Friday, June 12, 2009

Daniel 2-8 recap

As the visions from chapters 2, 7, and 8 all revolve around the end times, we need now to recap and put the information that they give us all together.

There are a series of four kingdoms that will lead to the last kingdom. They are Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome. These nations are all history at this point, although they were prophecy then. Greece as we know was divided into four kingdoms (one for each of the compass points). The Seleucid dynasty (from which Antiochus Epiphanes came) is one we have already dealt with when we studied Hanukkah. The other three generals and kingdoms were Cassandra - Macedonia and Greece, Lysimachus - Thrace and most of Asia Minor, and Ptolemy - Egypt and possibly Palestine. While the Roman empire came to an end per se, its political structure did not, and neither did the Babylonian mysteries which continued throughout. There is a time gap between the Roman empire as we know it, and the ten kingdoms of the future. That gap is only a gap in that there is no big empire that takes over the known world the way these others did. There were still conquerors who tried, but none quite reached this level. What these all have in common is that not only were they world conqueror nations, but they also persecuted Israel and took them captive as such, whether just by ruling over them, or actually taking them captive as did Babylon. There were two nations that had these same two characteristics in common that had preceded these four, but these were historical from Daniel’s perspective and therefore did not figure in these visions. The other two were Egypt and Assyria. So there have been up to Rome, six countries in which the Babylonian mysteries reigned and who persecuted Israel. In order they are Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. This is important to remember for future reference.

Going back to the first vision, the fact that the ten toes come from two legs (if we are to take this at its most literal sense) would mean that the ten toes come from both the eastern and western empires of the Roman empire. This would include Europe (and its descendants or the Americas) as well as a good part of the Mid-East and northern Africa. This is most of the world except for East Asia and Australia. As to the second vision, we have two different ways of looking at it. With the historical interpretation, the same four kingdoms are past, but out of the fourth beast (again Rome) comes ten horns or kingdoms. The same ten as found in the large statue’s toes. Their purpose and importance seems to only be in that they bring forth another little horn. For the second interpretation there will be four major world powers at the end. One is a British American partnership, one is Russia, one would be a unified Central Asia, and the fourth is a world power that is totally different from the others. It has iron teeth and crushes the others. This might refer to the EU, although Britain is a part of the EU, so this may not be the EU. It is hard to say who it is, and it is hard to say whether this is a correct rendering of what this vision means. It is significant though that in the vision of the ram and goat, God uses the actual animals that represented these countries, so it is hard not to believe that these animals in chapter 7 do the same thing. (again since posting this I have come to believe Islam is the fourth beast).

Having said that, I did some further research on animal emblems and found something very interesting. While the U.K. is best known for having the symbol of a lion, it is not the only country to do so. The following countries have the lion as their emblem: Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Czech Republic, Ethiopia, Finland, Iran, Macedonia, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden. And while the U.S. is best known for the eagle, it is also not the only one. The following have various species of the eagle as their emblem: Austria, Egypt, Germany, Mexico, Poland, Romania, and Serbia. One country has the dual symbol of a lion and an eagle: Armenia. Only one area has the leopard as its symbol and that refers more to a people than a particular country. It is the people living in the "stan" countries as mentioned before. As for the bear, only Russia and Serbia have the bear symbols. Of the two, I think Russia is the more logical. Given the many EU countries that have the symbol of a lion, possibly the lion may stand for the EU and one of the eagle countries e.g. Germany or Austria is plucked out. It is hard to determine, given the multiple possibilities. It will be necessary to just follow the news and watch to see what fits. By knowing the Scriptures and the possibilities though, it will make it easier to see when it happens. If anyone has an idea or knows something that would help, speak up.

Now we will take a look at the little horn. In chapter 7 we are told that the little horn comes out of the ten - possibly the same ten found in chapter 2. In chapter 8 we are told the little horn, the same little horn, comes from the four. So he is both from an empire that is an heir, so to speak, of the Roman Empire, (first spiritually as the Babylonian mysteries came down through these empires, and then politically as the ten kingdom league is somehow an offshoot of the divided empires), and he is from one of the four empires that are offshoots of Alexander’s empire. As these two empires do geographically overlap, we need to keep these areas in mind. It may not mean that he is physically a patriot of these countries, he may merely be a descendant of that ethnic origin. He is different in some way from the others kings that run these kingdoms. He is much stronger in power. He overthrows three of the ten kingdoms. How this is done is still unknown. Whether by war or sanctions or what, we don’t have a clue yet. However it would appear since they are plucked up by the roots, that it is pretty devastating. Some characteristics of this person are that he blasphemes God, he persecutes the saints, he tries to change the times and laws, he has “eyes” (this may mean that he has eyes everywhere and knows what everyone is doing. We all have a profile on computer that our government keeps on us. They know everything we buy, etc.) and his look is more stout than his fellow man. We have already discussed that the word stout in this case does not mean fat, but more of a military bearing if not a military man. He gets his power from Satan (the passages in chapter 8). So this horn is a person completely possessed by Satan or inhabited by a demon and given power by Satan‘s permission and authority. He is a person of fierce countenance (again that goes along with a stout or intimidating appearance) and understands dark sentences or wicked tricks and deceptions. The common conception that is being promulgated by eschatology teachers is that antichrist is this warm charismatic person whom everyone will find so attractive. That is a hard concept to accept given that we know he has a intimidating appearance of fierce countenance. He does not sound like a warm and fuzzy person. He sounds like a cruel looking man. He also causes treachery to prosper. He will destroy a lot of people by the promise of peace. Ultimately God will destroy him, but not before he has destroyed the people of God and a good part of the world. He goes out to conquer the south, the east, (right now it is hard to say who the south and east are) and Israel.

We know from these passages that the people of God will be handed over to him for a period lasting 3 ½ years, or time, times, and dividing of a time. Chapter 7:25 We also know that this will happen in conjunction with the stopping of the sacrifices. Chapter 8:11-12. Many will die at his hand as he is given the power to destroy them. He will also cause the sacrifice at the temple to cease and desolate it.

One thing I haven’t addressed very much is the beast’s (antichrist’s) destruction. Going back, in chapter 2, we see that a stone cut out without hands (not of man) smites the image upon his feet (the ten kingdom confederation) and breaks them to bits. With the feet broken, the whole image is broken and turns to chaff and is blown away. What they represent (the Babylonian mysteries) ceases to exist at all. The stone then becomes a mountain which fills the earth. This mountain is a kingdom set up by God which shall never be destroyed. It will consume all other nations and will stand forever. In chapter 7 we see the Ancient of Days sitting on His throne. This is obviously God. He is described as having white garments, his hair is like pure wool (white), his throne is like a fiery flame with burning wheels. This description of God’s throne is similar to the vision Ezekiel has when he sees God’s throne - Ez. 1. Thousands minister to him and millions stand before him. It is judgment day and the books are opened. Now here is an interesting Scripture. According to Revelation, the White Throne Judgment for the unsaved is after the millennium. This judgment on the other hand is at the beginning of the millennium as 1) the lives of the three nations are continued for a season, although their power is removed so it indicates the beginning of the millennium as all these nations will probably cease to exist in eternity, and 2) the beast is slain, and he is given to the flame. From Revelation 19:20 we know that this happens before the millennium begins. So what is this judgment of millions of people? Well, Christians are given their rewards before the millennium, after the resurrection Rev. 11:18. Also there is the sheep and goat judgment, Matt.25: 31-46, where God judges the nations and decides who can enter into the millennium kingdom and who will be thrown in the lake of fire. The Son of man (Christ) comes with the clouds of heaven before the Ancient of Days and he is given dominion, glory, and the kingdom (millennial kingdom) where all people and nations will serve him. It is an everlasting kingdom which shall never be destroyed. Also the kingdom is given to the saints of the most High. We know that the saints will judge and rule in this kingdom. Rev. 20:4.

So that brings us up to date so far as to what we have learned in Daniel. It is important to try to keep all these facts in mind, as we continue to build upon them to get a clear picture as to what is going to happen. If anyone is confused at this point, write me or leave a comment and I will try to address it. Or if you have other ideas as to what things mean, please comment also. It gets much more convoluted as we go along, so if you aren’t understanding, it is important to stop here and go over it all until you do, or you’ll really get lost later on. It is also easier to follow the blogs in chronological order at this point, if you aren’t following regularly, as things get built upon so are less confusing that way.

***As I got further along in this study and into Revelation and more information came to light, it started changing my perspective on things, so the reader may find that what I say in the older posts becomes refined and that I come to different conclusions as you come to Revelation.  That is the thing about Scripture and learning, we must constantly be learning and being flexible to alter our understanding so that we do not become dogmatic about errors we may have made.

No comments:

Post a Comment