That is the dare to understand the truths we're going to read, to not only know what you believe, but why you believe what you believe, and to dare to put up a defense for the faith. Many today think the Bible is outdated and can't be trusted. But today on Connect with Skip Heitzig, Skip will show you that the Bible still holds truth for you today and helps you know how to defend that truth. And at the end of today's program, Skip and his wife Lenya share how you can prepare your heart and mind to defend God's truth. You know, it's possible you can rent a movie that has, you know, things in it that may be questionable to the faith, and then to sit down with your kids afterwards and say, you know, that's funny. It was a funny movie. But, you know, what is the truth behind this?
What is subtle in this? You know, that you can be the teacher. Now, here's an offer that'll help you love your Bible studies and get the most out of your time in God's Word. So it's another new year, and you've resolved to study through the entire Bible again. Very often, somewhere around 2 Chronicles, that wonderful goal can grind to a halt.
Well, this year can be different. We have a package of resources with an excellent strategy for successfully studying through all 66 books this year. It includes Skip Heitzig's book, The Bible from 30,000 Feet, which lifts you to a new biblical altitude to help you get a new view of the full counsel of God's Word.
Make 2023, the year you truly make it through a solid survey of the entire scope of Scripture. This package also includes Skip's super accessible book, How to Study the Bible and Enjoy It, along with The Bible from 30,000 Feet. Both are our thanks when you give $50 or more today to help reach more people through Connect with Skip Heitzig. Skip has asked the team at Connection Communications to make it a priority in 2023 to take daily messages as you've heard today and expand them into more metropolitan areas. It is obvious that the population centers of our nation are in deep need of hearing the truth, and that is exactly our plan for the future with Skip's teachings. Will you help us make that happen? Call 800-922-1888 or give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer.
That's connectwithskip.com slash offer. Okay, let's turn to Daniel 7, as we join Skip Heitzig for today's teaching. Another historian visiting Babylon a couple hundred years after it fell named Herodotus, who was Greek, and he wrote about the glories that he still saw, and he named the kings and the queens of history. He left out Belshazzar, even though we know from archaeology that he existed. So here's my question. How could a Jew writing in 165 BC write about what historians at his time didn't know about?
Belshazzar. And that was buried in history till more recent discoveries in the 1800s. So archaeology defends Daniel as writing it. A second line of factual evidence is from paleography, and I didn't write that down because I'm smart or anything.
I was looking for a word to rhyme with archaeology. Paleography is simply the study of old documents. It's manuscript evidence, and as you study manuscript evidence, it points to an early writing, not a later writing. Let me give you one of those pieces of evidence. You've heard of the Septuagint version of the Bible, right?
Most of you have. The Septuagint version of the Bible is the most famous translation of the Old Testament, translated from Hebrew into Greek around 275 BC by scholars in Alexandria, Egypt. 275 BC is 110 years earlier than the supposed forger who came along and wrote the book of Daniel was written. And as we look at the Septuagint version of the Bible, written before that, you know what's in it? The book of Daniel. 110 years before the forger came along and wrote the book of Daniel, the book of Daniel was written.
At least that. Then there's the Dead Sea Scrolls, probably the greatest modern time archaeological discovery. In the Dead Sea Scrolls found in the cave of Qumran, a lot of you have visited that when we've gone to Israel, in cave number one and cave number four of Wadi Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, fragments were found of the book of Daniel in Hebrew and in Aramaic. But get this, the Aramaic it was written in was not the more modern Maccabean between the Testament Aramaic, but 6th century BC style Aramaic, the kind that Daniel would have known and spoken.
So archaeology, paleography, and then there's history. Here's Daniel seeing this vision, writing it down, and writing several visions down in the rest of the book. And these are things that he sees and says are going to happen.
Now that was thousands of years ago. It's given us enough time to see if they actually happen. If you say something's going to happen and it never happens, you're a false prophet. If you say something's going to happen and you let history take its course and they actually happen, I hope you go, huh?
Things that make you go, huh? That would be one of them. History proves it. Daniel predicts four mighty nations will come and three of those are mentioned by name in the book of Daniel.
The kingdom of Babylon, the kingdom of Medo-Persia, and the kingdom of Greece. So if you say, well, you know the supernatural never happens and the book of Daniel was written after the fact, this is really a forgery, this is really a fake, you have to call archaeology a liar, textual criticism and evidence a liar, historians a liar, historians a liar, and Christ a liar. The evidence is against the critic and against the skeptic.
We poke the Bible, it bleeds truth. I've always loved this statement by NASA scientist Robert Jastrow. He said, for the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance.
He's about to conquer the highest peak. He pulls himself over the final rock and he's greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries. We've discovered something archaeological. This must mean this and the Bible is correct. Okay, okay, we'll say that and they crawl all the way up and there's a bunch of theologians saying, hi, told you so. Then there is prophecy. Prophecy is one of the facts that defends the accuracy of the Bible. In fact, I would say that of all the other things, prophecy is the verification that God gave us this book, this book of Daniel, more than anything else. What the Bible says will come to pass does come to pass because there's an all-knowing and all-powerful God. There are hundreds of examples.
Here's one. God told Abraham in advance your descendants will be in a foreign land for 400 years. That's exactly what happened. They were bondage in Egypt, 400 years. God told the prophets of the Babylonian captivity before Babylon ever existed as a world power and that the kingdom would last 70 years, the captivity. God told Isaiah the prophet that Babylon would be overthrown by King Cyrus and it was written in the prophecy of Isaiah, get this, 200 years before Cyrus was ever born. His name was written in the Scripture. That's because of this fact, Isaiah 46, God speaking.
I am God and there is no one else, there is none like me declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times the things that are not yet done. Only God at the beginning can declare the end and that's what you find in Daniel 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12. Daniel 7 is the most comprehensive panoramic of all the prophecies in the entire Old Testament and probably in all of the Scripture.
It is incredible, so incredible that chapter 8, 9, 10, the rest of the chapters will all go back and fit somewhere in chapter 7 and just simply highlight and amplify what we read here. So Daniel is documented by the future, Daniel is defended by the facts. Let's read a little bit and see how Daniel described what follows. Now we've already read through several verses but let's just go back and visit a few, especially this vision of these four wild animals. These four wild animals are four kingdoms that will arise. I didn't make that up, we didn't read it, but if you keep reading in verse 15, 16, and 17 there's an interpreter there who tells Daniel, oh by the way Daniel what you saw, those four beasts are four kingdoms that will arise out of the earth.
Now let me just get something in your mind before we even go through these. The dream that Daniel gets corresponds to the dream that Nebuchadnezzar had many years before. Nebuchadnezzar had a dream of a huge statue, remember that?
Head of gold, chest and arms of silver, stomach and thighs of bronze, legs of iron, feet of iron and clay, 10 toes. The dream Daniel has is of wild beasts, same truths, two different images. The question is why? I believe because Nebuchadnezzar as a pagan king saw it from the worldly perspective, Daniel saw it from God's perspective. The world is enamored with power, enamored with kingdoms, enamored with glory, and he sees this big statue gold, silver, bronze, but when God looks at the world he sees the world as ravenous beasts, bloody fighting, destroying one another to have power, and that's an accurate depiction.
I think we could, all of us could look at any point and survey history and even survey what's going on in the world and we still see it happening. There's no peace, but there's destruction and there's war, like a sea being churned up kingdom after kingdom. So Nebuchadnezzar sees from the human perspective, God looks at it from heaven's perspective and gives that to Daniel. Reminds me of the scripture when the prophet Samuel was trying to find the next king of Israel and he went to the house of Jesse and before he found David he saw David's older brother Eliab who looked tall, dark and handsome and he said, this dude is the king. And God said, nope, I have rejected him. For God does not see as man sees. For man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart. Daniel chapter 7 shows you how God sees the heart of these kingdoms. Verse 4 is the first.
The first is the first. The first was like a lion and had eagle's wings. I watched till its power, till its wings, excuse me, were plucked off and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand on two feet like a man and a man's heart was given to it. Now this corresponds to the head of gold. You, O king, said Daniel to Nebuchadnezzar, you are the head of gold.
Want to hear something fascinating? In the archaeological discoveries of the city of Babylon, especially at the gates of the royal palaces, they have found several examples of winged lions. That was the depiction of Babylon by the Babylonians, a winged lion. Lion, the king of the beast.
Eagle, the king of the birds. It speaks of power, domination, speed, all of which characterized Nebuchadnezzar when he took Karshamish, 605 BC, defeated the Egyptians, took over the whole world speedily. They cast a lion with the wings. That depicted Babylon, just like Daniel said to Nebuchadnezzar in chapter 2, you, O king, are the head of gold. Notice it says, though, that the wings were plucked off.
That would indicate a loss of power and a loss of speed. And I believe that this actually took place, as most scholars believe, that this describes Nebuchadnezzar being humbled by God. And he was given a new heart, a different heart after that episode that we already discussed. Verse 5 is the next kingdom, the second kingdom, like a lopsided bear. This speaks of the Medo-Persian empire, the chest and arms of silver.
I'll show you why. Suddenly another beast, a second like a bear. It was raised up on one side and had three ribs in its mouth, between its teeth.
And they said thus to it, arise and devour much flesh. Now a bear is slower than a lion. It's more lumbering than a lion, not as agile as a lion. But a bear has brute force, brute strength. I have a friend who lives in Alaska, and he lives where bears come out. And I mean, they come over for Halloween trick or treating. There are so many bears there.
That's a little exaggeration. But he was at home, and he was outside, and a bear was coming toward him. He's up on his porch. So he pulled out his bear gun, whatever that is, some big gun, and he shot the bear coming at him. The bullet struck the bear in the chest. The bear kept coming at him. He shot it again. The bear kept coming at him.
Now he's on the porch. He fired a third shot at the bear. The bear kept coming until it finally collapsed right in front of him where he was standing. Hard to stop a bear.
Brute force. And that is a great depiction of the Medo-Persian Empire. For example, in the battle when King Xerxes of Persia fought the Greeks, Xerxes was able to amass an enormous army of 2,500,000 troops. They moved slowly, but with great power and great force. Notice also in this verse that says the bear is raised up on one side, as if two feet are on the ground and two feet are up. It's lopsided. That also is a depiction of the Medo-Persian coalition.
It was never an even union. The Persians were much more powerful than the Medes were, and historians bear that out. Verse 6 is the third beast, a four-headed leopard-looking thing. After this, I looked, and there was another, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird. Now, a leopard would be the most agile so far of any of the animals, and given four wings, it would be incredibly fast.
The beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it. This is a perfect depiction of the next empire, which will also be named as we go on in this book, the Kingdom of Greece. When Alexander the Great took over the world beginning in 334 BC, there are two things that marked his kingdom, speed of victory, speed of victory, and the speed of the breakup of his kingdom. First of all, he took over the world from Greece, Macedonia, all the way to Egypt, all the way to India, in 10 years, 10 years, so fast that it surprised even him. But then there was a speed of breakup.
He was 31 years old when he died. He died in Babylon, and when he was dying on his deathbed, the people surrounding him said, what shall we do with the kingdom? To whom shall the kingdom go? And he said, give it to the strong. And the kingdom was divided up between the generals of Alexander.
Guess how many there were? There were four generals, like the four heads, four generals. Now, how could Daniel have known that? That's why the critics said he couldn't have.
It was written after the fact. Cassander, Lysimachus, Seleucus, and Ptolemy were the four generals, and the kingdom was divided up as the scripture predicted. The seventh, and we'll touch more on this in the weeks to come, is this iron-toothed beast. It is unlike any other beast so far. Verse 7, after this I saw in the night vision, and behold, a fourth beast. Doesn't even say what it's like, just a fourth beast. Notice the description, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth, like the iron legs, right, of the statue that Nebuchadnezzar saw. It was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had 10 horns. The main feature is its iron teeth. Historically, we know this to be the iron rule of Rome.
Like the legs in the statue, the longest part of the anatomy, Rome ruled the longest, not 200 years like most of these others, but 1,500 years in total. Also, you should just write a footnote, either to yourself if you have a perfect memory, or write it down so you don't forget, Revelation 13. This corresponds to Revelation 13, where John sees a beast coming out of the sea, and describes it with the features of a leopard, a bear, and a lion.
Has all of the features, and then some, to make it very, very unique, unlike any other creature. So, true prophecy, God authenticates Himself, and confirms the validity of His Word. Which brings me to a question, and it does every time I study archaeology, and prophecy, and textual criticism, etc. Why do the critics persist?
Why do they keep trying to attack the Bible? Ha ha, we found something. Yeah, but have you consulted the other 400 critics before you that found something, and then had to zip their lip? Ah, but we found something.
Why do they persist? I mean, all of this evidence is here, it's discoverable, you can find it, you can research it, it's easy. I have a hunch. It's like the guy who was so enamored with the microscope when he was showed it one day, and he looked in, and he saw the intricacies, and beauty of flowers, and nature. He had to have one for himself, so he bought one, and he took it home, and he showed his family, and he took some of the evening meal in a slide, and looked at it under the microscope, and was disgusted to find microscopic things crawling all over it, like most everything has. And it so appalled him, it so disturbed him, that was his favorite food he was looking at. You know what he did?
He smashed the microscope. What do you do with the evidence? You get rid of the instrument that tells you the truth. I have a hunch that people want to destroy the Bible so much, not because it reveals the future, but because it reveals their heart. It tells us that all men and women are sinners by nature, and by choice, and need a Savior, and that the only solution is the blood of Jesus Christ, shed on Calvary's cross. And that is a truth they do not want to see under the microscope.
So let's just destroy that microscope, shall we? You poke the Bible, and it bleeds truth. And if God can be that detailed about the future, don't you think he can handle your tomorrow?
That's Skip Hyten with a message from the series, I Dare You. Find the full message, as well as books, booklets, and full teaching series at connectwithskip.com. Now, let's go in the studio with Skip and Lenya, as they share how you can prepare your heart and mind to defend God's truth.
There are a lot of skeptics today who have written off the Bible as outdated and irrelevant. This is particularly challenging for young people who are growing up in that environment. Skip, how can we prepare our children to resist the world's narrative about the Bible and defend the trustworthiness of Scripture with confidence?
Man, you know, my mind goes immediately back to when our son started public school, and we made the intentional idea, we bandied it about and landed on it, that we would send him to public school on purpose. And we wanted him to be sort of in the midst of wolves early on, so that he would not get swallowed up later on, and that he would learn how to hear what they think and say and be able to defend it early. So I remember when he came home and he said, Dad, the teacher told us at school that we all came from animals, and we all evolved and changed, and, you know, we're not made by God. And I said, well, why do you suppose they told you that? And we talked about it, and I said, well, Nate, how do you know that isn't true? Maybe it is true. And then he looked at me like, wait a minute, you're not supposed to say that. And I said, look, I don't believe that's true.
I believe that God created us, but there's reasons why I believe that He created us, and you need to discover not just that that's good to believe in, but why you should believe in it. And so early on, you know, he sort of cut his teeth on grade school apologetics of how to give evidence for his faith. And I think a lot of kids are swallowed up by the world because they're not equipped. A lot of times they go to youth groups, and all they do is have slumber parties, movies, and dances, but they don't really equip them. So I think that kids have good questions.
I think that they need good answers. I've worked around lots of unbelievers, and I've used certain tools apologetically to put forth a good case for Christianity, only to have people eventually—not all people, but many people—give their lives to Christ when those obstacles are removed. Well, those obstacles start when you're young. And if parents don't start helping to equip their kids, and otherwise they're just going to leave it to the church to do, that's not going to happen.
They need to be the ones taking the reins to train their kids. Otherwise, come high school, college, you're not going to see them in church anymore. I think the idea is to be intentional. And so, you know, it's possible you can rent a movie that has, you know, things in it that may be questionable to the faith, and then to sit down with your kids afterwards and say, you know, that's funny. It was a funny movie. But, you know, what is the truth behind this?
What is subtle in this? You know, that you can be the teacher and filter, you know, so many of the things that the world throws at your kids. Now, that means you have to be intentional and ready to have that conversation. I mean, you're always going to have the conversation about sex with your kids.
Why not have conversations about evolution and conversations about, you know, different religions? One thing that was so good about you when we first got married, some Jehovah Witnesses came to the door. And you know how to talk through these things. And I remember I answered and let them in. And you came home and I go, baby, there's some Jehovah Witnesses in there. He goes, I know. And he goes, go talk to them. And so it was like you were making me a grown person, right?
I had to grow up and say you wanted me to do it and I wouldn't. I know. Thanks, Skip and Lenya. Well, we hope this conversation has encouraged you. And right now we want to tell you how you can help keep these teachings you love coming to you and others, encouraging people around the world by connecting them to Jesus. In this new year, Skip wants to make these daily messages available to more of the major cities in our country.
Will you help us make that happen? And when you give, you'll also keep these teachings you love available to you. Just call 800-922-1888 to give a gift today. That's 800-922-1888 or visit connectwithskip.com slash donate. That's connectwithskip.com slash donate. Thank you. Tune in tomorrow as Skip Heitzig shows you that fulfilled prophecy gives us confidence that God will do what He says in our life too. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never changing truth in ever-changing times.
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