LESSON ONE * PART III
NEBUCHADNEZZAR AND DREAM (DANIEL 3)
Let's continue where we left off last lesson in Daniel Chapter 7. Daniel sees the same unfolding of human history and all the Gentile empires in animal forms, as Nebuchadnezzar sees in metals, the gold, the silver, the brass and so forth. Daniel saw it as lion, bear, leopard, and then a beast that couldn't be explained, which was the Roman Empire. And then we left off in verse 7. We said there was a semicolon after, "... it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it;" and then the verse ended "; and it had ten horns." Now that last semicolon is two thousand years of time as we reckon it. But always remember that in God's way of reckoning, it has been no longer than a semicolon.
Everything in prophesy that's been laid out in the Old Testament never gives a hint of that intervening Church Age. Once I can get people to understand that, then prophesy, as well as the Age of Grace, falls into its right perspective. But the Old Testament know nothing but the prophetic program moving straight through to the end. Remember, as far as God is concerned, from start to finish in the context, it goes without interruption. But we know historically that it was interrupted. It's still interrupted, but it's going to end one day. Now back to Chapter 7, verse 7 of Daniel. "...it had ten horns." You'll remember that we went back to Revelation and saw that John speaks with the same language. That these empires are going to be bestial as Daniel saw them. And it's going to end up with ten horns, ten nations and out of that ten nations is going to come the Anti-christ. And of course you pick that up in Revelation. But now I want to go on:
"I considered the horns (these leaders. These kings), and, behold, there came up among them another little horn,..."
Now here is the mention of the Anti-christ. These nations of Western Europe are seemingly coming together. And believe it or not, there is already a Western European Parliament. They already meet. They don't have absolute power yet, but the organization is already there. I read the other day that they already have their own currency. It's already registered on the world's currency market. You can go and exchange dollars for what they call the European Community Unit, ECU. If you want to exchange dollars into ECU's, you can do it already today. They're not pushing yet, because they're not quite ready for it. But everything is set. The whole Constitution of Western Europe is ready to be implemented. What I think is going to happen (and this is strictly projection. I can't prove it, but it seems that when you study the Scripture, that when these ten nations seemingly feel like they've got their act together, like we're seeing in Europe today); there's going to be so much turmoil that this is going to make the time right for the appearance of a strong man. And that of course is going to be the Anti-christ. And he's the little horn here. Out of these ten nations that make that revived Roman Empire, the ten toes of Nebuchadnezzar's vision, out of those ten toes or nation, will come this little horn:
"... before whom there where three of the first horns plucked up by the roots:..."
Now I think all that means is that of the ten nations that originate the European Community and their Parliament and their government, three of the smaller ones will lose their identity. They will just be gobbled up by the other seven. And then out of the remaining seven will come this man, Anti-christ. Let's go back to Revelation for just a second. I didn't intend to do this, but I think that it will help you to see how these two great prophetic books work hand in glove. Go back to Revelation Chapter 13 verse 2:
"And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear,..."
In other words, you have all the attributes of these previous empires coming to a head in this revived Roman Empire. So all the best parts of the Babylonian kingdom are still with us. All the best parts of the Medes and Persian Empires are still with us. All the best parts of the Grecian are still with us. Their architecture, their philosophies, etc. All the best parts of the Roman Empire are still with us. Their courts of law and their so-called justice and jurisprudence and what have you, are still with us. So all of the attributes of these previous kingdoms are going to be headed up in this final empire. So you have the feet of the bear and the mouth of the loin, but Satan gives it its power. Then you come down to verse 4:
"And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast (in other words, Satan is going to begin to show his authority through this man Anti-christ.): and they worshipped the beast (the Anti-christ), saying, `Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?'" And then in verse 6, we see his true character.
"And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven."
In other words he's literally going to war against the very spiritual powers of God and of heaven itself. Now over to Chapter 17, and come down to verse 9, because I want you see these numbers; how they all fit with Daniel.
"And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains (in other words, seven nations with seven prime ministers or kings), on which the woman sitteth." The woman is the religious system which we see taught earlier in the Chapter.
"And there are seven kings (in other words, three have already lost their identity. We started with ten. Three were usurped by seven):... one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space."
In other words, there will probably be another world leader or European leader, or whatever. He's probably going to come in that interval. But now verse 11:
"And the beast that was, and is not (I prefer to think that this is the old Roman Empire that was seemingly dead, it was seemingly gone. And now here it is, back on the scene with all its attributes in place. And this man, Anti-christ is going to head it up.), even he is the eighth,..."
I brought it out that numbers all have a value in Scripture. For example, the number three refers to the Godhead Deity. Number five is the number of grace. Number six is the number of man. Man was created on the sixth day. Seven always refers to Deity. Eight always refers to that which follows the completion of number seven. You take how many souls went into Noah's Ark? Eight. And so they were the new beginning after the flood. And you get back to the book of Revelation and you move into eternity. Christ has had seven names of Deity all through Scripture, and we've pointed them out. There are seven I AM's in the Old Testament. There are seven I AM's in the book of John. In the book of Revelation where He is the I AM, or the Bright and Morning Star, that's the eighth I AM, and that is the new beginning of the eternal day. And so the number eight will follow the perfect number seven, signifying another beginning or a new beginning. This is what the Anti-christ is. He comes on the scene and everything that has seemingly been completed, he brings it to the finish. And he even is the eighth. He's out of the seven, but what's his end? He goes into perdition.
We will see that later on when we study the book of Revelation in detail. This is not intended to be a study of the book of Revelation and I think you all know that. Now back to Daniel Chapter 7. The man Anti-christ comes on the scene out of Western Europe, and reigns and rules for his 7 years, and then verse 9:
"I beheld (Daniel says in a vision) till the thrones were cast down, (remember, Nebuchadnezzar crushed under the stone until they became powder and the wind blew them away. Now Daniel sees them as cast down, destroyed) and the Ancient (now Ancient is capitalized so it is referring to God. So) the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool (now this is merely the symbolic picture again of the purity and the majesty of the Godhead): his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire."
Now that takes you back to the Book of Ezekiel Chapter 1. I saw the wheels, the Scripture says. And if you will read Ezekiel 1 you will see what I'm talking about.
"A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him (millions), and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him:"
There is a colon and we will stop there, for the rest of the verse leaps the millennium again and ends up at the Great White Throne, and we are not ready for that yet. Let's go to verse 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."
I like to put the two persons of the Godhead here. God the Father sitting on the throne. God the Son comes before Him here.
"And there was given him dominion and glory, and a (there's that word again, what?) kingdom (now this is God the Son coming before God the Father as He is about to return to earth and smite these Gentile Empires that have been in human history now for 2600 years. He is going to come and destroy them. They will disappear from view, and He sets up His Kingdom, which shall not pass away. It is eternal as I said in my last lesson, and will be interrupted again when Satan will be released for a short time. But then comes the new heaven and new earth and the Kingdom just continues on into eternity. Now finishing the verse), ...and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed."
There He's got His rule and reign. Now let's go back to Revelation Chapter 5. Now I think this gets very interesting. I can't help but love these things, because it is just so beautifully put together. And then when they say that this is just a bunch of myths and stories, that gets to me. This is so intricately fitted together.
"And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne (now Daniel saw Him as the Ancient of days with pure hair like wool, and it's the same setting.) a book (a better interpretation would be scroll, they only used scrolls back at that time when John wrote.) written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals."
There is that number of completion again. This scroll was written within and on the backside, so here you need to know your Old Testament and Jewish history. This is what a mortgage was. So God is holding a mortgage. And in this mortgage or scroll is written details within and without. If you go back into the Old Testament, a Jew could mortgage his land just like we can mortgage property today. And just like we do today, whatever is for public scrutiny has to be recorded in the court house for the protection of others who may want to buy your property. Not knowing it was mortgaged, they would end up behind the eight ball. In Israel it was the same way, If they mortgaged their land, the details that were pertinent to the public were written on the outside. Details that were not public were written on the inside. So what we have here is a mortgage. Even though God is holding it, who's mortgage is it? It's Satan's mortgage. Now let's go on:
"And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?" Now we would normally think the other way around. Who is worthy to take off the seals and open the scroll.
Revelation 5:3 <P>
"And no man in heaven, (no one, not even the angels) nor in earth, neither under the earth,..." No where in God's creation was there any one that had the authority or capability to open this mortgage. Now in verse 4 poor old John says.
"And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and read the book, neither to look thereon. And one of the elders saith unto me, `Weep not:' behold the Lion of the tribe of Juda,"
The word Lion is capitalized, and who came out of Judah? Christ did. So here we have Jesus the Christ Who is already in heaven, and He comes before the throne of the Father, and He is the only one that has the authority to open this mortgage and to say, "I'll pay it off." Again you have to go back into Jewish history and customs. You can pick this up especially in the Book of Ruth.
If a Jew had mortgaged his land, and had become incapable of paying it off, but just before they would foreclose on the land and take it away from him - as we see happening every day now - they, like we, could have a rich uncle, but it had to be a next of kin. They couldn't go to a stranger, but they could go to a next of kin and say, "Uncle, I've got this mortgage that I can't pay and they are about to foreclose on me, will you help me out?" Now that rich uncle had three prerequisites for bailing the young man out. 1. Naturally, he had to have the funds. So he had to be able. 2. He had to be the next of kin. 3. He had to be willing. Remember no one has to do anything they don't want to. So if that rich uncle didn't like the nephew, he could say, "Buzz off. I won't help you." But if he had the funds and if he wanted to, and he was a next of kin, he would say, "Why of course I'll pay off your mortgage." That's the picture here. Jesus comes before God the Father and the question is who can pay this mortgage? Look what it says:
"And I beheld, and lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, (angelic beings), and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb (capitalized) as it had been slain (referring to His death, burial, and resurrection), having seven horns and seven eyes (now that depicts his political power and the seven Spirits. We don't have time to look at it now, but if you will go back to Isaiah Chapter 11:2 you will find the seven attributes of the Holy Spirit and these are referred to here.), which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth."
"And he (The Lamb, Jesus the Christ) came and took the book (or scroll) out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne."
I know the question is going to come up. "Where do you get the idea that this is a mortgage? Why is something having to be paid off? Let's go all the way back. In fact, let's do it Scripturally. Go back with me to Genesis Chapter 1 verse 28. Adam has just been created, he's on the scene, and God has given him his instructions.
"And God blessed them, and said unto them (that is Adam and Eve, although Even hasn't been created, she is still in Adam. So He is addressing them both.), `Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have (what?) dominion...'"
In other words Adam was to have rule over the whole creation under God. He had total dominion. He was going to be literally God's second in command. When Adam sinned, what happened to that role as having dominion? He lost it. He dropped the ball. Who picked it up? Satan did. From that time on Scripture makes it so abundantly clear, who is the god of this world tonight? Satan is. Another Scripture says, "The world lieth in the lap of the wicked one." Satan is the god of this world. Everything that mankind accomplishes, whether it's good, beautiful, ugly, or bad, who has prompted it? Satan has. God is not in the business of a material world. And so the world is truly in the lap of that wicked one. Satan has total dominion. Let me show you another good example. Go to Matthew Chapter 4 if you doubt me. Here we have the temptation. And Satan is trying every ploy, trying to get Jesus to bow down to him. But the only one I want to look at is verse 8:
"Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;..."
Do you see that? All the beautiful parthenons, aqueducts, and all the productions; and everything that mankind had accomplished. Satan said, "Do you see all of that?" Now look at the next verse:
"And saith unto him (Christ), All these things will I give thee,..."
Was it his to give? Yes! Absolutely they are his dominion tonight. But he didn't trick Jesus, because Jesus knew that one day He would have them anyway. And He didn't have to fall down and worship Satan to get them. Now back to Revelation Chapter 5. So as the Son of God comes before the Ancient of days and He takes that mortgage from God the Father. He says in so many words, "I'll pay it off." Now what is he going to pay off? He is going to pay off the curse. The world has been under the curse ever since Genesis Chapter 3. And now it is time to end it. Look at the misery going on the world tonight and wonder how much longer is it going to last. It is just about over. He will pay off Satan's mortgage. And He alone can do it. Because of his death, burial, and resurrection. He is worthy. Now verse 8:
"And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb... And they sung a new song, saying `Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; (why is He worthy?); for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests (here is that promise); and we shall reign on the earth."
Now how is this going to all happen? Well, this is the whole reason for the seven years of Tribulation. Satan is going to have his final time. And it's going to be such a crescendo of the wrath of God upon Satan and mankind which have been following him. And all the cataclysmic events of those seven years will culminate with the curse being totally lifted from the earth. Satan defeated and removed from the scene, and after all that holocaust, out will come that Garden of Eden like earth for the Kingdom.