Category Archives: Daniel and Revelation

Daniel & Revelation-Part 6- Longest Time Prophecy

Then I heard a holy one speaking;…“How long will the vision be, concerning the daily sacrifices and the transgression of desolation, the giving of both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled underfoot?”

And he said to me, “For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed.”

Daniel 8:13-14

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Recap from the last study

See: Daniel and Revelation-Part 5-Longest Time Prophecy-Ram and Goat

In Daniel’s vision, he saw a vicious battle between a ram and a goat.  The two animals are easily identified as the kingdoms of Media-Persia and Greece:

The ram which you saw, having the two horns—they are the kings of  Media and Persia. And the male goat is the kingdom of Greece. The large horn that is between its eyes is the first king.

Daniel 8:20-21

So, there can be no doubt who these animals represent. History has proved the succession of these nations to be absolutely correct. The large horn of the kingdom of Greece is the first king who history has shown to be Alexander the Great.

As the prophecy predicted, Alexander’s great kingdom of Greece was divided into “four notable” generals: Ptolemy Lysimachus, Cassander, and Seleucus.

Then “from out of one of them came a little horn.”  This little horn power represented pagan Rome, the next kingdom in the succession of conquering kingdoms. This power corresponded to the iron legs in the metal image of Daniel 2 and the “dreadful beast” of Daniel 7.

These prophecies of Daniel 2, 7, and 9 are clearly interpreted from God’s own word within each chapter and further confirmed by the historians looking back on that time period.

This little horn now becomes the center of attention of Daniel.  He understood the rise and fall of the nations, but his main focus is on the little horn power and the destructive events at its hand.

The battles and events have been on a horizontal plane up to this point, but now it turns vertical and a spiritual war against the host of heaven.

 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. He even exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host, and by him, the daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast downBecause of transgression, an army was given over to the horn to oppose the daily sacrifices; and he cast truth down to the ground. He did all this and prospered

Daniel 8: 10-12

This little horn power that “grew up” greatly concerned Daniel.  At this point in his vision, Daniel heard a conversation between the two attending angels:

 Then I heard a holy one speaking; and another holy one said to that certain one who was speaking, “How long will the vision be, concerning the daily sacrifices and the transgression of desolation, the giving of both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled underfoot?

 And he said to me, “For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed.”

Daniel 8: 13-14

Even the attending angels wanted to know how long this little horn power would rule and wage its war against God’s people and even Jesus Himself (Prince of the host). The chapter ends leaving us in suspense because even though the question about “how long” has been answered as “two thousand three hundred days” we have no idea as to the starting point. Daniel is so troubled by this little horn power that he faints and becomes sick. This time period is the only part of this prophecy not interpreted….at least at this point.

And I, Daniel, fainted and was sick for days; afterward, I arose and went about the king’s business. I was astonished by the vision, but no one understood it.

Daniel 8:27

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Daniel’s Prayer

Chapter 8 ends with the words “no one understood it.”  The ram, the goat, the horns were all explained and everyone understood this part, because the angel interpreted the beasts to represent coming kingdoms that would rise and fall.   But the little horn and its time of rule remained mysterious.

Chapter 9 opens with Daniel studying another prophet-Jeremiah. We must remember that Daniel and the Jews were in captivity, but Daniel understood from the book of Jeremiah that their captivity would last 70 years and those 70 years were coming to a close:

“I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the Lord through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.”

Daniel 9: 2

Starting in verse 3, Daniel begins to pray to God in a state of great humility and confession for himself and his people (Jews) who have sinned against God.  Because of this, they did not enjoy the benefits, mercy, and protection God offers to those who keep His covenant and obey His commandments. They were in captivity!

Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.  And I prayed to the Lord my God, and made confession, and said, “O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments,..

Daniel 9: 3-4

(Note: God’s covenant can be either conditional or unconditional based on the context. In the previous passage, we see that those who love Him and keep His commandments are recipients of His covenant of mercy.)

“As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us; yet we have not made our prayer before the Lord our God, that we might turn from our iniquities and understand Your truth.

Daniel 9: 13

Such a great truth!  When we separate ourselves from Him and fail to follow His will, disaster is sure to come. But, through connecting back with this merciful God through prayer and turning from “our iniquities” we can find the path of righteousness and protection for our souls!

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As Daniel is praying, Gabriel appears.  He was the angel who interpreted the dream in Chapter 8.  This messenger of God has returned to continue the explanation of the part of the prophecy that concerned Daniel in Chapter 8.

 Now while I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God, yes, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, reached me about the time of the evening offering. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, “O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand. 

Daniel 9: 20-22

 The context of the following time prophecy is with the 2,300 days until the sanctuary will be cleansed. (Daniel 8:14).  Gabriel has come to help him understand the vision.  What vision?  It was the mysterious part of Chapter 8.  All of it was explained except for the little horn that concerned Daniel and the time part of the vision i.e. 2,300 days. We know this to be true because this is what Gabriel explains.

(Note: In our previous study, we determined through comparing Bible passages about time prophecy that a day represents a year. (e.g Numbers 14:34, etc). So we are talking about 2,300 years.

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God’s Mercy – Daniel’s People Given Time

Seventy weeks are determined
For your people and for your holy city,
To finish the transgression,
To make an end of sins,
To make reconciliation for iniquity,
To bring in everlasting righteousness,
To seal up vision and prophecy,
And to anoint the Most Holy.”

Daniel 9: 24

Th Greek word chathak word is translated “determined” which means “cut-off” or “marked out” Out of the 2,300 years, 70 weeks are cut-off or marked out for Daniel’s people (Jews). Using the day-year principle of interpretation, The 70 weeks are 490 years (70 X 7).  So out of the 2,300 years, 490 are given to the Jews to complete their purpose as God’s chosen people.  Their purpose was to follow and believe God.  To obey His laws within their heart rather than through legalism. Equally important was to bring in everlasting righteousness and end the vision and prophecy via anointing the Most Holy (Jesus)

But when was the time period to start?  When did the 2,300 days begin as well as these 70 weeks (490 years)? The answer is found in the next verse:

“Know therefore and understand,
That from the going forth of the command
To restore and build Jerusalem
Until Messiah the Prince,
There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks;
The streetshall be built again, and the wall,
Even in troublesome times.”

Daniel 9:29

Here is our starting point for the 2,300 days.  A portion of this time period is allotted or “marked out” for Daniel’s people the Jewish nation.

The starting point is the “command to restore and build Jerusalem.” This was a command still future to Daniel, but we can easily find the time and date of this command from the Bible and history!

This command to restore and build Jerusalem can be found in Ezra Chapter 7 when Artaxerxes gave the commandment in 457 BC. (See the notes at the end)

The Arrival Time of Jesus the Messiah Predicted

Starting with this date, the prophecy is unlocked.  From 457 BC until “Messiah the Prince” would be 69 weeks.  There are 483 days in 69 weeks, but using the day/year principal, we discover that 483 years after 457 BC brings us to 27 AD.  This was the date Jesus was baptized and began his ministry.  The Messiah had arrived right on time! He was “anointed” by the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove.

When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and Hesaw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

Matthew 3: 16-17

Jesus also announced at the beginning of His ministry this message:

“Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

Mark 1: 14, 15

The time of Daniel’s prophecy had been fulfilled. The Messiah the prince came right on schedule…483 years after the commandment to “restore and rebuild Jerusalem.” 

This time prophecy is further confirmed by the words of Paul (A great student of God’s word):

But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son

Galatians 4: 4

But the prophecy continues

Jesus Ministry Confirms the Covenant

Jesus’ direct ministry would cover the space of 3 1/2 years. That is half of 7 years or the midst of the week. in 31  AD Jesus died on a cruel cross for us and not for Himself, but Jesus indirect ministry would continue through His disciples for an additional 3 1/2 years.

And after the sixty-two weeks
Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself...

…Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week;
But in the middle of the week
He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.

Daniel 9: 26

Jesus’ message was primarily to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel.” first and foremost.  There are many parables and direct statements of Jesus.  He was “confirming the covenant” as predicted in this Daniel 9 prophecy.  Here is one example:

But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Matthew 15: 24

To continue with the confirmation of the covenant  God made with “Daniel’s people” (Israel) even after the “Messiah the Prince” had been “cut off,” Jesus gave specific instruction to His disciples before they “preached the gospel in all the world

These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: Do not go into the way of the Gentiles and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel

Matthew 10: 5,6

They obeyed the resurrected and ascended Christ by doing this very thing for an additional 3 1/2 years to complete the prophecy to “confirm the covenant for one week” (7 years).

In 34 AD, Stephen was stoned marking the end of the 70 weeks (490 years) cut off from the 2,300 years before the sanctuary would be cleansed.

After that point, the gospel burden went to the Gentiles and those who accepted Christ as the Messiah became the new Israel. Listen to the words of Paul confirming this understanding of the mission of Christ and the fulfillment of the 70-week prophecy:

Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles.

Acts 13:46

Paul would go on to describe the real nation of Israel and how it is identified:

And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Galatians 3: 29

 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.

Romans 2:29

Let’s review the 70 weeks (490 years) through this simple chart:

 

 

Here are the important dates:

  • 457 BC-The commandment by Artaxerxes (Ezra 7: 12-26) to “restore and rebuild Jerusalem
  • 483 years later, “Messiah the Prince” appeared right on time. This was in 27 AD when Jesus was anointed and began his ministry primarily to the nation of Israel
  • In 31 AD, Jesus was crucified (3 1/2 years after his ministry to the house of Israel began)
  • 34 AD marked the end of the 70 weeks (490 years) allotted to the nation of Israel to turn to their God. In this year,  Stephen was stoned and the disciples began to be persecuted. Shortly after, Paul would begin his ministry to the Gentiles. He called himself a preacher to the Gentiles:

 I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles

2 Timothy 1:11

  • 70 weeks (490 years) of the 2300 days (years) are used in this section of the prophecy.  1810 years remains.

1810 years from 34 AD leads us to the year 1844. Daniel was told in the longest time prophecy that at the end of the 2300 days (years) the sanctuary would be “cleansed.”  What doe this mean?  We will let the bible interpreted itself in our next study, but here is a short introduction.

The sanctuary services were instituted by God Himself.  The pattern was given to Moses.  This design is a copy of the heavenly sanctuary. Some might think there is nothing applicable to the Christian since these services ended when Jesus was “cut off” and,

“(brought) an end to sacrifice and offering.

Daniel 9:27

But, as we shall understand next time, Paul dedicated a whole book to the study of the sanctuary and its comparison to the ministry of Jesus in the heavenly sanctuary.  It is the book of Hebrews. If the earthly sanctuary and its services is a shadow of the heavenly sanctuary, then it must foreshadow the work of Jesus there in heaven.  He has gone to “prepare a place for us.”  Does this mean He is a carpenter and building mansions or is He a priest doing a service of preparation for His people?

The old sanctuary service of “cleansing” is a type of resolution and end of the sin issue. By studying closely the sanctuary services, we will see a picture of what God has planned for the return of Jesus and an end of sin which includes the conquering of the last enemy, death.

Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, “See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”

Hebrews 8:5

And for this reason, He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

Hebrews 9:15

Until next time, may the Lord bless and keep you and your family.

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Notes on the Ezra dates:

*Notes about the dates described above:

Ezra has three decrees with different dates that could be used.  Nehemiah has a date also.  But the decision as to which one to use, you must keep in mind the key words of the prophecy: “the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem.”

The four decrees are :
The decree of Cyrus (Ezra 1:1-4)
The decree of Darius I (Ezra 6:1-12)
The decree of Artaxerxes I (Longimanuus) (Ezra 7: 12-26)
The decree of Artaxerxes (Nehemiah Chapters 1 and 2)
Let’s eliminate some of the dates  based on the guiding verse of Daniel 9:25
Ezra 1-gave instruction only for the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. Said nothing about the whole city.  We can eliminate this date.
Ezra 6-simply the endorsement by Darius of the decree of Cyrus.  Only mentions the building of the “house of God.” We can eliminate this date.
Ezra 7 makes provision for complete restoration of the Jewish state, including the right to appoint magistrates and judges, hold trials, and pass and execute sentence upon violators of the own national laws. This is the date that fits the idea of “restoring and rebuilding Jerusalem.” 
Nehemiah 2-Wording has not been preserved but was simply a reinstatement of Artaxerxes original authorization to Ezra recorded in Ezra chapter 7.
Determination of the date of the decree: It was in the seventh year of Artaxerxes’ reign (Ezra 7:7,8)
Biblical evidence for the 457 BC start date:
The dates for Artaxerxes reign are well documented in the ancient sources: Greek historians, Ptolemy’s Canon
The Babylonian business tablets
Elephantine papyri from Egypt
From the above documents, we know that Xerxes was killed in late December of 465 B.C. and the reign of Artaxerxes began at the time.

Artaxerxes Reign

Fall to Fall

First year 464/463 B.C.
Second year 463/462 B.C.
Third year 462/461 B.C.
Fourth year 461/460 B.C.
Fifth year 460/459 B.C.
Sixth year 459/458 B.C.
Seventh year 458/457 B.C.

 

Therefore, the seventh year of Artaxerxes, according to Jewish reckoning, extended from the fall of 458 to the fall of 457 B. C.

Daniel and Revelation-Part 5-Longest Time Prophecy-Ram and Goat

The next three studies will unlock the most amazing prophecy in the entire Bible.  It covers over two millenniums of time.  History has shown it to be extremely accurate.  But, it doesn’t just cover history;  It reveals the work of Jesus at this very moment as He prepares a people for His soon return.

The study of Daniel chapter 8 and 9 helped transfer me from unbelief to a committed believer in Jesus. These chapters, like many others in the Old Testament, show Jesus as the promised Messiah and the soon coming King.  Like  a friend once told me, “It is all about Jesus.”

Yes, these prophecies are about the foretelling of the Messiah and His arrival His work, death, ministry, and His second coming.  His first advent happened exactly on time according to the longest time prophecy in the Bible.

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Before we start, let’s plant some stakes in the ground of Bible interpretation. There are least three main principles:

1.) Let the prophecy speak for itself and give its own interpretation.

2.)  Keep the prophetic words in context and in line with other Bible passages that talk directly to the same event.

3.) Keep in mind each vision in Daniel repeats and expands.  Each successive vision adds detail to the previous vision.

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As we open to Chapter 8 of Daniel, we notice that the time setting for Daniel’s vision is the  “third year of the reign of King Belshazzar.  This is near the end of the reign of Babylon.  Soon Babylon will fall and King Belshazzar will die when the Medes and Persians come pouring through a dried up river (Euphrates) and through doors left open due to a drunken orgy.

The last straw for King Belshazzar was the use of holy “vessels” (used in the sanctuary services) as common objects for his sin-laden party. He took what was holy and profaned it. These sanctified bowls and utensils had been taken when King Belshazzar’s grandfather (Nebuchadnezzar) took them when Jerusalem fell captive to Babylon.

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The opening passages tell us Daniel was by a river (Ulai) in Shushan when he saw the vision as follows:

Then I lifted my eyes and saw, and there, standing beside the river, was a ram which had two horns, and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher one came up last.

Daniel 8:3

This was not just a normal ram, but one that had two “high” horns, but one horn was higher than the other.  This ram pushed northward, southward, and westward and “became great.” (V. 4)

As Daniel was thinking about the ram, some action begins to take place as a male goat shows up.

And as I was considering, 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. Then he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing beside the river, and ran at him with furious power.

Daniel 8: 5-6

A ferocious battle takes place

“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.”

Daniel 8: 7

Image result for images of ram and goat fight in Daniel

The male goat was victorious and began to grow in strength

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. 

Daniel 8: 8

At this point, a new element is brought into the series of powers that would arise and have great influence upon God’s people….a little horn….

 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.

Daniel 8:9

Please notice the context, this little horn came from one of the horns.  Here is it’s origin.  It can be from no other place. This will be important as we get the interpretation because many have misinterpreted the origin of the little horn.  But the passage is clear.  It comes from one of the four horns that replaced the large horn that was broken.  History will tell us exactly who is the little horn.

Before it is identified, it describes its devastating activity.

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. He even exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host, and by him, the daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down.  Because of transgression, an army was given over to the horn to oppose the daily sacrifices; and he cast truth down to the ground. He did all this and prospered.

Daniel 8: 10-12

This little horn is the same as found in Daniel 7: 23-27 and the beast of Revelation 13! This we discovered in a previous study:

Daniel and Revelation-Part 2- The Image and the Beasts

In summary, here are the actions of the little horn:

Little Horn

  • Grew up to the host of heaven
  • Cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground and trampled them.
  • Exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host
  • Daily sacrifices were taken away
  • Place of the sanctuary was cast down.
  • Cast truth to the ground
  • Did all this and prospered

What does all this mean?  How should this dream be interpreted? What meaning does it have for us today in the 21st century?  We don’t have to worry, for its clear interpretation is in the chapter and fits in with the previous dreams and visions.

The interpretation of the ram, the goat, and the little horn begins in verse 15, but before that, we hear the discussion between two angels. The concern is over the length of time that the little horn would have as he took away the daily sacrifice, the sanctuary, and trampled upon the host of heaven.

 Then I heard a holy one speaking; and another holy one said to that certain one who was speaking, “How long will the vision be, concerning the daily sacrifices and the transgression of desolation, the giving of both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled underfoot?”

Daniel 8: 13

The answer is given straightway,

And he said to me, “For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed.”

Daniel 8: 14

2,300 days! if taken literally,  would be a little over 6.4 years. But, the key to unlocking this time period is the day-for-a-year principle.  It is used by the Lord and described throughout the Bible.  But the real proof is that it works with the time prophecies in Daniel and Revelation.

Relevant passages:

When Israel rebelled in the desert, God said that they would bear for a year of each day they spent spying out the promised land and refusing to go in.

 According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, for each day you shall bear your guilt one year, namely forty years, and you shall know My rejection.

Number 14:34 

In the portrayal of the siege of Jerusalem by Ezekiel, God commanded Ezekiel to bear the iniquities of Judah for 40 days which signified 40 years.

And when you have completed them, lie again on your right side; then you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days. I have laid on you a day for each year.

Ezekiel 4:6

Applying the day-for-a-year principle, 2,300 days equal 2,300 years.  If we knew the starting time, we would know when the “sanctuary shall be cleansed.”

But, God does not keep us in the dark. We can know the mystery  of the time period from His word.  We don’t have to rely on a fanciful interpretation, it starts in verse 15.

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The Interpretation:

 Then it happened, when I, Daniel, had seen the vision and was seeking the meaning, that suddenly there stood before me one having the appearance of a man.

Daniel 8:15

 Daniel did not understand the vision and was searching for the meaning. Then, immediately, Daniel heard a man’s voice telling Gabriel to help Daniel understand the vision.

And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of the Ulai, who called, and said, “Gabriel, make this man understand the vision.”  So he came near where I stood, and when he came I was afraid and fell on my face; but he said to me, “Understand, son of man, that the vision refers to the time of the end.

Daniel 8: 16-17

There is so much from this few verses that should not be overlooked.  First, angels can appear as men. If this is true for good angels, it is also true for bad angels for we are told,

For Satan, himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 

2 Corinthians 11: 14

Where is our safety?  It is by knowing God personally and comparing stories and events with the Bible itself.

To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

Isaiah 8:20

This we will apply as we let the angel tell us the interpretation of this vision.

Secondly, the vision refers to the time of the end.  Notice that the end of all things (i.e. earth and sin) is a specific day.  The end of time is when it ends, but the time of the end is a longer space in time when the end approaches and things begin to line up. While we won’t know the exact end of time (Jesus said, no man know the day or the hour), we can know that we are in the time of the end by the prophecies of God.

When Jesus was talking with the Pharisee and Sadducees (all religious leaders and “experts.”), he said to them:

“When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’; and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times

Matthew 16: 2-3

Just being good and wise weathermen did not mean they had the spiritual wherewithal to understand the time of the end (the approaching storm of end time events.)  As it is today, there are many smart and wise men who are in love with their own interpretations but fail to understand and accept what God’s word has to say.

knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation

2 Peter 1:20

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Gabriel begins to plainly tell Daniel that the animals and horns he saw were symbolic that occupy time in future history (at least to Daniel)  He gives him specific information as to the symbolic identity so there is no doubt.  We, too, should have no doubt about the identity of the ram, the goat, the horns, and the little horn.

“Look, I am making known to you what shall happen in the latter time of the indignation; for at the appointed time the end shall beThe ram which you saw, having the two horns—they are the kings of Media and Persia.  And the male goat is the kingdomof Greece. 

Daniel 8: 19-21

To Daniel, these events were future, but to us they are history…at least most of it.

Here is what we can be sure about so far.  No fanciful interpretation of man needed.  The Bible tells us in no uncertain terms:

1.) The vision has parts and time in space, but the point of the vision is about“what will happen in the latter time.”

2.)  The “time of the end” is “appointed.” As we will see, we can know this time, just like the wise men knew from the prophecies that the Messiah was to appear…” when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law  Galatians 4.4

3.)  The ram represents the king of Media and Persia.  God had told Daniel back in Chapter 2 that the arms and shoulders of silver also represented Media and Persia.  As mentioned at the start, the prophecies of Daniel repeat and expand. While we see clearly that the ram represents Media and Persian, we also are introduced to a male goat and the horns.

4.) The male goat represents Greece.

But there is more….

The large horn that is between its eyes is the first king. As for the broken horn and the four that stood up in its place, four kingdoms shall arise out of that nation, but not with its power.

Daniel 8:21-22

Who was this broken horn (power or king) of Greece?  History tells us clearly it was Alexander the Great.  He died at age 32 and his kingdom was divided into 4 kingdoms (Egypt, Thrace, Macedonia, and Syria).  These 4 kingdoms were ruled by the four generals of Alexander: Ptolemy, Lysimachus, Cassander, and Seleucus.

History also tells us that out of one of these horns came another power.

The next power to arise was described back in verse 9 as the little horn:

And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land.

Daniel 8:9

The angel lets us know that this little horn is a king or power, but it is going to do some dreadful things….not to other countries, but to the kingdom of God.

And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. 

And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practice, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.

Daniel 8:24

And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes, but he shall be broken without hand.

Daniel 8:25

Here is what we can be sure about so far.  No fanciful interpretation of man needed, as mentioned.  The Bible tells us in no uncertain terms:

1.) This little horn that is fierce towards God Himself begins his power at the latter time of the 4 kingdoms of Greece.

2.)  He will have a mighty power, but it won’t be his. This power will come from Satan himself!

3.) He will destroy the mighty and holy people. We might be tempted to think the mighty and holy people are the Jews, but in its historical context, we will see it is another group.

4. He will stand up to the Prince of Princes.  This can be none other than Jesus Himself.  This we will understand clearly in Chapter 9.

5.)  The little horn will prosper, but his end is “without hand.”  Just as the rock that was cut “without hand” in Chapter two.  It will be the return of Jesus that is the final demise of this little horn.

In our previous studies, we saw that this power is non-other than Pagan Rome which gave its power to Papal Rome.

Below is a summary of the dreams we have studied so far.  The principal of repeating and expanding is demonstrated  in this picture:

  • Babylon is represented by the head of God and the Lion of Daniel 7
  • Medo Persia is represented by the arms and shoulders of silver in Daniel 2 and the bear with three ribs in Daniel 7. But it also appears as the ram with two horns in Daniel 8.
  • Greece is represented by the belly and thighs of brass in Daniel 2 and the 4-headed leopard of Daniel 7.  But also the he-goat of Daniel 8
  • Rome is the legs of iron in Daniel 2, the fierce beast of Daniel 7
  • Rome is divided into ten kingdoms as represented by the 10 toes of Daniel 2 and the 10 horns of Daniel 7.
  • The little horn comes from one of the four horns  of the he-goat in Daniel 8, but is also described as the little horn of Daniel 7 that uproots 3 of the 10 horns

The little horn that comes out of one the 4 horns of Greece and makes war on God and His people can be none other than the Pagan Rome with its heathen practices.  This power was transferred to Papal Rome. During the dark ages, it put the Bible away and replaced it with tradition.  Out of the Dark Ages sprung the reformation of Jerome, Huss, Luther, and many others.  We will study more on this later.

Daniel 2, 7, 8

All of this is explained to Daniel very clearly, but the chapter ends with these words:

And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward, I rose up, and did the king’s business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.

Daniel 8:27

What was it that Daniel did not understand?  The prophecy is clearly interpreted. This we will find out in our next study of Daniel 9.

Daniel and Revelation-Part 4 Worship Restrictions

Please read Daniel 6

Summary so far:

In Daniel 2,  King Nebuchadnezzar was troubled about a dream.  None of his wise men could tell him his disturbing dream nor its interpretation. But Daniel, after a prayer session with his three friends, received the revelation of the dream and its interpretation. Confident in God, Daniel went into the King to reveal this remarkable image seen by the great King of Babylon. The absolute accuracy of Daniel’s interpretation (given by God Himself) has been proven by time and history. Only one part of it remains unfulfilled.

 The image with its multiple metals, digressing in strength and value, would eventually be destroyed by a rock. This rock cut out of a mountain would consume the whole earth. The dream revealed the rise and fall of nations that impacted or currently impact God’s people until the second coming of Jesus!

The king was so moved by Daniel’s accuracy and details of the dream and steadfast strength in the only true God of heaven that he fell on his face and prostrated himself before Daniel. His words are accurate to this day:

“Truly your God is the God of gods, the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, since you could reveal this secret.” 

Daniel 2: 47

But as time passed and the routine of daily life slowly dismissed the King’s experience.  King Nebuchadnezzar defied the God of heaven and set up an image entirely of gold.  HIs message and implications were clear.  He felt in his heart that His kingdom could not possibly end.  He was too strong! He arrogantly proclaimed, by his actions, that he was the head, body, and feet of gold! He would not accept the future end to his kingdom.

But, the three follower’s of the only true God (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) refused to bow down to the image which would break the commandments of God.  They were thrown into the fire and “one like the son of man” walked with them to protect them. This man was Jesus himself in pre-incarnate form.

This story is an example of forced religion with a death decree. Revelation also predicts a decree to “worship the image of the beast.” This we will study in the coming days.

Once again, the King saw God at work and repented, but he would fall back into pride in Chapter 4 when he stated,

“Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?” 

Daniel 4:30

By these words, he denied the words of Daniel, that God

“….changes times and seasons;
    he removes kings and sets up kings;…”

Daniel 2:21

The God of heaven bore long and patiently with King Nebucannazar, but the King was soon to humbled.  The king received one last vision about a tree, which Daniel, again,  gave the interpretation. ( See Daniel 4)

After the king’s mental breakdown where he ate grass and became like a beast for seven years, He came to his senses and was converted as predicted by the dream.

As far as we know and from indications from Daniel 7, the king was finally fully converted and became a follower of the true God of heaven.

Buried in this story is the question to us today.  Does the passage of time and the routine of life make us doubt what we know is the truth of God? Is God, perhaps, at work humbling us?  God not only saves us from eternal death, but also from ourselves and our pride while on this earth.  Don’t you agree?At the end of time, there is a group of believers who begin to doubt Christ’s promise to return and they return to the life and attitude they had before their conversion:

At the end of time, there is a group of believers who begin to doubt Christ’s promise to return and they return to the life and attitude they had before their conversion:

…knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.

‘My master is delayed,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards, 

2 Peter 3:3-4, Matthew 24: 48-49

The attitude of many who have heard about the second coming is doubt, scoffing, and to rationalize away His coming.  Notice, it is their own sinful desires which propel them into unbelief. They would rather “enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season” (Hebrews 11:25) than the daily eternal joy as found in Christ. Their reward is here on earth rather than the reward of eternal life that Jesus brings with Him.

The passage in Matthew 24: 48-49 (above) discloses followers of the master Jesus who fail to endure the passage of time and, instead, become like the wicked of the world.

As we saw last time in Daniel 5, Babylon fell to the dual kingdom of the Medes and the Persians. The night Belshazzar met his end, he made an aging Daniel third ruler in the kingdom. Of course, the kingdom was gone as was Belshazzar’s power, so it was a worthless designation.

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In our study of Daniel 6, a famous story that most 6-year-olds know,  the theme is not just about the deliverance of Daniel from the mouth of hungry lions, but the reason he was there in the first place and how it relates to Revelation.  It is about the forbidding of the freedom of worship and about the government making it illegal to worship in spirit and in truth.

As I write this, I have seen a clear example of Daniel 6 in the firing of the Washington high school coach whose custom was to take a knee and pray a prayer of thankfulness to the God of heaven after each football game. The case has gone to a circuit court and has yet to be ruled upon (at the time of this writing).

The only difference between the case of the praying coach and Daniel 6 is the death decree, but will this country ever get to the point where the death decree is given to both force false religion as shown in Daniel 3 or to prohibit true worship as found in Daniel 6? As unlikely as it sounds for a republic government, the Bible tells us, “yes!”

As we know, there is already a religion in this world that prohibits the freedom of worship.  The punishment is death. While this is a small radical sect, it is a false religion looking and working to enforce their law upon everyone.  They obtain followers only by falsehood and force.

But, this is not the beast of Revelation 13 who forces everyone on a worldwide scale.  The characteristics and identifying features as described in Daniel and Revelation do not point to Islam, but a less obvious power alive today. This we will study later.

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Daniel 6: An Example of Prohibiting True Worship

Just as predicted by Daniel the great golden empire of Babylon fell and the inferior silver kingdom of the Medes and Persians was established.  Daniel was still alive and active under the rule of the Darius (Medes and Persians) during the time of Daniel 6. In fact, Daniel was one of three governors.

 It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom 120 satraps (subordinate governors of the region), to be throughout the whole kingdom; and over them three high officials, of whom Daniel was one, to whom these satraps should give account, so that the king might suffer no loss.

Daniel 6: 1-2

Daniel distinguished himself because of God’s spirit was upon him. He became to be the most favored of the three high officials.  The king was actually thinking about making him the number one leader next to himself. This meant heirship to the throne!

Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other high officials and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. 

Daniel 6:3

Of course, this made the other two high officials angry to the point of scheming for the destruction of Daniel. But, they could not find anything bad to accuse him, so they set up Daniel for failure. It all surrounded the idea of the freedom of worship and the well-known worship habits of Daniel.

they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him. Then these men said, “We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God.

Daniel 6: 4-5

 So these governors and satraps thronged before the king, and said thus to him: “King Darius, live forever!  All the governors of the kingdom, the administrators and satraps, the counselors and advisors, have consulted together to establish a royal statute and to make a firm decree, that whoever petitions any god or man for thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions.

Daniel 6: 6-8

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 that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.

Daniel 6:10

The two other governors lied by saying that ALL the leaders under Darius desired to set aside 30 days for worship only of the King.  Of course, Daniel would never agree to this so they left him out of the discussion and tricked the king (through flattery) into signing and unchangeable law about worship.

Daniel’s habit was to pray three times a day. Quickly, the two governors went to the government (i.e. Darius) and described the “law-breaker’s” habit. This “religious” habit was against the King’s orders. Reluctantly, the king executed the prescribed penalty for breaking the law, but we know that Daniel was delivered and the hungry lions had a feast on the liars.  The tables had turned.

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Daniel 3 and Revelation 13: An Example of Forced Worship

“To you it is commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, …you SHALL fall down and worship the gold image…But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.

Daniel 3: 4-6

And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. All who dwell on the earth will worship him. ..He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.

Revelation 13:  7,15

In these two books are similar worship restrictions separated by thousands of years.  Both time periods are marked by ruling governments who enforce worship. Both have death decrees attached to the enforcement. Both have faithful followers of the true God and His word who obey the law of God rather than the law of man.

As we have seen, there are two types of government-restricted worship decrees in Daniel, which describe the days we live in and beyond.

Daniel 3, deals with forced worship. Everyone was commanded to worship regardless of their faith or beliefs. Only three knew God’s law (particularly the 2nd commandments) and worshipped in truth. ShadrachMeshach and Abednego did not obey the king’s command, the death decree was initiated, but they were delivered.

The book of Daniel and Revelation provide a forewarning to those living in the last days.   Just as in the days of Daniel and John, worship will again be an issue, but it will be a combination of forced religion by the government and worship that is illegal; both resulting in a death decree for those who do not bow to the beast. But, there will be those who stand fast in worshipping the Creator in truth.  Sadly, only a faithful few will be delivered. This might sound like an impossibility living in a democratic/republic country, but God’s word is sure and needs no fanciful interpretation.

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There is a controversy between God and the enemy of mankind, Satan.  This has been made clear in the early stages of our study in Daniel and Revelation. This controversy revolves around worship and obedience.  God can proclaim and demonstrate only the truth for the benefit of mankind, but Satan will use all the tricks of deception and confusion.  His objective is to smear the image of God and lead mankind down a path of eternal destruction. This controversy between God and Satan is the underlining theme of Daniel and Revelation, churning just below the surface of the stories and symbols.

As we move ahead in our examination of these books, we will see the truth of this conflict clearer and will begin to peek over the shoulder at the hand of the enemy, God wants to reveal the path we should take.  It is often shown in the stories of Daniel.

Everything that was written in the Holy Writings long ago was written to teach us. By not giving up, God’s Word gives us strength and hope.

Romans 15:4

Paul tells us in Romans, the “things…written” long before are to teach us and if we are committing to learning we will find “strength and hope” today.

The things that happened to those people are examples. They were written to be warnings for us. We live in the time that all those past histories were pointing to.

1 Corinthians 10:11 (ERV)

It is sobering to think that the time in which we live are the times these stories spoke. Someone has said that the stories written thousands are years ago are probably more relevant today than when they were written because they all pointed forward to the culmination of the great controversy.

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them

Hebrews 11:13

The people we are studying died in faith and knew the fulfillment of the times were “afar off.”  So as we enter into the study of end time events, it will require some faith (based on the word of God) so that we, too, can be “persuaded of them.”

In our next study, we will see a dream given to Daniel in Chapter 7 about 4 beasts which coincide with the metals of Daniel 2. More detail is layered in so that we can begin to fill in the blanks of end-time events.  The little horn power, which corresponds to the beast of Revelation 13, is introduced.  The dream was so intense that Daniel becomes sick.  This is the first time in the book of Daniel where we see Daniel in such a dramatic state….and for good reason.

Blessings until next time.

Eddie

 

 

 

Daniel and Revelation-Part 3-Babylon is Fallen

And another angel followed, saying, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”

Revelation 14:8

Please read Daniel 5

Introduction:

In the 14th Chapter of Revelation, three angles broadcast three seemingly different messages. This middle or second message makes an announcement to the whole world about Babylon falling. What is Babylon?  What does it mean that it is fallen?

Revelation 18 repeats the message of the second angel, but with a “loud voice” and added detail.  In verse 4, the urgent worldwide plea is given to all who will listen…” come out of her my people”

Who are “God’s people” and how did they get there anyway?  What happens if God’s people don’t come out? The answer is clear:

“lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.”

Revelation 18:4

These are difficult passages to understand unless we allow the book of Daniel to unlock Revelation.  Does Daniel describe the fall of Babylon and the reasons why it fell?  Indeed it does! The literal city of Babylon fell in one night as predicted by Daniel through dreams (visions) given to Him from God.  It is both historically and spiritually applicable to Revelation’s three angels and the times in which we live.

The fall of ancient Babylon happened suddenly because of the sins of King Belshazzar and an apostate people.  The sins of Babylon will be repeated 2500 years later and with similar rapidity.  The same conditions of that literal city will be found in spiritual Babylon in the time just before the return of Jesus.  The two are connected.  A prayerful study of the former is vital to unlocking the mystery of the times in which we live and positive identification of the latter so that we can “come out” of her. How can we come out of something if we don’t know what it is?

 Babylon is described in Daniel, as we have seen in the previous two studies, as the head of Gold (Chapter 2), and a lion with two wings (Chapter 7). The characteristics of these two symbols are relevant to that historical ancient city of great hanging gardens and beauty.

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Daniel Chapter 5

A Blasphemous Party!

Belshazzar the king made a great feast for a thousand of his lords, and drank wine in the presence of the thousand. While he tasted the wine, Belshazzar gave the command to bring the gold and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple which had been in Jerusalem, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. Then they brought the gold vessels that had been taken from the temple of the house of God which had been in Jerusalem; and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from themThey drank wine, and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze and iron, wood and stone.

Daniel 5: 1-4

When Jerusalem was captured, the magnificent temple of Solomon was destroyed by Babylon.  They confiscated the sacred vessels used in the sanctuary services. God instituted the sacrificial services and gave Moses the pattern for the sanctuary after He freed His people from the slavery of Egypt.  The services and the design of the temple and all the utensils were directed by God Himself through Moses.

But, when the people settled in the promised land, Solomon built the great temple.   All of the vessels were set aside for holy use, but at this party, they were used in a drunken orgy and filled with alcoholic wine as a tribute and praise to their idols created by their own hands!

King Belshazzar was the grandson of King Nebuchadnezzar’s and had heard the stories of his visions (Chapter 2) and his acknowledgment of the true God after a 7-year mental breakdown (Chapter 4):

That very hour the word was fulfilled concerning Nebuchadnezzar; he was driven from men and ate grass like oxen; his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws.

 And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever:

Daniel 4: 33-34

King Belshazzar (Co-leader with his father Nabonidus), was defiant of the true God and performed a ritual that has always brought the wrath of God.  The doomed king mixed those things God had made holy with a pagan ritual of idol worship.

A careful student of the books of Moses and the prophets demonstrates clearly this fact:  The fall of God’s people, almost always, was due to their turning away from the plain words and commands of God to the pagan practices of idol worship.  It is a mystery how God’s people could see the miracles He provided them as they left Egypt and still turn to other gods.

Scripture bears out the influence of unbelievers (aka peer pressure).   The people of God wanted to be like the heathen people they interacted with every day. This is one of the reasons, God desired them to be separate and uninfluenced by falsehood and pagan worship practices.  But, the people wanted a king like everyone else.  This was the beginning of their downfall as they desired to trust  human leaders rather than their Creator.  It was peer-pressure that watered down the plain words of God.

Is it any different today?  God’s people don’t want to be separate or different; they want to be accepted and like everyone else. But God commanded His people:

 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial?

2 Corinthians 6:14-15

So, it is no wonder that coming out of Babylon is a bold act of being different or non-compliant with  the practices that are not in accordance with the God’s will:

 “…Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.

Revelation 18:4

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God’s patience with Babylon ran out on this night as the drunken King flaunted himself before the God of Creation.  Here is our first hint of what causes spiritual Babylon of Revelation to fall.  It is disrespect and blasphemy of God’s plain words and commands and indifference to what God has proclaimed as holy. It is the mixing of pagan practices with the things God has set aside for holy use.

 “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication….

And on her forehead a name was written:

MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT,
THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS
AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS
OF THE EARTH.

Revelation 17:2, 5

Babylon, also described as a fornicating woman with “the kings of the earth”  sitting on many waters. The woman is a fallen church that has influence over kings and the whole earth. The waters upon which she sits is many people. The Bible interprets itself:

“The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues.

Revelation 17:15

As with literal Babylon, the spiritual Babylon of Revelation is a fornicator.  Fornication can be described as two things or parties that come together that do not belong together or is unholy and sinful in God’s sight.

God Stops The Party

In the same hour the fingers of a man’s hand appeared and wrote opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. Then the king’s countenance changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his hips were loosened and his knees knocked against each other. 

Daniel 5: 5-6

The laughter of the king and his boldness suddenly changed.  The blood from his face drained into the droopy expression of fear for he saw a hand without a body writing on the wall!  He was in such fear that his knees actually shook and knocked together.  He could not stand up!  Is this not the way the wicked will feel when the hour of their judgment comes?

The mystery of the writing consumes the king and he calls for his “wise men.”

The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. The king spoke, saying to the wise men of Babylon, “Whoever reads this writing, and tells me its interpretation, shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around his neck, and he shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.”

Daniel 5:7

The king makes the mistakes of his grandfather; he calls for the “fakers” (those who deceive the king into thinking they have spiritual connections and are wise.)

The fakers come into his presence….

but they could not read the writing, or make known to the king its interpretation. Then King Belshazzar was greatly troubled, his countenance was changed, and his lords were astonished.

Daniel 5:8

Long before this time, God had made it clear that we should seek God and His word alone for spiritual questions and inquiries and not card readers, astrologers, palm readers, and people who conduct seances. To do so, puts that person in a dangerous situation and opens them up to darkness and deception. It is a pagan practice:

And when they say to you, “Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,” should not a people seek their GodShould they seek the dead on behalf of the living To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

Isaiah 8: 19-20

Just as the king reached out to the wrong sources and remained in astonishment and fear so are those who would seek anyone other than God and His word.  A person’s words can be easily determined to be false or true when compared to God’s law and the testimony of those who wrote His book we call the Bible.

It is plain that the great touch stone for truth and revelation is the Bible alone. To believe otherwise is to fall into the darkness and untruth of the fakers…” there is no light in them.” In these last days upon earth, the true followers of  God and Jesus Christ are those who stay close to Jesus and His word:

Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.

Revelation 14:12

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Acknowledgement of God Before His Destruction 

The king is so troubled that he forgets about Daniel.  The queen reminds him of this great man of God,

The queen, because of the words of the king and his lords, came to the banquet hall. The queen spoke, saying, “O king, live forever! Do not let your thoughts trouble you, nor let your countenance change. There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the Spirit of the Holy God….Then Daniel was brought in before the king. 

Daniel 5: 10, 13

Daniel has proven to be an instrument in the hands of an omnipotent God.  Daniel knows that history is directed by the hand of God to counteract the work of the enemy.  He…

…removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding.

Daniel 2:21

God is in control and knows the end from the beginning

Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’

Isaiah 46:10

But, God reveals his secrets to his prophets before he acts.

Surely the Lord God does nothing, Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.

Amos 3:7

Did you catch that?  God does nothing until He reveals it ahead of time through the prophets! What assurance we have!  We can know the end from the beginning by listening to his prophets!  The Lord had not done anything to Babylon until Daniel revealed to him the mystery!

But before Daniel reveals the meaning of the handwriting on the wall, he gives the frightened king a min-sermon where he boldly reminds the king of the story of King Nebuchadnezzar in verses 17- 21. Here are the highlights:

1.) God gave King Nebuchadnezzar his kingdom and majesty, glory and honor. The king had power and was feared. Although the king was not a godly man at the beginning and was an unbeliever and a pagan, God used Him for the glory and honor of God and His people. Let this speak to us, that God’s ways are not ours, nor our thoughts His thoughts. Even the bad kings/rulers are used for God’s purposes.

2.) But when his heart was lifted up, and his spirit was hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him. Daniel 5: 20. The king had the same problem as Lucifer when he fell from heaven.  His heart was “lifted up.”  Ezekiel 28:2. Pride goes before a fall.

3.)  The king went insane when his pride got the best of him, but God used the 7 years of insanity to bring him to a point where he, “he knew that the Most High God rules in the kingdom of men, and appoints over it whomever He chooses. Daniel 5:21.  God will often allow those who would be saved to experience difficulty and strife to lead them in the path of righteousness and faith

For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.”

Hebrews 12;6

The point of this sermon is found in these words:

“But you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, although you knew all this.

Daniel 5:22

Daniel does not refer to Belshazzar as king anymore because he knows he is a mere man about to meet his end.  His own actions and rebellion brought the wrath of God upon himself even though he knew the stories and godly life of his grandfather. How many of us have led a reckless life knowing the truth about God given us by a saintly mother, father, grandmother, grandfather?

So before the king meets his doom, he is given the opportunity to know the truth. And because of this truth, he will finally, but too late, acknowledge the God of heaven.  It is even so at the time of the end when every knee will bow and acknowledge Jesus and God before their destruction:

For it is written:

As I live, says the Lord,
Every knee shall bow to Me,
And every tongue shall confess to God.”

Romans 14:11.

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Daniel Interprets the Handwriting

Daniel begins to describe the events of the evening and reads the words to the king:

“And this is the inscription that was written:

MENE,MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.

Daniel 5;25

The frightened King wonders what these words mean.  Daniel immediately reveals the meaning:

 This is the interpretation of each word. MENE: God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it;  TEKEL: You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting;  PERES: Your kingdom has been divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.”

Daniel 5:26-28

Just as predicted in Daniel 2 through the frightening image given to Belshazzar’s defiant grandfather, the kingdom of Babylon fell and was given that night over to the dual kingdom of the Medes and the Persians. Babylon had fallen in a single night!

That night as confirmed by history was October 2,  538 BC; not with a long war, but suddenly. So it will be with the Babylon of Revelation.  Its demise will be quick and sudden. The reason for its fall will be the same as literal Babylon i.e. it heart being lifted up in defiance of the God’s word and the “fornication” of the sacred with the pagan worship practices that take away the glory intended only for God.

And you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven. They have brought the vessels of His house before you, and you and your lords, your wives and your concubines, have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone, which do not see or hear or know; and the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified.

Daniel 5:23

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Babylon’s demise predicted by Isaiah

The fall of Babylon was prophetical in more places of scripture than just Daniel alone.   Isaiah gives us more information that is also relevant to the fall of the Babylon of Revelation.  Isaiah described and named the person who would bring Babylon down over 150 years before it happened.

Even while the feast was going on, the fall of Babylon had begun.  The Babylonians had felt safe in their city.  The River Euphrates, which ran through the city, provided a constant source of water. The walls were impregnable.  There was plenty of food stored up for a long siege.  The Babylonians knew that the army of the Medes and Persians was on the outside, but they felt secure. However, Cyrus, the commander of the Medes and Persians, performed an ingenious engineering feat. He had his soldiers divert the River Euphrates. Then he marched his army through the river bed underneath the wall of the city and through the inside gates which had been left open by the drunken Babylonians.  Thus the words of Isaiah written over 150 years ahead of time came to fulfillment:

“Thus says the Lord to His anointed, To Cyrus, whose right hand I have held— To subdue nations before him And loose the armor of kings, To open before him the double doors, So that the gates will not be shut:

Isaiah 45:1

If the gates had not been left open, the army of Cyrus would have been annihilated by the Babylonians from atop the inner walls that lined the river. In the same way, the great river Euphrates will be dried up to let in the conquering army.

the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.”…Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared.

Revelation 9:14, 16:12

The Babylon of Revelation:

In the last days, spiritual Babylon will commit acts similar to literal Babylon.  The cup of God’s indignation will fill up and Babylon will fall.  But, the Babylon of the last days is much more powerful and universal in its deceptive powers.   Babylon is opposed to God in word and action.  It attempts to deceive as many people as possible.  Its influence can be felt world wide. It does this by appearing to be on God’s side.  We have been warned by Jesus and Paul that this deception is so great that only complete faith in God and His word will counter act its bewitching powers:

For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.

Mark 13:22

 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 

2 Corinthians 11: 13-14

The deception of Babylon cannot be overcome by sight but must come in obedience to God by leaving Babylon and trusting in Him and His word alone.  God does not attempt to reform Babylon but rather asks His people to come out of her.

Today, she sits on many waters. We have learned from Revelation 17:15 that her influence is worldwide.  It is over peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues.

God refers to her as the mother of harlots.  She passes on her sins to her children who become harlots themselves drunken by the wine of apostasy and apathy:

MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT,
THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS
AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS
OF THE EARTH.

Revelation 17:5

It is not for Babylon that God sends his appeal. It is for those who are His people and naively have been pulled into her by her influence and mixture of truth and lies.

One day, God will remember the sins of ancient Babylon and the sins of spiritual Babylon who has made the earth drunk with her apostasy.

 “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication….And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath.

Revelation 16:9

 As we study the next chapter of Daniel (Chapter 6), the lessons from false worship are center stage.  Throughout God’s word, it is the subject of false worship versus true worship. True worship is vital!  It cannot be on our own terms and feelings.  Babylon would make use feel this way, but Jesus is very clear:

But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.

John 4:23

Our world is in a fallen state. It is filled with apathy and apostasy.

Will you pray this prayer with me?

“Lord, if I am in Babylon, please take my hand and lead me out. Amen.”

 

 

 

 

Daniel and Revelation-Part 2-The Image and the Beasts

The image of Daniel 2 unlocks the Prophecy of Daniel 7 & Revelation 13

 “I, Daniel, was grieved in my spirit within my body, and the visions of my head troubled me.  I came near to one of those who stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of these things:

Daniel 7: 15:16

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Daniel 2 Review:

In Daniel 2, King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that he did not understand and it troubled him greatly.  None of the wise men, I call the “Fakers,” could help the King! But, God worked through Daniel and his three companions to remind the king of his dream and also give him the interpretation.

This interpretation comes straight from God to Daniel and needs “no private interpretation.”

Quite simply, Daniel told the king that four (4) great powers would arise.  He identified the first two in scripture as Babylon, then the dual kingdom of the Medes and Persians.  After Daniel’s time, the other two powers appear on the scene as history tells us: Greece (Belly and thighs of brass) and finally Rome (Legs of iron).

Rome was the ruling power when Jesus was on the earth teaching and dying for our sins.  It was a Roman decree and a Roman cross upon which our Lord died.  Rome continued to rule as the disciples went forth with the power of the Holy Spirit and built up the church.

Also, during this time, the church began to receive persecution as we will see later.

The king’s dream does not stop here.  The legs of iron were followed  by the feet and toes of iron and  clay.  These symbols identifie the fall of Rome and breaking into 10 divisions. Some of these countries are strong and some are weak just as clay is weak and iron is strong.   Three countries (powers) were annihilated  and there are no current countries that have roots in these three tribes:  The Heruli, Vandals, and Ostrogoths were the 3 countries (tribes) eliminated by Rome.

The prophecy ends with these startling words:

 And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile. As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay. 

And in the days of these kings  (The divisions of Rome or what we now call Europe) the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold—the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure.”

Daniel 2: 43-45

Never again will the old divisions of Rome (Europe) be joined together. Many have tried and failed, either through wars or marriage.

Over and over, the Bible talks of the 2nd coming as a time of destruction from the Lord.  More specifically, it is described as a time of surprise to the lost and utter destruction to planet earth.

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.

2 Peter 3:10

It also includes the unsaved. Their fate is symbolized by what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah.:

…turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly;

2 Peter 2:6

“For behold, the day is coming,
Burning like an oven,
And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble.
And the day which is coming shall burn them up,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
That will leave them neither root nor branch.

Malachi 4:1

So when all the kingdoms of the earth are destroyed, God will create a new heaven and a new earth.  The”Rock” and God’s kingdom will fill the whole earth.  God will be our God and we will be his people.

“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.”

Isaiah 65:17

And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.

Revelation 21: 3

“The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure.” History has proved the dream is “certain” and we can rest in the knowledge the interpretation is correct.

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Daniel 7-Introduction

In Daniel 7, another dream or vision is given.  But, this time, it is given directly to Daniel.  Like king Nebuchadnezzar, the dream troubles Daniel and he does not know what it means. This time, it is interpreted by the attending angels.

Like Daniel 2, we will let the Bible interpret itself and then we will check it out through history.

In this vision of Daniel, we will see that God has a way of revealing the truth and the future in a way as to prepare the heart to receive it.

In Daniel 7 God uses the principle of repeating and expanding about the meaning of the prophecies.  We will see the same four powers of Daniel 2, but with more detail about the nature of the beast powers and we will see the addition of a terrible and strong entity arise that comes up (not from the sea) but from one of the powers described in Daniel 2.  It does not get its power from conquering wars over people and multitudes (illustrated by the symbol of the sea)

This vision of Daniel 7 is like meat and not milk.  It will be new to many who read this and you might not be ready to receive it or digest it.  But, the words are certain and are supported by the Bible and history.  As we begin, let’s pray for the Spirit of Truth and let the story reveal itself to us.  Truth from God’s word is always meant for good, for life, and for comfort.  Keep in mind, we have a loving and forgiving Savior who desires us to find peace and assurance in Him and his revelation.

OK?  Let’s begin.

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Daniel 7-Part 1

The book of Daniel 7 is about 4 animals (kingdoms) that give fear and wonder to Daniel.  Daniel 2 was about four metals (kingdoms). But, in Daniel 7, Daniel is particularly interested in  the fourth beast and the little horn power.  This is the first time we see this “little horn power” in scripture.  The interpretation is given to Daniel and it goes far beyond the time he is living even until the coming judgment of planet earth.

In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions of his head while on his bed. Then he wrote down the dream, telling the main facts.

Daniel 7:1

This first verse is important because it gives the time and Daniel’s dream.  The first year of Belshazzar would be 540 BC.

Here is what Daniel saw that year:

“I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the Great SeaAnd four great beasts came up from the sea, each different from the other.”

Verse 2 and 3

As the beasts are described, they look something like below.  Very strange!  Wouldn’t you agree?  They are animals with something unusual about each.

When we read and study the Bible, we should read it as literal unless there is some overall reason to apply symbolism.  Here we have good reason to apply the rule of symbolism because of the unusual and unimaginable description of the beasts. Even more compelling is the fact that there is an interpretation of the beasts given by the attending angels. To think in literal terms would lose the message God is giving. Is that a fair statement?  I will explain as we go along.

To help us with the beginning of this prophecy, let’s look at some passages that unlock the symbolic meaning of this prophecy and others.  In Daniel’s vision, he is seeing “the four winds stir up the Great Sea.” 

What does the four winds and the Great Sea represent? We can get our answer from Revelation where these same beasts appear.  Daniel explains Revelation and vice versa.  Perhaps, this is why the book of Daniel ends with these words,

“But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end.”

Daniel 12: 4

The book of Revelation had to be written and its message understood in the light of Daniel and history before these books could be “opened” 

Revelation describes the four winds in this passage:

After these things I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree…”Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.”

Revelation 7:1, 3

Here is a picture of 4 angels symbolically holding back winds that would harm the earth, sea, or trees. What does that sound like? Revelation does not leave any doubt

From this passage in Revelation, we can see that the 4 winds represent turmoil, strife, war, and destruction.  Another passage supports this interpretation:

 Thus says the Lord of hosts:

“Behold, disaster shall go forth
From nation to nation,
And a great whirlwind shall be raised up
From the farthest parts of the earth.”

Jeremiah 25:32

Even more important is the self-interpretation from this chapter about the beasts.  In its interpretation we can see that logically the winds and sea would indeed represent nations arising out of turmoil and wars:

What are the four beasts?  Let’s let the angel of Daniel 7 tell us:

“Those great beasts, which are four, are four kings which arise out of the earth.”

Daniel 7:17

If four kings or kingdoms arise, where do they come from?  The sea of people and the winds of war.

So early in this prophecy, we can conclude that Daniel is seeing four kingdoms arise from the many people and the results of conquering wars.  King Nebuchadnezzar also saw these four kingdoms:  Babylon, Medes/Persia, Greece, and Rome.  Then Rome is divided into 10 kingdoms (toes in Daniel 2 and heads in Daniel 7).  It is in the days of these 10 kingdoms (countries) that our Lord returns. Never in history could mankind see how close the 2nd coming is until these books were opened.

Image result for Comparison of Daniel 2 and daniel 7

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Daniel 7 goes on to describe the four beasts in more detail. They correspond to the four metals of Daniel 2, but God is adding more detail and explanation.

 The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings. I watched till its wings were plucked off; and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand on two feet like a man, and a man’s heart was given to it.

Daniel 7: 4

2347-1st-Beastx220

The wings on the lion represent the rapidity by which Babylon conquered its foes under king Nebuchadnezzar.  But, the wings are plucked and a man’s heart is given to it.  The boldness of the Lion wanes as it comes to a close of its earthly domination.  The man’s heart compared to the Lion illustrates the weakness that came about as it lay dormant and exposed caused by wealth and luxury.

Image result for images of ancient babylon and the lion

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It is now a perfect target for the next power to arise and take its place.  This power is the dual kingdom of the Medes and the Persians and is represented by the bear that raised itself up on one side and had three ribs between its teeth.

And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh.

Daniel 7:5

1198-2ndBeastx94

Eventually, the Persians dominated the kingdom and became stronger than the  Medes.  Like a bear putting his weight on his strong side, the Persians came up “last” as we will see in the prophecy in the 8th Chapter.  The Persians also become the dominant power.  The command to devour much flesh was obeyed and it left nothing but three bones.  These represent the three conquests of the Medes and Persians:  Babylon, Lydia, and Egypt

This power represented by the bear ruled from the conquest of Babylon by Cyrus in 538 BC to the battle of Arbela in 331 BC.  A time span of  207 years.  It fell to the next kingdom represented by the four-headed leopard with four wings of a fowl,

After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it.

Daniel 7:6

1200-3rdBeastx94

If two wings represent speed, then 4 wings on the quick-footed leopard must represent an extremely rapid course of conquests for the next kingdom of Greece under Alexander the Great.  This corresponds with the Daniel 2 prophecy and history.

Alexander has no parallel in historical annals for suddenness and rapidity.

Rollin, Ancient History, b.15, sec.2, gives the following brief synopsis of Alexander’s marches:-

“From Macedonia to the Ganges, which river Alexander nearly approached, is computed at least eleven hundred leagues. Add to this the various turnings in Alexander’s marches; first, from the extremity of Cilicia, where the battle of Issus was fought, to the temple of Jupiter Ammon in Libya; and his returning from thence to Tyre, a journey of three hundred leagues at least, and as much space at least for the windings of his route in different places; we shall find that Alexander, in less then eight years, marched his army upward of seventeen hundred leagues [or more than fifty-one hundred miles], without including his return to Babylon”

Alexander the Great succeeded his father Philip II at age 20 and lived to reign only about 11 1/2 years more.  He died at age 32.  His life spent in the fast lane of wars and debauchery.

The four heads of the leopard represent  the division of Alexander’s empire among his four leading generals:

Cassander (Macedon and Greece in the west)

Lysimachus (Thrace and parts of Asia on the Hellespont and Bosphorus in the North

Ptolemy (Egypt, Lydia, Arabia, Palestine, and Coele Syria in the south)

Seleucus (Syria and all the rest of Alexander’s dominions in the east.)

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Next to arise on the world scene is Rome illustrated as the “dreadful” and terrible beast.”  It was different from the other powers in a way that is more than mere appearances.

After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.

Daniel 7: 7

There is not a beast in nature that Daniel can use to describe this fourth beast and how “dreadful and terrible” it is.  It’s great teeth devour and “brakes” to pieces the other countries.  It has  10 horns that correspond to the 10 toes of part iron and part clay of Daniel 2.

fourth beast

The nature of Rome was cruel.  They perfected the tortuous death of crucifixion believed to have been invented by the Persians.  Death by crucifixion could last up to 6 days!  Rome merciless stamped on and conquered all that would oppose it.

It was on a cruel Roman cross that Jesus took the shamefulness of our sins upon himself.  This act by the Creator was the ultimate demonstration of the sacrificial love for His creation.  It was part of the good news.  But, the fact that Jesus arose a victor over the death of the cross that the good news message is most nearly complete.  The other part of the good news is that Jesus will one day return to change us and to rescue us forever from the pull and presence of sin.  The good news cannot be captured by a list of events in the life of Jesus.   it is an experience initiated and propelled by the Lord and the work of the Holy Spirit.

Like Daniel, let’s turn our attention to the little horn that arose:

And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows.

Daniel 7:20

Who was this power that captured the attention of Daniel?  This horn had eyes and a mouth that spoke great things and was more stout than the others.

This horn displaces three horns and speaks great things.  Like the 10 toes of Daniel’s image, it is in the day’s of these kings, that God will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed.  His kingdom will consume the entire earth.  This is the second coming of Jesus!

Revelation 13 is a composite of the beasts found in Daniel 7:

Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name.  Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion

Revelation 13: 1,2

Image result for image of Revelation 13

This little horn power that speaks great things exists today! It will bring the final deception of many people on this earth.  It is the beast of Revelation 13. In the next post, we will discover the identity of the little horn and how it is described in Revelation 13 as the Beast that the “whole world wonders after.”

Despite the little horn’s power, we can trust in the One who is greater.  Terrible times will come, but we can find peace in our Lord both day and night.

“By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life.”

Psalm 42:8

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Daniel & Revelation-Part 1 A Dream of the Future

“When all this comes true—and it surely will—then they will know that a prophet has been among them.”

Ezekiel 33:33

Have you ever had a dream you could not remember? Did you feel that the dream was very important, but you just could not remember it?

This is exactly what happened to an ancient king.  His name was King Nebuchadnezzar.  In his second year as king he “had dreams” which troubled him so much that he could not sleep.  His story is found in Daniel 2.

The Fakers

He needed help in remembering his dream so he sent for the people who claimed to know about dreams and spiritual matters:

Then the king gave the command to call the magicians, the astrologers, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans to tell the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king. And the king said to them, “I have had a dream, and my spirit is anxious to know the dream.”

Daniel 2: 2-3

These wise men tried to impress the king so they spoke in his language “Aramaic” and made a simple request,

“Tell your servants the dream, and we will give the interpretation.”

Daniel 2:4

Here is the first sign, these guys were fakes.  If they were so knowledgeable of matters of the spirit, etc., why did they not know ahead of time that the king did not remember the dream?  They were not even good listeners because the king was anxious to “know the dream.”  This meant he couldn’t remember the dream!

They were anxious to give an interpretation and get back to whatever they were doing, but they did not realize that the true God of heaven would soon separate the true prophets from the false prophets.

These men had something new thrown at them.  The king had never before asked them to tell him the dream.  Usually, he would tell them a dream and they would interpret.  Interpretation is easy.  You can make it up so it sounds plausible. But reading the mind of someone else is something altogether different.  Only God has that ability.

“My decision is firm: if you do not make known the dream to me, and its interpretation, you shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made an ash heap.  However, if you tell the dream and its interpretation, you shall receive from me gifts, rewards, and great honor. Therefore tell me the dream and its interpretation.”

Daniel 2:5-6

They couldn’t believe what they were hearing so they requested again that the king would tell them the dream,

 “Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will give its interpretation.”

Daniel 2:7

But the king was wise to their tricks and he said,

“I know for certain that you would gain time, because you see that my decision is firm: if you do not make known the dream to me, there is only one decree for you! For you have agreed to speak lying and corrupt words before me till the time has changed. Therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that you can give me its interpretation.”

Daniel 2:8-9

The fakers then informed the king that his request was not fair.  But, unwittingly they said a couple of things that were true:

“There is not a man on earth who can tell the king’s matter; therefore no king, lord, or ruler has ever asked such things of any magician, astrologer, or Chaldean.”

Verse 10

Truth #1-There IS no man “on earth” who can help the king.  Only the Omnipotent God of heaven has the answers about the future.

“…there is no other who can tell it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.”

Verse 11

Truth #2 -The “gods” do not dwell with flesh.  Why?  Because they are not real.  They are not alive.  They are dumb idols, but the Creator Himself would one day become flesh and dwell among flesh.  In fact, He would come in the flesh:

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:14

None of this mattered to the king. He was extremely angry.  He was furious and made a decree to have all the wise men killed. In the king’s mind, he knew they were all fake, they would attempt to deceive him and therefore they were useless to him.

 For this reason the king was angry and very furious, and gave the command to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. So the decree went out, and they began killing the wise men; 

Verse 12-13

In today’s world, there are many who claim to know more than they really do and surprisingly there are many who know the true God who are given wisdom by Him.  They are confident and humble in their knowledge and wisdom.  Daniel was such a man.

True Prophets

Daniel asked the king for more time, which was obviously granted even though the fakers wanted time too, but I think the king had heard of the God of Daniel and gave them extra time expecting they would deliver.

Daniel went back to his three friends and they had a prayer session and sought God.

“Then Daniel went to his house, and made the decision known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, that they might seek mercies from the God of heaven concerning this secret, so that Daniel and his companions might not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. So Daniel blessed the God of heaven.”

Verse 17-19

These four men, asked for mercies regarding the secret.  The secret was revealed to Daniel.  His first action?  “Bless the God of heaven.”  May we never be in such a haste that we fail to stop to thank our Creator for His mercies.  There is a blessing for us when we take time to thank God.

Daniel’s prayer of blessing to the God of heaven is below. In his blessing, he describes God’s abilities.

Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
For wisdom and might are His.
And He changes the times and the seasons;
He removes kings and raises up kings;
He gives wisdom to the wise
And knowledge to those who have understanding.
He reveals deep and secret things;
He knows what is in the darkness,
And light dwells with Him.

“I thank You and praise You,
O God of my fathers;
You have given me wisdom and might,
And have now made known to me what we asked of You,
For You have made known to us the king’s demand.”

Verses 20-23

Notice the things Daniel confirms about God:

1.) Wisdom belongs to God

2.) He changes “times” and “seasons”

3.) He sets up kings and removes kings

4.) He gives wisdom to the wise  (Notice who gets the wisdom.  It is the wise! Who gets the knowledge?  Those who have understanding!)

5.) He reveals secret things (This fits with our opening verse from Amos 3:17-He reveals His secrets to His servants the prophets.)

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The Prophets Work

Next, Daniel intercedes for the wise men, even the fakers!  He could have just saved himself and his three friends, but the character trait of the person who knows the true God of heaven is to save life, not destroy it, even if the “wise men” are fakers.

Therefore Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to destroy the wisemen of Babylon. He went and said thus to him: “Do not destroy the wise men of Babylon; take me before the king, and I will tell the king the interpretation.”

Verse  24

Daniel is taken in before king Nebuchadnezzar.  The king asks,

“Are you able to make known to me the dream which I have seen, and its interpretation?”

Verse 26

Before Daniel answers the king, he demonstrates, with power, the comparison between the fakers and the true God in heaven.

“The secret which the king has demanded, the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, and the soothsayers cannot declare to the king.  But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days.”

Verse 27

Daniel has a mini-sermon before he starts to reveal to the king what he wants to know.  The mini-sermon is this:  There is a God in heaven (He is real).  He reveals secrets or things that man on earth would not know.  These secrets are given to man through God’s servants the prophets.  It is not only for the prophets benefit, but also it is for the benefit of the ones who are hearing the message from God through His prophets.

I can image the king on the edge of his seat.  He can sense through Daniel’s confidence that what he is about to hear is truth and there is no guile (falsehood or fakery) from the mouth of this prophet of God.  It is one man (Daniel) and his God (Jehovah) in comparison to the many astrologers, magicians, and soothsayers.

Truth does not come through the majority.  It comes from the God of heaven and His prophets. It has always been a testimony to the power of God, that one with God is stronger than the majority.

Daniel begins to explain the dream:

Your dream, and the visions of your head upon your bed, were these: As for you, O king, thoughts came to your mind while on your bed, about what would come to pass after this; and He who reveals secrets has made known to you what will be.  But as for me, this secret has not been revealed to me because I have more wisdom than anyone living, but for our sakes who make known the interpretation to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your heart.

Verse 28-30

The dream is for the benefit of both the prophet (who makes known the interpretation) and the one who is receiving the interpretation so that the thoughts of the heart may be revealed.  Notice the phrase:

“for OUR sakes…”  

What a wise and powerful Creator!  Daniel is telling the king that God’s revealing of the dream and God’s secrets are for both the speaker and the hearer!

When I read Bible prophecy, it has a strange effect of letting me know where my heart stands with God.  The effect can be fearful or it can be comforting.  All people have the invitation to move from fearful (lost) to comforting (saved from the penalty of sin i.e., eternal death)

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Daniel tells they king the topic of the dream.  It is about

“….what will be in the latter days.”

“The term “latter days” is simple to understand in the context of the dream.  Since this dream will be about the “latter days” of the kingdom of Babylon and its kings we can use it in that context.  But, it is also about the end of all kingdoms as well.  So the “latter days” can also refer to the end of time and this earth as we know it.

The Dream Revealed

To the amazement of the King, Daniel begins to recount the dream for him.  As he talks, the king starts to remember and cold chills run throughout his body:

“You, O king, were watching; and behold, a great image! This great image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome.  This image’s head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighsof bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay.You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.”

 “This is the dream.”

Verses 31-36

An artist’s idea of the image the king saw:

Daniel 2

The king must have been amazed as he recalled each detail.   Before the king could say anything, Daniel began the interpretation.  We will let Daniel interpret for us.  Then we will look back at history to see if it was true.  Finally, we will look into the future using the foundation of the interpretation.

Here is how Daniel interpreted the king’s dream as God showed it to him:

“Now we will tell the interpretation of it before the king. You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory; and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all—you are this head of gold.”

Verses 36-38

So what does the head of Gold represent?  Daniel said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “you are this head of gold.”

Nebuchadnezzar and the kingdom of Babylon are represented in both time and space as the “head of gold.”  Could there be any other interpretation with something so plainly spoken?

The King must have been proud as he thought, even if just for a moment, that he was the top and the most valuable metal in the image.  But, he was soon to be disappointed.  Daniel continues with the interpretation of the great image,

The Interpretation

But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth.

Verse 39

As great and wonderful as was King Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon, it would fall to another.  Not just another, but an inferior kingdom. Just as silver is of less value and strength as gold, the next kingdom was to be inferior.

The Second Kingdom

Does the Bible tell us who this next kingdom was to be?  Yes!  The story can be found in Daniel 5.  It is an interesting story about Belshazzar (The son of Nebuchadnezzar and the then current king of Babylon) The king and his subjects were having a feast with debauchery, and disrespect for things God had made holy.  During the drunken sacrilegious feast, a man’s finger appears and writes a message on the wall.

This supernatural act made the king’s “countenance” change.  Like his father Nebuchadnezzar, he was troubled as to what it meant so he called for the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers.   Remember them?  They are the fakers.   Just as they could not see Nebuchadnezzar’ s dream. They were unable to read the writing and make an interpretation.  Sound familiar?

handwriting on the wall

Fortunately for the king, the queen remembered Daniel.  She told the king,

There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the Spirit of the Holy God. And in the days of your father, light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, were found in him; and King Nebuchadnezzar your father—your father the king—made him chief of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans,and soothsayers. Inasmuch as an excellent spirit, knowledge, understanding, interpreting dreams, solving riddles, and explaining enigmas were found in this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar, now let Daniel be called, and he will give the interpretation.”

Daniel 5:11-12

Daniel’s interpretation confirms what he had told King Nebuchadnezzar with the image of God falling to an inferior kingdom,

And this is the inscription that was written:

MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.

This is the interpretation of each word. MENE: God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it; TEKEL: You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting; PERES: Your kingdom has been divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.

Daniel 5:26-28

The king was slain and Babylon fell to the dual kingdom of the Medes and Persians led by Cyrus and Darius.

That very night Belshazzar, king of the Chaldeans, was slain.  And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.

Daniel 5: 30-31

The Medes and the Persians were represented by the arms and shoulders of silver.  (Two arms-two kingdoms)

It is interesting and shows the foreknowledge of God as to how Babylon fell and the way the enemy was able to get into the walled city.

Also, before Cyrus was born, God called him by name as the conqueror of Babylon

Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut…

Isaiah 45:1

So how was Cyrus and Darius able to get into the walled city of Babylon?

*They dried up the river Euphrates (a familiar prophetic term in Revelation! )! This diverted the river that ran under the walls and through the city.  Along the river within the city was another set of walls with gates. The citizens were protected should someone swim in under the outer walls.  The enemy swimmers would then need to get through the second set of gates.   But on the night of Babylon’s fall, the gates had been left open due to drunken feast!  So the Medes and Persians were able to walk under the walls and up the banks through the leaved gates and into the city!

God is so amazing!  He knows the end from the beginning!

* See pages 265, 266 of Volume 1 of the book The Great Events by Famous Historians in the chapter on “Conquests by Cyrus The Great B.C. 538,” by George Grote. — University Edition, copyrighted 1905, by The National Alumni.
See also The Golden Age, as of June 7, 1922. page 572.

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Third Kingdom

But, there was to arise yet a third kingdom represented by the belly and thigh of brass.

“And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.”

Verse 39

The deciding point in the fall of the Persians
was
reached on the field of Arbela, B.C. 331, in which the Grecians,  were entirely victorious; and Alexander
became absolute lord of the Persian empire.

More could be said on this third kingdom, but let’s move on.  We will talk more about each kingdom as we study the prophecies that provide more detail.

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The Fourth Kingdom

The events really pick up when the powerful fourth kingdom comes on the scene,

And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others. 

Verse 40

History tells us that this fourth power of legs of iron is none other than the “iron monarchy” of Rome.  Rome became the world power after it crushed the third kingdom of Greece.

Rome was in power during the life of Christ on earth and continued on for hundreds of years afterward.

4th Kingdom-Forever Division

But the prophecy does not stop there,  there was to be a time when this iron would mix with clay (partly strong and partly weak substances)

It is interesting that Rome eventually was divided into 10 divisions by the invading nomadic tribes.  These divisions became the modern day countries of Europe.  Three of these 10 divisions were eventually annihilated so that there was only 7, but even those events are part of the prophecy were will study later in Daniel and Revelation.  Those divisions of Rome are as follows:

10 Toes or Divisions of Rome
Heruli
Ostrogoths
Vandals
Franks
Visigoths
Burgundians
Lombards
Anglo Saxons
Alamanni
Seuvi

map_europe476 (1)

Daniel continues on and informs the king of something that stands to this day.  These divisions of Rome would attempt to unite, but as iron does not mix with clay, they would never unite:

 Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay. And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile. As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay. 

Verses 41-43

This 4th kingdom would be divided and would never reunite.  Throughout recent history, there have been attempts to reunite the old divisions of  Europe, but it has always failed and it always will because the God of Heaven has spoken. Those who have tried were:

 Charlamagne, 8th Century;

Charles V l6th Century;

Louis XIV l5th Century;

Napoleon, l9th Century;

Kaiser Wilhelm and Hitler, 20th Century.

All of these men invested enormous
resources and countless lives in their efforts to unite Europe, but each one failed. Even today the leaders
of Europe are trying to unite as one, but God says this will never happen!

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Our Day-The Soon Coming Eternal Kingdom

Daniel ends the interpretation of the dream with a dramatic ending!

You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.

Verse 34, 35

Jesus is the Rock that was cut out without hands.

For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.

I Corinthians 10:4

Daniel takes the king and the reader of this chapter to a time when God would set up his kingdom that would never end:

 And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.

Verse 44

My Friends, we are living in the “days of these kings.” The old divisions of Rome!

When Jesus returns the earth is melted and no trace of anything left on this earth will be found.  Then He will make a new heaven and a new earth.

About 500 years before Jesus came to this earth the first time as a lamb to pay for the sins of a planet in rebellion, we see a prophecy concerning his second coming when he comes to “break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms.” It will stand forever!

 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

Matthew 24:30

When Jesus returns the earth passes away.

Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

Matthew 24:35

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

II Peter 3:10

And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”

Mark 4: 62

When God destroys the earth, he creates a new heaven and a new earth that will last forever:

“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;
And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.

Isaiah 65:17

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Daniel tells the king,

“The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure.”

Verse 45

After hearing Daniels recalling of the king’s forgotten dream and the interpretation, there wells up in the heart of this heathen king both fear and joy!

Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face, prostrate before Daniel

Verse 46

This is what each of us should do as we see that God is in control of the history of planet earth and of our own lives.  He knows the exact number of hairs on your head.  He is all powerful but most important, He loves each one of us so much as to send His son to pay for the sin we have committed.

His law, that can never be changed, shows we are sinners and deserve to die for eternity, but God makes a substitutionary sacrifice (atonement) for us so that we might live and enjoy the greatest gift he could have given us:  Life to the uttermost!

The king understood that there is a God in Heaven who reveals secrets

The king answered Daniel, and said, “Truly your God is the God of gods, the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, since you could reveal this secret.”

Verse 47

I hope you have been blessed by this study.  Next, we will look at a vision given to Daniel that repeats this dream but expands it.  He will receive other visions that will demonstrate that God knows the end from the beginning.