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Mystery of Lawlessness – Part Six

Mystery of Lawlessness – Part Six

“and behold a fourth beast” – Daniel has a dream

In the last chapter we saw how God gave Danielthe ability to not only know Nebuchadnezzars secret dream, but also gave him the interpretation thereof.   What God revealed in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream was a preview of world empires (present at the time of his writing and far into the future) that would rise and fall in the course of human history.  From our vantage point almost 2,700 years later, we see how accurate the interpretation was in revealing the Babylonian, Medio/Persion, Greek and Roman empires.  Remember in the first interpretation we saw the declining value and increased hardness of each of the metals (empires) of Nebuchadnezzar’s statue.  I believe this reflects the declining moral quality of man and the hardness of his heart as he gets further and further away from God.  It is reasonable to assume that this decline reflects the impact the Mystery of Lawlessness has had upon each generation and the subsequent world empires that arose.

We will now look at the dream thatDanielhad which also reflects the rise and fall of world empires but uses the characteristics of four particular beasts to define the nature of each empire.  In this dream and interpretation, we see the same four empires found in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream but will focus in particular on the fourth beast (empire) which is different than the others (this is a clue).  In doing so we will see once again the familiar force at work within these empires and get a glimpse of what the future final world empire will look like.

In order to better comprehend biblical prophecies, visions and interpretations etc., it is important to understand the meanings of numbers, symbols and phrases consistently used in the bible.

 

Regarding numbers:

The number 3 smbolizes the triune nature of God – the Trinity

The number 4 symbolizes entirety – as in the four corners of the world

The number 6 is the number of man because he was created on the 6th day.

The number 7 represents perfection because completed HIS perfect creation in 7 days.

The number 12 represents judicial authority (why we seat 12 jurors in our court system)

The number 40 represents change, transition, preparation

 

Regarding symbols:

Beasts in this chapter of Daniel represent kings and/or kingdoms

Winds in this chapter of Daniel represents theOmnipotence of God

The sea or great sea represents humanity. Where we get the term “sea of humanity”

A horn represents a specific ruler within an empire

Eyes symbolize knowledge

Wings symbolize power or swiftness

Teeth symbolize ability to make war and overcome

White symbolizes purity

Fire symbolizes purifying, righteous authority or judgement

 

Regarding phrases:

Four winds of heaven signifies the omnipotence of God

A time, times and the dividing of time (or half a time) represents 3.5 years

Ancient of days refers to GOD

Season refers to a specific period of time which God has foreordained

Daniel 7

In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters.

(Note, this writing takes place before the Medio/Persians conquered the Babylonian empire around 586BC, several hundred years before the Greek Empire of 323BC and almost 400 years before the appearance of the Roman empire around 200BC)

Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea.

This speaks of God’s omnipresence (ability to be everywhere at once) combined with his ominipotence (unlimited power) in influencing the course of human history.

And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.

Speaks of four world empires which arose at different periods of human history

The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it.

See Daniel Chapter 4:28-37 for a possible explanation of this passage regarding the events that befell the first beast (ruler of Babylon – Nebuchandezzar)

And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh.

After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it.

After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.

The fourth empire was the Roman empire, notice it is described as dreadful and terrible and exceedingly strong.  This defitely reflects the old Roman empire whose influence can still be felt today in the areas of world art, architecture, government, religion and languages.  However, note Daniel describes the Roman empire as being diverse from the previous empires and that it had ten horns.  Horns represent rulers and Ancient Rome was never ruled by 10 simultaneous rulers.  It was divided into the eastern and western empires as exemplified by the two legs of Nebuchadnezzars dream statue.  However, as reflected in Nebuchandezzar’s dream the last world empire is symbolized by feet and 10 toes made up of a mixture of iron (ancient rome) and clay (a revived roman empire made up of incompatible parts – iron and clay)  Thus the 10 toes of Nebuchadnezzars dream statue are synonymous with the 10 horns of beast in Daniels dream.

I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.

The little horn represents a ruler that will arise while the 10 are still in power, and will conquer the territory held by three of the rulers.  Daniels goes on to say that IN this horn were the eyes of a man and a mouth speaking great things.  I believe this little horn will be the anti-christ that reign during the last world empire.  I believe this last world empire will be comprised of 10 regions, ruled by 10 leaders and that 3 of those leaders will be overthrown by the anti-christ putting him into the leading role of the entire (iron and clay) empire Daniel understood from Nebuchadnezzars dream.

Remember that satan is the evil force (mystery of lawlessness) that has influenced world events from the day that Adam and Eve dis-obeyed God.  Remember that although extremely powerful and intelligent, he is not all powerful, all knowing and unable to be everywhere at once.  Therefore his only chance of exercising god like control over the earth and its inhabitants will be through human government and human religion. 

I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.

10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.

11 I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.

Daniel is given insight into the final demise of the beast (anti-christ) who will be cast into the lake of fire for eternity at the end of the 7 year tribulation period (more on this later).

12 As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.

13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.

14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

15 I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me.

And then Daniel asks for knowledge regarding what his dream meant.

16 I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things.

17 These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth.

18 But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.

19 Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet;

20 And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows.

Again, if this horn represents the coming anti-christ then the angels explanation to Daniel also explains that he appeared greater than the other remaining 7 horns (leaders) and was more powerful which could mean he assumed control over all.

21 I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them;

We see that the same horn (anti-christ) made war with the saints and prevailed against them.  Indicating that during the brief reign of the anti-christ Christians will be greatly persecuted. This message is confirmed numerous times in the book of Revelation which we will get into later.

22 Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.

This speaks of the time when the “saints” (raptured and resurrected Christians) will rule with Christ during the millennium which is the 1,000 year reign of Christ upon the earth that will begin at the end of the 7 year tribulation.

23 Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.

24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.

25 And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.

This verse reveals that the anti-christ who will rule the last world empire will blaspheme the name of God and persecute those Christians who live during the tribulation period.  It also points out that he (the antichrist) will attempt to change times and laws.  I believe this must refer to the fact that God has defined the seasons and the times and the laws which govern our world.  Satan through the indwelling of the anti-christ will attempt to change the outcome of God’s prophecies and the laws that dictates rebellion against the Creator leads to death and destruction.

Note that the anti-christs persecution of the saints will last “a time (one year), and times (2 years) and the dividing of time (1/2 year) for a total of 3.5 years.  This is exactly the period of time God revealed to John in the book of revelation.  The anti-christ’s total control of world government and world religion will be limited to the last half (3.5 years) of the 7 year tribulation period.

26 But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.

Verse 26 confirms that the anti-christs attempt will fail, the laws will not be changed and that

27 And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.

28 Hitherto is the end of the matter. As for me Daniel, my cogitations much troubled me, and my countenance changed in me: but I kept the matter in my heart.

Our next lesson will focus briefly on the last of Daniels visions of the future and then start looking at what events must take place in order for the last world empire to arise.

Please continue to be in prayer that Jesus will be glorified throughout the message and that you may gain a deeper understanding of the perfect plan that God has in place for all of human history.  With this understanding we can look beyond the coming troubles to the final victory that God has ordained before the beginning of time.

 

Your fellow servant in Christ,

Bob Warren


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