that the things which are written herein as literal events do not apply to us and will not occur in our day. So will you notice again verse 4, where God said:

Daniel 12:

4But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.

When he said, “Shut up the words,” he used a word in Hebrew which speaks of bringing the words to an end. “Daniel, you have written all that you need to write on this subject as far as continuity is concerned. Seal up the book,” He said. That is, “Close the book and lay it up because there will come a people who will need to understand it thoroughly and completely.”

Contrast With Book Of Revelation

If you are familiar with the book of Revelation, you recognize that comparisons and contrasts may be made between the book of Revelation and the book of Daniel. You will remember that when John was finished writing the book of Revelation, God said, “Don't seal up this book, John. Don't you put it up on the shelf and leave it for people who will arrive at a later day. You leave it open.” Why do you suppose He said that? Because the book of Revelation concerns us who live today, and it is important for us to understand what is in it. The book of Revelation has been much easier to understand—although you were told that you cannot understand it—all down through the years than the book of Daniel has been. Look again at verse 4:

Daniel 12:

4But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.

Great Desire To Understand The Book Of Daniel

Here is a perfect illustration of what I have been talking with you about. A failure to rightly understand the Word of Truth causes people to read a statement like this and make all kinds of outlandish prophecies. For example, I have heard any number of sermons, and I have read any number of comments on this verse, to the effect that “running to and fro” describes the rapid rate of speed at which we travel in the age in which we live.

God knows there is a rapid rate of speed. God knows we are all traveling too fast. But this verse of Scripture does not refer to the speed at which we travel in this present age.

I have heard a number of sermons and read any number of commentaries related to the last statement in this verse, “and knowledge shall be increased.” Folks say this is a prophecy that in the twentieth century the boundaries of knowledge will be pushed back, and men will know more than they have ever known before.

We do not take issue with that at all. I am amazed at what God has enabled human beings to learn. I am amazed at the skill and knowledge that God has given to the human race. But this verse of Scripture does not mean that at all. This verse of Scripture refers to the people in the time of the end—it could well include some of us—who will have an insatiable appetite for knowledge of prophetic things, and particularly for knowledge of the book of Daniel.

It is a significant thing that more commentaries on the book of Daniel have been published in the last century than in all the years before. Perhaps this is proof that individuals do have an insatiable desire for knowledge of the prophetic Word.

Look at the phrase, “run to and fro”—four words. It is one word in the Hebrew, and it will be an easy one for you to remember because you pronounce it “shoot”. This Hebrew word “shoot” is a word which describes an individual who presses in and presses on and digs deep in relation to the subject at hand.

Increased Knowledge Concerning The Book Of Daniel

What are we talking about? The book of Daniel. What has God just said? “Daniel, you don't need to be vitally concerned about what is in this book because it is related to people who are going to live in another age, and they shall push and strain and struggle to understand the book of Daniel.” God will reward that effort because in the last statement of verse 4, we read, “and knowledge shall be increased.” Not knowledge in general, but knowledge of the book of Daniel.

I make bold to say this: The book of Daniel is difficult to study; it is difficult to understand. But I believe that the people who are living in the time of the end will breeze through the book of Daniel without a bit of trouble. The things which confuse us today will, I believe, be as clear as daylight to them because, as they make an effort to understand the book, God will give them a special enlightenment which will enable them to understand. That becomes even more evident when you read in verse 10: “Many shall be purified, and made white.”

What is the Bible talking about when it talks about people's being purified and made white? It is talking about their coming to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. They read something, they hear something, they understand something which opens their hearts to the Lord Jesus, and they are purified and made white. But notice that 10th verse. These same individuals who are purified and made white will be tried.

It doesn't cost you and me very much to declare our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ in this age in which we live. Oh, we may think sometimes that we are persecuted, and we may think that people do us dirty because of our faith in Christ. I think in a sense they do, but we are not really tried for our faith in Christ. In the day when these individuals are purified and made white, they will be tried; they will be persecuted physically, and most of them. according to chapter 25 of the book of Revelation, will be beheaded for the sake of their testimony.

Move To Abolish Capital Punishment

It is an interesting thing to me to notice so many trends in our present day society as they are related to the Word of God. One of the trends is the abolishment of capital punishment. You read about it in your papers all the time, and here again is another illustration of rightly dividing the Word of Truth. I have never written a Letter to the editor. I am afraid to start; I might not ever stop. But I was very much impressed to write one the other day when I read a letter from some dear soul who quoted half a dozen verses of Scripture to prove that we ought not to have capital punishment, and every single one of the verses was taken out of context—every single one of them. She failed to declare a passage of Scripture which very definitely says that capital punishment is ordained of God, and that when God judges the world, He is going to judge the world because the world dared to abolish capital punishment. It will be abolished. Don't worry about it. It is before our Legislature in Texas now. I don't know whether abolishment will pass this time or not, but if it does not, it will later because the Bible announces things ahead of time, long before they enter the minds of men. All forms of capital punishment will be abolished. That does not mean that you ought to vote for abolishment; you ought to vote against it because if you vote for it, you are violating the Word of God. All forms of capital punishment will be abolished, and when the Antichrist takes over, he will institute a form of capital punishment which was used in the days of the French Revolution. The guillotine will be reinstated as the implement of capital punishment, and many individuals who are tried will eventually be beheaded for the sake of the things they believe.

Will you notice the last part of verse 10, for it establishes an eternal principle:

Daniel 12:

10Many 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.

Getting Men In Right Relationship To God

What that verse is saying is simply that things are not going to be any different then from what they are now. I have heard individuals say, “If people would just see God do something terrible, then they would get right with God.” That is not so. Some of the most horrible things that this world will ever see are going to occur in the time of the end.

What do we read here? That the wicked will go right on doing wickedly. It won't stop them. The wise who are wise enough to understand God's Word will be purified and made white, but the wicked will carry on. I would say to you that if you are interested in somebody's coming to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, don't pray for a miracle. They will explain away a miracle. Don't pray for the judgment of God. They will relate it to the elements. Get them under the sound of the Word of God, and as the Word of God convicts their hearts of their need of Christ, they will be born again. When they are born again, they will have a spiritual understanding of the Word and they will be willing to obey it; they will not be willing otherwise.

Shall we bow our heads together for prayer: Our Father, we pray that Thou wilt remove from our time spent together all that may be considered chaff and the vain repetition of men. Plant deep in the furrows of our hearts Thy Word, that the Devil may not be able to snatch it away before it has a chance to take root. And then we pray that it will indeed take root, deep root, and grow up into everlasting life. For we pray in Jesus' name and for His sake. Amen.

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