Thursday, December 17, 2009
By Bill Salus
While world leaders met in Copenhagen for the United Nations 2009 Climate Change Conference, Damascus, Syria hosted a war tribunal with high level delegations from Iran and the Hezbollah. Concurrently, about five-hundred prophetically minded Christian’s fellowshipped at the annual 2009 Pre-Trib Rapture conference in Dallas, hosted by Dr. Tim Lahaye and Dr. Thomas Ice.
Among the eschatologists in attendance were, Dr. David Reagan, Dr. Mark Hitchcock, Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum, Jimmy DeYoung, Jimmy DeYoung Jr., Dr. Chuck Missler, Bill Koenig, Pastor Chuck Smith, Dr. Ed Hindson, Dr. Randall Price, Mike Gendron, Dr. Thomas Horn, Al Gist, Don McGee, Terry James, Todd Strandberg, Gary Fisher, Phillip Goodman,Wilfred Hahn, Jerry Robinson, Nathan Jones, Don Perkins, Daymond Duck, Gordon Peterson, Don Mercer, Ray Gano, Mike Hile, yours truly and many more.
The revived Roman Empire, trend toward Globalism, coming Mideast War, absence of America in Bible prophecy, and soon return of Jesus Christ weighed heavy on our hearts and minds at the conference. Although not all Christians worldwide agree as to when or whether Jesus Christ comes to take millions of believers out of this world, many of them are troubled by the rapidly developing dangerous events in the Middle East.
On December 2, 2009 Iranian president Ahmadinejad declared “The Zionist regime (Israel) and its (western) backers cannot do a damn thing to stop Iran's nuclear work". Just a few days later according to Debkafile, Iran successfully simulated the detonation of a nuclear warhead in laboratory conditions. This is an alarming development because detonation is one of the most difficult challenges in the development of a nuclear weapon.
In addition to the above Debkafile issued an article on December 10, 2009 Damascus conference entitled “If attacked, Iran wants Syria to hit back at Israel. Damascus hedges.” The article suggested that the largest Iranian delegation ever witnessed in Syrian history recently arrived in Damascus to form a strategic partnership between Iran and Syria against Israel. According to the article, Iran expects an Israeli attack within one month and wants Syria to commit to joint military action against Israel. It appears they plan to pressure Syria into a YES WE WILL ENLIST answer! (Article postsript: Iran and Syria confirmed a military pact on 12/11/09. Click here to read article / video below.)
Iran's defense minister Ahmad Vahidi headed the Iranian delegation in Damascus and he stated, "The countdown for war is coming close to its end." "We must get our strategic partnership in shape ahead of time." He went on to pinpoint “chemical, microbiological and banned nuclear weapons" as strategic retaliatory Israeli targets. Syrian and Iranian military officials purportedly proposed that Hezbollah and the Palestinian terrorist organizations start heating up Israel's borders in the coming days to draw the attention from the world's focus on the Iranian and Syrian nuclear programs. (article postsript: Hamas vows to unite with Iran if Israel attacks. Click here to read article.)
Additionally, Hassan Nasrallah the Secretary General of Hezbollah, brought a delegation from Lebanon to participate in this important Damascus meeting. Hassan Nasrallah had previously advocated this type of antagonistic behavior toward Israel on September 18, 2009, when he declared Hezbollah can presently wipe out one-half of Israel’s army and that Israel should be wiped off of the map.
It appears as though things are about to go ballistic in the Middle East. Should a war break out between Israel and the parties listed above, it could segue into a sequence of events foretold in the Bible. Three Mideast centered prophecies are strongly bleeping on the prophetic radar presently. They are Isaiah 17:1, Psalm 83, and Ezekiel 38 & 39. These three major prophecies have a myriad of subset prophecies, like Ezekiel 25:14, 37:10, Obadiah 1:18, Jeremiah 49:1-27 and many more that seem interconnected. These three prophecies were alluded to frequently among the attendees at the Pre-Trib conference.
While attending on December 8, 2009 I visited with Bill Koenig, (pictured together here) a respected eschatologist and white house correspondent. He said that Syria supposedly has the most advanced scuds in the world. Additionally, we discussed the possibility that Saddam Hussein may have smuggled many of his chemical warheads into Syria before the 2003 U.S. led invasion of Iraq. I commented to Bill Koenig that; “Should any chemicals penetrate into Israeli soil, I suspect Israel might attack Damascus and ultimately bring about the fulfillment of Isaiah 17:1”. (Isaiah 17:1 alludes to the final destruction of Damascus)
Also we discussed the upcoming massive civilian defense drill potentially scheduled for the middle of January 2010 in Israel. Several people at the conference had heard about this drill, which is being performed in preparation for a potential multi-front war with Hezbollah, Syria, Hamas, and perhaps Iran. This exercise is intended to prepare Israelis for an attack of a chemical and biological nature. Also Koenig concurred that gas masks are going to be re-distributed on a wide scale in Israel in January 2010, seemingly for such a scenario.
Regarding chemical warfare, the Kuwaiti Daily reported in the summer of 2008 that chemical components enabling the production of mustard gas made their way through Iran and Syria into Hezbollah's hands. There is legitimate concern that deadly chemicals may already be mounted within many of Hezbollah’s rocket warheads. Koenig believes that there are presently 50,000 rockets in Hezbollah's arsenal. In the 34 day conflict between Hezbollah and Israel during the summer of 2006, Hezbollah launched approximately 4000 rockets into many parts of Northern Israel. This proved to be an embarrassing wakeup call to Israeli Defense Forces and their leadership.
Recently in a televised speech on Al Quds day this past September Hezbollah Secretary General, Hassan Nasrallah, discouraged all Arab allegiance with Israel and encouraged a multi-front war instead. He said "the next Mideast war will change the maps", inferring that in the aftermath new maps would be drawn without the nation of Israel upon them. Undoubtedly, Hezbollah defiance is due to their success in 2006 and their abundant arsenal amassed presently in 2009.
In my estimation this coming war will be unlike any other Mideast war throughout the entirety of history. I had dinner with Jimmy DeYoung, the widely respected end time’s expert, on December 7, 2009 and he, like most everyone else I spoke with at the conference about the subject, believes that Israel will pre-empt a strike against Iran's nuclear sites in the near future. "They have to", he said. The possible, albeit speculative, scenario I am suggesting to prepare for is as follows:
1. Israeli Pre-empted strike against Iran's nuclear sites.
2. Iran and / or proxies (Hezbollah, Syria, Hamas) retaliate.
3. Israel uses Scalar Technology against Damascus
4. Damascus ceases to be a city (Isaiah 17:1 fulfilled)
5. Arab League calls an emergency meeting intended to draw a line in the sand between Israel and the Arabs
6. Jordan and Egypt are pressured to break fragile peace treaties with Israel and confederate with other Arabs. (Jordan and Egypt are enlisted members of Psalm 83)
7. Saudi Arabia, also enlisted in Psalm 83, joins in for survival and economic, religious, and geo-political purposes
8. Psalm 83 commences...
On a side note; Arab Nationalism is at an all time high especially in light of the Iranian nuclear threat. Additionally the Palestinian Refugee Plight is climaxing presently and, if the scenario I'm suggesting occurs, it could come full front and center in the midst of this major conflict.
I believe these refugees are represented as the "tents of Edom" in Psalm 83:6.
9. Israel recognizes Arab military intentions and launches further preemptive strikes on its Arab neighbors and strikes religious sites in Saudi Arabia and overtakes the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. (Jimmy DeYoung informed me that the priestly garb is presently being prepared for about 28,000 Levites. DeYoung declared, They are saying in Israel today; "When the dome comes down, the priestly garments come out"! )
10. The Psalm 83 war ends, separation wall comes down, and construction of third Jewish temple begins.
11. The I.D.F. become and exceedingly great army in fulfillment of Ezekiel 37:10.
It may not happen exactly in this way; however, the above scenario is not that farfetched and I encourage people to prepare for the above or some varying scenario possibilities. The prophecies that are about to be fulfilled leading up to Ezekiel 38 are world changing and then the world will probably witness the Gog of Magog invasion. The sign posts are all up and pointing toward the nearby coming of the seven-year tribulation period ending with the campaign of Armageddon, shortly after the above type scenario occurs.
Therefore, Christians worldwide should look up for our redemption draws extremely near.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Mysteries of the Star of Bethlehem
What was it? Comet? Supernova? Alignment of Planets?
"Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, 'Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east, and have come to worship Him.'" (Matthew 2:1-2)
The star of Bethlehem has always intrigued people. What was it? Could it have been a comet or a meteor or a super-nova? What about a special alignment of planets?
The longevity of the star rules out a comet or a meteor. The star had to appear each night for several months in order to lead the magi all the way from Persia in the Far East. The possibility of a super-nova or a planetary alignment is ruled out by the fact that the star constantly moved, leading the magi first to Jerusalem and then to Bethlehem where the star hovered over the house where Mary and Joseph had moved to with the Christ Child (Matthew 2:9-11).
A Supernatural Alternative
The renowned Messianic Jewish scholar, Alfred Edersheim, has proposed another solution to the mystery. He points out that the Greek word translated "star" really means "radiance." The "star" could therefore have been what the Jews called the "Shekinah" — that is, a physical manifestation of the glory of God in the form of a supernatural radiance.
The Jews experienced such a phenomenon in the wilderness of Sinai when for 40 years they were led about by a pillar of cloud in the day that became a pillar of fire by night (Exodus 13:21-22). When the radiant cloud moved, they moved. When the cloud hovered, they pitched their tents and settled down (Numbers 9:15-23).
This Shekinah later resided in the Holy of Holies after the Temple of Solomon was built (2 Chronicles 7:1-3). Ezekiel describes how the Shekinah departed from the Temple in stages before God allowed the Temple to be destroyed by the Babylonians. First, the Shekinah moved from the Holy of Holies to the threshold of the Temple (Ezekiel 9:3). Then "the glory of the Lord" moved from the threshold to the Eastern Gate (Ezekiel 10:18-19). Finally, the Lord's presence moved to the Mount of Olives where it "stood over the mountain" before departing the city (Ezekiel 11:23).
The Shekinah is mentioned in the New Testament as being present at the birth of Jesus (Luke 2:9), at His transfiguration (Matthew 17:5), and at His ascension (Acts 1:9).
Considering the radiant and maneuverable qualities of the Shekinah that are demonstrated in these scriptures, I think it is very likely that the "star" which led the magi was really the Shekinah glory of God.
The Attraction of the Star
Another mystery associated with the Bible's account of the magi is why did these men "from the east" follow the heavenly radiance?
Their very title gives us a clue. Magi is a Persian term for a priestly caste of wise men who specialized in astrology, medicine, and natural science. The ancient historian Herodotus says they interpreted dreams and omens and claimed to have the gift of prophecy. Such men would naturally have been interested in an unusual heavenly radiance.
It is also very likely that they would have been familiar with the writings of Daniel who gained great renown as a wise man and interpreter of dreams in the Persian court of Nebuchadnezzar. If so, they would have known his prophecy of "the seventy weeks of years" which is recorded in Daniel 9:24-27.
This remarkable prophecy established the general time period of the Messiah's coming by indicating it would be 483 years after a Persian ruler issued an edict to rebuild Jerusalem. The magi had probably been counting down the years since the Jews had been sent back from Babylon to rebuild Jerusalem, and they thus knew the general time period when the Messiah would be born.
Because of the Babylonian captivity of the Jews, the magi would also have had access to the writings of Moses (the Torah), and from those writings, they may have come across the Messianic prophecy of Balaam that "a star shall come forth from Jacob" (Numbers 24:17).
The Inclusion of the Gentiles
The final mystery is why God would open the eyes of a group of Gentile mystics and draw them to the Christ Child.
Undoubtedly it was for the purpose of symbolizing the universal importance of the birth, to emphasize that although salvation comes from the Jews (John 4:22), it is intended for all peoples.
That was certainly the message of the angels who proclaimed to the Bethlehem shepherds that their good news of the birth of a Savior was for "all the people" (Luke 2:10-11).
This point was affirmed and emphasized forty days later when Mary and Joseph took their son to the Temple "to present Him to the Lord" (Luke 2:22). As they entered the Temple, a prophet of God by the name of Simeon took the Christ Child into his arms, blessed God, and then announced:
My eyes have seen Your salvation
Which You have prepared in the
presence of all peoples,
A light of salvation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.
During the Christmas season as you think about the star of Bethlehem that pointed Mankind to the First Coming of the Messiah, keep in mind that Jesus will soon return as "the bright and morning star" (Revelation 22:16).
Temple Altar Construction Begins on Day of Destruction
(IsraelNN.com) The Temple Institute began work on the sacrificial altar Thursday, Tisha B’av, the day the Second Temple was destroyed almost 2,000 years ago.
The Temple Institute has already built several of the Temple vessels such as the Ark and the menorah, and has now embarked on an ambitious project to build the altar, which will ultimately measure 3 meters wide by 3 meters long and 2 meters tall.
During Thursday’s ceremony, which took place in Mitzpe Yericho just east of Jerusalem, the Temple Institute laid the cornerstone for the altar and demonstrated how tar will be used to cement the stones together. The Institute plans on bringing the altar to its proper place on the Temple Mount when the Temple is rebuilt.
“Today, Tisha B’av, is not just a time to mourn the destruction of the Temple,” said Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, the head of the Temple Institute. “It is also a time to build.”
Rabbi Ariel thanked the more than 100 people who came to the event despite their fasting for Tisha B’Av, and despite the hot weather. The main force behind the construction of the altar, Yonaton Tzadok, was also on hand to explain why its stones were taken straight from the Dead Sea.
“The altar is supposed to represent going back to our roots, to the time of creation when everything was pure,” he said. “We took rocks from the Dead Sea, where it is likely that they were never touched by human hands.”
During the ceremony, many people who came to watch were surprised when they were invited to take part and pour tar onto the cornerstones. Rabbi Ariel first asked if there were any Kohanim (priests) in the crowd, and asked them start. When a woman requested to join in, Rabbi Ariel said "of course" and emphasized that women are commanded to build the Temple as well.
With the sun setting, Tzadok asked for volunteers to come back another day to help build the altar. “Carrying rocks and pouring tar is a lot of work,” he said. “We could use a few hundred people to help.”
More information on the Temple Institute is available at http://www.templeinstitute.org/main.htm .
Original Source: www.israelnationalnews.com
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
By Arno Froese
The answer to this question is fiercely debated between the Jews and Arabs who live in Israel and their surrounding neighbor states. It seems as though the entire world gets involved when it comes to the ownership of the land of Israel. It is rather significant that not a single country sides with the territorial boundaries God ordained and preserved in His Word. The deed to the land of Israel clearly states that the Jews are the original and only legitimate owners defined by geographical references. Genesis 15:18 says:
“In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates.”
Notice that this resolution is written in the past tense,
“...have I given this land....”
Of course, the world disregards what the Bible says about this land and its people, so let's look at it from a political perspective. Israel fought five major wars against its Arab neighbors and was victorious each time. But something strange happened; Israel was not allowed to keep the territory it had conquered. Why not? The nations of the world, particularly the United States, have pressured Israel into surrendering areas of the Promised Land to the Arabs, from whom the Jews conquered the land. This is unusual because every country was established by the force of weapons. For example, Germany lost the war against communism and the rest of the world. As a result, its victors took possession of almost one-third of the country. East Prussia, the part of Germany in which I was born, and where my family's roots date back over 800 years, was divided into Lithuania, Russia and Poland. Why? Because Germany lost the war.
Our own country was established on the basis of force. The Indians lost the battle against the Americans, which settled the land conflict.
All other nations have been able to enjoy the spoils of their victory, but Israel has been denied this right. All of the nations that have conquered territory by force to establish their borders now condemn Israel for taking possession of their own territory. From such a perspective, we can understand God's wrath upon the nations as documented in Joel 3:2, which ends with three accusatory words to the nations: parted my land.
Israel calls for UN probe into alleged Iran arms smuggling - RIA Novosti
Abbas offers to quit over stalled peace process - Reuters
Palestinian President Says He Won’t Seek Re-election - New York Times
Clinton: U.S. wants Israel settlement halted 'forever' - Washington Times
How Democracy Will Elect the Antichrist - Arno Froese (Book)
Israel calls for UN probe into alleged Iran arms smuggling - RIA Novosti
Abbas offers to quit over stalled peace process - Reuters
Palestinian President Says He Won’t Seek Re-election - New York Times
Clinton: U.S. wants Israel settlement halted 'forever' - Washington Times
How Democracy Will Elect the Antichrist - Arno Froese (Book)
Friday, November 6, 2009
His End Time Prophecies
by Dr. David R. Reagan
[ read bio ]
When I think of the book of Daniel, I am always reminded of a remarkable experience I had in 1983, during the third year of Lamb & Lion Ministries.
It started with a telephone call from a person in the mid-cities area between Ft. Worth and Dallas. He said he was a regular listener to the radio program I had at the time. He wanted to know if I would come to his church on a Sunday evening and speak on Bible prophecy. I told him I would be happy to do so if his pastor would invite me.
"That's the problem," he responded. "You see, my pastor doesn't like Bible studies, and He prefers entertainment on Sunday evenings — like pop singers and dancers. It's not going to be easy to talk him into inviting you, so please give me a jazzy title."
A "jazzy title" instantly popped into my mind. "Let's call it 'The Future of the Late Great Planet Earth.'"
"Hey! That's really jazzy," he replied. "Please pray I will be successful in persuading him."
The next afternoon the man called me back, and he was so excited you could have heard him without a phone. "Praise the Lord!" he shouted. "My pastor agreed to invite you without us even having to argue about it. All I did was tell him your topic, and he said, 'Invite him!'"
What the man did not know, and what both of us were to discover later, after my appearance, is that when the request was made, the pastor was sitting at his desk reading a book entitled, "The Future of the Late Great Planet Earth." It was a vehement attack on Hal Lindsey, and it was a denial of Bible prophecy. The pastor thought that because I had selected the book's title as the title of my presentation, I was going to agree with the viewpoint of the book's author! (God has a great sense of humor!)
When the time came for me to speak, it didn't take long for me to discover that I was in trouble. The pastor introduced me as "an expert on Bible prophecy who will explain to you that there is no such thing as prophecy in the Bible and will illustrate to you why Hal Lindsey is a fool." Needless to say, I was stunned by the introduction.
I stepped up to the podium, tapped the pastor on the shoulder, and whispered, "I'm afraid there has been a terrible mistake. You see, I believe in Bible prophecy, and I believe Hal Lindsey is right on target. Should I forget about speaking and go home?"
The pastor thought a moment and then said, "No, you go ahead and speak, but keep it short."
With sweaty palms and a dry mouth, I stepped up to the microphone and said, "Please open your Bibles and turn to Acts chapter 2." I wanted to show them how the first Gospel sermon ever preached — the sermon by the Apostle Peter on Pentecost — was a survey of Bible prophecy from start to finish, showing how Jesus had fulfilled a variety of Messianic prophecies.
Before I started reading Acts 2, I looked out at the audience and noticed that no one had a Bible! I asked them to open the pew Bibles. A person blurted out, "We don't have pew Bibles in this church." I then requested some men to go through the education wing of the building and collect Bibles from the classrooms. I led three songs while we waited for them to gather the Bibles. When they returned, one of them reported, "We can't find any Bibles in this church!"
At that point the pastor announced that he would get some Bibles out of his office. He came back with about six, and he distributed them among the 200 people who were present.
Once again, I asked them to turn to Acts 2. The pages started rustling — and they continued to do so, because no one could find the book of Acts! So, I took the opportunity to introduce them to the Bible. I explained the division between the Old and New Testaments. I pointed out the types of books in both testaments, and then I led them to the discovery of the book of Acts.
After I made my point with Peter's sermon in Acts 2, I asked them to turn to the book of Daniel in the Old Testament. Suddenly, the pastor stood up and said, "I'm sorry, but I do not allow the book of Daniel to be read in this church."
When I asked why, he responded, "You obviously are not a seminary graduate, because if you were, you would be aware of the fact that Daniel is a fraudulent book. It was written like prophecy, but in fact it was written long after the events it claims to prophesy."
I was stunned. And I decided I was not going to allow the rebuke to pass without a response. I began to present one argument after another in behalf of the validity of Daniel, and each time the pastor just scoffed at me in disdain. Finally, I asked, "Do you want me to go home?"
"No," he replied, "just don't quote the book of Daniel."
I stood there for a moment, still in a state of shock. Then, I resumed by asking the congregation to turn to Genesis 3:15. "I want to show you the very first Messianic prophecy in the Bible." But before I could read it, the pastor interrupted me again.
He jumped to his feet and said, "I'm sorry, but I can't allow you to read that verse because I know you are going to claim that it is a prophecy about the virgin birth, and we don't believe in the virgin birth at this church!"
All this happened at a mainline Protestant denomination.
A Hated Book
The pastor's attitude I experienced that evening is commonplace in Christendom today. Daniel is the most controversial book in the Bible. Liberals hate it because they do not believe in the divine inspiration of the Scriptures, and Daniel's book is a great testimony to divine inspiration. That's because it contains some of the most remarkable prophecies in the Bible, prophecies that are detailed in content and broad in scope, stretching from Daniel's time to the day of the Messiah's Second Coming. As one person has put it, "Daniel wrote history more accurately before it happened than anyone has ever done after it happened."
To discredit the book, liberals have tried to argue that it was written long after the time of Daniel by someone who assumed his identity. They usually place the time of its authorship around 100 years before Christ. They are determined to date it after the time of the Greek tyrant, Antiochus Epiphanes, who reigned from 175 to 164 BC. The reason they are so determined to do this is because the book of Daniel prophesies the reign of Antiochus in detail, including the atrocities that he would commit against the Jews.
But the efforts of the liberals to trash the book have all been in vain. One of the strongest rebuttals is the fact that Daniel was included in the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Scriptures. This is the translation of what we call the Old Testament from Hebrew into Greek. It was done by a group of 70 Hebrew scholars in Alexandria, Egypt, in about 280 BC — long before the time of Antiochus Epiphanes.
Also, Josephus, the First Century Jewish historian, reports that when Alexander the Great came to Jerusalem in 333 BC, the High Priest showed him where he and his empire were prophesied in the book of Daniel, and he was so impressed that he spared the city from destruction (Jewish Antiquities, vol. 11, p. 311).
But the most important evidence of the book's authenticity is to be found in the New Testament in Matthew 24:15 where Jesus Himself quoted the prophecies of Daniel and thus personally attested to the validity of the book.
The Remarkable Prophet
Let's briefly consider who this man Daniel was. In 605 BC Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, conquered the city of Jerusalem, the capital of the nation of Judah. He removed the Judean king, Jehoiakim, and replaced him with his 18 year old son, Jehoichin.
Eight years later, when Jehoichin also rebelled, Nebuchadnezzar invaded Judah again, conquered Jerusalem a second time, and replaced Jehoichin with his uncle, Zedekiah. Ten years later when Zedekiah revived the rebellion, Nebuchadnezzar invaded a third time and decided he was fed up with Jewish rebellion. And so, in 587 BC the Babylonians totally destroyed the city of Jerusalem, including Solomon's Temple, and ended the Davidic line of kings.
Each of the three times Nebuchadnezzar invaded Judah and conquered Jerusalem, he took captives back to Babylon. After the first invasion in 605 BC he took only a handful of Jewish captives. These consisted of the sons of the elite Jewish ruling class, and one of these was Daniel (Daniel 1:3-4, 6-7).
Daniel was only about 15 years old at this time, but he distinguished himself immediately as a person of spiritual maturity by refusing to pollute himself with the non-kosher food supplied to him by the king. In similar manner, many years later at age 82, Daniel imperiled his life by refusing to obey an order of King Darius of the Medo-Persian Empire that no one could pray for 30 days to any god except to the king himself. Daniel's refusal to abide by this command prompted the king to throw him into a lion's den, but his life was spared by a miracle of God.
Daniel, throughout his life, was a man of faith and prayer and impeccable virtue. He is referred to by one of his contemporaries, the prophet Ezekiel, as one of the three most righteous men who ever lived, together with Job and Noah (Ezekiel 14:14). In a visitation made to him by the Angel Gabriel, recorded in Daniel 9:23, he was told, "You are highly esteemed" by God.
We are dealing here with one of the most remarkable men revealed in Scripture.
Now that we have looked at the historical setting and we have considered the man through whom God spoke, let's take a look at the prophecies God gave him about the end times. I'm going to divide them into four categories:
The Times of the Gentiles
The Terror of the Antichrist
The Triumph of Jesus Christ
The Timing of the Lord's Return
I. The Times of the Gentiles
Two years after Daniel's arrival in Babylon, when he was about 17 years old, God gave Nebuchadnezzar a dream that greatly disturbed him. The king demanded that his wise men tell him two things — first, what he had dreamed and second, the meaning of the dream. Needless to say, the wise men were confounded.
When Daniel heard of the king's unusual request, he turned to God in prayer seeking a revelation of both the king's dream and its meaning. God responded by revealing these mysteries to Daniel. And Daniel, in turn, responded to the Lord with a psalm of praise (Daniel 2:20-23a):
Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever,
For wisdom and power belong to Him.
And it is He who changes the times and the epochs;
He removes kings and establishes kings;
He gives wisdom to wise men,
And knowledge to men of understanding.
It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things...
This psalm is very important for it summarizes the theme of the whole book of Daniel — namely, that God is sovereign, that He has a purpose in history, and that He has the wisdom and the power to orchestrate the affairs of men and nations to the triumph of His divine will.
Later in the book, Nebuchadnezzar makes a similar proclamation about the sovereignty of God after he has experienced the chastisement of God's discipline (Daniel 4:34b-35):
[God's] dominion is an everlasting dominion,
And His kingdom endures from generation to generation.
And all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
But He does according to His will in the host of heaven
And among the inhabitants of earth...
In chapter 2, beginning with verse 31, Daniel begins to reveal to Nebuchadnezzar both his dream and its meaning. He tells the king that in his dream he saw a magnificent and awesome statue with a head of gold, a chest of silver, thighs of bronze, and legs of iron. The feet of the statue were made of a mixture of iron and clay. He reminded the king that as he was admiring the statue, a large stone suddenly appeared — a stone that had not been cut by human hands. This supernatural stone suddenly struck the feet of the statue and the entire statue was destroyed. The stone then quickly grew into a great mountain that "filled the whole earth."
In verse 36 Daniel begins to explain the meaning of this mysterious dream, and what ensues is a breathtaking overview of Gentile empires from the time of Nebuchadnezzar to what we now call the Second Coming of the Messiah. Daniel reveals that the parts of the statue represent a succession of empires:
Head of Gold — Nebuchadnezzar and his Babylonian Empire.
Chest of Silver — The kingdom that will supplant Babylon, which Daniel later identifies in chapter 8 as the Medo-Persian Empire.
Thighs of Bronze — The next kingdom in the series which, again, Daniel identifies in chapter 8 as Greece.
Legs of Iron — The fourth kingdom in the series which we know from history was the Roman Empire which ultimately split into two parts.
Feet of Clay and Iron — The last Gentile empire of history. The unstable combination of clay with iron suggests a loose confederation of nations that will exist in the area of the old Roman Empire.
The Supernatural Stone — Symbolic of the return of the Messiah who will destroy the last Gentile kingdom and will put an end to Gentile rule by establishing the kingdom of God on earth.
The Age of Gentile Rule
As you can see, this prophecy is amazing in its scope, stretching thousands of years from the time of the Babylonian Empire to the establishment of the Millennial reign of Jesus upon this earth.
It is a period of time that the Bible refers to as "the times of the Gentiles" (Luke 21:24). It begins with the fall of the last king of Judah, Zedekiah (586 BC), and will continue until Jesus returns and re-establishes the throne of David in Jerusalem.
I think it is very interesting to note that this period of Gentile domination of the world is emphasized in the very language of the book of Daniel. In chapter 2, verse 4, the language shifts from Hebrew to Aramaic, the language of the Gentile nations at that time. And the text continues in Aramaic until the end of chapter 7. It switches back to Hebrew at chapter 8 because the focus shifts at that point from the times of the Gentiles to the ultimate fate of the Jews.
A Time Gap
Another interesting thing to note is that from our historical perspective, we can clearly see that the prophecy has a major time gap in it, something that is often characteristic of Bible prophecy. The gap comes between the fourth and fifth empires — between the legs of iron and the feet of clay mixed with iron.
The gap is obvious because there is no Gentile empire in history that corresponds to the empire of iron and clay, which Daniel tells us in chapter 7 will be a confederation of ten nations that will come together as a revived Roman Empire.
The Roman Empire ceased to exist in 476 AD. The eastern branch of it continued as the Byzantine Empire until 1453. Over the centuries there have been many attempts to restore the Roman Empire, the two most notable efforts being those of Napoleon and Hitler. But all efforts failed until the aftermath of World War II when it became obvious to European leaders that their only hope for rebuilding Europe was to reach across national boundaries and begin cooperating to build a European superpower.
That effort has produced the European Union, a revival of the old Roman Empire currently consisting of 27 member states which I believe will ultimately be divided into ten administrative regions.
This prophecy about the succession of world empires was reconfirmed to Daniel 48 years later when the Lord gave him a dream. It is recorded in chapter 7.
Daniel saw a series of terrifying beasts that arose out of the sea, the sea being a prophetic symbol for the Gentile nations.
The first was a lion that had the wings of an eagle. The second was a bear that was raised up on one side and had three bones in its mouth. The third was a leopard with four heads and four wings. The fourth was a beast which Daniel described as "dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong." It had large iron teeth and ten horns.
What Daniel is seeing in this dream is the same succession of world empires that Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream. The difference is that Nebuchadnezzar saw them from Man's viewpoint, as something magnificent and glorious. God reveals them to Daniel as He sees them — a series of ravenous beasts.
As Daniel stares in horror at the last beast, he suddenly notices that another horn — "a little horn" — rises up among the ten horns and pulls three of them out by their roots. This little horn has the eyes of a man and a mouth that is uttering "great boasts." In verse 24 of chapter 7, Daniel is told that the ten horns represent ten kings and that the little horn will subdue three of them and will then begin to speak blasphemies against the Most High God. This is the first appearance in the book of Daniel of the Antichrist who will head up the last Gentile Empire that will encompass the whole world. The fact that the last empire of 10 horns grows out of the head of the fourth beast is a clear indication that the final Gentile empire will begin as a revival of the old Roman Empire.
II. The Terror of the Antichrist
These verses bring us to the second major theme in the end time prophecies of Daniel — the Antichrist and his demonic rule. Daniel could be called the prophet of the Antichrist because he supplies us with more information about this tyrant than any other prophet, including John in the book of Revelation.
Take Daniel 7, verses 8, 25 and 26 for example. The prophet describes the Antichrist as a prideful man full of boasting, as a blasphemer, as a persecutor of the Jews, and as one who will change the law and the times. (He will, of course, change Western law because it is based upon the Bible, and he will change the calendar because it is related to the birth of Jesus.)
We are further told that he will persecute the Jews for three and a half years, and then, suddenly, he and his empire will be destroyed.
Symbolic Types of the Antichrist
Further insights into the Antichrist's character and methods can be found in chapter 8 where Daniel begins to focus on him by presenting a series of symbolic types of the Antichrist.
These symbols were presented to Daniel in a vision that was given to him three years after his dream of the series of beasts, recorded in chapter 7. Once again Daniel saw a succession of animals.
The first was a ram with two horns, one longer than the other (verses 3-4). The angel Gabriel reveals to Daniel that this ram represents the Medo-Persian Empire (verse 20). The "longer horn" would thus represent the man who came to dominate this kingdom — namely, Darius the Great. The two qualities that Daniel emphasizes about this man are his strong will and his ego, as manifested in his doing as he pleases and magnifying himself in the process (verse 4).
Daniel next sees a male goat with "a conspicuous horn" between its eyes. This goat moves quickly and attacks the ram, destroying him immediately (verses 5-7). Again, Gabriel explains to Daniel that the male goat represents the Greek Empire which will overthrow the Medo-Persian Empire (verse 21). The "conspicuous horn" was, of course, symbolic of Alexander the Great.
Daniel's description of the Greek Empire puts the emphasis on the power of its army and the swiftness of its victories. This corresponds to the fact that we are told in Revelation that the Antichrist will conquer the whole world in three and a half years. Another thing emphasized by Daniel is the ego of the conspicuous horn. We are told that he "magnifies himself exceedingly" (verse 8).
Daniel wraps up his description of the male goat by telling us that his conspicuous horn will be broken and replaced by four other horns (verse 8). This prophecy was fulfilled in history when Alexander the Great died suddenly at the age of 33 and his Empire was divided into four kingdoms headed up by four of his generals.
Verse 9 of chapter 8 brings us to the third of the symbolic types of the Antichrist. Reverting to the terminology of chapter 7, Daniel calls this individual "the little horn." He says he will rise out of one of the four divisions of Alexander's kingdom and that he will move toward "the Beautiful Land," which is Israel.
This person proved to be a Greek tyrant who arose to dominate the Seleucid area of Alexander's empire, an area that included Syria and Israel. His name was Antiochus. He was a mad man who considered himself to be divine. He gave himself the title, "Antiochus Epiphanes," which meant "Antiochus the Manifested God." The Jews nick-named him "Antiochus Epimanes," meaning "Antiochus the Madman"! It was a title he well deserved.
The Quintessential Type of the Antichrist
Let's look first at the prophecy and then the historical record. In Daniel 8:9-12 we are told that the "little horn" will trample down the Jews, blaspheme God, violate the Jewish Temple, and stop the sacrifices. Daniel even tells us how long the desecration of the Temple will last: "For 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the holy place will be properly restored" (verse 14). This most likely meant that the sacrificial system would be suspended for a total of 1,150 days since there were two sacrifices per day, one in the morning and the other in the evening (Exodus 29:38-43).
The Jewish historian, Josephus, has provided us with a detailed historical record of the fulfillment of these prophecies in the brutal reign of Antiochus. The details can also be found in the non-canonical books of 1 & 2 Maccabees.
According to these sources, while Antiochus was involved in leading an invasion of Egypt, a rumor swept Jerusalem that he had been killed. This news prompted a former high priest named Jason to revolt. Jason had been deposed by Antiochus, and he now saw an opportunity to get his position back. So, he attacked Jerusalem with an army of 1,000 men. The quick and brutal response of Antiochus is recorded in 2 Maccabees 11-16:
"When [Antiochus] came to hear of what had happened, he concluded that Judea was in revolt. He therefore marched from Egypt, raging like a wild beast, and began by storming the city. He then ordered his soldiers to cut down without mercy everyone they encountered, and to butcher all who took refuge in their houses. It was a massacre of young and old, a slaughter of women and children, a butchery of virgins and infants. There were eighty thousand victims in the course of those three days, forty thousand dying by violence and as many again being sold into slavery. Not satisfied with this, he had the audacity to enter the holiest Temple in the entire world... With his unclean hands he seized the sacred vessels; and his impious hands swept away what other kings had presented for the advancement, the glory and the honor of the place."
The atrocities of this mad man are spelled out in even greater detail in 1 Maccabees 1:23-67. There we are told that he stripped the Temple of everything — all its silver, gold and precious vessels — "leaving the place a shambles."
Two years later he attacked Jerusalem again. He pillaged the city, set it on fire, tore down its houses, and took the women and children captive. He then issued a proclamation ordering the cessation of all Jewish customs. He banned sacrifices and feasts and observance of the Sabbath. He ordered that all new-born sons were to be left uncircumcised. And he made it a capital offense to own a copy of the Torah.
He then once again proceeded to defile the Temple. He "erected the abomination of desolation" above the altar. This was a statue of the Greek god, Zeus.
The passage in 1 Maccabees gives the exact date when Antiochus desecrated the Temple by erecting the statue of Zeus: "On the fifteenth day of Chislev in the year one hundred and forty five." This converts to December 8, 168 BC. We are told later in Maccabees that the Temple was cleansed and the altar restored by Judas Maccabees on Chislev 25 in 165 BC, representing a period of 1,150 days, exactly as prophesied in Daniel 8:14 (1 Maccabees 4:52).
Daniel Seeks Understanding
At this point in chapter 8 Daniel has been given a vision of three kings — Darius, Alexander the Great, and Antiochus Epiphanes. All of these are symbolic types of the Antichrist, but Daniel does not understand this.
So, Daniel asks the Lord for an explanation of the vision (verse 15). In response, the Lord sends the angel Gabriel who tells him that the vision "pertains to the time of the end" (verse 17).
He emphasizes this again in verse 19 where he tells Daniel that the vision relates to "the final period of the indignation" (the Great Tribulation) and that it "pertains to the appointed time of the end."
These words of explanation make it clear that Antiochus and the other kings were only symbolic types of the Antichrist. The true Antichrist would not come until the end times.
The True Antichrist
This brings us to Daniel's revelation of the real Antichrist who will combine the features of Darius, Alexander, and Antiochus. A frightening description of him is presented in Daniel 8:23-26, so frightening, in fact, that Daniel was "astounded" and "exhausted" and fell ill for several days (verse 27). He is described as being:
Insolent (verse 23)
Skillful in intrigue (verse 23)
Supernatural in power (verse 24)
Destructive (verse 24)
Willful (verse 24)
Shrewd (verse 25)
Deceitful (verse 25)
Egotistical (verse 25)
Blasphemous (verse 25)
The only good news in this passage is the assurance that is given to Daniel that the Antichrist will ultimately be destroyed supernaturally by God (verse 25).
Further Information About the Antichrist
The next reference to the Antichrist is found in chapter 9 in Daniel's prophecy of the 70 weeks of years (9:24-27). Daniel is told that a decree will be issued to rebuild Jerusalem and that 69 weeks of years later (483 years) the Messiah will be "cut off" and Jerusalem will be destroyed again.
In verse 26 we are given a clue as to the identity of the Antichrist. We are told that the Antichrist will come from the people who will destroy the Temple following the death of the Messiah. Those people were, of course, the Romans. So, the Antichrist will be of Roman descent.
Then, in verse 27, it is revealed to Daniel that the last week of years for the Jews — the 7 years of the Tribulation — will begin with the signing of a covenant between the Jews and the Antichrist, most likely a covenant guaranteeing the peace of Israel and allowing them to rebuild their Temple.
But it is also revealed that 3 1/2 years into that last 7 year period of time, the Antichrist will double-cross the Jews. Like Antiochus, the Antichrist will desecrate the Temple, stop the sacrifices and desolate the city.
However, once more we are assured that the Antichrist himself will be destroyed in the process. Daniel is told that destruction will be "poured out on the one who makes desolate" (verse 27).
The Fate of the Antichrist
The ultimate destruction of the Antichrist is affirmed once again in Daniel's final passage about him. It is found in Daniel 11. Once again Daniel presents a series of ruthless kings that are symbolic types of the Antichrist. Interestingly, the three most important all have names that begin with the letter A:
The fourth king of Persia after Darius: Ahasuerus (verse 2)
Alexander the Great (verse 3)
Antiochus III, the Great (verse 11)
Antiochus Epiphanes (verse 21)
Once more, Antiochus Epiphanes is presented as the classic type of the Antichrist (verses 21-35). He is characterized as despicable, deceptive, a man of intrigue, and a person whose heart is set against God. He is also presented as a warrior who will conquer and plunder and who will ultimately desecrate the Jewish Temple by stopping the sacrifices and erecting an "abomination of desolation."
At verse 36 a sudden transition occurs as Antiochus Epiphanes morphs into the end time Antichrist:
"Then [in the 'end time' (verse 35)] the king will do as he pleases, and he will exalt and magnify himself above every god, and will speak monstrous things against the God of gods; and he will prosper until the indignation [the Tribulation] is finished..."
In addition to being a willful egotist and blasphemer, as this passage states, the verses that follow indicate he will also be a militarist and a person obsessed with money.
Beginning in verse 40 we are given an overview of the end time military campaign of the Antichrist that will take place in the Middle East, possibly in response to a rebellion by the nations in that area (verses 40-45).
We are told that the Antichrist will invade the "Beautiful Land" (Israel) and that he will be attacked by the "king of the South" and the "king of the North" (most likely Egypt and Syria). He will conquer all the nations of the Middle East except Jordan, which he will be prevented from entering (most likely because the Jewish remnant will be hiding there).
He will proceed to Egypt in order to plunder its riches. But "rumors from the East and from the North" will disturb him (possibly armies from Russia and the Far East that are revolting against him). He will retreat to the area "between the seas" (the Valley of Armageddon) to await the arrival of these armies. It is in this valley that he will "come to his end" (Daniel 11:45, Joel 3:9-17, and Revelation 19:14-21).
This whole section of Scripture could be called the "Campaign of Armageddon" because it leads the Antichrist to that valley where he and his armies will suffer total defeat in an instant when Messiah Jesus returns and speaks a supernatural word of destruction (Zechariah 14:12 and 2 Thessalonians 2:8).
III. The Triumph of Jesus Christ
This brings us to the third end time theme of the book of Daniel. It is the absolute triumph in history that God will give to His Son. Jesus was vilified and crucified at His First Coming, but when He returns, He will be vindicated and glorified.
The first glimpse of this triumph is given to us in chapter 2. Remember Nebuchadnezzar's dream of the giant and beautiful statute of a man? The last Gentile kingdom, the one represented by the feet and toes made of clay and iron is supernaturally destroyed (Daniel 2:34-35).
Do you remember how it was destroyed? "By a stone cut out without hands" (verse 34). It struck the feet and crushed them, bringing down the entire statue, and then "the stone became a great mountain and filled the whole earth" (verse 35).
Daniel explains that the stone represents the kingdom of God coming to earth, destroying the kingdom of the Antichrist and putting an end to all Gentile kingdoms (verses 44-45). Zechariah and Revelation reveal this will take place at the Second Coming of Jesus.
The next vision of the Lord's triumph is presented in Daniel chapter 7. We are told in verses 13 and 14 that Daniel experienced a night vision in which he saw the "Son of Man" (Jesus) presented to the "Ancient of Days" (God the Father). Jesus was given "dominion, glory, and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and men of every language might serve Him" (verse 14). In verses 18 and 27 we are further told that the "saints of the Highest One" (the Redeemed) will reign with Jesus over all the world.
This vision of the future reign of Jesus with His saints is a persistent theme of Bible prophecy, found in both the Old and New Testaments. (See: Isaiah 2:2-4, Isaiah 9:6-7, Isaiah 11:4-9, Zechariah 14:1-9, 2 Timothy 2:12, Revelation 2:26-27, Revelation 3:21, Revelation 5:9-10, and Revelation 20:4.)
IV. The Timing of the Lord's Return
The fourth and final end time theme of the book of Daniel relates to the timing of the Lord's return. Daniel provides us with several clues. The first is found in Daniel 9:24-27 in the prophecy of the 70 Weeks of Years.
In this famous prophecy, Daniel tells us that all the prophecies concerning the Jewish people will be fulfilled at the end of a period of 490 years. His prophecy then makes it clear that there will be a gap between the first 483 years and the final 7 years. We know from the book of Revelation that the final 7 years of this prophecy will constitute the Great Tribulation when God will pour out His wrath upon the rebellious nations of the world and in the process will bring the Jewish people to the end of themselves, resulting in the salvation of a great remnant.
So, the first clue as to the timing of the Lord's return is that it will take place at the end of the Tribulation. This timing is confirmed in the New Testament book of Revelation (19:1-16).
Daniel establishes this timing again in chapter 12. There he refers to the Great Tribulation as "a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time" (Daniel 12:1). He says that some of the Jewish people will be "rescued" at the end of this terrible period at the time when the rest of the Jewish righteous will be resurrected. Again, this is at the end of the Tribulation and will occur when the Messiah returns. (This "rescue" is described in Zechariah 12:10.)
Chapter 12 of Daniel provides us with two more clues as to when the Messiah will return. These clues are what we call "signs of the times." The first is found in verse 4 where Daniel is told that the fulfillment of all the prophecies he has been given (including, of course, the return of the Messiah) will occur at "the end of time" when travel and knowledge will be greatly increased. That explosion occurred during the 20th Century and continues to accelerate to this very day.
Then, in verses 8 and 9 Daniel is told that his prophecies will not be understood until "the end time." We must be in that time today for we are now understanding end time prophecies that no one has ever understood before due to historical developments and technological inventions.
For example, most end time prophecies revolve around a reestablished nation of Israel. How could those prophecies be understood before the re-establishment of Israel in 1948, an event that most people denied could ever happen right up to the very day that it occurred?
And then there are many prophecies that could never be understood apart from modern technological inventions. How could the whole world look upon two bodies lying in the streets of Jerusalem (Revelation 11:9)? Satellite television has made that possible. How could one-third of the earth be burned up in warfare (Revelation 8:7)? The advent of nuclear weapons has made this possible. The list goes on and on.
Daniel's incredible prophecies make it clear that both wrath and glory lie before us. We are on the threshold of terrible days of Tribulation, but they will be followed by a glorious age when all the saints of God, both Old and New Testament, will reign with Jesus in their glorified bodies over all the nations of the earth.
Daniel's prophecies also make it clear that God is in control. He is on the throne, He is directing the course of human events, and He has the wisdom and power to orchestrate all the evil of Satan and Man to the triumph of His Son.
The overriding theme of Daniel is the absolute sovereignty of God. As we try to cope with the increasingly pagan and evil world we live in, let us be reminded of the words of Daniel recorded in chapter 2, verses 20-23a:
"Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever,
For wisdom and power belong to Him.
And it is He who changes the times and the epochs;
He removes kings and establishes kings;
He gives wisdom to wise men,
And knowledge to men of understanding.
It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things;
He knows what is in the darkness,
And the light dwells in Him.
To Thee, O God of my fathers,
I give thanks and praise..."