Tabernacle Tuesday
~ Week Eleven ~
August 18, 2020
Daniel ~ Chapter Eleven
"But the people who know their God shall be strong,
and carry out great exploits.
And those of the people who understand
shall instruct many..."
(Daniel 11:32b, 33a)

Morning Meditation: Read Daniel 11:1-28

The book of Daniel has been showing us the rewards that come to those who give priority attention to the faithful study of the Word of God and of unceasing prayer and intercession. Daniel's diligent search of the scriptures revealed the Lord's appointed time frame for Judah's captivity was seventy years, which led him to fast and pray even more fervently for the Jewish people, as their exile was coming to an end (Jeremiah 25:11, 12; 29:10-14). Furthermore, the scroll of Isaiah mentioned by name the king of Persia who would allow the Israelites to return to Jerusalem (Isaiah 45:1-4). Cyrus' conquering presence in Babylon in 539 B.C. brought Daniel to his knees in humble earnest prayer and confession to the Lord for the Jewish remnant. While he was praying, another period of seventy's was revealed to him, but this time a period of seventy "weeks" of years, or 490 years (Daniel 9: 24). As the first exiles were returning to Judea under the leadership of Zerubbabel, and the temple reconstruction was underway, Daniel's earnest desire to understand the visions he was given brought further revelation from the heavenly messenger, Gabriel, whom the Lord dispatched to provide His "greatly beloved" with fresh insight and understanding (10:11, 12). Daniel was one of the Lord's special saints, like John the beloved apostle, entrusted with divine revelation that less prepared servants would find difficult to understand and accept. Yet both were provided a glorious encounter with the Son of God prior to their grand revelations. One glimpse of the eternal King-Priest, and a touch from heaven, raised Daniel up to look beyond his present circumstances and see the invisible war that was being waged against God's people in the heavenly realm, and prepared him to receive the news of all that befall his people in the latter days (10:18, 19). May the Lord, through His Word, continue to open our spiritual eyes in this season to see the true battles ahead of us, the vast heavenly army surrounding us, and the Glorious Man who stands before the throne interceding on our behalf, as we join our great High Priest in praying for the perfect reconciliation of Israel with their God. "For Zion's sake I will not hold My peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a lamp that burns" (Isaiah 62:1).

The heavenly messenger, Gabriel, assured Daniel that, just as he had strengthened him to receive and understand the difficult revelations, he also, with the help of the archangel Michael, had won the battle that was being waged in the heavenly realm to prevent Darius and Cyrus from being used of God to show compassion to the Jewish exiles and allow the restoration to begin. The battle was far from over, as Gabriel and Michael, the special guardian angel for the nation of Israel, had further work to do to deliver the leaders of the nations of Persia and Greece out from under satanic control, so they could be used for a higher purpose in fulfilling God's plans for His covenant people (10:20). But before he left, Gabriel revealed the truth of the Scriptures he had been sent to deliver to Daniel. "And now I will tell you the truth. Behold, three more kings will arise in Persia, and the fourth shall be far richer than them all; by his strength, through his riches, he shall stir up all against the realm of Greece" (11:2). Daniel was given greater detail into God's plans for Israel, beginning with the four Persian kings that would rule after Darius the Mede (Cambyses, Gaumata, Darius I, and Xerxes). Xerxes attempt to conquer Greece in 48o eventually brought the wrath of Alexander the Great upon the Persian kingdom as punishment. "Then a mighty king shall arise, who shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will" (v. 3). After Alexander's death his kingdom was divided among his four generals, two of which Gabriel focused further revelation on, as the prophetic scene shifted from the silver arms and chest of Medo-Persia to the bronze belly and thighs of Greece (2:32). The long, complex conflict between the Ptolemaic (Egyptian) dynasty and the Seleucid (Syrian) dynasty is given in detail in chapter eleven because of the precious tiny sliver of land that lays between them (vv. 5-35). Israel, "the apple of God's eye" (Zechariah 1:8), sits at the center of the world's conflicts as warring kings and nations of the north and south seek to destroy God's people.

"There shall arise in his place one who
imposes taxes on the glorious kingdom;
but within a few days he shall be destroyed,
but not in anger or in battle.
And in his place shall arise a vile person,
to whom they will not give the honor of royalty;
but he shall come in peaceably,
and seize the kingdom by intrigue."
(Daniel 11:20, 21)

The names and actions of the rulers and nations who ruled over Israel in the book of Daniel, and in even greater detail in this particular chapter, might be easily overlooked at first, but it is important to recognize that every detail came to pass just as the angel Gabriel had shared with Daniel, matching the record of history, and providing an important reminder that God's Word can be trusted. Chapter eleven of the book of Daniel shows us the preciseness of God's inerrant Word. The "Glorious Land" of Israel lay at the epicenter of Old Testament prophecy and was trapped between the raging conflict of two world powers: the Ptolemy's and the Seleucids. Ptolemy I Soter and Seleucus I Nicator were two of Alexander's generals. Ptolemy 1 seized Egypt and North Africa, and Seleucus gained Syria and Mesopotamia. Israel endured the brunt of their hostility because of their centralized location between the nations, and this continued through to the reign of the "madman" Antiochus IV Epiphanes (who we met in chapter 8 as the "little horn" that grew out of one of the "four notable ones" (8:8, 9)); the one who Gabriel calls "a vile person" (v. 21). Antiochus wanted to exterminate the Jews, he hated them and their religion. Not much has changed over thousands of years. Deception, violence, war, and the slaughtering of the innocent continues to this day, as the desire for wealth and power drive men to evil and wickedness. The ruthless zeal of earthly rulers over the holy land is no match for the jealous love the Holy One of Israel has for His covenant people. All the world's wealth and amassed legions of armies won't win them the one piece of real estate they desire, unless God Himself allows it. The Lord won't let anyone touch His treasured possession unless He has purposed it for their good and His glory. As we pray for the final fulfillment of God's plans for His people Israel, let us also remember that the most holy and priceless real estate on earth is the heart of redeemed man; that precious ground where the Holy Spirit has taken up residence and transforming believer's into the glorious image of Christ. The believer sits at the epicenter of a great spiritual war waging from all sides and also from within (Ephesians 6:12). The true warring kings in this epic battle are the people of God, His Church, warring in the spirit in prayer for God's kingdom purposes to be fulfilled and for the return of our great King to the earth! May we be found faithful in prayer "praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints" (v.18).

"And Jesus answered and said to them:
"Take heed that no one deceives you.
For many will come in My name,
saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many.
And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars.
See that you are not troubled;
for all these things must come to pass,
but the end is not yet.
For nation will rise against nation,
and kingdom against kingdom.
And there will be famines, pestilences,
and earthquakes in various places.
All these are the beginning of sorrows."
(Matthew 24:4-8)
Afternoon Devotion: Read Daniel 11:29-45

The heart of Antiochus IV Epiphanes was moved with hatred toward the Jews, and after being forced to leave Egypt by the Romans, he was humiliated and returned "in rage against the holy covenant" (v. 28); he vented his frustration and fury against God's people. He defiled the sanctuary, took away the daily sacrifices, and committed an "abomination of desolation" by setting up an image of Zeus in the holy place (v. 31). His actions were a prelude to what the Antichrist would do in the tribulation period. Jesus said a similar thing would happen just prior to His return: "Therefore when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place" (whoever reads, let him understand), "then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains" (Matthew 24:15). When Antiochus unleashed his fury, a Jewish priest named Mattathias and his sons refused to offer sacrifices in a profane manner, so they killed the king's agents and fled to the mountains to begin the famous Maccabean revolt. Under the leadership of Judas Maccabeus they gathered an army and fought back successfully. On December 14, 165, they reconsecrated and rededicated the altar of the temple (Daniel 8:14).

"Those who do wickedly against the covenant
he shall corrupt with flattery;
but the people who know their God shall be strong,
and carry out great exploits.
And those of the people who understand shall instruct many;
yet for many days they shall fall by sword and flame,
by captivity and plundering."
(Daniel 11:32, 33)

The followers of Judas Maccabeus kept the light of Israel ablaze in the midst of the dark hours of Antiochus IV Epiphanes' rage. They were successful in their brave exploits because they, like Daniel, who recorded their great feats in advance, knew their God and trusted in Him to give them success. Without the knowledge of God we are weak and defenseless. The prophet Hosea recorded the Lord's complaint against the religious leaders for failing to teach the people His law: "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" (Hosea 4:6a). Their neglect resulted in the people lacking in understanding and stunted in their spiritual growth. The Proverbs tell us that "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding" (Proverbs 9:10). Not only is the knowledge of God the highest form of knowledge, it is also the best. The more we know our God: the omnipotent, with whom nothing is impossible; the omnipresent, who is always near; the Sovereign King, who is seated on the throne in heaven in the place of all-power and all-authority - the stronger and braver we will be. A study of His great work of creation or a review of His past actions in delivering His people, as His poets and prophets have often times recounted, will embolden us in our faith and help us to trust Him more completely. But there is also a worldly knowledge that pollutes and poisons that we must be careful to guard against that is running rampant in our day - it is deadly and seeks to destroy the soul. "Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up" (1 Corinthians 8:1b). May we focus our energies on apprehending divine knowledge that will make men strong to do great exploits for God, as we dig deeply into God's Word to mine for those precious heavenly gems and priceless spiritual treasures not found on this earth. When we do, we will find that this kind of knowledge opens the door to deepening love and intimacy with Christ, and it clears the obstacles that stand in our way preventing our seeing the Lord as He truly is. "For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:6). The knowledge of our God strengthens us to do great exploits, and protects us on the battlefield from defeat and desertion. Remember, there were many apostate Jews who cooperated with Antiochus in his destruction of the holy people and the holy temple (11:30). In the latter days of the tribulation the vilest tyrant of all, the Antichrist, will go beyond anything Antiochus ever did, and, tragically, many will follow after him. The falling away is what triggers the revealing of the man of sin (2 Thessalonians 2:3). "Then the king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done" (v. 36). Then the kings of the north and south will oppose him and once again Israel will be at the center of this terrible war. "At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind...He shall also enter the Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown...And he shall plant the tents of his palace between the seas and the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him" (vv. 40, 41a, 45). If we are to have stability and remain steadfast in these perilous last days, then we need more than ever to be firmly rooted in the Word of God and to know our God. "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18). The Lord has told us what will happen in the future so we will be prepared today. May God stir within the heart of every believer a holy dissatisfaction with our present ignorance and lack of understanding that has come from our neglect of daily studying the Word of God, and replace it with an insatiable hunger and thirst for righteousness, so that we may "know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that we may be filled with all the fullness of God," and be able to "instruct many" in the way of holiness and righteousness.

"For this reason we also, since the day we heard it,
do not cease to pray for you,
and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will
in all wisdom and understanding;
that you may walk worthy of the LORD,
fully pleasing Him,
being fruitful in every good work
and increasing in the knowledge of God;
strengthened with all might,
according to His glorious power,
for all patience and longsuffering with joy;
giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us
to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light."
(Colossians 1:9-12)
Evening Prayer: "Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times a day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days." (Daniel 6:10)

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As we travel through the Book of Daniel
we want to focus on following the example of his faith,
but as we do, let us prayerfully consider setting aside
Tuesdays as "fast" days,
as we feast upon the goodness and grace of our Lord this summer
(consider a full day fast, a partial fast, or a Daniel fast (1:12))

Scripture Meditations for the Week:

Wednesday: 2 Peter 1:19-21
Thursday: 2 Thessalonians 2:1-10
Friday: Matthew 24:4-26
Saturday: Ephesians 4:11-16
Sunday: Colossians 2:1-10
Monday: John 14:12


Memory Verse for the Week:

"But the people who know their God shall be strong,
and carry out great exploits.
And those of the people who understand
shall instruct many..."
(Daniel 11:32b, 33a)
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"Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
and your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
and let your soul delight itself in abundance.
Incline your ear, and come to Me, hear, and your soul shall live."
(Isaiah 55:2, 3a)
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Setting the world on fire for Christ ~ One heart at a time!
TESTIFY to the gospel of the grace of God
a 12-week devotional prayer and fasting journey through the Book of Daniel
copyright (c) 2020 Traci A. Alexander. All Rights Reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright (c) 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc., and the Holy Bible, New International Version, copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society.