Picture of Pastor Gettys

Sermon delivered September 16, 2006 by Pastor Donald J. Gettys

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Biblical quotations are from the New International Version NIV unless otherwise noted. Divine pronouns and titles are capitalized.

Daniel: Thump the Watermelon

Daniel 12

(RealAudio Version available)

We are finishing the entire book of Daniel. Today is about Daniel 12, the last chapter of the book of Daniel.

One day when we lived in Michigan, the cold weather finally abated and I saw a stake truck parked by the side of the road with a load of watermelons aboard. In Michigan you get hungry for a good watermelon. I stopped and the driver said, I've got some good melons here." Where are you from?" The man said he was from Alabama and this was his first load. I thought, 'That's great.' So I proceeded to pick out a good one. Now in the old days they used to "Plug" the melon. Some of you old-timers remember that. They used to cut a plug and take it out and you could taste it to see that it was good before you bought it. But those days are gone. About all a person can do today is thump the watermelon. So I thumped and thumped. Finally one sounded right and I bought it. It was dark green with a slight bit of yellow on its bottom. My wife was so thrilled. It was a perfect watermelon. Perfect!

My melon loving family was thrilled. We invited company over that Sabbath evening and we had a menu of fruit and popcorn. The fruit was my specially chosen watermelon. What a disappointment that watermelon was. It turned out to be tasteless and bland. It was immature and never should have been harvested so soon. It looked perfect and it wasn't.

There are many Christians who "thump" their Bible trying to determine God's will; trying to determine if the time of the end is really here. The Bible speaks of the last days in many different places. Daniel 12 speaks of the last days. The book of Job is probably one of the earliest books of the Bible, and yet Job said in Job 19:25: I know that my redeemer lives, and in the end He will stand upon the earth. Even Job spoke about the last days. Six hundred years before Jesus was born Daniel was speaking about the time of the end and urging his people to prepare for it. Zephaniah 1:14 says, The great day of the Lord is near-- near and coming quickly. The end is near.

Now come to Daniel 12:1 At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people--everyone whose name is found written in the book--will be delivered. God's people are going to be delivered. It's going to happen.

And, Michael, the great Prince is the One Who protects Christians. God's people are protected. That's good news. We do not fight the battle alone. We've got some help. We have Somebody Who is on our side Who is protecting us. He is called The Great Prince. Acts 5:31 calls Jesus our Prince and Savior. Now, Daniel 12:1 does not say Who this Prince is; it's Michael, the great Prince. Isaiah 9:6 calls Jesus the Prince of Peace. Of course Jesus is not a created being like an angel. We know that. Jesus is our Creator. Jesus is indeed the eternal God of the universe. Jesus is indeed a wonderful, eternal God just as much as the Father. But Michael appears to be another name for our Prince.1 When Michael Stands Up a great time of trouble begins. When a judge stands up the court session is over. Michael stands up after the time of the last day judgment. When He does, a horrible time of difficulty commences.

In the last days, and I believe we're living in the last days. In fact Seventh-day Adventists; the seventh day-we keep the Sabbath. As Adventists we believe in the soon advent of Jesus. We believe He's coming soon. In these last days that we are living in right now we are experiencing a lot of trouble. The New Century Version of the Bible, Daniel 12:1 says, There will be a time of much trouble, the worst time since nations have been on earth, but your people will be saved. In other words, you would expect to see terrorists, according to this. You would expect to see trouble brewing all over the world. It's going to be a world-wide thing, according to Daniel. People everywhere will have to be on the defensive against these terrorists, against this trouble that is coming upon the world. Dangerous times will invade peaceful communities which jeopardizes our future. Look at Daniel 12:10 - ... the wicked will continue in their wickedness. They just continue and continue in their wickedness. They don't give up. They're wicked and they get worse.

But, (Daniel 12:1 -everyone whose name is found written in the book--will be delivered. I want my name in the book, don't you? There are certain lists you do not want your name on. In fact, almost any list you don't want you name on. A black list or a telemarketer's phone list or the list of the 10 most wanted. We had our name taken of the telemarketer's list, and we don't get called by telemarketers anymore. How wonderful it is! That's one list that I did not want my name on. There are many lists that you do not want you name on. Usually when you are on someone's list it is not a good thing. But God's list is a very good list to have your name on. You want your name on God's list.

I saw a film once called Shindler's List. During WWII the Nazi's were killing Jews by the million. This kind hearted man ran a factory and any Jew on his list of employees was exempted from the concentration camp if they were a Jew. They would say, "Well, you keep working there. You're necessary to the government. You're making munitions." Shindler's List meant life for 1,100 Jews. They were saved because they were working there and they were on his list. To be on his list was a very good thing. I recollect the good feeling I had when I saw my name on the dean's list. That's a good list to be on. You want to be on the dean's list. I want to be on God's list. To be on God's list is the most important thing that can happen to any human being. Everybody whose name is on God's list, it says in Daniel, will be delivered from a horrific time of trouble. They will be saved in heaven. I want to be on God's list.

Is your name on God's list? This is of crucial importance. David prayed about his enemies in Psalm 69:28. May they be blotted out of the book of life and not be listed with the righteous. Paul refers to this special list: Philippians 4:3 Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. Now, I don't think that church membership is equivalent to having your name on the book of life. I don't believe that, and I don't want you to think that. God's list may not at all jibe with the church list, you understand. If you are on God's list, that means that you need to be one of God's children. You need to have a saving relationship with Jesus. You'll be a person of prayer. You'll be a person who is into the Bible. You'll be a Godly person if you're on God's list. Paul lists Women who have labored for Jesus as being on that list. It's a good thing for a woman to work in the cause of Jesus whether you're cleaning the church or you're the head deaconess, or you're ministering in some way, people cooking for meals or helping people, whatever it is, that's what the people on God's list do. Those people do not quit. They continue to answer God's call and God's bidding. They continue to be on God's list. Speaking of the New Jerusalem John says in Revelation 21:27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life. I want my name written in the Lamb's book pf life. To get on God's list of life dedicate your entire being to Him. You need to dedicate your entire life to god. You want to continue to be faithful. You will be marked for eternal life. Your name will be marked down. It'll be written down for eternal life. The wicked will carry the mark of the beast. They will not be on God's list. When the Roll is Called Up Yonder, you will be there if you are on God's roll, if your name is on that list.

Daniel 12:3, Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. God's saints will shine brightly! Why? Because they are wise and because they lead others to righteousness. They know Jesus. That's the wisdom you want to have in your life. When you lead your youngsters to Jesus you shine like the stars. When you lead others to Jesus by witnessing in your home, your neighborhood, or to the unsaved in Zanzibar you will shine! That is true stardom.

I get this little paper. They throw it out every Wednesday morning called The Star Watch ( a paper about movie celebrities). Do you get that thing. [I don't and I don't want it.] I don't care anything about the Star Watch. It goes straight into my trash can. You know, the stars are the people that are shining for God. Stars are not the movie celebrities, but Jesus' stars.

Outreach is vitalizing to Spirituality. Everybody wants a harvest, but few want to plow. Yet the plowing is our calling. Christianity is like the measles. If you have it, you will give it to others. Proverbs 11:30, He that winneth souls is wise.

At the great Museum of Natural Science in Chicago, Illinois, there used to be a checkerboard with sixty-four squares. In the lower corner was one single grain of wheat. The sign asked this question: If you doubled the amount of wheat as you move from square to square, how much would you have when you reached the sixty-fourth square? A handful? A carload? A trainload? You would have enough wheat to cover the country of India 6 feet deep. Now, I'm sure that they're wrong. It can't be that much. I can't imagine the Museum of Natural Science making a statement like that.

But the point is that if you win one soul to Jesus this year and that person wins one more the next year and so it goes, it would have a wonderful effect of multiplication. You could soon see how this applies to soul-winning. So, let's get started!

Now look at Daniel 12:4. But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge. Now I really think this verse primarily refers to the vast increase of knowledge of the Bible and Bible prophecy in the last days. But in another sense it also refers to the vast increase of knowledge in the last days. II Timothy 3:7 ...always learning... is how Paul puts it. Knowledge is exploding so fast that Albert Einstein would not be able to keep up with it. Someone said that if you could sit down and read all day and all night without ever stopping for the next fifty years and if you could have perfect recall of all you read, at that point, you would be two million years behind on your reading. That's how fast knowledge is increasing.

Daniel 12:9,10. He replied, "Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end. Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, In the time of the end in the last days (now) many will be made pure, spotless and refined. What is it that makes the last day saints white, cleansed and polished? Perhaps the intense trials and troubles of our time. Or maybe the arrival of the Holy Spirit in the fullness of His power at the latter rain. Or peradventure it may be the renewed sense of the shortness of time and our deep need of Christlikeness. We realize that our time is short so we purify our lives and we become more and more like Jesus. Maybe it 's that we feel our deep need of Christ-likeness. I don't know what it is, but in the last days God's saints are going to be white and cleansed and polished, and we're going to shine. I want to be one of those saints.

As you examine your life, are you becoming purified or are you growing more worldly? Is the quality of your character acquiring more and more of the attributes of the lovely Jesus or do you find yourself flying off the handle more frequently? At the very time when the saints are becoming more saintly, the wicked are more intrenched in their sinful lifestyle. A great last day polarization takes place.

Daniel 12:10 ...but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand. they do not realize that the clock of time is about to quit and probation will soon close. They just keep on sinning

The other day I was quietly waiting at a stop light. Gradually I began to hear a low booming noise that got louder and louder. I thought, 'What is this?' Finally I realized that a car pulled up beside me that was vibrating with deep full volume noise. The "music" was blaring out and what I could hear with my windows up and his windows were up. And yet you could hear this low boom, boom, boom. I looked over. The person inside that car was caught up in all that sound and his body jerked in syncopation with the noise. He was driving his little car with one hand and thumping on the steering wheel with the other. Lost in his own little world. Oblivious to much else. Distracted and clueless. The light turned green and he just sat there completely out of it. Daniel says that none of the wicked will understand. They just don't understand in these last days. They don't know. Spiritual things are blocked out from their perceptions. They are entombed in their little cubical of self.

Twice in Daniel 12 God tells Daniel to "Go Your Way". You can see it in verse 9 and you can see it again in verse 13. "Go your way till the end. You will rest and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance."

You want to receive your inheritance, don't you. You don't want someone else to collect your reward. Please look at one of the last words in the book of Daniel (NIV, GWT, NLT): Inheritance. How are we rewarded? By works? Never. We inherit eternal life. Why? Because of Who we are related to! If you are a son or daughter of the King you will come into true riches. You will inherit everlasting life.

A banker thought highly of one of his clerks named John. One day the old banker called John. He said: "You have been a faithful worker. I am changing my will and will leave you $10,000. I have no intention of dying right away so I have decided to pay you interest on your money. Here is $600 for this years amount. God admires His Saints. Our inheritance is waiting...but...God pays interest! Blessings come our way every day. The highest reward for our faithfulness might not be what we will someday get for it but what we become because of it.

In other words, Stay faithful. Hold fast till the end. 1 Corinthians 15:58, Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. Never quit being a laborer with Jesus. Do what God asks you to do. Like Daniel, stand firm until the end of your allotted days.

Two years ago, My wife and I toured southern Italy. We saw what is left of that ancient city of Pompeii. You can see the spot where a Roman soldier stood and displayed a most heroic faithfulness. You remember hearing about that fatal day. Nearby Vesuvius burst out into a volcanic eruption that sent tons of ash toward the city. A Roman sentinel kept watch by the gate which looked toward the erupting mountain. Rome required her sentinels, happen what might, to hold their posts till relieved by the next guard, or set at liberty by their officers. This particular sentinel had to choose between death and dishonor.

He chose loyalty. He stood by his post. Slowly, but surely, the ashes rose on his manly form. Soon they reached his waist and eventually covered his mouth and nose. He was "faithful unto death." After seventeen centuries, they found his skeleton standing erect in a marble niche, clad in its rusty armor, the helmet on his empty skull, and his bony fingers still closed upon his spear. He was faithful until death.

We are witnessing the events of the last days. The volcanoes, storms and lightening of the last days are looming over us. The world will soon be destroyed. Hold fast to your relationship with Jesus. Dare to be a modern Daniel. Join that great prophet and ascend with him up to heaven when Jesus comes to take us all home. When the roll is called up yonder, be there!


Endnote: 1. See SDA Bible Dictionary page 736 on "Michael."

Hymn of Praise: #201,  Christ is Coming
Scripture:  Daniel 12:1-3
Hymn of Response: #216, < When the Roll is Called Up Yonder>

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