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Four Beasts from the Sea - Daniel Part 7

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
July 30, 2020 7:00 am

Four Beasts from the Sea - Daniel Part 7

So What? / Lon Solomon

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July 30, 2020 7:00 am

A study of the book of Daniel.

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As we've been learning, the book of Daniel is one of the most controversial books in all of the Bible. The reason for that, of course, is because in Daniel chapter 2 and again in Daniel chapter 8, the book of Daniel predicts with remarkable accuracy future events that Daniel had absolutely no way of knowing at the time when he was writing. The only explanation for how Daniel could have written these things down is the explanation that the Bible gives, and that is that there is a living personal God who knows the future and that this living personal God revealed supernaturally these things to his prophet Daniel who then wrote them down. Now for scholars to admit that the book of Daniel is genuine prophecy forces them to admit that this living God really exists.

There's no other explanation for it. And if they have to admit that this living God really exists, that forces them to come to grips with what this living God says about their sin and about their need for repentance. And since most of these men and women are not willing to hear any of this, the easiest way around the problem is simply to discredit the book of Daniel, to simply say it was written in 165 BC instead of in the 6th century BC the way it claims. It was written after all of the events that Daniel predicts have already happened and that the writer is merely writing history and disguising it as prophecy. But we as Christians and Bible believers, we reject this approach to the book of Daniel because we know that the living and true God really exists. And the idea that the living and true God could give supernatural prophecy to his prophet doesn't bother us in the least. We accept that.

We say that makes sense. And we are thrilled as we study God's predictions of the future that he gave to Daniel and that have been fulfilled, at least many of them, as the centuries have gone on and some of which are still yet to be fulfilled, but we know they'll happen exactly the way God said they would in the book of Daniel. Now tonight as we tackle chapter 7, we're addressing one of the greatest prophetic passages in the entire Bible. This chapter opens the second major section of Daniel. Daniel chapters 1 to 6 is the first section of the book which is essentially history. And now in chapters 7 through 12, we have the second section of the book which is essentially prophetic in nature. And yet even though most of us who are Bible believers will admit that this is genuine prophecy, even among us, we don't all agree as to how Daniel 7 ought to be interpreted. So tonight I really plan to challenge your thinking. I hope you came with your thinking caps ready because we're going to really do some digging in to challenge your thinking about what is really being predicted and said in Daniel chapter 7. And I think when we discover it, it is unbelievable what God is predicting in this chapter and what's ahead for this world. Now chapter 7, I want to read it to you. You say the whole thing at once?

Yeah, follow along, then we'll come back and we'll take it apart. In the first year of Belshazzar, king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions passed through his mind as he was lying on his bed. And he wrote down his dream. Daniel said, In my vision at night I looked, and there before me were the four winds of heaven churning up the great sea, the Mediterranean. Four beasts, each different from the other, came up out of the sea. The first was like a lion, and it had wings like an eagle. And I watched until its wings were torn off, and it was lifted from the ground so that it stood on two feet like a man, and the heart of a man was given to it. There before me was a second beast, which looked like a bear. It was raised up on one of its sides, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth.

And it was told, Get up and eat your fill of flesh. After that I looked, and here before me was another beast, one that looked like a leopard. And on its back it had four wings like those of a bird. This beast had four heads, and it was given authority to rule. And after that in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast, terrifying and frightening and very powerful.

It had large iron teeth, and it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the other beasts, and it had ten horns. And while I was thinking about these ten horns, there before me another horn, a little one, came up from among them.

And three of the first horns were uprooted before the little horn. And this horn had eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth that spoke boastfully. And as I looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat.

His clothing was as white as snow, and the hair of his head was white like wool. And the throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him, and thousands upon thousands attended him.

Ten thousands times ten thousands stood before him, and the court was seated, and the books were opened. And then I continued to watch because of the boastful words of the little horn that was speaking. And I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire.

The other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but were now allowed to live for a period of time. And in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. And he approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory, and sovereign power. All peoples and nations and men of every language worshipped him.

And his dominion was an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. I, Daniel, was troubled in my spirits, and the visions that passed through my mind disturbed me. And so I approached one of those who were standing there and asked him what was the meaning of all of this. And so he told me and gave me the interpretation of these things. And he said, four great beasts that you saw are four kingdoms that will rise from the earth. But the saints of the Most High will receive the kingdom and possess it forever.

Yes, forever and ever. And then I wanted to know the true meaning of the fourth beast, who was different from all the others and most terrifying with its iron teeth and its bronze claws. The beast that crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. I also wanted to know about the ten horns on its head and about the little horn that came up before which three of the other horns fell. The horn that looked more imposing than the others and had eyes and a mouth that spoke boastfully. And as I watched, this horn, the little horn, was waging war against the saints and defeating them. Until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the saints of the Most High. And the time came when they possessed the kingdom.

And so he gave me this explanation. The fourth beast is the fourth kingdom that will arise on earth and it will be different from all the other kingdoms. And it will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it. The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom and after them another king will arise different from the earlier ones. He will subdue three kings. He will speak against the Most High and oppress the saints and even try to change the set times and laws.

And the saints will be handed over to him for a time and times and half a time. But the court will sit and his power will be taken away and he will be completely destroyed forever. And then the sovereignty and power and greatness of the kingdoms of the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High.

And his kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom and all rulers will worship and obey him. This is the end of the matter. Di Daniel was deeply troubled by my thoughts and my face turned pale but I kept the matter to myself. You say, whew, yeah.

Now what does all this mean? Well, chapter 7 begins by telling us the year in which Daniel had this vision. It says in verse 1 that this vision came in the first year of Belshazzar, the king of Babylon. Now you remember that Belshazzar was not actually the king of Babylon. He was actually the son of the king of Babylon. The king of Babylon's name was Nabonidus. And Nabonidus, if you remember, I told you, loved to travel and he used to go off for months at a time and he would leave his son Belshazzar home to run the kingdom. And so eventually this became such a common practice that Nabonidus actually made his son Belshazzar co-regent, co-king with him. We know from history that this happened in 553 B.C. And so this being the first year in which Belshazzar was also the king, we can date this prophecy to the year 553 B.C. Now that means that chapter 7 actually occurred between chapter 4 and chapter 5 of the book of Daniel.

That's where it actually happened. The vision is about four beasts that arise out of the great sea, the Mediterranean. They were a lion, a bear, a leopard, and a fourth beast that was different than all of the rest and horrifying in its ferociousness. Verse 17 tells us that these beasts represent earthly kingdoms. Verse 17 also tells us, second of all, would you notice, that from Daniel's vantage point, all four of these kingdoms were future. Look at verse 17. The four great beasts are four kingdoms that will rise from the earth. In other words, at the time in which Daniel was writing, apparently none of them were in existence at that time. And we need to hold on to that because that is a crucial part of getting this prophecy interpreted correctly. Notice also that all four beasts, all four kingdoms exist simultaneously on the earth together.

You say, how do you know that? Because if you look, it says in verse 12 that after the fourth beast is destroyed and killed, the other three beasts who had their authority taken away by the fourth beast continue to exist for a little while. So all four of these beasts, all four of these kingdoms existed simultaneously or will exist simultaneously on the earth at the same time. It's just that during the existence of the fourth beast, the other three kingdoms have their authority taken away and are subjected to the fourth kingdom. Now the fourth beast is a ferocious kingdom that will take over the other three. And notice not only does the fourth beast take over the other three, but he takes over, that kingdom does, the entire earth. Verse 23 tells us that. It says that the fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on the earth.

It will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it. And verse 24 tells us that this fourth beast had ten horns on it, representing ten kings who would be a part of this kingdom. Now there's another player that enters the scene besides these beasts, and he's called the little horn. We find him in verse eight, and it's clear that we here are looking at not a kingdom, but a person.

This is an individual person. Notice from verse eight that this person arises from within the fourth kingdom. Verse eight says that while I was thinking about this, another horn, a little one, came up from among them, meaning the other ten horns.

Notice also in verse 20 and in verse 24 that this little horn was more imposing than any of the other kings. He kills three of them who apparently resisted his rise to power. And once he is in power, verse 25 tells us that this man speaks great blasphemies against the most high God. Not only that, but he wages war against God's people. Verse 21 says that he wages war against the saints, and he defeats them. Verse 25 tells us that he oppresses the saints, and also that the saints will be handed over to him, will be under his power and authority, for what the Bible says is a time, a times, and half a time.

You say, what in the world is that? Well, the word that's used here means a period of time, and then in Hebrew the dual is used, meaning two of something, two periods of time, and then a half a period of time. So in other words, one plus two plus a half is three and a half. Three and a half years, obviously. Three and a half years, the saints will be under the control and the domination of this little horn who will wage war against them, and the Bible says who will subdue them and overcome them for three and a half years. Notice also verse 25 where it says that this little horn will try to change the set times and the laws. Now, no one is really quite sure what this means, but I would like to suggest to you that this tells us that this person, the little horn, is going to set out to completely restructure human society. He's out to change the set times, he's out to change the laws of human society. He will try to reorganize human culture based on entirely new values and entirely new morals, and his sales pitch will be that our old morals and our old values have failed so miserably that now it is time for a new world order based on different values and different principles, and we've got to get rid of these old and antiquated notions about God and about morality and about decency and about ethics and about right and wrong, but that now we must restructure all of mankind under a non-Christian, non-biblical, non-Judeo-Christian ethic. We've got to restructure human society.

We're going to change the times and the laws of all of human society. This is the little horn. Finally, the hero of the prophecy appears, and that is in verse 13, one like a son of man. Now in Hebrew, a son of something is a something.

You understand what I'm saying? A son of Israel is an Israelite, and so a son of man basically just means a human being, a man, and Daniel, I'm sure, was a little disturbed or a little confused as to what a man is doing in the hallways of heaven, but nonetheless Daniel said, I looked, and the Ancient of Days set up his throne, and then a human-being-looking person came in and stood before him, and to this human-being-looking person, God, the Ancient of Days, gave sovereignty and power and authority, and all the world worshiped him. Verse 14, what he does is this son of man judges the little horn, destroys the little horn, destroys his kingdom, throws him, verse 11 says, into the blazing fire, and then sets up his own kingdom, gives it to the saints to run, and it lasts forever and ever. Now that's a broad overview of the prophecy, and let's see if we can begin to identify who's who and what's what in all of this. First of all, who is the Ancient of Days and who is the son of man?

Well, I believe these people can be quickly identified. The Ancient of Days is obviously, certainly, God the Father. The son of man is obviously the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now, of course, he's died, he's been resurrected, he has ascended into heaven, and of course now he is at the right hand of God waiting to come back again and set up his kingdom. As I said earlier, it's interesting to remember that Daniel knew very little about the Lord Jesus living in the sixth century like Daniel did, and I'm sure he was very interested to wonder why this human-being-looking person is being given this kind of authority. But thank God, Daniel didn't try to interpret the Word of God, he just wrote it the way he saw it, and so we got it accurately. And so what we see here is that this vision culminates. The culmination of Daniel 7 is with the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, his second coming to set up his kingdom which will last forever and ever. That's the end of the prophecy. Now, who is the little horn?

Well, this person is one who is leading the earthly kingdom that the Lord Jesus Christ destroys when he comes back. Not only does the Lord Jesus destroy this earthly kingdom, but he also takes the little horn and he throws him in the blazing fire for all of eternity. And this leaves no other possibility in my mind other than the fact that the little horn has got to be the antichrist.

He has got to be the antichrist. And everything that Daniel 7 says about the little horn fits exactly with what the rest of the Word of God says about the antichrist. In fact, I'd like you to flip over to the book of Revelation chapter 13 because we are going to see incredible corroboration between what Revelation 13 says about the antichrist and what Daniel 7 says about the little horn.

Let me give it to you. Revelation 13. First of all, what does Daniel 7 say? It says that the little horn speaks boastfully against God, right? Now look at Revelation chapter 13 verse 5. It says, And the beast, the antichrist, was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months.

Verse 6, And he opened his mouth to blaspheme God and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. Isn't that exactly what Daniel 7 says the little horn does? And you can compare if you want 2 Thessalonians chapter 2, it also says that the man of sin, the antichrist, comes and sets himself up as God, demanding people's worship. What else does Daniel 7 tell us about the little horn?

Well, it tells us that he controls the whole world. And that's exactly what Revelation 13 says. Look at chapter 13 verse 3. The end of the verse, it says the whole world was astonished and followed the beast. Skip down to verse 7. It says in the end of verse 7, And he, the antichrist, was given authority over every tribe, people, language, and nation.

All the inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast whose names have not been written in the Lamb's book of life. What else does Daniel 7 tell us about the antichrist? It tells us that he makes war on the saints and he overcomes them. Look at chapter 13 verse 7. And he was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them.

The exact same thing. What else does Daniel 7 tell us about the little horn? Well, it tells us how long he was given his power. Remember in Daniel 7 he was given it for a time, a times, and a half a time. Three and a half years.

Now look here in Revelation 13 verse 5. It says that the antichrist will exercise his authority for 42 months. How long is that? Divide by 12.

Three and a half years. Exactly the same. And finally, what about the end of the antichrist? Daniel 7 says that the little horn will be thrown into the fire. And although we're not going to turn there, you can check out Revelation 19 verse 20 where it says that when the Lord Jesus returns, Revelation 19 verse 20, he will take the beast and he will throw him in the lake of fire forever and ever. I mean, how much more corroboration would you like between what the Bible says in the New Testament about the antichrist and what Daniel 7 says about the little horn?

You say, well, Lon, what about all this changing the values of society thing that you said? Well, the New Testament gives some indication the antichrist is going to try to do that. Right here in Revelation chapter 13, look at verse 17. It says that he makes everyone take his take his mark and no one could buy or sell unless he has the mark of the beast. Obviously, the antichrist is going to rearrange the whole economic system of the world.

This is why 2 Thessalonians 2 calls him the lawless one, meaning everything about the law of God he's going to reject. And he's going to invoke all kinds of practices and values that can only come out of 1 Timothy 4 calling that seared consciences in the last days. So how are we going to identify the little horn of Daniel 7?

In my mind, he has got to be the antichrist of the end of the days. Now, that takes us back to trying to identify the four beasts. So let's go back to Daniel 7. And now that we know who the ancient of days is, and now that we know who the son of man is, and now that we know who the little horn is, now let's see if we can figure out who these four kingdoms are. Let me start by giving you the commonly accepted interpretation of who these four kingdoms are.

It goes like this. That the four kingdoms in Daniel 7 are the exact same four kingdoms of Daniel 2. You remember the dream that Nebuchadnezzar had in Daniel chapter 2? And there was the head of gold, and there was the breast of silver, and there was the loins of bronze, and there were the legs of iron.

You remember that? And people say, okay, those four kingdoms that we know from Daniel chapter 2 what they were. The head was Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian empire. The breast of silver was the Medo-Persian empire. The loins of bronze was the Greek empire.

And people argue about what the legs of iron was. But anyway, they say those are the same four kingdoms. This is an exact match between these kingdoms. Beast number one, the lion with the wings, is the Babylonian empire under Nebuchadnezzar. And to prove this, they point to the fact that there were lions with wings on them that were used on the gates of ancient Babylon.

And this idea that all of a sudden the heart of a man was given to this beast refers to the conversion of Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4 where he finally understands who God is and he becomes not a beast anymore but a real man in God's sight. Beast number two is a bear leaning up on one side. And this corresponds, they say, to the Medo-Persian empire. And the reason it's leaning up on one side is to indicate that one side of that coalition was stronger than the other.

The Persian side was stronger than the Median side and that's why it was up on one side like that. And the three ribs in its mouth represent Media, Persia, and Babylon, the three major parts of that empire. The third beast was a leopard with four heads on it. And the common interpretation is that that represents the Greek empire under Alexander the Great. Leopards were known for their swiftness and Alexander conquered the ancient Near East with a swiftness that the world has never seen.

Then after Alexander's death, his kingdom was split into four parts. We know this from history under his four main generals and that's why the leopard has four heads. And finally beast number four, the terrible beast, well that's the Roman Empire because the Roman Empire was cruel and voracious. And the ten horns that represent the ten kingdoms, the ten kings rather, well that's a little bit of a problem. Even Walvoord, who holds to this view, says, and I quote, the interpretation identifying the fourth kingdom as Rome has a major problem in that there is no real correspondence to the Roman Empire historically anywhere in the phrase and it had ten kings.

You say, well, yeah, and there's a little another problem. How does the Roman Empire end up with the Antichrist ruling it? Well, this of course is the theory of the revived Roman Empire where the Antichrist would be the leader of the revived Roman Empire and that that's how the Antichrist gets connected up with Rome. Now that's the common interpretation. If you remember back in Daniel chapter 2, I demonstrated to you why I believe that the fourth kingdom in Daniel 2, the legs of iron, is not the Roman Empire, has nothing to do with the Roman Empire.

It is a rebuilt Babylonian Empire in the last days. You say, okay, Lon, let's stick that in and that solves everything. No, it doesn't. Not at all.

In my opinion, there are all kinds of problems in this interpretation. Did you pick any of them up? Say, I think I got one maybe or two. Well, let me give you, I got five of them.

Let me tell you the problems. Now listen, number one, according to Daniel 7, 17, these four great beasts are four kingdoms that will rise from the earth. At the time of Daniel's writing, the prophecy is that these are kingdoms that will rise in the future. And yet when Daniel's writing, the Babylonian Empire in 553 BC is not only risen, but it has already crested and is heading down the backside. And the Persian Empire under Cyrus already exists. Cyrus is going to capture Babylon in only 14 years. So to say that these are all future kingdoms, if one of them is Babylon and another one is Persia, it doesn't fit.

A second reason. In Daniel 7, all four of these kingdoms, all four beasts exist simultaneously. Remember, verse 12, and three of them actually are still in existence for a short time after the fourth kingdom is gone. Well, never was there a time in history when the Babylonian Empire, the Persian Empire, the Greek Empire, and the Roman Empire ever existed at the very same time.

It doesn't work. Third, in Daniel 7, the third beast with the four heads, you know, the leopard with the four heads, that's commonly identified as Alexander the Great's kingdom. Well, it's true that Alexander the Great's kingdom was divided into four parts after he died.

But that was after he died. When the kingdom arose and conquered the earth, it didn't have four heads on it. It just had one, Alexander. And so this beast, however, starts with four heads. It doesn't fit.

It doesn't work. Number four, trying to make the fourth kingdom into the Roman Empire won't work for a number of reasons. First of all, we've already talked about the ten kings.

Walvoord, who even holds to this view, says, I can't find ten kings anywhere in the Roman Empire that work. But second, if you remember, the Antichrist is part of the fourth kingdom in Daniel 7. Daniel 7 has no room for the Roman Empire to die and 2,000 years come back.

It doesn't happen that way. And remember, Jesus Christ returns while the fourth kingdom is in power, placing the fourth kingdom at the end of the age. My point is the fourth kingdom just won't fit with Rome. Finally, reason number five, and I think the most damaging reason of all why lining Daniel 7 up with Daniel 2 won't work, is that Daniel 7, 12, look at verse 12. It says in verse 12, the other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time after the fourth kingdom and the Antichrist were destroyed by the return of Christ. This verse has always given fits to interpreters. And they've come up with more contorted ways to explain how somehow the Babylonian kingdom under Nebuchadnezzar is still going on with the return of Christ after the Antichrist had been destroyed, but it won't work. Dear friends, these three kingdoms, the Bible says, will actually outlast the Antichrist's kingdom for a short time. How in the world could that be Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar, Media Persia under Cyrus, and Alexander the Great?

How in the world could that be? You say, well, what are you really saying? I'm saying that I don't think Daniel 7 and Daniel 2 are at all parallel. Not at all.

There may be a couple of points where it looks nice to put them next to each other, but I don't think they go together. I don't think the kingdoms of Daniel 7 are Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome. You say, well, then what in the world are they? Well, what does the Bible say? It says, verse 17, the four great beasts are the four kingdoms that will arise in the earth. And if we know for certain that the fourth kingdom is an end of the age kingdom and that they all exist together simultaneously and the first three kingdoms outlast the fourth kingdom, doesn't it make sense that all four kingdoms are future? That all four kingdoms arise at the end of the age and all four kingdoms are brought to an end by the coming of the Lord Jesus? To me, that's the only thing that makes any sense in this prophecy that all four of these kingdoms are future kingdoms that none of them have yet existed. Rather, as the end of the age draws near and the return of the Lord Jesus draws near, we will see four great kingdoms arise from the area around the Mediterranean Sea.

We will see them vying for power. We will see them all absorbed into the fourth kingdom. We will see the Antichrist arise inauspiciously from the fourth kingdom.

Remember, he starts as just a little horn, not one of the ten original horns. You know, everybody says, well, we're looking for the Antichrist. We're looking for the Antichrist. I wonder if it's Saddam Hussein.

I wonder if it was Hitler. Friends, read the Bible more carefully. The fourth kingdom arises and takes over before the Antichrist ever appears. You won't see the Antichrist ahead of the fourth kingdom. He comes out of it halfway through it, kills three kings who try to stop him from arising, and quickly consolidates his power.

Don't look for the Antichrist. You won't see him. He doesn't start this thing. He comes later. He'll take over by the power of Satan. His kingdom will soon dominate the earth. He will set himself up as God. He will require people's worship. He will persecute every true worshiper of the living God. And for three and a half years, the saints on earth will be delivered into his power. And it'll go on to the point where it looks as though the entire plan of God is about to go out the window. He will begin to restructure all of human society based on satanic wisdom and satanic values to the point that it looks like God has totally lost. But at the end of three and a half years, Jesus Christ will come back. And when he comes back, he will defeat the Antichrist. He'll destroy his kingdom.

He'll set up his own righteous kingdom, and people will rule and reign with him, his people, forever. I was with a friend out in San Francisco who was telling me that years ago when he was going to seminary, they used to play basketball on Tuesday nights, I think it was. And they'd go over to this gym, and every Tuesday night when they'd go over to this gym, there was this elderly black man who was the janitor.

And he would sit outside the gymnasium while they all played their ball game because he had to stay there until they were done. And he'd sit on this old little wooden chair, and he'd read the book of Revelation. And one time my friend who was a seminary student at the time was so intrigued that here was this elderly black man who, you know, just from the way he carried himself, you could tell was not a highly educated man. And here he was reading the book of Revelation. And so one time my friend went up to him and asked him, just out of curiosity, he said, What are you reading there? He said, Well, I'm reading the book of Revelation. And my friend said to him, Well, do you understand everything that you read? And the black man said, Yes, sir, I think I do. And my friend was a little taken back that he would answer with so much confidence about the book of Revelation.

So he said to him, Well, gee, I think that's great. What do you understand the book of Revelation to mean? This black man looked up at him and he said, I understand it to mean that in the end, Jesus will win. I said to my friend when we talked about it, I said, That's about as good an interpretation of the book of Revelation as I've ever heard.

That's the point, isn't it? And that's the point of the prophecy. In the end, Jesus is going to win.

That's the whole point and establish his kingdom, which is forever and ever. Now, assuming this interpretation that I've given you is correct, what does it all mean for us? What does it tell us? Well, I believe it tells us three very important things. Number one, that the Middle East is going to be the focal point of the end of this age.

You can already see it happening, can't you? What's the focal point of the world now? Is it the Cold War? Not anymore. Is it the Iron Curtain? Not anymore.

Is it the bamboo curtain? Not anymore. Where is the focus of the world shifting to? The Middle East. Not only politically, but economically. It's shifting to the Middle East.

You can see it happening. Secretary Baker, for the last couple months, has not been traveling to Russia and China. He's been going to the Middle East. And I believe that the events leading up to the end of this age will involve huge conflicts among Middle Eastern kingdoms vying for power with one another. I suggest to you that the Middle East is not going to be a place of peace as we approach the end of this age, but that rather it's going to be a place of constant conflict and war, constant jockeying for position, and that all the trips in the world that Secretary Baker makes is not going to bring peace to the Middle East. Because these four kingdoms who vie for power in the end of the age are all coming in the Middle East. The second thing I think this tells us is that the Western powers, the United States, Great Britain, France, Russia, and the Eastern powers, China, Japan, that you're going to see them fade from international prominence. You say, Lon, I don't really like that conclusion. Well, I don't particularly like it either being an American, but you'll search in vain throughout the Word of God for any mention of Western or Eastern powers in the events of the last days. We're just not there.

You say, but Lon, how can this happen? I mean, we just went over there and we stomped Iraq. I mean, how in the world are those people going to ever conquer us? I mean, we've got all these nuclear warheads and all this stuff. Well, I don't really know. I'm not a prophet.

But I know this. I know that in light of America's financial problems and in light of the financial problems of most of the industrialized world, I meant what I said this morning in our morning message. If OPEC chooses to squeeze its fist, OPEC, the Middle East, could bring the industrialized world to its knees any time it wanted to. And I believe there's going to come a time when they're going to do exactly that.

They're going to squeeze. And, friends, we're going to die. We've got a trillion dollars in debt.

And a lot of that debt is owed to the Middle East. We're not going to make it. You say, well, Lon, that's great news.

I am really glad I came tonight. Well, I can't help you. All I can tell you is that we, because of our financial impotence in the West over the next few years, 10 years, 20 years, I believe we're going to lose our role as world powers. And the world power is going to belong to the people with money.

And we ain't got any. The people who have the money are the people in the Middle East. They have the oil. And I believe we're going to see the power focus shift to the Middle East over the next several decades. Third, I believe this tells us that Islam is very likely to be the religious system of the Antichrist and his kingdom. Islam is already the fastest growing religion in the world, in the world.

And Islam, I believe, I'm correct in my understanding of this prophecy, Islam is going to be the religious system that the Antichrist follows and out of which the Antichrist establish his world domination. Dear friends, you know, we've seen the ability of Islam to be molded into hero worship. Do any of you remember? It hasn't been that long ago, the images of the returning Ayatollah Khomeini to Iran.

Do you remember that? Do you remember the people who bow down and worship this man, the unbelievable fanaticism of an entire nation around this man? And look at Iraq. How could these people follow Saddam Hussein?

It doesn't make logical sense. The man took him over the brink and they're still following him. I mean, if that had happened in any Western country, we'd have risen up, had a revolution, thrown the guy out, done something. In fact, in Central America, they rise up and do it when they don't even have a crisis.

But in the Middle East, there's a hero worship that goes with Islam, with the religious leaders. It's very interesting to find a quote from G.H. Lang. G.H. Lang wrote a book on Daniel in 1940.

I think, 1940. Listen to what he said. Isn't this interesting? And I quote, In practice, hero worship has never been more luridly exhibited than in the flaming devotion of the followers of Mohammed. This system, Islam, may be expected to blend easily into that of the antichrist when he arises in his own native region, the Middle East. His early career of wide and ruthless desolation will resemble closely that of Mohammed. And his fierce alternative, submit or perish, will be precisely that of Islam, the very word itself, which means submission. End of quote. Here's a man writing 50 years ago saying, Watch out for Islam.

Watch out. If my understanding of Daniel 7 is correct, keep your eyes on the Middle East. Keep your eyes on Islam, on fundamentalist Islam, and enjoy your last days of America's greatness before she fades, because I believe she's going to.

In fact, I believe Britain and France already have. And we're going the same direction before the Lord comes back. And when all of this stuff is taking place in the Middle East, I don't believe America is going to be in any position militarily or financially or politically to do anything about it. And that's why we're not in any of this, friends.

It's all a Middle Eastern phenomenon. You say, Well, Lon, as I look at all of this, you know, I'm not so sure I see the coming of Christ as being just around the corner. Friends, I tell you, as I look at this, I feel a lot like you do. As I studied this this week, I said to myself, You know what? When you look at the political system in the world today, I don't see how if we've interpreted this right, that the coming of Christ is just around the corner because I don't see this stuff shaping up yet that Daniel 7 talked about.

I tell you, things can change quick. And when you've got Satan orchestrating the events the way we know he's going to do in the last days, we could see the events of this chapter rise and come into being almost overnight. So who knows how close it really is? Who knows? And who knows whether the rapture of the Lord coming to get us? Who knows how many years that separated from the actual beginning of all of this? None of us know. One of these days we will. One of these days we're going to look back and we'll study it all in retrospect and we'll go, Well, sure, it was right there, plain as the nose on our face. Why didn't we see it?

It was all there. But hey, looking forward is a little bit tougher. I'm just thankful no matter how it happens or when it happens that I'm not going to be here to be a part of it.

That's all I know. I'm happy Jesus Christ is coming back to get me and that as bad as it's going to be, Jesus said it's going to be great tribulation such as the world has never seen and will never see again. I can think of some pretty bad tribulation the world's seen, can't you? How about the mustard gas in World War One or Hitler in World War Two? I mean, I can think of some pretty bad stuff that have happened in this world.

The Middle Ages where there was the Black Plague and all of human society fell apart. And Jesus said those things are nothing compared to what this is going to be. Hey, I'm sure glad the Bible tells me Jesus is coming back to get me. So I'm not going to have to go through this. And I hope you've got that same confidence that no matter when it happens or how it happens, our concern is not that we know how it all is going to happen. Our concern is that we know Christ because he's going to take us, as the Bible says, out of tribulation and make us his in heaven. Let's pray.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-10 11:03:31 / 2023-06-10 11:20:42 / 17

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