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The Rise and Fall of the World, Part 2

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
July 7, 2021 4:00 am

The Rise and Fall of the World, Part 2

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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You know, the Bible tells us that there's going to be a ten-nation confederacy in the end and out of those ten nations is going to rise one ruler. He's called the man of sin. We know him as the Antichrist. And once that ten-nation confederacy takes its form, an Antichrist establishes his rule.

His rule doesn't last very long until that stone comes and smashes the whole thing and fills the whole earth. And that's none other than Jesus Christ. Welcome to Grace to You with John MacArthur.

I'm your host, Phil Johnson. We've harnessed the power of raging rivers, turned sand into computer chips, and made space travel almost commonplace. We are the captains of our destiny, one might say. That's certainly what one amazing king once thought, and his life is a warning to each of us. As you'll see today when John continues his series, The Rise and Fall of World Powers. Now, before we look at the rise and fall of the powers of the world, I want to look at a story from someone who once felt powerless in the world. In her words, she was a victim of the world. But things have changed for this woman and her family, and Grace to You has been part of that. It's a compelling story of God's transforming mercy, and John, I'll let you take it from there. Read her letter.

Yeah, she says, My name is Christina. My husband, Joseph, and I are millennials in our mid-twenties. Four years ago, Joseph and I were not Christians. We were not married.

We had a baby, and we were living together on and off. I went out and drank my sorrows away and did drugs to have fun. But even on good days when I was alone in my car, I thought about driving into oncoming traffic. I hardly had anything to live for. I thought I was a victim of the cruel world.

That's what my generation has taught. And then, when we were at our rock bottom, Joseph was saved. I hated him for it, and I hated God for it. After every cruel thing Joseph had ever done to me, I wanted him to suffer. Why did he deserve heaven? It was then that God opened my eyes to my sin.

I felt disgusted. I saw that I was the one living in constant sin. I wasn't the victim of the world, but an enemy of God. God showed me that even though I didn't deserve mercy, He sent His Son out of His perfect mercy to take my place and pay for my sin that I may have everlasting life. All of a sudden, I had everything to live for. I had an overwhelming desire to spread God's Word to everyone I knew. I went back to church and started surrounding myself with biblical truth. That is when I found grace to you. I listened to so many of your sermons.

I can't even guess the number. My soul craved to learn more and more. Joseph and I got married, and I have focused on learning what it means to be a godly wife and mother. Now it's four years later, and Joseph, who once broke my heart, is now a man of God and someone I look up to. We are devoted to our local church. We now have three children, a beautiful family focused on learning the truths of the Bible. Joseph and I are completely different people. Thank you for making biblical truth available for people like me who are desperately seeking it.

She signs her name, Christina. That's just overwhelming. It's a great letter.

Such a thrilling thing. Sometimes grace to you is the conduit for the gospel that God uses to save someone. Other times, as in Christina's case, we're a source of Bible teaching that helps a young believer make strides in the new walk with the Lord.

In any case, the power to transform comes from the Word of God. When you support grace to you, you effectively come alongside people like Christina and like Joseph, and you become a part of their changing lives. What a tremendous investment you make when you support grace to you. Thank you.

Yes, thank you. We are so grateful for your prayers and your financial gifts. And if you'd like to find out how you can support grace to you's ministry to people like you, stick around after the lesson. But right now, here's John to continue his series, The Rise and Fall of World Powers. Daniel is one of the great Old Testament prophets, prophesied 600 years before the birth of Christ, great man of God in his early teenage years. As we've learned about Daniel when he came into Babylon and he began to be used of God to reveal the plan of the ages, the history of mankind to its consummation in the kingdom of Christ, he was just a teenager but a remarkable one at that. So we come back again to hear this first and perhaps most monumental prophecy of all of those in Daniel or in the Old Testament, the one in chapter 2.

Now, every power and every nation assumes that it will exist forever, or at least wishes that. I suppose as we study the Old Testament and we study human history, it's just a common thing that nations think they're going to rise to power and they're going to ride that power out. As we come to the book of Daniel, there was a great nation in power. That nation was Babylon, what is known as the Neo-Babylonian Empire. And in chapter 2, God gives a dream to Nebuchadnezzar. And Nebuchadnezzar was lying in his bed and he was very concerned about the future and he was worried about how it might be with his empire. Where was it all going?

How long would it last? Who would knock him off the way his father had knocked off somebody else? And as he was lying in bed with the thoughts about where his whole empire was going, he fell asleep and in his sleep he dreamed some dreams. But there was one of those dreams that wasn't his own. It was God's revelation to him. Nebuchadnezzar immediately rushed to all the wise men who were educated in astrology and everything else and the Chaldean magic and all that. And he got them all together and said, tell me the dream. You guys are the soothsayers. You guys are the wise men. You are the ones who are the seers and the prophets and the visionaries.

Tell me my dream. Put together its pieces again and interpret it for me. And they all stood there and they couldn't do it. It was just, duh, nothing. And so he said, if you don't tell me my dream, I'm going to kill every one of you.

And so the men moved out. The chief executioner came to Daniel because Daniel was one of the trainees among the wise men at this point. He said, come on, you're all going to die because you can't tell the dream. Daniel hadn't even heard about it. And he said, wait a minute. Wait a minute.

You give me some time and I'll tell the dream. How did he know that? He knew God had given him that ability.

He got down on his knees with his three friends and they began to pray. And then we come to verses 31 to 35. Daniel gets the answer to his prayer and we have not only the dream received but the dream recalled. In verses 31 to 35, Daniel walks in and gives the king his dream.

Let's read it again. Thou, O king, sauced and behold a great statue. This great statue whose brightness was excellent stood before thee and the form of it was terrible. In other words, it was awesome.

Massive thing. Immense and brilliantly shining the Hebrew or the Aramaic terms mean. This statue's head was of fine gold, its breast and its arms of silver, its belly and its thighs of bronze, its legs of iron and its feet part of iron and part of clay. Now he says, what you saw in your dream, and he began to remember I'm sure as he heard it, was this massive statue with a head of gold, chest and arms of silver, loins, bowels and thighs of bronze, legs of iron, feet and toes of iron mixed with clay. Then it says in verse 34, you saw until a stone was cut out without hands which smote the image upon its feet that were of iron and clay and broke them to pieces like a missile. Here comes a stone and it's cut out without hands.

That is, there doesn't seem to be any workmen. It just seems to come from nowhere and it smashes its image at its feet. Then where the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold broke into pieces together became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors and the wind carried them away that no place was found for them.

And the stone that smote the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. Now frankly, if you and I had a dream like that, somebody would think we've been eating pickles and strawberries. That is a weird dream. Very strange.

And so we see the dream recall. Did you notice some things about it? Did you notice that the statue descends in the value of the precious metal from gold to silver to bronze to iron to iron and clay? Did you know that it becomes more diverse as it descends? It starts out as a head.

That has solidarity. Then it becomes two breasts and two arms. Then it becomes all of the bowels and the thighs and finally it ends up in ten toes. There's a descending diversity that's in this image as well. And did you notice that it has a descending specific gravity? Gold weighs more than twice as much as iron and clay mixed.

So it's top heavy and easy to topple. And when the stone hits it, it crashes and the wind blows it away. So the dream received, the dream recalled, and now the dream revealed. Daniel's going to tell us what it means in verse 36. This is the dream and we will tell its interpretation before the king.

Now here it comes. Thou, O king, art a king of kings. For the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, strength and glory. And wherever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heavens hath he given into thine hand and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold. You're the gold head. You Nebuchadnezzar who rule the world. You are the head of gold. And after these shall arise another kingdom.

The word inferior is better lower. The next one down is another kingdom. Do you notice he never tells him what it is?

He never names it. Doesn't say who it is because he didn't want Nebuchadnezzar to be known where it was going to come from. And then he says another third kingdom of bronze which shall bear rule over all the earth. And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron for as much as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things. And as iron that breaketh all these shall it break in pieces and bruise. Now stay with me.

I want you to get this. He says Nebuchadnezzar you have seen four great world kingdoms. These four kingdoms stretch from you, Nebuchadnezzar, to a stone that comes and smashes them all and fills the whole earth. This is the story of human history from Nebuchadnezzar to the smiting stone.

Jesus referred to the same period in Luke 21, 24. He called it the times of the Gentiles or the times of the nations. It is the time when the nations dominate the land of Israel. Israel is set aside.

The prophet Ezekiel in chapter 9, chapter 10, chapter 11, chapter 21 says Ichabod is written over the nation Israel. They will be carried into Babylon and that will begin the times when the Gentiles rule in the land of Israel. And believe it folks they're still under the oppression of the nations even now. Israel still is tentatively holding to a small portion of the original land given them by God. Which stretches from the north all the way down to the river of Egypt and from the sea all the way to the Tigris and Euphrates way into where is Iran and past Iraq and Persia and all of that.

They don't even have a smittance of what is theirs by God's gift originally. And so there is still that oppression of the nations over that land until the stone comes to crush the empires of the world. Now I want to compare with this thing something in Daniel 7 for a minute.

Stay with me now it's all going to come together for you. Daniel chapter 7 verse 1. In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon who came along after Nebuchadnezzar sometime. Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed and he wrote the dream and told the sum of the matter. Daniel spoke and said I saw in my vision by night and behold the four winds of the heavens drove upon the great sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea diverse one from another. Here are four beasts.

Now watch this. These are just four other ways to see these same world empires. The first was like a lion and had eagle's wings. I beheld till its wings were plucked and it was lifted up from the earth and made stand upon the feet as a man and a man's heart was given to it. And behold verse 5 another beast a second like a bear and it raised up itself on one side and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between its teeth and they said thus unto it arise and devour much flesh. After this and lo another like a leopard which had on its back four wings of a fowl.

That's a fast animal a leopard and when it's got wings it's really fast. And then in verse 7 there was a fourth beast dreadful terrible strong exceedingly had great iron teeth. It devoured and broke in pieces and stamped the residue with its feet and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it and it had what? Ten horns. The last beast ten horns. The last part of the image ten what?

Toes. In both cases the final form of world rule will take a tenfold identity. Now what are these four empires? Go back to chapter 2 and I'm just going to quickly go.

These reviews take so long and the time goes by so fast but I have to tell you this. We remember that the head of gold is the Babylonian Empire lasted about 80 years and faded away when the Medo Persians moved in in one night and devastated them. We'll find out the whole story in Daniel 5. It gives the whole description of how they took the city of Babylon and took over from the Babylonian Empire. The first is Babylon. The fall of the Babylonian Empire just came suddenly.

I'm sure there were some seeds of dissolution. Nebuchadnezzar had died in 562. He was succeeded by a man named his own son Amal Marduk.

You remember Marduk was one of their gods they always named themselves after their gods. He was succeeded by Amal Marduk who was promptly assassinated. In 560 just a couple of years later Nereh Glaser took the throne.

After four years he died. He was succeeded by his son who was promptly assassinated. Then came a man named Nabonidus and Nabonidus assumed great power and shared the power with his co-regent whose name was Belshazzar. So what you have in the Babylonian Empire is tremendous solidarity for 43 years and then this all falling apart.

People being assassinated and so forth. Finally Belshazzar and a drunken stupor was carrying on a wild party recorded in Daniel 5. And in the midst of his foolishness and folly the Medes and the Persians marched right through the city and devastated his entire empire. The fall of Babylon.

Now listen. The fall of Babylon was the end of the Babylonian Empire. But it was not the end of Babylonian influence. Because it was in Babylon that the systems of evil religion began. What is the first system of false religion ever recorded in the Bible? The tower of what?

Babel. And from then on Babylon became synonymous with false religion. And the culture and the religions of Babylon have found their way into polluting the human stream. So that someday when the last stages of human false religion rears its ugly head on the earth in Revelation chapter 17. The Lord says the name of it shall be called Mystery Babylon.

Why? Because Babylon was the fountain of false religious systems. And so while the empire crumbled the stream, the pollution of its human religions found their way into the stream of history. Babylon was succeeded by Medo-Persia. Medo-Persia is in verse 39. Lower down the image the kingdom of silver. The arms and the breasts. Two parts. The Medes and the Persians.

The silver. Medo-Persian empire lasted only around 200 years. About 120 years longer than Babylon. It was during the time of the Medes and the Persians that Cyrus let Israel go back and reconstruct their land which was just a semblance of what it once was. We know the Medo-Persian empire was followed by Greece. History tells us that.

There's no question about it. And it would bear rule over all the earth. I told you Alexander the Great demanded the title king of all the earth. He extended his empire from Western Europe to India. Massive conquering by a man who died just after he was 30 years old.

Incredible. No wonder he is seen in Daniel 7 as a leopard with wings. Springing at a tremendously fast rate across the globe. He came to the Hellespont. Crossed the Hellespont. Conquered Greece and Rome. First met the Persian opposition at Granicus.

Subdued all of Asia Minor. He literally defeated a half a million Persians who were under Darius. He slaughtered them and broke the back of the empire. And then he began to take city after city after city after city. And he even swept down and took Egypt. And he got to Egypt. He founded the city that's still there. The city of Alexandria.

It was founded by Alexander the Great and named for him. Later on he had another great defeat of Darius. And that totally wiped out the Medes and the Persians. And he ruled the world. He returned to Babylon. Believe it or not he made Babylon. Ancient Babylon his capital city. He died.

Historians tell us of gluttony and drunkenness and malaria. In his youth. And who followed him? He tried to split the empire into four parts.

But his generals lost their power to the Romans. And we find them in verse 40. Strong as iron. As iron that breaks in pieces and subdues all things.

As iron that breaks all these and it shall break in pieces and bruise. The Roman Empire. In century BC the Mediterranean had become a Roman lake. And the Romans ruled that part of the world. All the way from the Great Britain to the Euphrates. From Northern Europe to Africa. I was privileged to be in the eastern part of the Arab world.

Not too many years ago. And to be to the eastern outpost of the Roman Empire. Which is known as Baalbek. Or Baalbek. Spelled with two A's. As a commemoration to Baal.

The Roman legions extended themselves everywhere. Tramping with their iron feet. The world into submission. But it doesn't end there. Now that was the introduction. Here comes the sermon. Verse 41. You're going to relax. You're going to get out on time.

By the way, what time is on time? Verse 41. And whereas. Whereas thou sauc'd the feet and toes. Part of potter's clay and part of iron. The kingdom shall be divided. Was the Roman Empire divided? Into what segments?

East and West. But there shall be in it of the strength of the iron. For as much as thou sauc'd the iron mixed with miry clay. It'll be a strong empire. By the way the Roman Empire lasted 500 years. Alexander under 200. Medes in the Persians over 200.

Babylon 80. But the Roman Empire in the West 500 years. In the East it lasted until 1453. When Constantinople was taken by the Turks. It was strong.

But. It was mixed with clay. Verse 42. And as the toes of the feet were part of iron and part of clay. So the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly brittle. The clay here is the word that has to do with baked clay used for tile.

It would be very brittle. Now what is this? Verse 43 adds something else. And whereas thou sauc'd iron mixed with miry clay. They shall mingle themselves with the seed of men. But they shall not adhere one to another even as iron is not mixed with clay.

Iron and clay don't adhere. And the weakness and the vulnerability of the Roman Empire. Is that it will be a mixture of strength and weakness. And the weakness is called here the seed of men. The kingdom is a composite of the firm and the brittle.

Now what about verse 31? It says that it was strong as iron. It was strong. The Roman government was strongly organized. Solidly organized. It's armies were well trained, well drilled and well disciplined. It's policies were well defined. In fact they were so well defined and so well carried out that they could pull off what is known in history as the Pax Romana.

They had a great measure of peace in all of their empire. But there was a weakness. The weakness is not in the legs. The weakness is in the feet.

You say what's the importance of that? Because the weakness appears only in the final form. They were strong once. But in the final form there's going to be weakness. Great weakness.

And what is the weakness? Verse 43 says the clay is the seed of men. What does that mean? Well all kinds of scholars have played around with it and I don't want to say that I know the absolute answer but I'm going to give you what I think is best. You know what I think it means?

I think it refers simply to human beings. I think the problem in the final form of the Roman Empire is going to be that there are too many people involved in the issues. Solidarity will be lost in the final Roman Empire. It will be mixed.

There will be a decay. A lack of solidarity. At the top of the image is the gold head. That's not an empire. That's the only one of the four that he says is a man.

That's you Nebuchadnezzar. In other words the Babylonian Empire was solidarity personified because one man called all the shots. As you go down it gets more diverse and more diverse and more diverse and the more diverse government gets, watch this, the more you have problems with it. Democracy can't last because as soon as it gets diverse enough to give the people the control and the people find out they can vote themselves in ordinate amounts of money from the public treasury they will begin by selfishness to destroy the democracy. And so the diversity of this final form is going to be its destruction. It won't even have the solidarity of iron which is less than a monarchy but it won't even have what the Roman Empire once had.

It will have a confederacy that is too involved with too many people and so there is an inherent weakness. Now, the final form of the Roman Empire has ten toes. I believe the Bible is telling us by the ten toes and the ten kings in Daniel 7 that the final form of the Roman Empire would have a ten nation confederacy. God doesn't just throw things around. If there's ten toes and ten kings and if you're shocked about that go to Revelation and read in Revelation and you'll find in chapter 17 that there's ten kings again in this final form. God is absolutely consistent. There's never nine and there's never eleven. There's always ten.

But God has something in mind. The final form of the Roman Empire will be ten nations in confederacy. Now, by the way, beloved, that has never been true of the Roman Empire in the past. Never.

You say, well now, wait a minute, MacArthur. The Roman Empire is gone. There is no Roman Empire. But listen, the prophecy says the Roman Empire will be around when the stone comes and smashes this and fills the earth.

But listen to me. Do you know there's never been another world empire? Napoleon tried it.

Hitler tried it and couldn't do it. Listen, if there's ever a great fifth world empire you can pack up your Bible because it's wrong. You say, well now, wait a minute. Are you saying the Roman Empire just faded away to come back again?

That's exactly what I'm saying. In fact, in Revelation the Bible tells us that a beast in chapter 13 came and he was wounded and went into death but he rose again out of that death. I believe that's a picture of Rome dying as it were only to rise again. And in its final form it will be ten nations. You know the Bible tells us that there's going to be a ten nation confederacy in the end.

And out of those ten nations is going to rise one ruler. He's called in Daniel the little horn. He's called the son of perdition. He's called the man of sin. We know him as the antichrist. He'll be a great world ruler who will come on the scene in Europe to pull together that coalition which will perpetuate a great battle the Bible calls the battle of Armageddon. Let me tell you something people. Watch Europe.

Europe will rise again. And I'm not pulling this stuff out of space. I'm no prophet. I never got a vision in my life.

I married one and that was the end of them. Nobody speaks to me out of the clouds. I'm just the average guy who opens my Bible. I'm telling you things that Bible scholars and teachers have known for years and years and years.

I don't know how else to explain it. That's exactly what the Bible says. And once that ten-nation confederacy takes its form, an antichrist establishes his rule.

His rule doesn't last very long until that stone comes and smashes the whole thing and fills the whole earth. And that's none other than Jesus Christ. You're listening to Grace to You with John MacArthur, Chancellor of the Masters University and Seminary.

Today's lesson is part of his study, The Rise and Fall of World Powers. Now, as John mentioned earlier, it's truly people like you who help us take messages like the one you just heard, teaching, packed with eternal hope, to men and women around the globe. To partner with us in ministry that's changing lives, contact us today. You can mail your tax-deductible gift to Grace to You, Box 4000, Panorama City, CA 91412, or call us at 800-55-GRACE.

You can also donate online at Thanks again for all that you do to support verse-by-verse teaching, and a special thanks if you are a Grace partner. Again, to make an eternal difference in people's lives, call us at 800-55-GRACE or go to Also, let me encourage you to write and tell us how you're benefiting from John's verse-by-verse teaching. If a particular radio study has encouraged you, perhaps a specific lesson has transformed your understanding of biblical truth.

We'd love to hear your story. Our email address, letters at That's letters at Or if you prefer regular mail, you can write to us at Box 4000, Panorama City, CA 91412. Now for John MacArthur, I'm Phil Johnson reminding you to watch Grace to You television this Sunday, check your local listings for Channel and Times, and be here tomorrow when John looks at God's plan for Jerusalem and how that connects to the rise and fall of world powers. It's another 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth, one verse at a time, on Grace to You.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-24 08:18:29 / 2023-09-24 08:29:54 / 11

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