064 – Satan’s War Against God’s Holy Covenant

Satan is at war against God's holy covenant, symbolized by the rainbow

Satan is at war against God’s holy covenant, symbolized by the rainbow

Staggering revelation about Satan’s counterfeit of Jesus’ second coming. The devil is still trying to annul God’s covenant with mankind and to forfeit the Plan of Salvation.

Introduction

We’ve been studying the Book of Daniel, which was sealed until the time of the end. The unsealing process began with the Millerites in the 1830’s and 40’s. We’re still opening up some its mysteries that the Lord reserved for our generation.

The Hebrew book of Daniel is the portion of the book that was sealed until the time of the end. That portion begins in Daniel 8:26 when the angel Gabriel says to Daniel: “And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true: wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days”. In Chapter 12, the last chapter of the Hebrew book of Daniel, the prophet is again instructed by the angel: “Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end” (Daniel 12:9).

The Book of Revelation sheds light on some of the mysteries of Daniel. But within the Book of Daniel itself the Lord has given us powerful clues and codes to help us access the deeper meaning of some of those passages. Our goal today is to understand the “big picture”, to be able to discern what’s the story that’s being told in this sealed portion of the book and how it relates to us, the last generation.

You’ll be in awe of the beauty and perfection of God’s Word and of His Plan of Salvation for mankind.

Before re-opening the little book that was sealed, let’s recall the 3 big themes of the Aramaic section of the Book of Daniel. This book contains two books, the Aramaic and the Hebrew, but it’s still one book. All of the themes work together to give us wisdom unto salvation.

In our previous study called “Fascinating Structure of the Book of Daniel”, we’d identified the three big themes that emerge from this book and are confirmed by the chiastic structure:

  • Succession of world kingdoms (Chapters 2 and 7)
  • Union of church and state to impose false worship resulting in the persecution and final deliverance of God’s people (Chapters 3 and 6)
  • Judgment and fall of Babylon, the persecuting power (Chapters 4 and 5)

The Hebrew portion of the book will pick up on those themes and put them in the larger context of the great war between Jesus and Satan, between the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness. That’s the big theme of the little book that was sealed until the time of the end. It takes us to the very end of time and the conclusion of the great war, where the victory and the kingdom given to God’s people.

Chapter 1: Diet Is the Key to Wisdom

Chapter 1 serves as introduction to the entire Book of Daniel, but even more pointedly as introduction to the little book. Upon coming to the kingdom of Babylon, Daniel and his three Hebrew friends rejected the delicacies mandated by King Nebuchadnezzar. Instead, they asked the King’s steward for “pulse” and water: basically, a vegan diet! This is the result of their diet:

“17 As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. 18 Now at the end of the days that the king had said he should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. 19 And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king. 20 And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king enquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm” (Daniel 1:16-20).

The Lord is telling us that if we eat the Genesis diet we’ll excel in knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom and we’ll have understanding. We’re going to find that the word “understanding” is a key word that’s repeated in every chapter of the Hebrew Book of Daniel. In other words, the Lord is telling us that diet is the key to correct prophetic interpretation of the “little book” of Daniel, the one that was sealed, and in particular Daniel 12.

This is what the Lord signaled to us by writing Chapter 1 in Hebrew instead of Aramaic. The need for wisdom and understanding is greater in the Hebrew portion of the book. The fact that the Hebrew portion of the book is more difficult is already signaled by the choice of language itself. The Lord is letting us know that the Genesis diet will help us to unveil the mysteries in the little book.

Let’s continue.

Chapter 2: Nebuchadnezzar’s Statue and the Succession of World Kingdoms

Most of Chapter 2 is written in Aramaic, but the first three verses are written in Hebrew. I believe the Lord did this to ensure that we factor in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the statue into the Hebrew storyline. The statue represented the succession of worldly kingdoms until the establishment of God’s kingdom.

Chapter 8: The 2300-Day Prophecy  

Don’t make the mistake of skimming through the first part of this chapter so that you can get to the 2300-Day Prophecy more quickly! The vision that Daniel sees at the beginning of Chapter 8 is extremely important. It has at least two layers of meaning: one given by the angel Gabriel, and the other meaning God left in code language for us to decode. The Lord gave us a couple of clues to help us understand the deeper meaning of this passage:

  1. the number of times that the verb “to see” (see, saw, seen) is used
  2. Angel Gabriel’s insistence that the vision was for the time of the end

In Chapter 8 Daniel is given a vision of a ram having two horns being attacked by an angry he-goat that sprouts horns of which comes up the little horn that we already met in Daniel 7. We’re going to analyze that vision in detail in just a moment. But before we do, let me give you the first level of meaning of that vision, which was given to Daniel by the angel Gabriel.

After seeing the vision of the ram, Daniel overhears two heavenly beings in conversation, the angel Gabriel and Jesus. Gabriel asks Jesus how long would be all the events described until the cleansing of the sanctuary. Jesus replies that 2300 days (Daniel 8:13-14). This period of time is referred to as the 2300-Day Prophecy which deals with the cleansing of the heavenly Sanctuary.

The 2300 prophetic days are reckoned as years. The prophecy began to be fulfilled in 1844 and will be in course of fulfillment until the end of probation.

What’s very interesting is that Jesus asks Gabriel to make the prophet understand the vision. And the first thing Gabriel says to the prophet Daniel is “Understand son of man, that the vision refers to the time of the end”.

Chapter 8 ends with the angel Gabriel giving Daniel the interpretation of the vision of the ram and the goat. The angel explains that the ram is Medo-Persia and the goat is Greece. This is absolutely true and consistent with the succession of world kingdoms that we saw in the statue and the vision of the four beasts. That’s the first level of interpretation.

That was enough for previous generations. But there’s another layer of meaning  that’s been hidden for our generation to find. Let’s go deeper now and consider Daniel’s vision first-hand.

The Vision of the Ram and the He-Goat

Let’s read: “2…and I saw in the vision that I was by the River Ulai. 3 Then I lifted my eyes and saw, and there, standing beside the river, was a ram which had two horns” (Daniel 8:2-3). Listen closely now to verse 4: “I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward; so that no beasts might stand before him…”

Note first that Daniel was by the river and the ram was standing by the river. In the Hebrew book of Daniel every time Jesus appears He’s standing by a river or on the river. A ram is a male lamb. The ram is a sanctuary animal. The lamb is also a symbol of Jesus. So this ram is a type of Jesus. The ram was “pushing westward, and northward, and southward”. This means the ram was coming from the east. Hold that thought!

Listen up now because what happens next is totally amazing. We’re still reading from Daniel chapter 8:

“5… suddenly a male goat came from the west, across the surface of the whole earth, without touching the ground; and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes”. Did you hear that? Let’s unpack this.

Like the ram, the goat also is a sanctuary animal. In the typical Day of Atonement ceremony in ancient Israel two goats were involved. One was the Lord’s goat which served to atone for sin. The other was called the scapegoat who was made to bear all the sins of the congregation. The scapegoat represents Satan.

“5… suddenly a male goat came from the west, across the surface of the whole earth, without touching the ground”.

In Matthew 24:27 Jesus told us how exactly He would return: “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be”.

Jesus will come from the east and his feet won’t touch the ground. Well, Satan will put on his very best deception to counterfeit the Second Coming. We know through the Spirit of Prophecy that Satan won’t be allowed to replicate exactly how Jesus will come. But here the Bible is letting us know that it’ll be so close that we’ll need to have the loins of our minds girded real tight in order not to be deceived. Most of the world will be deceived.

Let’s continue reading:

“6 Then he (the goat) came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing beside the river, and ran at him with furious power. 7 And I saw him confronting the ram; he was moved with rage against him, attacked the ram, and broke his two horns. There was no power in the ram to withstand him, but he cast him down to the ground and trampled him; and there was no one that could deliver the ram from his hand”.

Let’s decode this passage. The goat was moved with rage against the ram and attacked him with furious power until he broke the ram’s two horns. First of all, the parallel passage is in Daniel 9:27, which tells us that Messiah the Prince would be cut off in the middle of the week, that is in 31 AD.

Doesn’t it also remind you of Revelation 12:17? “And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ”.

When the dragon is enraged against God’s people and attacks them, he’s really fighting against Christ. The prophet merges Christ and His people.

When Daniel says that “There was no power in the ram to withstand him”, and that “no one could deliver the ram from his hand”, the prophet is blending the ram, representing Jesus, with the followers of Jesus. In addition to Daniel 9:27 where Messiah is cut off, this passage in Daniel 8 reminds us of two other verses in the book of Daniel:

  • Daniel 7:25: the little horn would wear out the saints of the Most High and they’d be given into his hand for a time, times and the dividing of time
  • Daniel 12:7 anti-christ scatters the power of the holy people and then all these things will be finished

What we see in these two verses is a merging of Jesus with the 144 000. These two passages in Daniel 8 are evidence of this literary mechanism that I call “blending”. Understanding that can clear a lot of confusion, especially in the verses we’re going to look at right now.

“8 Therefore the male goat grew very great; but when he became strong, the large horn was broken, and in place of it four notable ones came up toward the four winds of heaven. 9 And out of one of them came a little horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land. 10 And it grew up to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled them. 11 He even exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host; and by him the daily was taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down. 12 Because of transgression, an army was given over to the horn to oppose the daily; and he cast truth down to the ground. He did all this and prospered” (Daniel 8:8-12).

We see the “blending” being applied here as well. The prophet is amalgamating Satan, the dragon, with the anti-christ, the little horn. There’s a blending of the two.

We see therefore that in both cases, Jesus and Satan, the prophet merges each of the two arch-rivals with their respective followers. The implication is that both Jesus and Satan are spiritual beings that work through people and accomplish their ends through people. It gives us pause to ask ourselves at any given time: who am I serving right now?

To conclude on Daniel’s vision of the ram and the he-goat. Yes, the ram represented Medo-Persia and the h-goat represented Greece. But we discerned another layer of meaning. The two rival powers in the great conflict of the ages, Jesus and Satan, both work through people and nations. No matter who the “front man” is, the power working behind the scenes is either Jesus or Satan.

Chapter 9: The Seventy Sevens

In response to Daniel’s 21-day fast and intercessory prayer, the angel Gabriel comes to explain to the prophet the meaning of the vision (“mareh”) which he had received in Chapter 8. That was the vision of the ram and the goat we just described.

In explaining the vision to Daniel, Gabriel gives the prophet what is called the “Seventy Sevens” or the 70-Week Prophecy. In this prophecy the first 490 years of the 2300 years are “cut off” or determined for the Jewish people. It announced the time of Messiah’s ministry and death which would confirm God’s covenant with His people. In addition the 70-Week Prophecy also determined 490 years of probation or grace for the Jewish nation to get it together and be reconciled with God. At the end of that period, if they rejected Messiah, they would no longer be God’s chosen people.

At the end of the 490 years, after killing Messiah and stoning Stephen to death, the Jewish nation lost its privileged status as God’s people. At that point both Paul and Peter were instructed to take the gospel to the Gentiles.

There are three extremely important aspects of the 70-Week Prophecy to notice:

  • The first aspect is that what’s being described here is a war. Satan is at war against Jesus, a war that will bring desolation to the whole earth. This war will continue until the consummation, that is, the total destruction at the end of time. Yes, of course this prophecy refers to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. But we know from Jesus’ Olivet discourse in Matthew 24 that it refers even more pointedly to the end of time.
  • We learn in Daniel 10 that Satan was fighting very hard to prevent this prophecy from being fulfilled. Because the 70-Week Prophecy had to do with Messiah’s ministry and death on the cross, this would be Satan’s death knell. Despite Satan’s warfare, Jesus started His ministry on schedule and died at the appointed time. We’ll talk more about this shortly.
  • The third aspect to highlight is that Satan is preparing a counterfeit fulfillment of the 70-Week Prophecy. This is a confirmation of our analysis of Daniel’s vision of the ram and the he-goat. Satan is planning to appear as Jesus in Jerusalem on the Temple Mount, precisely where most Evangelical and Protestant Christians expect him. He will “fly in” from west to east above the surface of the earth and his feet won’t touch the ground, like the goat in the vision of Chapter 8. This will be the overmastering delusion that will sweep away everyone who isn’t sealed at that point, everyone who isn’t absolutely grounded in present truth. You and I are also at risk – only God’s seal on our foreheads can keep us from the overmastering delusion. So be sure to stay with me now as we continue to unfold God’s truth until the culmination of the great conflict, that we may not be deceived.

Chapter 10: Jesus Appears in Glory

In Daniel Chapter 10 we get additional confirmation – three witnesses – that the big theme of the Hebrew Book of Daniel is the great conflict between God and Satan.

First witness:

I want to read you the first verse in this chapter from the NIV translation. The NIV is not my main reference Bible but it has a more accurate translation for this verse. “In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia, a revelation was given to Daniel (who was called Belteshazzar). Its message was true and it concerned a great war. The understanding of the message came to him in a vision”.

Second witness:

Daniel had fasted for three full weeks when Jesus appeared to him by the Hiddekel River. Hiddekel is actually another name for the Tigris River, one of the four rivers of the Garden of Eden. I believe that by standing there Jesus was highlighting the beginning of the great controversy here on earth. But even more importantly, Jesus is affirming that He will come back to reclaim that ground for His Kingdom. He’s assuring us that Eden Lost will become Eden Restored.

Third witness:

Subsequently the angel Gabriel also appears to Daniel and describes how he’d been sent to answer Daniel’s prayer but had been held up by the Prince of Persia three weeks. Let’s read:

“12 Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. 13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia. 14 Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision refers to many days yet to come” (Daniel 10:12-14).

The prince of Persia is Satan, who was influencing the decisions of the kings of Persia. Let me read you this comment from the SDA Bible Commentary:

“The king of Persia was controlled by the highest of all evil angels. He refused, as did Pharaoh, to obey the word of the Lord. Gabriel declared, He withstood me twenty-one days by his representations against the Jews. But Michael came to his help, and then he remained with the kings of Persia, holding the powers in check, giving right counsel against evil counsel.” Ellen G. White, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, volume 4, p. 1173

What was going on here? Satan was trying to get the kings of Persia to not issue the decree that would start the prophetic countdown of the 70-Week Prophecy. If Satan could prevent that, the prophecy wouldn’t be fulfilled or it wouldn’t be fulfilled on time. Because God does everything according to His calendar, Messiah needed to start His ministry on time (27 AD), die on time (31 AD), and close out vision and prophecy with Stephen’s death in 34 AD. All of these milestones were critical to the confirmation of the covenant: “And He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week” (Daniel 9:27).

Satan wanted to prevent Messiah from doing His work of propitiation for our sins. He also wanted to smear God’s character by causing the Lord to not deliver on His biggest promise to His people.

The good news is that Messiah started His ministry on schedule and died on schedule. Satan was not allowed to sabotage this vitally critical confirmation of the covenant.

The spiritual warfare in Persia is our third confirmation that the big theme here is the war between Jesus and Satan. In fact, Gabriel says that after the King of Persia he will need to fight with the King of Greece. In other words, the scepter of power is handed down from one kingdom to the next, but behind them the true ruler is Satan.

We have absolute confirmation of this in Revelation 12:

“7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (Revelation 12:7-9).

This means that the war was transposed to the earth. It will go on until the consummation, until the end of all things.

In the relationship between the prince of Persia and the king of Persia we’re getting a better understanding of the blending we were talking about earlier. Spiritual beings mingling with physical beings, spiritual powers becoming involved in our affairs to influence the outcomes. Physical beings are playing out the agendas of spiritual beings on one side or the other, sometimes without understanding which side they’re being used by.

Chapter 11: The Kings of the North and the South

Gabriel explains to Daniel that he’d been appointed to confirm and strengthen King Darius in the first year of his kingdom. We’re once more reminded that God sets up kings and removes kings (Daniel 2:21). More often than we know the host of heaven are required to intervene in order to establish God’s plan against the principalities and powers of darkness.

Then Gabriel proceeds to explain to Daniel the succession of kings and their rivalries. Daniel 11 is a long tale of battles, attacks, counterattacks and betrayals. It’s a repeat and enlarge of Daniel 2 with the statue with the succession of world kingdoms and of Daniel 7 with the appearance of the little horn.

As the angel describes what would come to pass it becomes increasingly clear that the King of the North is anti-christ and his arch-enemy is the King of the South. These titles at one time corresponded to a geographical reality. But in the end time they’re symbolic of spiritual powers.

In ancient history the Kingdom of the North was Babylon and the Kingdom of the South was Egypt. As we’ve learned Babylon symbolizes counterfeit spirituality and false religion. Egypt symbolizes atheism, in today’s vernacular we could also call it secularism. Both of these powers are controlled by Satan.

We read in the Bible about God’s throne being “on the Mount of the Congregation on the sides of the North”. “Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King” (Psalm 48:2).

This is exactly where Satan wanted to set his throne: “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north” (Isaiah 14:13).

Daniel Chapter 11 is telling us that counterfeit Christianity (the anti-christ King of the North, supported by the dragon) will prevail against secularism (the King of the South).

There’s a lot more to say about this chapter, especially about the last verses. But let’s continue to paint the big picture we’ve been painting of the great cosmic war. There’s a very important detail I want you to notice in Daniel 11 that highlights the spiritual nature of Satan’s battle against Jesus. Listen to how these verses describe the King of the North’s (anti-christ’s) hatred against God’s holy covenant.

“28 Then shall he return into his land with great riches; and his heart shall be against the holy covenant; and he shall do exploits, and return to his own land. 29 At the time appointed he shall return, and come toward the south; but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter. 30 For the ships of Chittim shall come against him: therefore he shall be grieved, and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant: so shall he do; he shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant. 31 And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate. 32 And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits” (Daniel 11:26-32).

Why is this point so important? Don’t forget that Messiah came “to confirm the covenant with many for one week” (Daniel 9:27).

Be assured that Satan’s hatred against God’s covenant with mankind is still intact. If anything, his hatred gets more intense the shorter his time gets. Satan is still trying to annul God’s covenant with mankind.

How can he do it? If Satan is able to get the entire world to worship the beast, without any dissenters, if he’s able to overcome God’s remnant people, the Plan of Salvation will be forfeited and planet earth will need to be handed over to Satan’s kingdom.

This is why he wages war against us so tirelessly. His strategy is clearly stated in Daniel 7:25: “(He) shall wear out the saints of the most High”. But God is faithful and won’t give us a temptation bigger than we can endure. This is why the work will be cut short in righteousness. And God will have a people that will stand faithful to Him though the heavens fall.

No matter what kingdom is holding the scepter of world power at any given moment, Satan is the prince of this world working through those world kingdoms to fight against Jesus and His people. Although Satan’s been dethroned, he won’t give up without a fight.

Let’s recap. We’ve seen evidence upon evidence that the theme of the Hebrew little book of Daniel is the great controversy between God and Satan, expressed or manifested through the succession of earthly kingdoms. What’s at stake is the real scepter of power: not the one handed down from superpower to superpower, but the scepter of the kingship of the earth. Which kingdom shall retain dominion over the earth: the kingdom of light or the kingdom of darkness? Who will prevail: Jesus or Satan? Whose subjects will we become: Jesus’ or Satan’s?

Chapter 12: The End of the Great Controversy

Chapter 12 describes the ending of the Great Controversy. We’ll now be able to tie together all the loose ends.

What happens in Daniel 12? The most defining moment in that chapter is verse 1, that we’re all familiar with. Michael the Archangel, another name for Christ, stands up to put an end to the great cosmic war against Satan and deliver His people. This has to be one of the most powerful prophesies in the Bible, yet to be fulfilled:

“At that time Michael shall stand up,
The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people;
And there shall be a time of trouble,
Such as never was since there was a nation,
Even to that time.
And at that time your people shall be delivered,
Every one who is found written in the book (Daniel 12:1).

At what other time has Jesus been seen standing? At the stoning of Stephen. Let’s read quickly in Acts 7: 55: “But he (Stephen) being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, 56 and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” (Acts 7:55-56).

Jesus stood up at the stoning of Stephen to signal the end of probation for the Jewish nation. In Daniel 12:1, Michael stands up to signal the close of probation for the world. At that time, Jesus’ kingdom is fully made up. All His subjects have been identified. Every person on earth has made their decision for Jesus and received His seal or for Satan and received the mark of the beast.

In Daniel 12, a chapter that serves as an epilogue to the Hebrew storyline and the entire Book of Daniel, we get our last confirmation that this battle is against God’s salvation covenant with mankind. In Daniel 12:7, the Angel of the Covenant appears. The Angel of the Covenant is the Lord Jesus Himself, who also appears in Revelation 10, clothed with a cloud and wearing a rainbow on His head. The rainbow is the sign of the covenant in Genesis 9. The cloud is the sign of judgment.

Well, in Daniel 12:7 the Angel of the Covenant appears to reassure His people that the terrible persecution and oppression they would suffer at the hands of anti-christ would last no longer than 3.5 literal years. At that time, Michael would stand up in judgment against the wicked and deliver His people.

The anti-christ beast is judged, found guilty and burned in the lake of fire. Jesus is given the kingdom, and the time will come for the saints to possess the kingdom.

18 But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.

27 And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him. (Daniel 7:18, 27).

 

(Be sure to check out my other podcast called “The Battle Is Real” for more on what happens behind the veil).  

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