Following the coalition of this ten kingdom western world empire, following the rule of the antichrist for a period of seven years, the first three and a half peaceful times where he rises in power, demonically empowered to bring peace to the Middle East.
Following another three and a half years where he desecrates that temple, sets himself up to be worshipped as God. Following that, the king will return with his beloved to set up a kingdom on earth. God's word at various points along the way gives us insight into the last days. There are events that will take place in the future that God has revealed to us in the past. Some of the details regarding future events were recorded many centuries ago in the Old Testament. Today on Wisdom for the Heart, Stephen's looking at one of those occasions in the book of Daniel. God revealed the future to a Babylonian king. We're studying that passage today here on Wisdom for the Heart.
We continue through our series on Daniel with this lesson called The End of the World. The headlines of a recent USA caught my attention. The article talked about the growing movement of prepping. Are you familiar with that term? People preparing for survival in a world where catastrophes have reduced mankind to living in caves and fighting over fire and water. It was viewed as a practice for sort of a fringe survivalist movement.
It's now mainstream. Like one best selling book by a former army intelligence officer is entitled How to Survive the End of the World as we know it. More than 130,000 people read his blog every single day to pick up new tips on what to keep and how to survive because the world is going to run out. You read the Bible, you get all the way to the end before the destruction of the earth.
You have ecosystems, you have water, you have trees, you have people, you have all sorts of things just as it is now. But there are people who believe that that won't occur. According to this article, 25 million people from California to China are making some kind of plan to survive a coming doomsday. Whether it's a series of planetary hurricanes that knock out all the power, solar storms that are going to destroy the earth's surface and most of the population of the earth. Sources like Newsweek and USA and AOL and ABC and NBC and Fox, all of them, talk about this growing phenomenon that's sort of gripping everybody of some kind of global catastrophe. One prepper featured in this USA article, a highly educated chemist worked for years for an oil company, quit his job to stockpile supplies to survive for the coming horror.
He was quoted on ABC News saying, we will have to start an entire civilization from scratch. There is a kernel of truth in this doomsday information and I'm going to show you in our study where. It's called the time of tribulation which will be more horrific than we can even imagine. Natural disasters one after another are actually sent from the hand of God converging on the planet. It's not going to happen because we are passing, according to the Mayan calendar, the equator or the equatorial line of the universe. The coming time of judgment on earth is coming directly from the hand of God. In fact, he will dispatch his angels to send such horror and wrath upon the earth as he gains the attention of mankind and reconstructs the nation Israel, who will then turn in repentance and receive their Messiah who comes and descends to the planet to rule for a thousand years. But there is something deep in the heart of mankind that's rumbling about something coming and there's truth in that.
Why? Because deep in the heart of man is a God-given conscience that knows that there's at least this appointed day when God will judge all those who die and it is appointed unto man once to die and after that the judgment. There is this sense that is resisted and pushed down and denied that God is the creator. Romans chapter 1.
And instead of glorifying God for his creation, we elevate creation itself, Paul said. History is filled with reminders that God is in control and there are illustrations throughout history where even the deepest of agnostics wants somebody to be in control. Unfortunately, the doomsday experts, especially in these days, are distracting people's attention away from the true judgment that they really need to be thinking about.
Instead, they end up stockpiling vegetable seeds and chickens and guns and ammo to keep anybody else away from their stuff because I guess we're going to end sharing if that day ever comes. But the truth remains, mankind knows, he senses that the earth won't last forever and he's right because God is buried in his heart, that sense. In fact, you go all the way back to 2,000 years before the birth of Christ, one of the oldest surviving doomsday messages, a prediction. Archaeologists uncovered a message written on an Assyrian clay tablet that reads, in English of course, there are signs that the world is speedily coming to an end, end quote.
The Montanists centuries later were probably the first organized end of the world movement. In the first century, they claimed to have special revelation from God that the world was going to end and they waited in central Turkey during the first century for it to occur. A few years later, Pope Innocent III said that Christ was going to come in the year 1284 while he was in power. He added 660 years to the date of the inception of the Muslim religion and that's how he came up with those dates and he was wrong of course. London astrologers in 1524 announced that there would be another immense flooding and it would begin in London with the River Thames.
20,000 Londoners panicked and headed for the hills waiting for the apocalypse and it didn't happen. In 1792, the Shaker movement predicted the end of the world. In 1914, the Jehovah's Witnesses began their series of unfulfilled predictions.
1914, 1915, 1918, 1919, 1920, 1925, 1941, 1975, 1994. In 1994, Harold Camping within the evangelical community predicted the Lord's return. All sorts of amazing numerology statistics he kind of put together, wove together. And only recently, you're more than likely aware, he spent tens of millions of his own personal fortune to warn the world that Jesus was going to rapture the church on May 21st, 2011. And then the earth was going to be destroyed a few months later.
Human history would end. When the rapture didn't take place in May, he revised his dates by adding the length of the flood to his dates and he came up with October 21, 2011. You know, unfortunately, when any of this ever happens, you know what the unbelieving world says? It'll never happen. Where is the promise of his coming?
You know, that's just baloney. Peter prophesied that would be their attitude. Hundreds of thousands of people took notice of Camping's most recent prediction. Quit their jobs, hold everything they had to give them the money to continue to warn the world. One of the more tragic outcomes was among the Hmong people. The believers who gathered near the border of Laos convinced he was right, waiting for the rapture.
They exposed their lives to danger from their communist government. Many were captured, pastors were martyred as the day failed to take them away. Listen, for starters, you can be absolutely certain that if somebody predicts Jesus is going to come, it's not going to happen. Just mark that date off your calendar, right? Because you do not know the day or the hour, Jesus said in Matthew 25.
It's not for you to know. Acts chapter 1, verse 7. We're to live like the Thessalonian believers, like the believers living on the island of Crete, who look every day, every moment for the glorious appearing of God through Jesus Christ. The next event is the rapture.
We're to look every day for that to happen. And in the meantime, as he told the Thessalonians, go back to work. You don't hide away. Wait and be meaningless and worthless. Go to work.
Work with your hands. Serve as witnesses to our world, which is indeed heading for a terrible time of judgment. And should the church be raptured today, inaugurating soon after would be this tribulation period. And what the world has seen thus far is only a small taste of the wrath of God to come. God has not told us everything about the future we'd like to know, but God's Word does tell us everything we need to know to be ready for what we need to be ready for.
When you think about it, the Christian is really the ultimate prepper, right? He is truly prepared for what matters, for what happens after life. What happens should Christ come for his church?
It has nothing to do with storing grain or chickens or guns. It has everything to do with preparing our hearts to see him, perhaps even today. Now the question would remain, have we been given anything in the Bible that allows us to anticipate the end of human history as we know it? Is there anything in the Word that gives us some information about this coming judgment? And then a coming kingdom, and then the end of the planet?
And the answer to that is absolutely yes. So let's take our time today and go back to Daniel chapter 2. It's his vision, the interpretation of the dream of Nebuchadnezzar that gives us so much information. But in Daniel chapter 2 and chapter 7, we're given a progression of world empires, beginning with Babylon, that are going to rule the world. And those empires came to be.
And just as predicted, they ended, except for one, as we'll see. If you look at Daniel chapter 2, you'll notice the four kingdoms that Daniel interprets for King Nebuchadnezzar, verse 31. Look there. You, O king, were looking and behold, there was a single great statue, that statue which was large and of extraordinary splendor, was standing in front of you and its appearance was awesome. The head of that statue was made of fine gold, its breast and its arms of silver, its belly and its thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron, partly of clay. You continued looking until a stone was cut out without hands. It struck the statue on its feet.
Now at this point, the kingdom is mixed with iron and clay, these ten toes. And that stone crushes them all. The stone is a prophetic reference to the Messiah.
Matthew chapter 21 talks about the returning Messiah. Daniel prophesies here. He's going to crush these kingdoms. In fact, in this prophecy in Daniel, this interpretation, this kingdom, the kingdom of this stone, the stone rejected, of course, by the nation.
It will fill the whole earth, verse 35. Now how do we know that these different parts of the statue are actually world empires? Well, if you go to the last part of verse 38, if I can summarize Daniel's interpretation, he reveals that Babylon is the head of gold.
So these different elements represent different kingdoms. Babylon is gold, and indeed it was the first world empire. Now in verse 39, Daniel goes on to interpret that Babylon will be conquered and followed by a second kingdom, the Medes and Persians. This is the silver kingdom.
And of course, in our last study together, we watched that take place as the soldiers walked underneath the city gates that had been lowered into the river, and they conquered Babylon without a fight. Following them, in verse 39, is a third kingdom of bronze that will rule over all the earth. We're given a few hints a little later on, but I'll tell you now, this is the kingdom of Greece under Alexander the Great, which indeed defeated the Persian empire. And now a fourth kingdom in verse 40, made of iron.
Originally, as it goes to the bottom of the statue, it's mixed with iron and clay, meaning this will be a diversified kingdom made up of several kingdoms. And with that now, Daniel has effectively prophesied a thousand years of world empires. That's why the liberals have to say, Daniel didn't write this, ahead of time somebody wrote it after these kingdoms conquered one another. His prophecy actually stretches to the very end of human history. In fact, if you turn over to chapter 7 of Daniel, we're given a different vision. It agrees with the first dream or interpretation, but some added elements are given to us that are greatly significant. He refers to these same four kingdoms, but this time he doesn't use elements like gold or clay, he uses animals. Then he adds some information about antichrist's kingdom and ultimately the kingdom of God.
Look at verse 3, Daniel chapter 7. He says, and four beasts, four great beasts were coming up from the sea different from one another. The first was like a lion and had the wings of an eagle. Now he's giving clues certainly to those that live in this empire that he's talking about Babylon. In fact, winged lions were practically the national symbol of this great empire. Sculptures of huge winged lions stood at the entrances of the king's palaces.
This was their mascot, so to speak. This was Babylon. The second kingdom, which is the Medes and Persians, in verse 5 is pictured here as a bear. The conquering kingdom that conquers Babylon is that Medo-Persian empire. We're shown in the latter part of verse 5 that the bear has three ribs in its mouth between its teeth, and we can't cover all of the details of these visions, but these three ribs represent the fact that this kingdom will destroy three kingdoms, and we know from history it was in fact Lydia, Egypt, and Babylon. The third kingdom that shows up in verse 6, which we know would be Greece, who conquered the Medo-Persian empire, is referenced here as a leopard with four wings. Most scholars believe the four wings simply refer to the swiftness of this kingdom, and we know from history that this was indeed a swift-moving, conquering kingdom. In fact, Alexander the Great conquered the known world faster than any earlier ancient power. His army was renowned for its ability to move rapidly.
In fact, in just eight years, his army marched and conquered more than 11,000 miles of territory from Greece to India. Now, it's also significant that this leopard, you notice, has four heads. After Alexander's untimely death at the age of 32, his kingdom will be divided into four parts, taken by his four generals. History, of course, reveals wonderful details to what Daniel only could speak of metaphorically. What comes next in verse 7 is a great, terrifying beast with iron teeth that links you back to the iron statue, the Roman Empire, which defeated Greece. Daniel explains in the latter part of verse 7 that this kingdom devoured and crushed and trampled down the remainder of these kingdoms with its feet.
But it was different from all the beasts that were before it. This beast had ten horns. Now, what Daniel slips in here for us is he tells us about the latter stages of the Roman Empire, which in many ways is still the coalition of power.
Evangelical scholars, in fact, talk about the rise of the Roman or the Western Empire. But Daniel, instead of talking about ten toes, the metaphor shifts the symbolism into ten horns. These are ten kings.
Now, how do we know that? Well, verse 24, as for the ten horns out of this kingdom, that is this Roman kingdom, ten kings will arise. So the ten horns are ten kings. And another king will arise after them. This coalition is formed, and then another comes along. He's going to be different from the previous ten or those ruling because he's going to subdue three kings. In other words, there's this empire of a ten-kingdom coalition that nobody can figure out. And the European Union, by the way, has many more than ten. And the prophecy experts supposedly said this was it when the tenth one signed on. We're now way past it.
It isn't that form. But verse 24 tells us that an eleventh king comes along and subdues three of the ten. That's a biblical nice way of saying he kills them. And that's just the start of his rampage.
Now, who does this sound like, verse 25? He will speak out against the most high and wear down the saints or the believers, those that come to faith in Christ during the tribulation, as I'll show you, of the highest one. And he will intend to make alterations in times, that is, he's going to have his own calendar, and in law, that is, he's going to rewrite what's right and what's wrong. He's going to become a world dictator.
Now, notice. And will be given into his hand, this kingdom, for a time, times, and half a time. In other words, for three and a half years, he will blaspheme God. Notice verse 26, his dominion will be taken away, annihilated, and destroyed forever. Then the sovereignty, the dominion, and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the highest one. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey him. Okay, are you out of breath yet?
Take a deep breath. And let me tell you what he's just prophesied, a number of events. Babylon will be the first world empire, check. The Medes and Persians will conquer Babylon, check.
They did that. Greece will conquer Persia, check. Rome will conquer Greece, check. A new Roman empire of ten kings will arise, that hasn't happened yet. One ruler will interject, killing three of them, and pursue world domination. That hasn't happened yet. That one, we know as the Antichrist, will be overthrown when Messiah comes to set up his kingdom as a stone rolling down a mountain, crushing him, and setting up his dominion. That hasn't happened yet.
I'm pretty sure that one hasn't. Do you feel like you're in the kingdom? No. When we're in the kingdom, I won't be teaching you either. Amen? That was a trick question.
All right. Some would say, you know, Christ already came in his first coming and established the kingdom in our hearts. In a sense, that's true. He ought to be Lord in the palace of our heart. But in a prophetic sense, that is not true. In fact, if you back up to verse 13 of Daniel chapter 7, we're given a description of Messiah coming to set up his kingdom.
Obviously, this has not happened yet. But notice what he says. Daniel says, I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven, one like a son of man was coming. And he came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him, and to him was given dominion, glory, and the kingdom that all the peoples, nations, and men of every language might serve him.
What a sight. Who could this be? He's referred to as someone like a son of man. What that means is he's a man. He's the son, as it were, of the human race. But it says he's like a son of man, meaning he's more than human. He's more than a man. And it tells us that he's going to be coming to the earth on the clouds.
That's an Old Testament illusion that shows up a number of times in Isaiah 19, Psalm 104, that God rides the clouds as his chariots. So Daniel is describing a person descending to earth to reign who happens to be deity clothed in humanity. Who could that be? Who are you? The Israeli Supreme Court asked Jesus, the Sanhedrin, Who are you? Tell us.
Tell us clearly and plainly. Are you the son of God? And Jesus said, You've just said it, but you shall see the son of man coming on the clouds. And I think he patted his chest because as soon as he said that, they ripped their clothes and they said, He's blaspheming. He's claiming to be God in the flesh. We've got to put him to death.
And they did. But that was part of his plan in his first coming because Messiah came the first time to be pierced for our transgressions, to be crushed for our iniquities, so that the chastening for the well-being of us who believe would fall on him. By his scourging, we would be healed because all we like sheep have gone astray and every one of us have turned to his own way, but the Lord caused the iniquity of us all to fall on him. He was born in his first coming to die. But here in Daniel chapter 7 is his triumphant second coming to earth.
Following the coalition of this ten kingdom western world empire, following the rule of the antichrist for a period of seven years, the first three and a half peaceful times where he rises in power, demonically empowered to bring peace to the Middle East, following another three and a half years where he desecrates that temple, sets himself up to be worshipped as God. Following that, the king will return with his beloved to set up a kingdom on earth. He will gather the saints who've come to faith in him during the tribulation period. He will gather Israel, which has survived not entirely but nationally, and he will reconstitute them and they will see him coming in repentance, the one, the prophet said, whom they now recognize they pierced. And he will have kept that scar. There will be no mistake.
All that is yet to happen. Since we're just about out of time for today, we'll stop here. Next time, we'll do a little bit of review and then conclude this message. If you joined us late, you've tuned in to Wisdom for the Heart with Stephen Davey. Stephen's working his way through a series from the life of Daniel, and he's called today's lesson, The End of the World. If you missed a portion of this lesson and want to keep caught up, you can replay the entire broadcast from our website, wisdomonline.org.
In addition to being able to play the broadcast, you can access the complete archive of all Stephen's teaching there. Once again, you'll find us online at wisdomonline.org. Thanks again for being with us. I hope the rest of your day is filled with God's blessing and that you'll join us next time on Wisdom for the Heart. Thank you.
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