“And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:19).
Many people who read the Bible find the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament and the Book of Revelation in the New Testament mysterious and off-putting, and do not even try to study and understand them. As a result they miss out on some of the most important prophecies in the Holy Scriptures — and understanding Bible prophecy is vital if we are to understand what is happening in our world today and what lies just ahead, for as Amos the Prophet tells us:
“Surely the Lord GOD does nothing, Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7).
If we do not understand Bible prophecy the world will look like it is spinning out of control. God will seem like an absentee landlord rather than a loving Father, and many people will lose faith and will become practical deists, or even agnostics and atheists. Lack of interest in and understanding of Bible prophecy has most certainly contributed to the rapidly growing number of “nones” in the population who do not see religious faith as at all important to their lives.
The Book of Daniel and the Book of Revelation are so important that Jesus (Hebrew: Yeshua), speaking about the Book of Daniel said, “whoever reads, let him understand” (Matthew 24:15).
And we are told by the apostle John that the Book of Revelation is, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants” (Revelation 1:1).
God wants His servants to read and understand the Book of Revelation. So much so that the Book of Revelation is the only Book of the entire Bible that specifically promises a blessing to those who read the book or hear the book read, “and keep those things written in it”:
“Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it” (Revelation 1:3).
If Jesus instructs his disciples to read and understand the Book of Daniel, and if the Book of Revelation is “The Revelation” not of John, but “of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants,” then why are the vast majority of those professing to be God’s servants not carefully studying these two books? Instead, why do they seem to be avoiding them?
The Book of Revelation provided comfort for its first century readers, guidance for Christians over the centuries, and presents us with a panoramic view of End Time events and the coming of the Kingdom of God on earth. In Revelation chapter 19, we have the Second Coming of the Messiah Jesus. Revelation chapter 20, explains the Millennial Kingdom and the resurrections of the dead. Revelation chapter 21, and Revelation chapter 22 describe the eternal Kingdom of God when it comes in its fullness following the Millennium. Then, in Revelation chapter 22, verses 6 and 7 we read,
“These words are faithful and true.” And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place.”
Finally, in verse 7, a blessing is again promised by Jesus:
“Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book” — the Book of Revelation.
THE COST OF IGNORING THE BOOKS OF DANIEL AND REVELATION
From the first promise of redemption in Genesis 3:15, all the way through the Holy Scriptures to the final chapter of the last book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation, the scarlet thread of redemption promises that Paradise Lost in Genesis chapters 1, 2 and 3 will become Paradise Restored in Revelation chapters 20, 21 and 22. Paradise restored is called the Kingdom of God in the Scriptures, and Christians have been taught in the Lord’s Prayer to pray, “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
The coming of the Kingdom of God on earth is the theme of the Book of Daniel, and the Book of Daniel is central to the Book of Revelation. In fact, the seventh chapter of the Book of Daniel is at the heart of the Book of Revelation. The Book of Revelation expands upon and explains the revelations made to the Prophet Daniel more than six hundred years earlier, and many Bible scholars agree that chapter 10 of the Book of Revelation specifically references the Book of Daniel as the “little book.” That is why Jesus is so anxious for his disciples to read and understand both the Book of Daniel and the Book of Revelation, and promises a blessing to those who read or hear, and keep those things written in the Book of Revelation.
Knowledge of these two prophetic books are key to understanding the End Times, persevering in the faith through the rise of antichrist and the Great Tribulation which will soon overtake the world, avoiding the mark of the beast, and to proclaiming the Gospel or Good News of the Kingdom of God “in all the world as a witness to all the nations” before the end comes (Matthew 24:14).
The early Christians were Premillennialists, eagerly looking forward to the return of King Messiah and the establishment of the Millennial Kingdom on earth. The word “millennium” is simply a Latin word meaning thousand years. All completely orthodox Christians believed this before the time of Constantine when the Roman Empire coopted the Messianic Jesus movement that it could not destroy through persecution.
In his Dialogue with Trypho, Justin Martyr (c. 160 CE) wrote:
“I and every other completely orthodox Christian feel certain that there will be a resurrection of the flesh, followed by a thousand years in the rebuilt, embellished, and enlarged city of Jerusalem, as was announced by the prophets Ezekiel, Isaiah, and others.”
Sadly though, most Christians today do not even know that there will be a Kingdom of God on earth and a return to Eden. Instead, they think that Christianity is all about “going to heaven when you die,” despite the fact that the Holy Scriptures nowhere teach that God’s people spend eternity in heaven.
Rather than holding to the premillennial hope of the ancient Christians, most post-Constantine Christians have been Amillennialists (meaning, No Millennium), denying the promise of Jesus that the meek will inherit the earth, and believing that Jesus returns to earth only to conduct the Judgement and then to take the saved back to heaven with him. Premillennialism, among other Biblical teachings, has all too often been dismissed with the wave of a hand as “a Jewish heresy,” despite the fact that we worship the God of the Jews, profess to be disciples of the Jewish Messiah, and claim to pattern our faith and lives on the teachings of the Jewish Scriptures (both the Old and New Testaments are thoroughly Jewish).
How has this happened? How has mainstream Christianity gotten so far off course?
It has happened because what passes for mainstream Christianity today is really a synthesis of Biblical Christianity with ancient Greek philosophy. Contemporary Christianity has been heavily impacted by Plato and other pagan Greek philosophers, until we have come to the point where mainstream Christian theology owes as much or more to Platonism than it does to Biblical revelation and Semitic thought. Rather than being formed by the Bible in its Semitic historical and cultural context, clergy and laity have all too often been formed in later theological systems which are no more than human constructions, and have been programed to read the Bible through the lens of these theological systems.
We have to lay aside these human theological schools of thought and the traditions of men, and go back to the Bible, back to the Word of God written, and seek to understand God’s Word in its proper historical and cultural context. And, in order to understand the inspired Scriptures correctly we must use the Tanakh, commonly called the Old Testament, as a foundation for our faith in Jesus as the Messiah of Israel. We must, therefore, interpret the New Testament Scriptures in light of the teachings of the Old Testament which was the Bible of the early Christians, recognizing a complete harmony in all of the Holy Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation, thereby achieving sound doctrine (John 10:35b).
As Cyril of Jerusalem (c. 313-386 CE), a fourth century leader of the Christian community in the holy city wrote,
“For concerning the divine and holy mysteries of the faith, not even a casual statement must be delivered without the Holy Scriptures; nor must we be drawn aside by mere plausibility and artifices of speech. Even to me, who tell you these things, give not absolute credence, unless you receive the proof of the things which I announce from the Divine Scriptures. For this salvation which we believe depends not on ingenious reasoning, but on demonstration of the Holy Scriptures” (Catechetical Lecture 4; 17).
WHAT IS THE KINGDOM OF GOD?
The Kingdom of God is a central theme in the Holy Scriptures in general, and in the New Testament Scriptures in particular. “The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached” (Luke 16:16).
But what is the Kingdom of God?
"By Christians everywhere working together to bring about world peace, tolerance and brotherly love, the Kingdom of God may at last be established in the hearts of men.” Have you ever heard people speak that way about the Kingdom of God? I certainly have!
Perhaps you have heard others say something like, “The Kingdom of God is the N._______ Church [you can fill in the blank with the denomination]. The Church is the Pearl of Great Price. Do what ever you have to do, make whatever sacrifice necessary, but enter the N._______ Church, for the N.______ Church is the Kingdom of heaven.”
Or perhaps: “The Kingdom of God is within you. When you accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Saviour the Kingdom of God comes into your heart.”
From still others you may have heard, “Accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Saviour so when you die you can enter God’s Kingdom in heaven and dwell with Him forever in the heavenly mansions.”
I have heard clergymen and sincere believers say all of these things about the Kingdom of God from the pulpit, in print, over the airwaves, and in conversations. Yet, these views are all very different. They cannot all be right. Are any of them right? Why is there so much confusion about something as fundamental as the Kingdom of God?
Why? Because since most Christians have rejected — or perhaps never really heard — the Gospel that Jesus actually proclaimed, they have had to replace it with something else. They have had to invent another “gospel,” which is really a counterfeit gospel (Galatians 1:6-8; 2 Corinthians 11:3-4).
We have heard the Kingdom of God spoken of merely as “something within you,” reducing it to an ethereal, unreal nothing. Others have misrepresented the "Church" as the Kingdom of God. We have heard the “social gospel” about world peace, tolerance and the brotherhood of man. And we have heard about dying and going to a Kingdom in heaven, but Kingdom in Heaven and Kingdom of Heaven are very different things! “In” denotes location, while “of” denotes ownership.
When we reject the message that Jesus proclaimed and replace it with a message about the messenger, we make void the Word of God and replace it with human ideas, human traditions, which means another gospel and ultimately another Jesus. Having done so, we cannot understand what God is trying to communicate to us or what the mission of Jesus really is, and we become blind and deaf to His message. We have eyes, but we cannot see, and we have ears but we cannot hear.
Why? Because we are looking at the Scriptures through the prism of our own preconceived ideas, our own theological programing, our own church tradition, and we only see what we expect to see.
Some twenty-six centuries ago God revealed some amazing truths about His coming Kingdom to one of His holy prophets — the Prophet Daniel. Jesus himself spoke about this prophet. God not only explained to the prophet Daniel what the coming Kingdom of God really is, but gave him a timeline as to when it would come. From the time of that prophet some 2,600 years ago, God revealed that there would be seven successive eras, with the seventh being the Kingdom of God on earth.
What is really amazing and exciting is that five of the seven eras outlined by the Prophet Daniel have been fully completed, and the sixth era has nearly been completed, leaving us at the door of the seventh and final era — the coming of the Kingdom of God on earth!
The Scriptures are so clear on this, and history so corroborates this prophecy that there will be no doubt in your mind after you see it in the Scriptures. 2,600 years of history going down to our day that reads like a history textbook written in advance. It is so amazing!
Speaking of the Book of the Prophet Daniel, Jesus says, “whoever reads, let him understand” (Matthew 24:15). Are you ready to read and understand?
The inspired message that Daniel brings will open your eyes, build your faith, and comfort you in the midst of a world seemingly spinning out of control. It will give you hope, and assurance in your faith:
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).
THE PROPHET DANIEL
The story of the Daniel begins in the early summer of 605 BCE, when Nebuchadnezzar, son of King Nabopolassar of Babylon raided the Southern Kingdom of Judah. The Northern Kingdom of Israel had been destroyed by the Assyrians more than a century earlier, and the people carried off into captivity.
Of those Jews (or Judahites) captured in Nebuchadnezzar’s raid, a small group was selected to be taken back to Babylon for service in the king’s court. Among them were four pious young men, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. These four young men were given new Babylonian names and called Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
During this campaign against the Southern Kingdom of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar received news of his father’s death and immediately returned to Babylon to ascend the vacant throne.
As exiles in Babylon, the four pious young men persevered in their faith in the God of Israel. Over the years they learned Aramaic, the Chaldean language, and were educated in the knowledge, science and wisdom of the Babylonians.
At the beginning of their preparation for service in the royal court, “the king appointed for them a daily provision of the king’s delicacies and of the wine which he drank, and three years of training for them, so that at the end of that time they might serve before the king” (Daniel 1:5).
But Daniel and his companions had no intention of eating the unclean meats (Leviticus 11, Deuteronomy 14) that came from the king’s table, but instead remained committed to keeping the commandments of God.
“But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. Now God had brought Daniel into the favor and goodwill of the chief of the eunuchs. And the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, ‘I fear my lord the king, who has appointed your food and drink. For why should he see your faces looking worse than the young men who are your age? Then you would endanger my head before the king’” (Daniel 1:8-10).
In order to avoid the king’s unclean food, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, asked to be fed a vegetarian diet and given water to drink:
“So Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, ‘Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then let our appearance be examined before you, and the appearance of the young men who eat the portion of the king’s delicacies; and as you see fit, so deal with your servants.’ So he consented with them in this matter, and tested them ten days” (Daniel 1:11-14).
And what was the result?
“And at the end of ten days their features appeared better and fatter in flesh than all the young men who ate the portion of the king’s delicacies. Thus the steward took away their portion of delicacies and the wine that they were to drink, and gave them vegetables (Daniel 1:15-16).
Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah honored God by keeping His commandments in a very difficult situation, and God honors those who honor Him. As it says in First Samuel, “for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed’” (1 Samuel 2:30).
And how did God honor these four pious young men?
“As for these four young men, God gave them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams” (Daniel 1:17).
THE PROPHECY OF DANIEL CHAPTER 2
Soon after their training was complete, King Nebuchadnezzar had a disturbing prophetic dream, the meaning of which he did not understand.
“Now in the second year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; and his spirit was so troubled that his sleep left him. 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.’
Then the Chaldeans spoke to the king in Aramaic, ‘O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will give the interpretation.’
The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, ‘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.’
They answered again and said, ‘Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will give its interpretation.’
The king answered and 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.’
The Chaldeans answered the king, and said, ‘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. It is a difficult thing that the king requests, and there is no other who can tell it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.’
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; and they sought Daniel and his companions, to kill them” (Daniel 2:1-13).
When Daniel learned of what was happening, he went to the king to ask for a little time.
“So Daniel went in and asked the king to give him time, that he might tell the king the interpretation. 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” (Daniel 2:16-19).
After God had revealed the dream and its meaning to Daniel, he went to the king, where Daniel told the king what his dream was.
“The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, ‘Are you able to make known to me the dream which I have seen, and its interpretation?’
Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, ‘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. 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.
‘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 thighs of 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” (Daniel 2:26-35).
THE MEANING OF NEBUCHADNEZZAR’S PROPHETIC DREAM
God had already told Daniel the meaning of the disturbing dream that King Nebuchadnezzar had, and Daniel began to explain the king’s dream to him.
“‘This is the dream. 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’” (Daniel 2:36-38).
Nebuchadnezzar is the head of gold of the great image that he saw in his dream. Since Daniel identified other parts of the image as representing kingdoms, it is clear that the head of gold represents Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom of Babylon. In this chapter of the Book of Daniel and in later chapters “king” and “kingdom” are used interchangeably.
The head of gold fits Babylon which the Prophet Isaiah called “the golden city” (Isaiah 14:4), and the Prophet Jeremiah called “a golden cup” (Jeremiah 51:7).
The city of Babylon, the capital of the Babylonian Empire which King Nebuchadnezzar ruled was surrounded by massive, heavily fortified walls; and the city lay on both sides of the Euphrates River, which provided it with abundant water, and supported its commerce. The Babylonian Empire was a world superpower.
“But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth” (Daniel 2:39).
Another kingdom, inferior to Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom, represented by the silver breast and arms of the great image would conquer and supplant the golden kingdom. History tells us that King Darius of Medo-Persia diverted the waters of the Euphrates River and then led his army through the dry riverbank and into the city of Babylon, taking it completely by surprise in 539 BCE.
The Medo-Persian Empire represented by the silver breast and arms of the great image in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream succeeded the Babylonian Empire as the world’s next great superpower.
The third kingdom, represented by the bronze belly and thighs of the great image Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream represented the Macedonian Greek Empire. Alexander the Great who conquered the Mediterranean world launched a lightening-like invasion of Medo-Persia, defeating them in a number of major actions and finally routing them at the battle of Arbella in 331 BCE. The Greek Empire of Alexander the Great conquered and supplanted the mighty Medo-Persion Empire.
“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” (Daniel 2:40).
The fourth kingdom, represented by the iron legs of the great image of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream represents the rising Roman Empire. Rome was strong like iron, and ruthlessly crushed and conquered everything in the path of Roman expansion.
The Roman Empire began to replace the Greek Empire by a decisive victory at the battle of Pydna in 168 BCE, and by 30 BCE with the subjection of Egypt the Romans gained control of the Mediterranean world, conquering and supplanting the Greek Empire built by Alexander the Great. The two legs also represent the fact that as the Roman Empire expanded two capitals were eventually established for administrative purposes. Rome in the West remained the capital and chief city of the Empire, but Byzantium or Constantinople also became a Roman capital city in the East.
“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” (Daniel 2:41-43).
The Prophet Daniel not only foresaw the rise of the Roman Empire centuries before it happened, but he also foretold its downfall a thousand years before it took place. When he explained the feet and toes of the great image in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream he foretold that the fourth kingdom, the mighty iron kingdom of Rome would be divided, and history bears witness that it happened just as he said it would.
In the fifth century, after a period of decline, the Roman Empire fell to ten barbarian tribes, represented by the ten toes of the image. The ten barbarian tribes that conquered Rome are the:
These ten tribes formed kingdoms which later developed into the modern nations of Europe. Daniel explained, “And as the toes of the feet [the nations of Europe] were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile” (Daniel 2:42).
Great powers have arisen in Europe over the centuries, but none have rivaled the might and glory of the Roman Empire; and from time to time powerful men have tried to reunite Europe and thereby restore the Roman Empire, but have never succeeded. Charlemagne, Charles V, Napoleon and Hitler, among others, tried it, but all these attempts ultimately failed just as Daniel foretold. In each case much of Europe was reunited for a short time, but in each instance the union could not hold and the project collapsed. They just would not adhere one to another. Even attempts to bring about an intermingling of these kingdoms, especially through intermarriage between royal houses, also failed just as Daniel foretold. Daniel had said, “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” (Daniel 2:43).
The Book of Revelation warns that just as powerful men in the past sought to reunite Europe, so in the End Times the coming antichrist will seek to reunite Europe and restore the Roman Empire. You can read all about it in the Book of Revelation, especially chapters 13 and 17. However, just as Daniel foretold, they will “not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay” (Daniel 2:43), and the antichrist will have to deal with three rebel regions in Europe and his short-lived Empire will come crashing down with the Return of King Messiah as King of kings and Lord of lords.
And in the days of these kings [the toes of the great image] 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 2:44-45).
In Daniel chapter 2, verses 34 and 35, Nebuchadnezzar’s dream comes to a dramatic climax:
“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.”
The Prophet Daniel explains the meaning of verses 34 and 35 in verses 44 and 45 where he describes the coming of the Kingdom of God on earth.
From verses 41 through 44 we know that the coming of the Kingdom of God follows the fall of the Roman Empire (the iron kingdom) and during the time of the modern European nations (the toes and feet made partly of iron and partly of clay):
“Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, the kingdom [the iron kingdom/Roman Empire] 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. 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. ”
The stone which strikes the image is the Return of the King who will strike the nations (Revelation 19:15) and establish the stone Kingdom, the Kingdom of God, which “became a great mountain and filled the whole earth” (verse 35. See also Daniel 7:13-14; Revelation 11:15).
In Daniel chapter 2, we have been shown the sweep of history from Daniel’s day some 2,600 years ago, all the way to the Return of King Messiah to establish the Kingdom of God on earth. The Prophet Daniel foretold a succession of four kingdoms, four world superpowers that would succeed one another over the centuries:
Daniel then foretold that the Roman Empire would be divided administratively like the two legs of the image in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. And it happened just as he said it would when a second capital for the eastern part of the empire was established at Byzantium or Constantinople.
History bears witness to the accuracy of Daniel’s prophecy about these four successive superpowers. Stewart C. Easton’s college textbook, The Heritage of the Ancient World, lists in its table of contents:
“The Chaldeans and New Babylonia”
“The Great Persian Empire”
“The Greek Civilization”
“The Foundation of the Roman Empire.”
The Prophet Daniel explained that the Roman Empire would be divided into ten parts like the toes of the great image, and it happened just as he said it would! The Roman Empire was was not conquered by a fifth superpower, but instead declined over a long period of time until it finally collapsed and was divided among ten invading barbarian tribes, and these ten tribes became the progenitors of the modern European nations.
It took more than 1,000 years to get from the Babylonian Empire to the fall of the Roman Empire, and everything happened exactly as Daniel foretold it would. Since the fall of the Roman Empire powerful men from Charlemagne to Hitler have sought to reunite Europe and resurrect the Roman Empire, but, “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” (Daniel 2:43).
Bible prophecy is nothing less than history seen in advance.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
The Book of Revelation tells us that there will be a final attempt to reunite Europe and resurrect the Roman Empire in the End Times by a man described in the Bible as the beast, the antichrist, and the man of sin. There was a popular belief among Christians in the later part of the first century of Nero Redivivus, — that Nero would return. They saw antichrist as coming in the spirit and power of Nero who was also described by his Roman contemporaries as a wild beast. This was a commonly held belief among Christians as late as the fifth century.
The stage is now being set for the rise of antichrist, and his coming is near at hand. The European Union is peacefully reuniting Europe, and this new Union of European States will have a larger population and a stronger economy than the United States of America. It will constitute an economically and militarily powerful revival of Roman power. This revived Roman Empire will become a global superpower and the seat of the antichrist, and the antichrist will be assisted by a religious leader that the Bible calls the false prophet.
In his latest encyclical letter, Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis, head of the Roman Catholic Church, spoke of the need for all nations of the world to submit to a reformed and more powerful United Nations in the hope of leading to a one world government to benefit mankind. He noted that the time is now right to make this move, since globalization has weakened the political power of the nation states.
A single, global authority, he wrote, “ought at least to promote more effective world organizations, equipped with the power to provide for the global common good, the elimination of hunger and poverty and the sure defense of fundamental human rights.” Francis further suggested that the United Nations would need to be strengthened in order to handle such a responsibility, citing the desire of his predecessor, Pope Benedict, to see “real teeth” given to the idea of global governance. Francis recommends that any reform of the United Nations organization should include clear limits that would prevent any one nation or group of nations from having too much power.
With globalization breaking down national sovereignty, all but erasing borders, and creating an interdependent world, a New World Order is coming into being aided and abetted by the Roman papacy, and the way is being prepared for the rise of a world deceiver and dictator. The leader of the revived Roman Empire — the antichrist — will become a very popular world leader, and at a time of a global crisis will be seen as a saviour, a Christ-like figure, and he will be assisted by a powerful religious leader called in the Scriptures the false prophet.
After being hailed as the world’s saviour and apparently bringing peace and security to the earth, antichrist will show his true character as a savage beast and a brutal dictator who, like the ancient Roman emperors will demand to be worshipped as a god. All who will not submit to him and bear his mark will be persecuted, hunted down and killed, but everyone will not submit to him, and at the Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:16) the Lord Jesus will return in power and glory. Like the stone that struck the great image that Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream, King Messiah will strike the nations (Revelation 19:15), destroy the antichrist and the false prophet (Revelation 19:20), and slay their followers (Revelation 19:21), — and the Kingdom of God will fill the whole earth:
“And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth” (Daniel 2:35).
“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. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure” (Daniel 2:44-45).
God will set up a kingdom on earth that shall never be destroyed, and the Kingdom shall not be left to another people. It will be the eternal home of the redeemed. Paradise Lost in Genesis chapters 1, 2 and 3 becomes Paradise Restored in Revelation chapters 20, 21 and 22. The Millennial Kingdom of Revelation chapter 20, will be followed by the eternal Kingdom of God of Revelation chapters 21 and 22:
“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 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. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.
Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ And He said to me, ‘Write, for these words are true and faithful’ (Revelation 21:1-5).
How close are we to all of this? Very close, even at the doors. In the second chapter of his book, the Prophet Daniel described seven eras, with the first being in his time and the last being the Kingdom of God.
The seven are the eras of (1) Babylon, (2) Medo-Persia, (3) Greece, (4) Rome, and (5) an expanded Rome with two capitals represented by the two legs of the great image, (6) a divided Europe, and finally (7) the Kingdom of God.
It is interesting to note that the number seven represents completion or perfection in the Holy Scriptures, and the Stone Kingdom, the Kingdom of God that fills the whole earth is the seventh era foretold by Daniel.
The first five of the seven eras have been completely fulfilled. The sixth era, that of a divided Europe is nearing fulfillment as the European Union is reuniting Europe in preparation for the coming of the antichrist as foretold in the Book of Revelation. That leaves us today on the cusp of the seventh and final era of human history since the time of the Prophet Daniel some 2,600 years ago. The final events of this present world’s history are about to unfold. Jesus is coming soon.
Maranatha — O Lord Come! (1 Corinthians 16:22)
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