Friday, February 26, 2010

The Prophecies of Daniel - Part 6

Where were we? Oh yeah, wrapping up the book of Daniel. His final vision. And it covers the last three chapters in the book. Fortunately Daniel took the time to organize and place the chapter breaks in his writing. Strange though, he put the break between the 10th and 11th chapter in the wrong place. We’ll see that later though. I encourage everyone to read through the last three chapters before reading my commentary. Even if it is quickly reading to get the context. Read that, and a comprehensive world history book, and you should be set for the final vision.

Chapter 10 is a great lesson on Angelology and Prayer. Remember that Daniel is pleading and longing for God to reveal to him what will be the outcome for his people and his city. The Jews and the city of Jerusalem. We first learn in this chapter about when this vision occurs. Daniel is now a very old man. I can’t remember exactly as I sit here typing, but I believe it is well into his eighties, even close to ninety. We are around 536 BC. Daniel has been in Babylon for just over 70 years. He also tells us that the vision described things well into the future for Daniel as he says the vision’s “appointed time was long” as we read in the NKJV. Before he gets to the vision, Daniel also tells us that he was very disturbed for three whole weeks.

I have heard some people commentate that the man Daniel sees is God, or Jesus himself because of the similarities to the description that John gives of Jesus in the opening to the Revelation. But I believe we learn later in this chapter that this is an angel and not God.

7 I, Daniel, was the only one who saw the vision; the men with me did not see it, but such terror overwhelmed them that they fled and hid themselves. 8 So I was left alone, gazing at this great vision; I had no strength left, my face turned deathly pale and I was helpless. 9 Then I heard him speaking, and as I listened to him, I fell into a deep sleep, my face to the ground.

Notice that everyone took off and ran. Daniel is an important person, even in the new administration of the Persian Empire that overtook Babylon, so he probably had the secret service detail with him. The angel shows up and they all take off. Just keep this in mind the next time that you and I are strolling through the forest. I don’t have to outrun the bear…I just have to outrun you! He was 90 years old, and they left him to fend for himself. BTW, if you think that you are going to give Jesus, or even the angel guarding the gates a piece of your mind when you meet your maker, take a good look at the reaction of people when they come face to face with an angel. Not even just Daniel here, but throughout the Bible. Better get straight with God while you are here, because you definitely won’t be calling the shots in the afterlife. You will have no choice but to fall on your face.

Now look at this next section, starting in the middle of verse 12:

Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. 13 But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. 14 Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come."

Notice that it took him 3 weeks to get there. He heard Daniel’s prayer right when he said it. Do if you ever have that feeling that God is just not listening, keep in mind that there is a battle going on in heaven. I’m pretty convinced that the angel is not talking about the actual king, but about the king of the demons watching over Persia. Remember Ephesians 6 tells us that:

12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

It is your prayers that unleash the battle in the heavens. You know, I’ve gotten the urge to go back and read the Peretti books (Piercing the Darkness, and This Present Darkness) after taking some time to study this chapter in Daniel. They fought for 21 days! The angel was bringing a message to Daniel. This must be an important message that the forces of evil doesn’t want to get out. The angel says that the vision concerns a time yet to come. Do you think that bible prophecy is important? THEY FOUGHT FOR 21 DAYS! And they had to break out the big guns. That’s right, when the going gets tough, time to call on Michael. At the end of this chapter I find that it is nice to know that Michael is the prince that watches over the Jewish people.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 3For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

How do we fight something like this if the real battle is between angels and demons? We know of the cute childhood pictures of the armor of God. Shield of Faith. Breastplate of Righteousness. Etc. What is the offensive weapon? The Sword of the Spirit. What is the sword? God’s Word. We need to have it by our side all the time.

Just like a soldier in battle we need to know how to handle the weapon. We also need to pray and get the angels fighting on our side as well. He hears the prayers the moment they come into your mind, and even before that.

Now to Chapter 11:

Here is where you need to have the history book. This prophecy is all future to Daniel. Most of it is history to us. But not all of it. How could Daniel prophecy, with 100% accuracy, about things that were going to happen 200, 300 years in the future? How? Our God is an awesome God. And He is who he says He is, because He does what He says he is going to do. And He is not bound by time as we know it. He has seen the beginning from the end. This is a tough chapter if you are not a world history major. So I thought I would just copy the chapter and put some comments in bold. Do some Wikipedia research on these for yourself to expand upon these notes just to see how awesome our God is. Think of how specific in detail this chapter is. At the end of the chapter, Daniel is giving specifics that will be over 2500 years from the time he was writing. Forgive the spellings of the names as I am typing from memory and don’t have the material in front of me.

1 And in the first year of Darius the Mede, I took my stand to support and protect him. (This verse belongs in chapter 10. Re-read the last few verses of chapter 10 with this one with the thought of battles in the heavenly realms.)

The Kings of the South and the North

2 "Now then, I tell you the truth: Three more kings will appear in Persia (Cambyses, Pseudo Smerdis, Darius Hepstases), and then a fourth, who will be far richer than all the others (Xerxes, known to be the wealthiest – he married Ester – remember that story). When he has gained power by his wealth, he will stir up everyone against the kingdom of Greece. 3 Then a mighty king will appear, who will rule with great power and do as he pleases (Alexander the Great). 4 After he has appeared, his empire will be broken up and parceled out toward the four winds of heaven (Ptolemy, Seleucus, Cassander, Lysimecus). It will not go to his descendants, nor will it have the power he exercised, because his empire will be uprooted and given to others.

5 "The king of the South (Ptolemy Sotor - Egypt) will become strong, but one of his commanders will become even stronger than he and will rule his own kingdom with great power. 6 After some years, they will become allies. The daughter (Bernice) of the king of the South will go to the king of the North (Seleucus Nicator – Syria/Babylon) to make an alliance, but she will not retain her power, and he and his power will not last. In those days she will be handed over, together with her royal escort and her father and the one who supported her. (Leodecia killed Bernice and her family, and gave the empire to her son Seleucus II after her husband dumped Leodecia for Bernice)

7 "One from her family line will arise to take her place. He will attack the forces of the king of the North and enter his fortress; he will fight against them and be victorious. 8 He will also seize their gods, their metal images and their valuable articles of silver and gold and carry them off to Egypt. For some years he will leave the king of the North alone. 9 Then the king of the North will invade the realm of the king of the South but will retreat to his own country. 10 His sons will prepare for war and assemble a great army, which will sweep on like an irresistible flood and carry the battle as far as his fortress. (Bernice’s brother, Ptolemy III – avenges her death)

11 "Then the king of the South will march out in a rage and fight against the king of the North, who will raise a large army, but it will be defeated. 12 When the army is carried off, the king of the South will be filled with pride and will slaughter many thousands, yet he will not remain triumphant. 13 For the king of the North will muster another army, larger than the first; and after several years, he will advance with a huge army fully equipped.

14 "In those times many will rise against the king of the South. The violent men among your own people will rebel in fulfillment of the vision, but without success. 15 Then the king of the North will come and build up siege ramps and will capture a fortified city. The forces of the South will be powerless to resist; even their best troops will not have the strength to stand. 16 The invader will do as he pleases; no one will be able to stand against him. He will establish himself in the Beautiful Land and will have the power to destroy it. 17 He will determine to come with the might of his entire kingdom and will make an alliance with the king of the South. And he will give him a daughter in marriage in order to overthrow the kingdom, but his plans will not succeed or help him. 18 Then he will turn his attention to the coastlands and will take many of them, but a commander will put an end to his insolence and will turn his insolence back upon him. 19 After this, he will turn back toward the fortresses of his own country but will stumble and fall, to be seen no more.

20 "His successor will send out a tax collector to maintain the royal splendor. In a few years, however, he will be destroyed, yet not in anger or in battle. (north and south continued to fight. We see people like Cleopatra and Mark Anthony. And then we meet someone we’ve seen before that Daniel spends a little more time on…Antiochus IV Epiphanies)

21 "He will be succeeded by a contemptible person who has not been given the honor of royalty. He will invade the kingdom when its people feel secure, and he will seize it through intrigue. 22 Then an overwhelming army will be swept away before him; both it and a prince of the covenant will be destroyed. 23 After coming to an agreement with him, he will act deceitfully, and with only a few people he will rise to power. 24 When the richest provinces feel secure, he will invade them and will achieve what neither his fathers nor his forefathers did. He will distribute plunder, loot and wealth among his followers. He will plot the overthrow of fortresses—but only for a time. (He taxed everyone heavily and then distributed it to his cohorts. Think of it as Chicago style politics, oops, did I write that)

25 "With a large army he will stir up his strength and courage against the king of the South. The king of the South will wage war with a large and very powerful army, but he will not be able to stand because of the plots devised against him. 26 Those who eat from the king's provisions will try to destroy him; his army will be swept away, and many will fall in battle. 27 The two kings, with their hearts bent on evil, will sit at the same table and lie to each other, but to no avail, because an end will still come at the appointed time. (They made a peace treaty, but both were lying about it. Antiochus IV went back and regrouped for another attack that was to come only 2 years later) 28 The king of the North will return to his own country with great wealth, but his heart will be set against the holy covenant. He will take action against it and then return to his own country.

29 "At the appointed time he will invade the South again, but this time the outcome will be different from what it was before. 30 Ships of the western coastlands will oppose him, and he will lose heart. Then he will turn back and vent his fury against the holy covenant. He will return and show favor to those who forsake the holy covenant. (the king of Egypt was also lying and made a deal with the Romans. The Roman legions were waiting for Antiochus when he returned. Their general, Papilious, told Antiochus that he could leave and live or stay and die. When Antiochus asked for time to think about it, Papilious drew a circle in the sand around Antiochus and told him to take all the time he needed, but he could not leave the circle before deciding. After being humiliated, Antiochus was ticked off and he took it out on the Jewish people. Read the first book of Macabees to see just how vile a person this man was. He killed women, children, all the priests. Sacrificed pigs on the altar. Put up a statue of Zeus with his own head in the temple. This was the abomination that causes desolation that occurred in 168 BC)

31 "His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation. 32 With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him.

33 "Those who are wise will instruct many, though for a time they will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered. 34 When they fall, they will receive a little help, and many who are not sincere will join them. 35 Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time. (And now we jump to the future. This is not the same man Daniel is talking about because Antiochus would not even fight the Romans when he wanted to destroy Egypt. Antiochus was defeated by Judas Macabees and the Jewish rebellion in 165 BC. Antiochus did not fulfill the prophecies of the following verses. They have not even happened to date. They are future. We discussed in the previous weeks that Antiochus was a ‘type’ of the Antichrist and the end of chapter 11 is about the Antichrist himself)

The King Who Exalts Himself

36 "The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods (one world religion). He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place (7 years has been determined, the 70th week of Daniel). 37 He will show no regard for the gods of his fathers (God of Heaven) or for the one desired by women (This does not mean he is homosexual, Daniel is speaking of Jesus the Messiah. Every Jewish girl wanted to fulfill Genesis 3:15 and bring the Messiah), nor will he regard any god, but will exalt himself above them all. 38 Instead of them, he will honor a god of fortresses; a god unknown to his fathers he will honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts. 39 He will attack the mightiest fortresses with the help of a foreign god and will greatly honor those who acknowledge him. He will make them rulers over many people and will distribute the land at a price. (Military strength will rule, and it is speaking of Satan here)

(Here comes the Battle of Armageddon) 40 "At the time of the end the king of the South will engage him in battle, and the king of the North will storm out against him with chariots and cavalry and a great fleet of ships. He will invade many countries and sweep through them like a flood. 41 He will also invade the Beautiful Land. Many countries will fall, but Edom, Moab and the leaders of Ammon (this is Jordan – Ever notice that Jordan is shaped a little like an angel, with a square wing J. This is the area that the Jewish remnant flees to for the final 3-1/2 years. Remember Jesus’ Olivet Discourse. He tells them to run when they see the abomination that causes desolation) will be delivered from his hand. 42 He will extend his power over many countries; Egypt will not escape. 43 He will gain control of the treasures of gold and silver and all the riches of Egypt, with the Libyans and Nubians in submission. 44 But reports from the east (translated ‘the land of the rising sun’) and the north will alarm him, and he will set out in a great rage to destroy and annihilate many. 45 He will pitch his royal tents between the seas at the beautiful holy mountain. Yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him.

(At the time of the end that this last section speaks of is the 70th week of Daniel which begins when the Antichrist makes a 7 year treaty with Israel. And if Antichrist makes a treaty with Israel, and everybody hates Israel, the nations of the world will battle the Antichrist who has set up his throne in Jerusalem)

God was 100% accurate with verses 1 through 35. Is there any reason to think that he won’t be 100% accurate with the rest of the chapter? Or is there any reason to think that God would let Daniel know what was to become of the Jewish people and the city of Jerusalem for the first 35 verses, but then disregard the nation Israel for the end of the age that we find ourselves in right now? Is there any reason to think that the fist 35 verses were so accurate and specific in detail, and the end of the chapter is figurative or symbolic? I don’t think so.

Now to Chapter 12:

I like this chapter. It’s short and sweet and puts Daniel is his place. And the angel is saying these things to someone much more holy then myself. When the chapter starts off with ‘At that time’ we have to think what time? Well going back to chapter 11 we know that Daniel is speaking of the time of the end when the Antichrist is running amuck. Jesus said in Matthew 24: 21For then there will be great tribulation, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. 22If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. Daniel is speaking here of that same time.

1 "At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. 2 Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. (Sometime I will have an email that is in regard to the Great White Throne Judgment) 3 Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. (Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father who is in heaven) 4 But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge." (This passage means that the Jewish people, armed with all the knowledge of history will have a better understanding of the end times when they return to their land and see the information in the right context. People at that time would have no idea what Daniel was talking about. They can’t see the valleys between the mountain peaks)

5 Then I, Daniel, looked, and there before me stood two others, one on this bank of the river and one on the opposite bank. 6 One of them said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, "How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?"

7 The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, "It will be for a time, times and half a time. (this means 3-1/2 years) When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed."

8 I heard, but I did not understand. So I asked, "My lord, what will the outcome of all this be?"

9 He replied, "Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end. 10 Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand. (Narrow is the path that leads to righteousness)

11 "From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. 12 Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days. (What do these time periods mean? Well I’m going to tell you…next week…to build the suspense. Or just scroll down.)

13 "As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance."

No Idea what that means. 1290 days? 1335 days? 1260 days is the length of the great tribulation. Where do the extra 30 and 75 days come from? Who knows. Some things are for God to know and for us to find out. Deut. 29:29 tells us: 29 The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.

We can’t see the last little bit. Imagine how Daniel felt in looking at what he was writing. God told him to keep doing what he was supposed to be doing. Keep working for the Lord and let Him work the rest out in time. Don’t worry about the others. Just work on following God and the others God will deal with them in due time. If we know God as our personal savior, we’ll be there standing with Daniel at the end. Even Job, writing thousands of years before Christ even walked this earth said this:

25 I know that my Redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.

26 And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;

27 I myself will see him
with my own eyes—I, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!

It was a long time away for Daniel. It is not long for us. It is right around the corner. All the pieces are in place and the signs are everywhere. Keep looking up!

Jesus says in Revelation 22:12 12"Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. 13I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

Well, I hope you enjoyed the study in Daniel as much as I did. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments. We will start a new study in a few weeks. God Bless.


The Prophecies of Daniel - Part 5

I mentioned last week that we would build off of what was learned from Daniel 9:24-27 and see how the interpretation of that passage will lead a person to how they see the major events of the end times described in the bible play themselves out. If you have read my emails to date you may already know that I see the prophecies in the bible being fulfilled quite literally. The prophecies regarding Christ’s first coming were fulfilled quite literally, so I don’t have any reason to believe the prophecies regarding His second coming won’t be fulfilled in the same fashion. How one views prophecies in the bible are what determine a person’s eschatology, or end times theology. And I feel that one’s eschatology greatly affects how a person lives their lives. I also understand that the bible was written on so many levels that my puny mind can’t even comprehend. But that doesn’t change the fact that I feel the main level it was written was quite literally. I’m going to stick with that for now and I’ll find out the other levels when I get to heaven and can have the book of Revelation taught to me by the apostle John, or maybe Jesus himself.

Now there are a lot of end time events to choose from, but I decided to stick with some of the major ones and one I felt there might be some questions about. In alphabetical order J, here are the events that I will break down:

1. Christ’s 2nd Coming
2. Daniel’s 70th Week
3. Eternity
4. Great Tribulation
5. Millennial Kingdom
6. Rapture of the Church
7. War of Gog and Magog

First, we are going to look at the first 5 events because I feel that they are sequentially dependant upon one another. One thing has to take place for another one to happen.

Daniel’s 70th Week – If you didn’t read my Week 4 email, STOP and do that now. If you ask me, it was riveting. This is the last 7 years that God has planned for the nation Israel.

The Great Tribulation – To find out more about this event, which Jesus named himself were going to take a look at Matthew 24:15-22 and a portion of Jeremiah 30. You’ll notice in Jeremiah that the old testament reference for the great tribulation is used, which is the ‘time of Jacob’s trouble’.

15"So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation, spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. 18Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. 19How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. 22If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.

When it reads in the NIV ‘great distress’, this is often ‘great tribulation’ in other translations. We learned back in Daniel that the ‘abomination that causes desolation’ would occur in the middle of Daniel’s 70th week. We’re starting to connect some dots.

3 The days are coming,' declares the LORD, 'when I will bring my people Israel and Judah back from captivity and restore them to the land I gave their forefathers to possess,' says the LORD." …

7 How awful that day will be!
None will be like it.
It will be a time of trouble for Jacob,
but he will be saved out of it. …

11 I am with you and will save you,'
declares the LORD.
'Though I completely destroy all the nations
among which I scatter you,
I will not completely destroy you.
I will discipline you but only with justice;
I will not let you go entirely unpunished.'

In these verses from Jeremiah 30, notice a couple of things: First, God intends to completely destroy all the nations. Second, he will discipline the nation Israel. I recommend that you read the entire chapter to get a better feel for what Jeremiah is saying about the restoration of the nation Israel. We’ll come back to these verses later.

Christ’s 2nd Coming – Our small group did a study earlier this year on the ‘end times according to Isaiah’. There is a lot of focus on writing to the Jewish people so they knew what to expect when the Lord returned. The religious leaders of Jesus’ time wanted both the suffering servant and the conquering king. Little did they know, they were not getting a package deal and would have to wait until He comes again. There is too much information in the book of Isaiah to get into right now. Ask me for my study notes some other time.

When Zechariah speaks to the Lord’s return in chapter 14 he says:

4 On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley …Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.

Side Note: Did anyone know that there is a geological fault line that runs through the Mount of Olives? The hotel that is known today as the King David Hotel was originally slated to be located on the Mount of Olives, but geotechnical testing and concerns for seismic activity required the change in location. That’s right, the structural engineer is dropping some technical earthquake terms on y’all.

If you have ever looked at portions of Revelation, you know that Christ returns to put Satan and the Antichrist in their place. The trumpets all sound and the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords takes his rightful place. This will take place at the end of the great tribulation which is also at the end of Daniel’s 70th week. Daniel 9:27 told us that the end for the antichrist was already decreed. Christ’s return will also lead us into the:

Millennial Kingdom – To get a good look at this event we will take a look at Revelation 20:1-3

1And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. 2He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. 3He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.

Remember, I also mentioned that Isaiah also wrote in great length about the blessings that the nation Israel would receive when Christ came to reign. This is the time when they will finally get to see that promise fulfilled. What a beautiful sight it will be. The nation Israel will be the actual territory that was given to Abraham. Nature will be restored to its pre-Adamic state. The wolf will lay down with the lamb (how many times have you heard Lion used – HaHa picking on the pastors) – Isaiah 11:6, 65:25. The promises in Daniel 9:24 will be completed. All of Bible Prophecy will be fulfilled. After Christ returns, He will reign on earth for a thousand years. If you really want to get a good look at what the Millennial Kingdom has in store for the nation Israel, there are several chapters in Isaiah that speak to this time.

Notice though, that Satan is loosed for a short time at the end of the thousand years. How sad, even with Christ reigning over the earth there will still be people that refuse him and follow Satan. In the end they will meet their fate further down in chapter 20.

10And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

The Dead Are Judged
11Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. 14Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

My name is written in the Book of Life. Is yours? Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? Not just a ‘Sunday worship’ relationship. Not a ‘my granddaddy was a preacher’ relationship, but a ‘personal’ relationship? There is going to be a huge number of people that meet Jesus and he will say to them ‘I never knew you’. He tells us that in the Kingdom Parables. Do you have friends, relatives, co-workers whose names are not written in the Book of Life? If your name is in the Book of Life, No more being a Secret Agent Christian under such deep cover that no one would expect. Don’t get to heaven and have someone say “Wow, you’re here too. I never would have guessed.”

O.K. Back to the major events.

One small verse in a small book that I always found interesting was Hosea 6:2

After two days he will revive us;
on the third day he will restore us,
that we may live in his presence.

If we can look at this passage in the realm of the fact that a day to the Lord is like a thousand years…

Eternity – Since the Bible is the book for the age of man, we are not told much at all about eternity past before the creation, or eternity future following the millennium. We know that we will be with Christ forever. But let me just interject a couple of thoughts here. If you think that we will be floating on a cloud, playing a harp, and singing praise songs for all eternity, could I ask you to maybe expand a little upon your imagination. No, make that a lot. It will be beyond your imagination. We will be all star athletes, the greatest of artists, the deepest thinkers, etc. etc. etc. all rolled into one. I believe we will recognize each other like the apostles were able to recognize Jesus. I’m not sure how that will be, but I bet we can see it in a person eyes and in their personality. I’ll be the 5’-9” guy, 165 lbs, with blue eyes, and just a touch more red hair. See you there at the café.

So in summary of those items that the bible tells us fall is sequential order:

Daniel’s 70th Week – We know from Daniel that there is one week left for God to fulfill his promises to the nation Israel

Great Tribulation – Right at the mid-way point during that week the Antichrist causes the Great Tribulation

Christ’s 2nd Coming – At the end of the Great Tribulation and the 70th week, Christ will return as the conquering King that Israel has been waiting for all along

Millennial Kingdom – Rev. 20 speaks of the 1000 year reign of Christ on earth when He returns, when all is made right on the earth

Eternity – Satan is thrown into Hell at the end of 1000 years with all the unbelievers as we are ushered into Eternity

So we are left with two items of which I have come to the conclusion are not time or sequentially dependent upon any other event mentioned in the Bible. The War of Gog and Magog and the Rapture of the Church. Now to me, some common sense reasoning does place these events into a relationship with others, but the Bible does not clearly state the case as it did in the first five events that we looked at.

War of Gog and Magog – This event is described in chapters 38 and 39 of Ezekiel. Basically it is a coalition of people groups whose military power is supplied by the people of Magog and led into battle by Persia, or modern day Iran that wages an all out war against Israel. Just when the Jews, standing completely alone in the world, appear to be on the brink of extinction, God supernaturally steps in and wipes out the advancing armies. God says through Ezekiel that both Israel and all the nations of the world will know that it was God’s hand in the matter.

Gog is a term for a supreme ruler or czar. And the people of Magog were a people group in ancient times that were settled north of the Caspian Sea. That area, which is due north of Israel, is modern day Russia. Now I know during the cold war I’m sure there were plenty of people that saw the Soviet Union as being Magog. The Soviet Union broke up, but the people groups are still where they were and that is modern day Russia. Persia only recently back in 1935 changed its name to Iran. I have attached what I have found to be the best outline and description of all the players that are listed in the battle of Gog and Magog.

Side note: I think there are some people that thing the battle of Gog and Magog is the same thing as the battle of Armageddon. They are two different events. Armageddon occurs during the tribulation and involves the entire world as they come to face the armies of the Antichrist. This battle is more specific to countries in the Middle East. With regards to the timing of this battle there is a little clue in chapter 39 of Ezekiel.

9 " 'Then those who live in the towns of Israel will go out and use the weapons for fuel and burn them up—the small and large shields, the bows and arrows, the war clubs and spears. For seven years they will use them for fuel.

If the elements from the battlefield are used for fuel for seven years, and we know that Jesus said in the middle of Daniel’s 70th week, when the antichrist declares himself to be god, to get out of town. They would not be living in the towns of Israel during this timeframe. Also we know that once Christ returns there would be no need for this battle while Christ is reigning over the earth. So my conclusion is that this battle would have to start at least 3-1/2 years before the start of the Daniel’s 70th week. Common sense tells me: what better way to usher in the antichrist, who will conquer the world through peace, then on the heels of a major conflict between Israel and her neighbors. He would be hailed as a hero if he brokered a 7 year peace treaty with Israel. And who would stand up to stop it from happening right after God showed himself by defeating the armies of the nations coming against Israel.

As I look through today’s headlines, as many of you have received from me in the past, this war of Gog and Magog is something that caught my eye a couple years ago after reading one of the novels by Joel Rosenberg. I have attached his breakdown of Ezekiel 38 & 39. This event still catches my eye all the time with the current events that I see in the headlines surrounding the Middle East. For example:

1. Vladimir Putin from Russia is selling weaponry to the highest bidder which includes countries like Iran, Turkey, Syria, Libya. Normally this would not seem so strange, except that Russia is making deals with former enemies, countries they have had brutal wars with in the past. Now they are best of friends.

2. Iran and Ahmadinejad are seeking a global jihad in an effort to user in the 12th Imam (also known as the Madhi, Hidden Imam or the Moslem Messiah). Side note: Even notice how strikingly similar the descriptions of the Madhi are to the descriptions of the Antichrist given in the Bible?

3. Global economic situations – Ever notice how close we are to a one world currency? That process will start with a flat broke United States and the value of the dollar. Guess what folks, we’re there. We just don’t know it yet or aren’t willing to admit it.

4. The recent election of Benjamin Netanyahu – now from Israel’s standpoint I find it refreshing to see a relative ‘tough guy’ back at the helm in lieu of there previous leadership. However, along with that type of leadership comes a strong stance against the enemies of Israel and may much sooner lead to conflict instead of concessions.

5. The rebuilding of the city of Babylon – For those of you that think it was destroyed never to be rebuilt – here is a recent picture from google earth

Who knows. Maybe in the near future we could see the UN moves its headquarters from New York to the newly constructed Babylon.

6. Look for some more escalated conflicts with Israel’s closest neighbors which I fell would be a precursor to the battle of Ezekiel 38 & 39

7. Items for the coming temple are already all prepared and ready to go. Priests are being trained. Stones are being cut. Look into the Temple Institute if you want more information on that.

There are others as well. A bunch of the headlines that I see tie the people groups listed in Ezekiel together like never before in the history of the world.

My common sense approach to placing this battle in time is this: What better way to usher in the Antichrist then on the heels of a huge battle in the Middle East. The bible tells us that the Antichrist conquers many through peace. He comes on the scene and rises to power very quickly. Someone would need to set a treaty in place in order for there to be a short time of peace in order for the Jews to build their new temple. I think this battle would have to start several years before the beginning of Daniel’s 70th Week.

Rapture of the Church – Last but not least by any means. Not a divisive subject at all don’t you think. Well, this will be my interpretation based upon what I have read and studied in the Bible.

I start this subject off with two points from Jeremiah 30:1-11 which is talking about the Great Tribulation (known in the Old Testament as ‘The Time of Jacob’s Trouble). We saw this section of verses earlier to understand the purpose of the great tribulation was to punish the nation Israel and to destroy all the nations. The main point here is to try and find the place for God’s Church to fit in to that equation.

Revelation 19:6-8 tells us:

6Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:
For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
7Let us rejoice and be glad
and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
and his bride has made herself ready.
8Fine linen, bright and clean,
was given her to wear." (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)

We are told on more then this occasion that the Church is the Bride of Christ. We once did a study in my small group on the comparisons between the Jewish wedding traditions and Christ’s dealings with His Church. Some day I will put that into writing. It’s a great study. There is also another passage on the Bride making herself ready for her encounter with Christ. And my point here is that if the Church is truly the Bride of Christ, what would the Bride’s purpose be in a time of destruction or discipline? Where does it fit into the equation?

When Jesus spoke of the Great Tribulation (which he named Himself) during His Olivet Discourse, we see in Matthew 24:15-25

15"So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,'[b] spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. 18Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. 19How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. 22If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it. 24For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible. 25See, I have told you ahead of time.

My week 4 email talked about how we could tell that Jesus was speaking to the Jewish people about the city of Jerusalem. He speaks of getting out of town and praying that it is not in winter or on the Sabbath. Just because this discourse is in the New Testament, doesn’t mean it is referring at all to the Church. It is specific to the Jews. Side note: I think that verse 20, spoken by Jesus himself, tells us that prayer can truly change the outcome of situations. He wouldn’t have said it if it were not so.

I & II Thessalonians are what I like to call ‘the end times according to Paul’. Acts 17:1-4 tells us briefly about this journey. Keep in mind that Thessalonians was the first book written to the Church. It was being written about the same time as some of the four gospels (early 50’s AD). There were certainly a lot of things that Paul revealed to the church in these books. We see this statement in the opening chapter.

8The Lord's message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, 9for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.

Obviously there are individuals and groups that have undergone there share of tribulation and wrath. But none of that compares to the wrath of the Lamb that is to come. Definitely a subject that not many would like to discuss. Even the worst of all the conditions that we see happening today do not compare with that time to come. The worst famine, genocide, natural disaster that happens in the world is nothing like it. Revelation 6 speaks of the wrath of the Lamb and it states that ¼ of the earth will be killed during that time. That is by today’s numbers 1.5 billion people. Even if we were to average the death toll over the 3-1/2 years, that would be 1.2 million people per day. Even that last large tsunami only killed about 300,000 over the course of several months including the aftermath. How sad that the term ‘only’ was used. This is not a time that we would wish upon our worst enemies.

Notice something else in that 10th verse. He rescues us ‘from’ the coming wrath. The New Testament for the most part was written in Greek, which is a very specific language. Perfect for the doctrines and the specifics for the Church. There are something like 4 words for Love in Greek and we have one. Do I love my wife the same way I love Bosco chocolate milk? No. But that is the only word we have. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew which is a very pictorial language. Perfect for the wonderful stories of the Old Testament, like the ones in Daniel. You can see the lions and the fiery furnace in your mind. This word ‘from’ doesn’t seem like much, but the Greek word is ‘apo’. This word is multi-dimensional and means ‘time’, ‘place’ and ‘any relation to’. It can be very specific. If this verse were in an amplified version of the bible it might read something like this: Jesus, who rescues us from the time of the coming wrath, from the place of the coming wrath, and from having anything to do with the coming wrath. To me, that helps to shed a little more light on the subject when remembering the fact that this was in the first section of the first book written to the Church.

The main section of verses that people like to use in favor of a rapture is 1 Thes 4:15-18 and it reads:

15According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18Therefore encourage each other with these words.

I have heard it stated that the word rapture isn’t even in the bible. Well then we will just have to call it the ‘catching up’ of the Church and not the rapture. In verse 17 the Greek word for ‘caught up’ is ‘harpadzo’. Remember that because of Augustine and the Roman Catholic Church, for about 1300 years, the bible only existed in Latin. The Latin word that was translated from the original Greek was ‘rapturo’ or ‘raptura’ which is where we get our English word ‘rapture’ from. So the word ‘rapture’ exists, but one just has to dig a little bit.

If there are any thoughts that the rapture or the ‘catching up’ of the Church is only a New Testament concept, let’s take a look at Isaiah 26:19-21 which reads:

19 But your dead will live;
their bodies will rise.
You who dwell in the dust,
wake up and shout for joy.
Your dew is like the dew of the morning;
the earth will give birth to her dead.

20 Go, my people, enter your rooms
and shut the doors behind you;
hide yourselves for a little while
until his wrath has passed by.

21 See, the LORD is coming out of his dwelling
to punish the people of the earth for their sins.
The earth will disclose the blood shed upon her;
she will conceal her slain no longer.

Place this passage alongside the one from 1 Thes and see how they compare. Early church fathers such as Clement and Ignatius often wrote of the Lord’s imminent return. I found a quote from Ephraem, the father of the Byzantine church that reads: “all the saints and elect of God are gathered, prior to the tribulation that is to come, are taken to the Lord lest they see the confusion that is to overwhelm the world because of our sins.”. These are from the first century or so. A portion of the Didache states that it will be possible to escape the tribulation. Last but not least is the thought that God gave Daniel when he revealed to him the happenings of the end times. God told Daniel that he would not understand and that it would not be understood until the times of the end. So Daniel was to go about his business of serving the Lord because it did not concern him. Maybe we are the favored generation. Jesus said himself that the generation being born when the signs of the end times started revealing themselves, would still be alive when they all were completed. I may not have been born yet, but I can look in recent history and see the nation Israel coming back to life in 1948. I can see the city of Jerusalem being regained by the Jews following the six day war in 1967. I can read earthquake statistics for the past century. I can see Jewish people flooding back to the land. I can read stories of people dreaming dreams and coming to know Christ. I can see Babylon being rebuilt. I can see the temple being prepared. I can see the Church falling away under the prosperity gospel. I can see the rapid movement towards globalization. I can see the clock approaching midnight.

As a little thought, in case you would like to study the subject further on your own: I don’t think the apostle Paul would have written II Thessalonians if he wasn’t teaching a pretribulation rapture concept.

Isaiah 26 spoke about shutting the door and hiding ourselves in our rooms. What are these rooms? Could they be what is referred to in John 14:1-4

1"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God[a]; trust also in me. 2In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4You know the way to the place where I am going."

Could we be joining Christ in these rooms until the wrath is past? Notice the fact that to get a good grasp on bible prophecy, the journey takes you throughout the bible. That could be the reason why it is a subject that is hard get underway. I mentioned previously that the rapture of the Church was not a time dependant event, and did not happen sequentially with other events listed. So what needs to happen for the rapture to take place? When will the Church be caught up to be with the Lord?

25I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.

Paul is speaking in Romans 11:25 of the nation Israel being saved. That is the mystery. Paul is using nautical terms at the end of this verse speaking of the number of sailors and soldiers needed for a vessel to set sail. Israel’s hearts will for the most part be hard until the number of gentiles needed for the Church has gotten on board. If we are to set sail, what would be the destination of the Church? That’s right, Heaven. God deals with the Jewish people and the Church exclusively. The catching up of the Church is not a time or sequentially based event. It is a numbers based event. God has seen the beginning from the end. He knows how many believers there will be in the Church. When that number is reached, we will all set sail as long as our names are written in the captian’s log, also known as the Lamb’s book of Life. But that is why you can’t put a timeframe on this event. It’s based upon free will of the individual and when they will finally make the decision to turn to Christ for their salvation. As Christians we can have an influence on that timeframe though. 2 Peter 3:10-13 tells us:

10But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.[a]

11Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.[b]That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.

Notice that we can speed the coming of the day of the Lord by living holy and godly lives. That means letting our light shine before men. That means being a witness to others not only in what we say, but how we behave and handle ourselves in tough situations.

The last point I have on the catching up of the Church also begins with the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:36-39

36"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.

‘As it was in the days of Noah’. Where better to go then the days of Noah. We see in Genesis 6:1-3

1 When men began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. 3 Then the LORD said, "My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years."

God said that he would remove His Spirit from man. Remember Noah preached about the coming flood for 120 years. Then it was too late for the people to get on the ark. When Christ returns I think we should expect that His Spirit is once again removed so that he may destroy the earth again. First with the flood, and the next time with fire. We can get a look at the relationship between God’s Spirit and the end of the age by looking at 2 Thes 2:

3Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for (that day will not come) until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness[a] is revealed, the man doomed to destruction…

6And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. 7For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. 8And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.

We see here that the Antichrist can only be revealed when the force that holds him back is removed. I don’t think it is a stretch at all to state that the Holy Spirit is the one that holds the power of Satan in check. In the Old Testament, God Spirit, or the Shekinah Glory was something that came and went and people met with it. After Christ died on the earth for our sins, that glory now resides within us as the Holy Spirit. If the Antichrist can only be revealed if that Spirit is removed as it was in the days of Noah, for the beginning of Daniel’s 70th week, and we understand that the Holy Spirit is sealed within us as it’s stated in Ephesians 1:13, then it would make sense to me that in order to remove the ‘restrainer’ Christ would have to remove the ‘container’.

So what do with do with all this information?

We should see that all the chess pieces are in place

We need to understand that He could return at any time

We need to act knowing that we’re doing right now is something that we could be doing when we meet the Lord face to face – hold ourselves to a higher authority
We need to think: Do I want to be the one that was holding up the Lord’s return by not telling someone about Christ – NO secret agent Christians

When we see all the trials and tribulations going on around us, we need to step back and be able to see that God has a plan for it all, and always has. As times get tougher, what better way to witness then to tell others (with both our mouths and our actions) where we get a peace that passes all understanding. HE is in control of it all.

From His first coming to His second coming. He’s got it all under control.

1 Thessalonians 5

4But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled.

God Bless,


The Prophecies of Daniel - Part 4

So this week we broke down what I feel is the greatest prophecy in the bible. The word of God was breathed through Daniel, and from this prophecy we can know that God is who He says He is because he does what He says He will do. Everyone would like to know what the future holds. Work, kids, relationships…Sunday’s football game, you name it. A lot of people try to find the answers in all the wrong places. The Bible has so much to say about the future if we are just willing to read, study, and listen. God’s got it all planned out already. To me, this passage that we looked at last week, helps to clear up what God’s plan is for our lives. Not only does God reveal through Daniel when He was coming the first time, but He also revealed a lot of information about when he was going to come again. The passage is Daniel 9:24-27. It is entitled “Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy” or “Daniel’s 70 sevens” and here it is:

24 "Seventy 'sevens' are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy.

25 "Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven 'sevens,' and sixty-two 'sevens.' It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. 26 After the sixty-two 'sevens,' the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. 27 He will confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven.' In the middle of the 'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.

First the Hebrew word for what is translated ‘sevens’ is ‘shabuwa’ and stands for a group of seven something. Much like we use our term dozen to refer to 12 things. Later verses lead us to understand that the group of seven is referring to seven years. So the angel Gabriel is telling Daniel that 70 groups of 7 years are decreed…or 490 years.

Notice next that Gabriel states that they are decreed for ‘your’ people and ‘your’ holy city. Daniel was a Jew and his holy city was Jerusalem. This is a very important fact to remember if we are going to get the interpretation correct.

From the list of items that follow in that first verse, the main thing that I want you to notice is that they will be completed only when Christ returns. Is there an end of sin? Are we surrounded by everlasting righteousness? Has all vision and prophecy in the bible been completed? I would however say that they are partially completed with Christ shedding His blood on the cross. That was our atonement.

Now to verse 25. When was the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem given? Well, as I’m sure you are all aware from your vast studies in the book of Nehemiah J, this can be found in the second chapter. It was during the month of Nisan during the 20th year of the reign of King Artaxerxes. This would be in spring of the year 445 BC. I read some research based upon some archeological discoveries that gave the date some more specificity of March 14th, 445 BC. I found nothing definite, but we’ll just call it mid March for the sake of the study. There were a few other decrees around that same time, or a little earlier in history, but they were all decrees to rebuild the temple. In those days a city wasn’t a city until the perimeter walls were properly constructed. And that is what Nehemiah did.

So from that date there will be ‘seven 'sevens,' and sixty-two 'sevens.'. and after the sixty-two sevens the Anointed One will be cut off and have nothing. Some translations say something more like the Messiah will be cut off, but not for Himself. The Hebrew term used here for ‘cut off’ can be translated ‘killed’ or ‘crucified’. And remember when Christ was killed, at that time he had received none of the promises that were made to him with regard to ruling here on earth. And if we look at the translation that includes ‘not for Himself’, that is also very appropriate because He died for us.

It is my understanding that the first seven ‘sevens’, or 49 years are the time that it took to rebuild and rededicate the city. Sixty-two ‘sevens’, or 434 years would then follow. That is a total of 483 years. A couple things to keep in mind is the fact that the bible is written based upon the lunar, or Babylonian calendar which has twelve, 30 day months for a total of 360 days per year. Our timetable is based upon a solar, or Julian calendar which contains 365.25 days per year. So watch out all you mathematically challenged individuals J here it goes:

483 years x 360 days = 173,880 days

173,880 / 365.25 = 476.06 years

There are some other slight adjustments for the Julian calendar and there is the fact that there was no year zero. The net result of all of this is the fact that if you start at mid March, 445 BC and move ahead just over 476 years you end up at the beginning of April, in 32 AD. To me it would make sense that this date references Palm Sunday when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the donkey that was prophesied for him on April 6th, 32 AD. 173,880 days after King Artaxerxes issued the decree.

Did everyone see that? It was not some divine intervention. It was not based upon some additional information from an outside source. The Jewish leaders of that day had what we call Daniel Chapter 9, and it was just some MATH! I think it is in Luke somewhere where two characters Simeon and Anna are expecting the Messiah to come at a certain time. Did they have an angel visit? Maybe. But there is also the possibility they studied their bible and did their math homework.

When Jesus was riding the donkey into town it’s recorded in Luke 19:

41As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42and said, "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you."

Notice that he says if you had only known on ‘this day’. Remember, up until this time Jesus did not let the people proclaim that he was the messiah. But on the day of His triumphal entry the religious leaders asked Him to keep the people silent as they cried out that he was the Messiah and Jesus told the leaders that if the people were silent about it, even the very stones would cry out that He was who they proclaimed Him to be.

So put yourself in the shoes of a Jewish disciple of Jesus at that time. You’ve been taught Daniel 9. You know that 483 years of the 490 years have been completed. There are only 7 years to go before all of the promises made to the Jewish people were completed. Jesus had come into town, everything was going great. It’s now the Tuesday after Jesus came to town. You walk up on top of the Mount of Olives which overlooks the city of Jerusalem with Jesus and mention how beautiful the white limestone city and the temple that Herod had nearly completed look. And Jesus says this recorded in Matthew 24:

1Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. 2"Do you see all these things?" he asked. "I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down."

3As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. "Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?"

Can you imagine their reaction? How could His glory be ushered in if the city was to be torn to the ground? They didn’t understand as we can see from the earlier passage in Luke 19 that the clock stopped. It would be hidden from their eyes. There are other passages that state that the Jewish people’s hearts would be hardened. Sometimes you may wonder how the Jewish people can deny Christ when there is so much evidence that proves He is who he said He is. They have the information. Hey, all they need is a calculator as we showed earlier. Even an abacus would work. It’s because their hearts are hardened. Their eyes are blinded to the facts that were in front of them. Praise the Lord, their blinders are being removed as we speak. There are a couple of Jews that get this email that could attest to that fact that they were once blind and now can see. Israel has become a nation again as was predicted for the end of the age. Jerusalem is under control of the Jews as was predicted for the end of the age. They are returning to their land as was predicted for the end of the age. And most importantly, they are coming to Christ like no other time in history which shows that their hearts are softening. God is preparing to deal with the Jewish people again after all these years.

That last 7 years still needs to be completed. When Jesus died on the cross for our sins at the hands of the Jewish religious leaders of that day, the clock stopped. Can you hear it ticking again?

Back to Daniel 9:

The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. 27 He will confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven.' In the middle of the 'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.

For those of you that have done a study in Daniel and have looked at these verses before, I’m hopefully going to throw a little curveball in here. Most commentaries talk about the Roman legions that destroyed Jerusalem in 70AD. While that did take place at that time, I don’t think that is what Daniel is referring to here. I think Jesus was referring to the Roman invasion in the passage we saw from Luke, but I believe in Daniel the clock stopped right after the ‘Anointed One was cut off and had nothing’. This last portion of the prophecy is in regards to when the clock starts ticking again. The armies of the ‘ruler who will come’ (we know as the Antichrist) will come like a flood. We learned from back in Daniel 2 that the 4th kingdom will be the kingdom of the Antichrist and will be the one that is in power at the end of the age when Christ returns.

Now look at the things that this ruler will do. He will make a 7 year covenant with ‘many’ (this should read ‘the many’ which is a term attributed to the people of Israel) and he will break it in the middle. 3-1/2 years into it with 3-1/2 years to go. The great tribulation is the most precisely defined period of time in the bible. It is referred to as 1260 days, 42 months, 3-1/2 years, time times and half a time. If it was not shortened to this specific length, Jesus tells us that no one would survive.

Also notice that in the middle of the seven years the ruler will put an end to ‘sacrifice and offering’. Any idea what the Jewish people need to conduct sacrifice and offering? That’s right, a temple. Daniel makes reference to this temple. So does Paul, John, Jesus, and Ezekiel even gives the specific dimensions of this coming temple. The description that Ezekiel gives calls for the temple shows it to be different then the previous two temples that Solomon and Zerubbabel? or Herod built.

In that temple that is to come, an abomination is set up. This has happened before in history. It was 168BC and the abomination was carried out by the Seleucid Empire ruler known as Antiochus IV. Some may say that Daniel could have been referencing the goings on during that time since he was writing in the 500’s BC, but we can see that Jesus, in 32AD, is clearly speaking of something in the future when he states in Matthew chapter 24:

15"So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,'[b] spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. 18Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. 19How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. 22If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it. 24For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible. 25See, I have told you ahead of time.

The occurrences in Jerusalem in 168BC are a type of what we should see happen again in the future. If you want to read more about this time in history I would suggest that you read the book of Maccabees. It is a good historical account of the revolt led by Judas Maccabee to finally get rid of Antiochus IV. When the Jewish people rededicated the temple there was a special prepared oil that was required to burn for 8 days. They only had one day’s worth of oil but decided to burn it anyway in hopes that it would be pleasing enough to God. That one day’s worth of oil burned for 8 days and it is still celebrated today around Christmas time as the festival of lights, or Hanukkah.

Notice one other thing from the passage in Matthew. In verse 20, Jesus says “Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath.” This tells us that Jesus is speaking exclusively to the Jewish people that will be in Jerusalem at the end of the age. Just because the passage is in the New Testament, doesn’t mean that this applies to the Church. If I’m a Christian living in Del Boca Vista, Florida, why would I care if the Antichrist shows up in the winter? I bet they would in Jerusalem sitting at an elevation of several thousand feet above sea level. Also, with regards to the Sabbath: I’m a believer that the Sabbath is not any specific day of the week, but that we find our Sabbath in Christ Jesus. But even if it was a specific day of the week, and the Antichrist was coming after me on that Sabbath day, I would run until I couldn’t run any more. I don’t want to be around any of that action. But the Jews, if they are accurately following their laws are not allowed to travel over 1000 paces on the Sabbath. That’s why there were so many things in the small towns that we located within a “Sabbath’s day’s walk” from the temple or where they lived. If Jesus told the Jews to get out of town when the see the abomination that causes desolation, and they could only go 1000 paces…better hope they are pretty big steps.

At the end of verse 27 we see that there is a specific time appointed for this ruler that is to come. We know from other parts of scripture that the end for the Antichrist will come when Christ returns and takes his proper place as ruler of this world. The Antichrist is chained up and thrown into the abyss. It has already been determined. God has seen the beginning from the end, and so have I. He wrote it down for us.

The information that I have presented above will play a vital role in how one sees the events of the end times playing themselves out. That is what we will be doing next week. Remember, we are supposed to know about the end. Jesus commanded us to know and understand the signs of His second coming. The events surrounding the end times are not supposed to come to us like a thief in the night. Actually, we are told quite the opposite in I Thessalonians 5:

1Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.

4But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled.

If we know Jesus as our personal savior, we’re in the light and not in the darkness. Notice that destruction will come on ‘them’ suddenly. It should not take us by surprise. Would anyone be surprised if Jesus were to return for us today?

Next week we are going to build off of these 4 verses to look at what it has to tell us regarding the sequencing of events at it related to the end of the age. Should be interesting to say the least.

God Bless,


The Prophecies of Daniel - Part 3

This past week we started looking at Chapter 9 of the Book of Daniel. Daniel is a great example to me.

I previously mentioned that I personally felt that this chapter contained the greatest prophecy in the bible. But that prophecy does not come until the end of the chapter, and too many would simply gloss over what the first 19 verses have to offer. This first portion of chapter 9 is known as Daniel’s Prayer and it starts like this:

1 In the first year of Darius son of Ahasuerus (a Mede by descent), who was made ruler over the Babylonian kingdom- 2 in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years.

Notice that something was revealed to Daniel because he studied the Bible. God purposely did not make everything crystal clear and spoke in parables himself because he wanted us to study to find the true meaning. The bible is like an onion that has all these layers to it and each time we peel one back through studying, something else is revealed. Some things have been there the whole time waiting for us to study and have them revealed. I think this is what happened with Daniel. He had the bible, well, a good portion of the Old Testament up through Ezekiel and Jeremiah who were writing at the same time that Daniel was. And he had an important message revealed to him about his people. To be specific, Daniel was looking at Jeremiah 25:8-12

Can you imagine how excited Daniel must have been? He’s an old man at this point. He’s been in Babylonian captivity since 606 BC and has recently seen the Medes and Persians take over. If he was looking at things correctly, there were only a couple more years to go…so he starts to pray.

When Daniel studied God’s word, he found himself in the center of God’s will and had God’s plans revealed to him, and he started to cry out to God. See what a great example Daniel can be to all of us. If you ever find yourself wondering what God’s will is for your life and you are unsure of where you are heading, start studying His word and he will show you His will.

Side bar: Ever find it interesting that in the center of the bible, in the center of God’s word is the longest chapter of the bible and the subject of it is God’s Word.

Psalm 119:9 9 How can a young man keep his way pure?
By living according to your word.

Then 119:89 89 Your word, O LORD, is eternal;
it stands firm in the heavens.

Then 119:105 105 Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light for my path.

Lastly 119:160 160 All your words are true;
all your righteous laws are eternal.

From Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21 These are just a few of the examples that are in this great Psalm. So remember: go to the center of God’s word to learn about the center of God’s will.

Now back to Daniel’s Prayer starting in verse 4 of chapter 9:

Wait: another side bar from Matthew 6:

5"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6But when you pray, go into your room, close the door, turn off your cell phones, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

I added a little nugget in there in case you found some of the wording strange.

O.K. Daniel 9:4

4 I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed:
"O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands, 5 we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. 6 We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.

7 "Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame—the men of Judah and people of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. 8 O LORD, we and our kings, our princes and our fathers are covered with shame because we have sinned against you. 9 The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; 10 we have not obeyed the LORD our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets. 11 All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you.

Notice that Daniel is not a finger pointer. He doesn’t go into his office and have blamestorming sessions as tends to happen in this day and age. He says ‘WE’. And Daniel, best as we can tell, was a pretty good guy. Even from when he was just a teenager and he asked to refuse the kings food because it went against God’s word (chapter 1). He stayed faithful to God his whole life and yet he still takes the blame for their punishment. When we pray for our own country do we ever say look what these people are doing to this country or do we take the blame like Daniel did and simply ask for God’s mercy. I’m no Daniel and have caught myself praying in the wrong way for this country, for this world. When was the last time that you prayed for God to come into the life of someone like Ahmadinejad or Putin or Quadafi or Abbas. Do we find any feelings of them getting what they deserve. Guess what folks, without the saving grace of knowing Christ as our personal savior, we would all get what we deserve. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

"Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you. 12 You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing upon us great disaster. Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem. 13 Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us, yet we have not sought the favor of the LORD our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth. 14 The LORD did not hesitate to bring the disaster upon us, for the LORD our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him.

15 "Now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong. 16 O Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our fathers have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us.

17 "Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, O Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. 18 Give ear, O God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. 19 O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name."

Notice the passion in the past portion of the prayer with all the verbs used.

The end of Daniel’s prayer makes me think of 2 Chronicles 7:14 which says
14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

While Daniel is still in prayer confessing the sins of Israel, the angel Gabriel pays him a visit and says to Daniel:

"Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. 23 As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed. Therefore, consider the message and understand the vision:

First off, how cool would it be for an angel from heaven to show up and let you know that you are highly esteemed…wait…maybe it’s just me that hasn’t. Go ahead, you can tell me. Gabriel follows with what is known as The Seventy “Sevens”:

24 "Seventy 'sevens' are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy.

25 "Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven 'sevens,' and sixty-two 'sevens.' It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. 26 After the sixty-two 'sevens,' the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. 27 He will confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven.' In the middle of the 'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.

What in the world does that mean? Hey, as I mentioned, I think that this is the greatest prophecy in the bible and I feel that how one look at these four verses will affect the way that one sees all of the age of man playing itself out. I think it also affects how we live our lives. And we’re going to spend the next two weeks trying to figure these 4 verses out. That may sound like a lot of time, but there have been people that have spent a lifetime dealing with this passage. Two weeks will not do it justice, but we’ll give it our best shot.

Remember, God has a plan for the entire age of man, and the bible is the playbook.

Until next week, God Bless.


Friday, January 15, 2010

The Prophecies of Daniel - Part 2

I pray this new study finds everyone doing well and remembering to follow 1 Thes. 5:16 - Be Joyful Always

Well this week’s Bible study focused mainly on chapter 2 in the book of Daniel and utilized some cross references located in chapters 7 & 8 as well. For anyone that is unfamiliar with the book of Daniel, chapter 2 is all about King Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream and the interpretation that Daniel provided to him.

We are in the 2nd year of King Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. So Daniel and his 3 friends are still getting used to their new digs in Babylon. And the King has a dream that troubles him. He calls in his magicians, enchanters, sorcerers, and astrologers to interpret the dream.

By the way, you are getting the Mike Stansbury 2-minute recap version. Just read chapter 2, it won’t take long.

The ‘wise men’ only want to interpret the dream but Nebuchadnezzar wants them all to first tell him what the dream was and then interpret it or face being cut up into pieces. When the can’t, Nebuchadnezzar gives the order to have them all killed. Remember, Daniel and his 3 friends are among the group of wise men. The guards come to kill Daniel and his friends and Daniel asks for some time to come up with the dream. All 4 of them spend the night praying literally for their lives and God reveals the dream to Daniel. Side note: God answers all of our prayers, yes all of them. We need to accept when it’s not the answer we are looking for. He has a plan for good.

So Daniel starts telling Nebuchadnezzar about the statue that he dreamed of, letting him know that he was dreaming of things to come. There was a head of gold, chest and arms of silver, belly and thighs of bronze, legs of iron and feet of iron and clay. Then a rock that was not cut out by human hands came and smashed the statue on its feet and destroyed the whole statue. The rock then grew into a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.

Daniel then tells Nebuchadnezzar the interpretation. And it was probably a good move on Daniel’s part to let Nebuchadnezzar know that ‘the God of Heaven given you dominion and power and might and glory’ and Nebuchadnezzar was in fact the head of gold. From some of the information in chapters 7 and 8 we can put 2 and 2 together and learn that the chest and arms of silver was the Medeo-Persian Empire. The belly and thighs of bronze was going to be the Greek Empire. Feel free to cross reference chapters 7 and 8 with some of the history information that I emailed out last week.

Notice that in Daniel 2 the 2nd and the 3rd Kingdoms are passed over very quickly and the majority of the time spent is on the 4th Kingdom. That is the focus of the prophecy. Now the commonly taught principle is that the 4th kingdom, the legs of iron, was the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire had an western component that fell to the Huns in 476AD and an eastern component that fell apart from internal strife and simply ceased to exist around the mid 1400’s. It is then commonly taught that the feet of iron mixed with clay is the revived Roman Empire that we will see emerging in the end times. Rome will once again become a place of interest, and who knows, maybe the Roman Catholic Church would play some sort of role as well.

Well, after studying Daniel for several months now, I’ve come to the conclusion that the legs of iron and the feet of iron and clay don’t have anything to do whatsoever with the Roman Empire. Rome does not come into play, neither does the European Union. Personally, I don’t think the Roman Empire has anything to do with this chapter as well as any Bible prophecy that is yet to be fulfilled.

Stick with me for a little bit on this one.

Let’s look at the description of this 4th kingdom in Daniel 2:40-43 40 Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron—for iron breaks and smashes everything—and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others. 41 Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay. 42 As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. 43 And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay.

We’ll also look at the description of the 4th kingdom from chapter 7 23 "He gave me this explanation: 'The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it. 24 The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. 25 He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time.
26 " 'But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. 27 Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.'

To keep it as brief as possible, we can see that the 4th kingdom is the one that is in power when Christ returns to this earth to establish his eternal kingdom. ‘time, times and half a time’ means 3-1/2 years. I am confident Daniel is talking about what we know as the Great Tribulation at the end of which Christ will return and His angels will get rid of Satan. That is the most exact period of time given in the Bible. Even though I know that prophetic gaps and dual meanings exist in scripture, I don’t see one in these verses.

So if this kingdom is the one in power at the end of the age, and Daniel is not told the name of the kingdom because God doesn’t feel that Daniel needs to know the details of the end of the age ( 8 I heard, but I did not understand. So I asked, "My lord, what will the outcome of all this be?" 9 He replied, "Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end. – Daniel 12), what better place to look then in the book of the Revelation.

In just a few verses within chapters 17 and 18 I believe that we see the 4th kingdom revealed.
3Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a desert. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns. 4The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries. 5This title was written on her forehead: MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. 6I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus.

In verse 12 we see that there will be kings that receive power for one hour and then will be destroyed by the Lamb. Then in chapter 18 we see:

1After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven. He had great authority, and the earth was illuminated by his splendor. 2With a mighty voice he shouted: "Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great! She has become a home for demons
9"When the kings of the earth who committed adultery with her and shared her luxury see the smoke of her burning, they will weep and mourn over her. 10Terrified at her torment, they will stand far off and cry: " 'Woe! Woe, O great city, O Babylon, city of power! In one hour your doom has come!'

There are places in Isaiah 13 and Jeremiah 51 that talk of Babylon’s sudden destruction at the return of the Jesus so that he can set up his kingdom. After this Babylon will never be inhabited again. That has not been the case thus far in history. Even now as the rebuilding of Babylon proceeds there is a town of about 10,000 that exists there. It is Al Hillal, Iraq.
European resurgence with a European-Israeli conflict at the end of the age? I don’t think so. Europe, just like the United States is flat broke. Neither of us knows it yet. You cut off the supply of oil to the Far East and they would collapse just as quickly as we would, if not faster. If there is supposed to be a global currency at the end of the age…where do you think all the money is? The Middle East. That is where the conflict began and that is where it will end. Babylon is the city of this world. The only city mentioned more frequently in the Bible is Jerusalem. That’s God’s city. And if we know Christ as our personal savior, we will reign with Him in the New Jerusalem.

There were plenty of powerful kingdoms that were not mentioned in Daniel 2. The Assyrians, the Egyptians, the Philistines, just to name a few. For the last 50 years or so the United States has been a pretty powerful nation. They are not mentioned and I don’t see any reason to shoehorn the Romans into the prophecy. The kingdoms mentioned in the statue, I believe got their position on the statue when they controlled one place…Babylon.

I think that we will continue to see Babylon being rebuilt. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see the capital of Iraq move to Babylon in the near future. I could also see the UN pulling out of their headquarters in NYC and relocating. How quickly that could happen? Who knows? Who knows if it even will? But I wouldn’t be surprised at all.

Now here is the conclusion: Don’t spend too much time trying to figure out who the 4th kingdom is, because that is not the awesome part of Daniel 2. It’s the “ROCK that cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them… the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and fill the whole earth.”

The end of the chapter tells us that “the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.”

In Revelation 11:15 we read: 15The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever."

That’s the kingdom that I’m glad to be a part of. See when you look at the history lesson with the understanding that Daniel was writing decades before the Medes and the Persians came on the scene and centuries before Greece came to power you can get an understanding that God has it all under control from the beginning of time until now. Nations will rise and fall, but God has a plan for it all. Battles will be won and lost, but God has a plan for it all. Things will happen in your own life, and God has a plan for it all. And the best part is that He wrote down His plan for us to know. How cool is that.

Lord willing, next time we will start looking at what I feel is the greatest prophecy in the Bible. In Daniel 9 God reveals the exact day the messiah would come the first time and reveals the conditions surrounding His second coming.

Until next time, God Bless,