Popular Features. It prophesied that a man named Cyrus would be born and he would let Israel go out of captivity. He was born and he did let them go. In my own mind, the greatest proof of the Bible is fulfilled prophecy because it is proof that is external to Scripture. Now, every power and every nation assumes that it will exist forever or at least wishes that.
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. The first great monarch of the neo-Babylonian Empire was a man named Nebuchadnezzar, the son of Nabopolassar. Nabopolassar was something of a vassal king under the Assyrian Empire, but he built together a great army, defeated the Assyrians and then at the Battle of Curcumas, he wiped out Egyptian society to the point where Egypt has never risen from its own ashes to be a semblance of what it once was.
We go there now and we see the Sphinx and the pyramids and all of the massive things that are left from that great civilization that is no more and will be no more. This man came along, Nebuchadnezzar, and he took over what his father had conquered. He took over what was Egypt and what was Assyria and the whole of the Middle East and stretched it west and stretched it east. And the Bible always sees the world, and at its focus and its center is Jerusalem. The world sort of begins and spreads from there.
And so, that part of the world being dominated by this man signifies the whole of the Biblical perspective, the Biblical world. Now, as he begins his rule in the kingdom of Babylon, he — he destroys the nation of Judah. This is very common in history, to bring in captives. They used them for slave labor. They used them anyway they could. In the first deportation in or so, Nebuchadnezzar went into the court of Judah, because they had their own court and their own kings and things. He went into the court of Judah and he said I want all of the finest young men, all of the men who are the sons of the nobles, I want all of those who are in the royal line.
I want the cream of the crop. And history seems to indicate that there probably were about 75 of these young men who were in their youth, probably from 14 on up, their teenage years. And they were the royal blood and the noble blood. They were the ones who had had the benefit of the finest education possible for them in their own country. And his design was to educate them in Babylonian society and then use them in Jewish affairs. Because he had taken a whole nation captive and now, he had to rule those people and he had to understand those people.
One of the young men he took was a man named Daniel. He had three friends with him, Hananiah, Azariah and Mishael. Because our God has told us not to. And later on, as we shall see, it meant that the three of them were thrown in a fiery furnace. Ultimately it meant that Daniel was throw to some hungry lions.
But they would not compromise. And out of the whole group we only know four names who really stood true, who really maintained their position and those are the four names that are lasting. And out of those four, one rose to a very unique place, and that was Daniel. Because God gave him the role of a prophet. Look at chapter 1, verse He could receive visions and interpret dreams.
Now why? There was no written word in that time completed. God was still revealing His word. And God was using prophets as the vehicle for his revelation. And it was very essential that God had this choice man through whom he could speak to the world. And Daniel was his man. So he gave him the ability to receive visions and dreams. And with that in our mind, we come to chapter 2.
And in chapter 2, God gives a dream to Nebuchadnezzar. Now this man is a real king, can be verified historically. The first great king of Babylon, ruled for 43 years, I think it is. And the empire only lasted 80 so he really dominated it. And He gives him a dream, God does. He had many dreams. Now how did it happen? You remember what I told you last week? If you read the first part of the chapter, chapter 2, you find out that Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel, verses 28 and 29, was lying on his bed one night.
And he was concerned about the future. We said that verses was the dream reviewed — or received. And Nebuchadnezzar was lying in his bed and he was very concerned about the future, 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. And you know what happened? I believe the text is telling us he woke up in the morning scared to death but unable to recall the details of his dream. Have you ever had that experience? I believe God gave him the dream and then I believe God helped him forget it. Why does God give him a dream and then make him forget it?
Nebuchadnezzar immediately rushed to all the wise men who were educated in astrology and everything else and the Chaldean magic and all that. You guys — guys are the soothsayers; you guys are the wise men. Tell me my dream. Put together its pieces again and interpret it for me. It was just, duh, nothing. They were charlatans, they were frauds.
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. 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. Massive thing, immense and brilliantly shining, the Hebrew — or the Aramaic term means. It just seems to come from nowhere and it smashes its image its feet. That is a weird dream, very strange. And so we seem the dream recalled.
Did you notice some things about it? Did you notice that the statue descends and the value of the precious metal from gold to silver to bronze to iron to iron and clay? Did you notice 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 and then it becomes all of the bowels and the thighs.
And finally, it ends up in ten toes. And did you notice that it has a descending specific gravity. Gold weighs more than twice as much as iron and clay mixed. 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.
And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold. You, Nebuchadnezzar, who rule the world. You are the head of gold. The next one down is another kingdom. You notice he never tells him what it is. And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch 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. These four kingdoms stretch from you, Nebuchadnezzar, to a stone that comes and smashes them all and fills the whole Earth. Jesus referred to the same period in Luke 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. 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. And so there is still that oppression of the nations over that land until the stone comes to crush the empires of the world. And I want to compare with this thing something in Daniel 7 for a minute.
Stay with me now. Daniel chapter 7, verse 1. Then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters. Daniel spoke and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove 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 the same world empire. The last part of the image, ten what? In both cases, the final form of world rule will take a tenfold identity.
Now, what are these four empires?
Rise Fall Antichrist Prophecies Revelation by Vandeman George - AbeBooks
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. 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.
Nebuchadnezzar had died in He was exceeded — succeeded by a man named - his own son, Amel-Marduk. You remember Marduk was one of their gods.
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They always named themselves after their gods. He was succeeded by Amel-Marduk, who was promptly assassinated. In , just a couple of years later, Neriglissar took the throne.
After four years he died. He was succeeded by his son who was promptly assassinated. Then built they the city of David with a great and strong wall, Yea, many also of the Israelites consented to his religion, and sacrificed unto idols, and profaned the sabbath. All were to be put to death who would not "profane the sabbath and festival days, and pollute the sanctuary and holy people, and set up altars, and groves, and chapels of idols, and sacrifice swine's flesh and unclean beasts," and "leave their children uncircumcised. And when they had rent in pieces the books of the law which they found, they burnt them with fire.
Black Magic: a Tale of the Rise and Fall of the Antichrist
The history of the apostate emperor Julian, who lived between and years after Christ, furnishes us with another approximation to the predicted Antichrist, and an additional reason for thinking he will be one person, not a kingdom, power, or the like. And so again does the false prophet Mahomet, who propagated his imposture about years after Christ came. Jerome upon Daniel, "what has been handed down to us by all ecclesiastical writers, that, in the end of the world, when the Roman Empire is to be destroyed, there will be ten kings, to divide the Roman territory between them, and that an eleventh will rise up, a small king, who will subdue three of the ten, and thereupon receive the submission of the other seven.
It is said that 'the Horn had eyes, as the eyes of a man,' lest we should, as some have thought, suppose him to be the evil spirit, or a demon, whereas he is one man, in whom Satan shall dwell bodily. As Antiochus compelled the Jews to act impiously, so the Man of Sin, the son of perdition, will make every effort for the seduction of the pious, by false miracles, and by force, and by persecution.
As the Lord says, 'Then will be great tribulation, such as never was from the beginning of the world till this time, nor ever shall be. Paul an Apostasy, a falling away, in the midst of which a certain terrible Man of sin and Child of perdition, the special and singular enemy of Christ, or Antichrist, will appear; that this will be when revolutions prevail, and the present framework of society breaks to pieces; and that at present the spirit which he will embody and represent is kept under by "the powers that be," but that on their dissolution, he will rise out of their bosom and knit them together again in his own evil way, under his own rule, to the exclusion of the Church.
It would be out of place to say more than this at present. I will but insist on one particular circumstance contained in St. Paul's announcement which I have already in part commented on. It is said there will "come a falling away, and the man of sin will be revealed. So says the inspired text: now observe, how remarkably the course of Providence, as seen in history, has commented on this prediction. First, we have a comment in the instance of Antiochus previous to the actual events contemplated in the prophecy.
The Israelites, or at least great numbers of them, put off their own sacred religion, and then the enemy was allowed to come in. Next the apostate emperor Julian, who attempted to overthrow the Church by craft, and introduce paganism back again: it is observable that he was preceded, nay, he was nurtured, by heresy; by that first great heresy which disturbed the peace and purity of the Church. It ate its way among the rulers of the Church like a canker, and what with the treachery of some, and the mistakes of others, at one time it was all but dominant throughout Christendom.
The few holy and faithful men, who witnessed for the Truth, cried out, with awe and terror at the apostasy, that Antichrist was coming. They called it the "forerunner of Antichrist. Julian was educated in the bosom of Arianism by some of its principal upholders. His tutor was that Eusebius from whom its partizans took their name; and in due time he fell away to paganism, became a hater and persecutor of the Church, and was cut off before he had reigned out the brief period which will be the real Antichrist's duration. And thirdly, another heresy arose, a heresy in its consequences far more lasting and far-spreading; it was of a twofold character; with two heads, as I may call them, Nestorianism and Eutychianism, apparently opposed to each other, yet acting towards a common end: both in one way or other denied the truth of Christ's gracious incarnation, and tended to destroy the faith of Christians not less certainly, though more insidiously, than the heresy of Arius.
It spread through the East and through Egypt, corrupting and poisoning those Churches which had once, alas! Out of this heresy, or at least by means of it, the impostor Mahomet sprang, and formed his creed. Here is another especial Shadow of Antichrist. And is there no reason to fear that some such Apostasy is gradually preparing, gathering, hastening on in this very day?
For is there not at this very time a special effort made almost all over the world, that is, every here and there, more or less in sight or out of sight, in this or that place, but most visibly or formidably in its most civilized and powerful parts, an effort to do without Religion?
Is there not an opinion avowed and growing, that a nation has nothing to do with Religion; that it is merely a matter for each man's own conscience? Is there not a vigorous and united movement in all countries to cast down the Church of Christ from power and place? Is there not a feverish and ever-busy endeavour to get rid of the necessity of Religion in public transactions?
An attempt to deprive the Bible of its one meaning to the exclusion of all other, to make people think that it may have an hundred meanings all equally good, or, in other words, that it has no meaning at all, is a dead letter, and may be put aside? Surely, there is at this day a confederacy of evil, marshalling its hosts from all parts of the world, organizing itself, taking its measures, enclosing the Church of Christ as in a net, and preparing the way for a general Apostasy from it.
Whether this very Apostasy is to give birth to Antichrist, or whether he is still to be delayed, as he has already been delayed so long, we cannot know; but at any rate this Apostasy, and all its tokens and instruments, are of the Evil One, and savour of death. Far be it from any of us to be of those simple ones who are taken in that snare which is circling around us! Far be it from us to be seduced with the fair promises in which Satan is sure to hide his poison! Do you think he is so unskilful in his craft, as to ask you openly and plainly to join him in his warfare against the Truth?
No; he offers you baits to tempt you. He promises you civil liberty; he promises you equality; he promises you trade and wealth; he promises you a remission of taxes; he promises you reform. He scoffs at times gone by; he scoffs at every institution which reveres them. He prompts you what to say, and then listens to you, and praises you, and encourages you. He bids you mount aloft. He shows you how to become as gods. Then he laughs and jokes with you, and gets intimate with you; he takes your hand, and gets his fingers between yours, and grasps them, and then you are his.