Daniel-Wayne Barber/Part 3
|By: Dr. Wayne Barber; ©2006|
|There are important kingdoms and world powers that God has raised up and put down. You know what? Let me just share this with you. If our God can do that, do you think He might be able to handle a few things that you’re going through in your life?|
Our God is an Awesome God – Part 2
Turn with me again to Daniel 2. You ought to be getting familiar with it now, ought to be opening up to the right place. Daniel 2, one verse. We’ve been looking at “Our God is an awesome God.” As a matter of fact, somebody gave me the words to that song. “Our God is an awesome God, He reigns from heaven above with wisdom, power, and love, our God is an awesome God!”
Well, you got to sing with the message tonight: our God is an awesome God! Verse 21: notice what he says here. It says, “And it is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings.” That was prophesied in the Word of God. You know, there have been the skeptics around since time began. Just not willing to believe what God’s Word has to say. And I guarantee you that there were skeptics in the days that Israel, the ten tribes of the north, lived and existed. They didn’t believe that anything would ever happen to them; One pagan king to the next pagan king. But way long before then it had been prophesied that they would be taken into captivity by the pagan nation of Assyria. And that happened folks; it happened in 722 BC. I told you this morning that those dates are important, and you’re going to begin to see why tonight as we begin to see how God works through history. He’s the God of all history.
Now, when Assyria took over, I guess they thought that nobody could conquer them. “As a matter of fact, now that we have taken over Israel, let’s go get Judah, the southern two tribes down there with Jerusalem as its capital.” I want you to look at something in Isaiah 36:1. There was a king of Assyria, a popular old king, named Sennacherib. And he just thought that nobody could whip them and he had all the power that was needed to come down against Judah. “Now it came about in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and seized them.” Now, I’m not going to take time to read all of that particular chapter, but it was a pretty bleak day in the life of Judah. They really thought they were going to get whipped by the Assyrians, and particularly Sennacherib.
But look over in Isaiah 37, and we’ll look at verses 1-7 and then jump over a little bit. “And when King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth and entered the house of the Lord. Then he sent Eliakim who was over the household with Shebna the scribe and the elders of the priests, covered with sackcloth, to Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz. And they said to him, ‘Thus says Hezekiah, This day is a day of distress, rebuke, and rejection; for the children have come to birth, and there is no strength to deliver. Perhaps the Lord your God will hear the words of Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to reproach the living God, and will rebuke the words which the Lord your God has heard. Therefore, offer a prayer for the remnant that is left.’ So the servants of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah. And Isaiah said to them, ‘Thus you shall say to your master, Thus says the Lord, Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me. Behold, I will put a spirit in him [he’s speaking for the Lord now] so that he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land. And I will make him fall by the sword in his own land.’”
Now look over with me in verse 37 and 38. Basically what Isaiah says is, “You can relax, Sennacherib is not going to bother you. As a matter of fact, God’s going to put a rumor, a spirit in him, he’s going to go back home and die by his own sword. Isaiah 37:37, “So Sennacherib, king of Assyria, departed and returned home, and lived at Nineveh. And it came about as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons killed him with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son became king in his place.”
Now, I want you to know the significance of what has taken place here. Here’s old Sennacherib; boy he’s cocky, he’s arrogant, he thinks he has come to power. Friend, God’s raised Assyria to power. And it’s going to be God who’s going to take it away from them. And when he comes down against Judah, it’s as if God stops him in his tracks. “You go home, son, because it’s not up to you to handle this next thing.” You see, these were pagan nations. You almost think sometimes that God is siding with the pagan nations. Oh, no, brother! Not only does He raise them up to power, but He puts them down and judges them for ever bothering with His people. This is God that we’re dealing with. He is a just, righteous God.
Now, we want to look at what did happen to Judah; that is, those southern two tribes. Way back yonder in about the early 700s BC is when this is all prophesied. Isaiah said, “Don’t worry, Sennacherib will not bother you. It’s not going to be Assyria.” Now, what happened to Judah? Well, there are four nations that we want to talk about tonight and if you don’t believe what I’m saying, friend, you can pick up any history book, secular history book, and it will document everything we’re going to talk about that is right here in the Word of God tonight.
There are four huge, ancient powers that we want to mention tonight and we’ll mention them one at a time and when you get into the study of Daniel, remember what we’re talking about tonight. It will help you greatly as we get into that study. The first one is Babylon. Babylon is going to be the nation God will raise up; it will overthrow Assyria and it will be the one to come down and take Judah out of the land. Remember the curse, “If you disobey Me, I’ll take you out of your land.” The land is promised to Israel, Israel is a covenant people with God, but God said, “If you disobey Me, I’ll take you out of My land.”
Now, while we’re in Isaiah, look in chapter 39. Almost 100 years before it ever takes place, the old prophet Isaiah tells them what’s going to happen. Isaiah 39:1-7:
“At that time Merodach-baladan son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he heard that he had been sick and had recovered. And Hezekiah was pleased, and showed them all his treasure house, the silver and the gold and the spices and the precious oil and his whole armory and all that was found in his treasuries. [Now this was a real dumb move by Hezekiah. These are people from Babylon coming over to see what he had.] There was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah did not show them. Then Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezekiah and said to him, ‘What did these men say, and from where have they come to you?’ And Hezekiah said, ‘They have come to me from a far country, from Babylon.’ And he said, ‘What have they seen in your house?’ So Hezekiah answered, ‘They have seen all that is in my house; there is nothing among my treasuries that I have not shown them.’ Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, ‘Hear the word of the Lord of hosts [Now remember how long before it ever takes place this is prophesied], Behold, the days are coming when all that is in your house, and all that your fathers have laid up in store to this day shall be carried to Babylon; nothing shall be left, says the Lord. And some of your sons who shall issue from you, whom you shall beget, shall be taken away; and they shall become officials in the palace of the king of Babylon.’ [Hezekiah just could not get the significance of that, and verse 8 says] Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, ‘The word of the Lord which you have spoken is good.’ For he thought, ‘For there will be peace and truth in my days.’”
Now, what I wanted you to see was that, yes, Jeremiah prophesied the fact that Babylon would come and take over Judah, but this is Isaiah, folks, and it’s way back around 712 or so BC when this takes place. Now look in Jeremiah 20:4-6. I want to show you that there have been false prophets around for a long time. There are people today who laugh at the fact that Jesus is coming again for His church. There are people today who laugh at the fact that there is going to be a judgment of fire to destroy this earth, and a new heaven and a new earth. They laugh at it. And particularly the younger generation, because they’ve never seen a world war, they’ve never seen conflict in countries, they’ve grown up in a time of peace and they personally sometimes think nothing can ever happen to us. But the Word of God says, buddy, it’s going to take place. And just like there were false prophets trying to make everybody feel good back in the days of Jeremiah, there are false prophets in our day trying to cause judgment not to even be a part of our thinking.
Well, this false priest, as a matter of fact go back to verse 1; we’ll just read it all: “When Pashhur the priest, the son of Immer, who was chief officer in the house of the Lord, heard Jeremiah prophesying these things [Now Jeremiah is prophesying to them what’s going to happen], and Pashhur had Jeremiah the prophet beaten and put him in the stocks at the upper Benjamin gates which was by the house of the Lord. Then it came about on the next day, when Pashhur released Jeremiah from the stocks, that Jeremiah said to him, ‘Pashhur is not the name the Lord has called you, but rather Magor-missabib.’” It’s interesting, that word means “terror on every side.” And verse 4 says, “For thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I am going to make you a terror to yourself and to all your friends; and while your eyes look on, they will fall by the sword of their enemies. So I shall give over all Judah [now watch this] to the hand of the king of Babylon, and he will carry them away as exiles to Babylon and will slay them with the sword.’”
Verse 5 says, “I shall also give over all the wealth of this city, all its produce, and all its costly things [That’s exactly what Isaiah says!]; Even all the treasures of the kings of Judah I shall give over to the hand of their enemies, and they will plunder them, take them away, and bring them to Babylon. And you, Pashhur, and all who live in your house will go into captivity; and you will enter Babylon, and there you will die, and there you will be buried, you and all of your friends to whom you have falsely prophesied.”
Buddy, Jeremiah stuck it to him and let him know real quickly what was really going to happen to that nation of Judah. Now, go on over to chapter 25. This is before the fact; again the prophecy of Jeremiah coming just maybe a few years before it actually took place. Jeremiah 25:9-11. Now, not only does he tell them they’re going to be taken captive by Babylon; he could have known that from Isaiah. But he’s going to tell them that they’re going to be taken captive by the king and he gives them his name: Nebuchadnezzar.
He says in verse 9, “Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, declares the Lord, and I will send to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, My servant, and will bring them against this land, and against its in habitants, and against all these nations round about; and I will utterly destroy them, and make them a horror, and a hissing, and an everlasting desolation. Moreover, I will take from them the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones and the light of the lamp. And this whole land shall be a desolation and a horror, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.” Can you believe this? How specific a prophet is. And remember, they can never be wrong. And he says he’s going to be taken captive by Babylon, the king’s name will be Nebuchadnezzar, and you will be in captivity for 70 years.
It says the same thing in Jeremiah 29:10. Now, I want you to see. Did it happen? Did it happen? Look at Daniel 1:1. This all takes place around 605 BC. When was it that Assyria takes up captive Israel? What was the year? 722 BC. Now remember, you’re counting backwards, not forwards: this is BC not AD. And so you have 722 BC, that’s when Israel was taken captive, the ten northern tribes; this is 605 BC, quite a bit of time has passed by.
It says in Daniel 1:1, “In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah [now watch this], Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it.” Now it is very important for you to understand something here. When Nebuchadnezzar moved in on Jerusalem and on Judah there were three sieges. Now that’s going to come up as we study the book of Daniel. The first siege, which is this one mentioned in Daniel 1:1 was in 605 BC; and what they did was, they took all the youths, all the good looking ones. That was a practice: all the smart ones, all the sharp ones, the healthy ones. They took them out of the land. That was in the first siege.
In the second siege, which came around 597 BC, they took Ezekiel—remember Ezekiel the prophet—they took Ezekiel and the 10,000; they took them back to Babylon. And the next siege came around 586 BC. They destroyed Jerusalem and took everyone and everything out of the city. So sometimes when you’re studying a book, it may help you to remember not everything took place on the first siege. Remember that. On the first siege they took the youths out, and remember who some of these youths were: Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. And you’ll get to know them real well as we get into the study of the book of Daniel.
And so Babylon became the power that God raised up. Assyria thought they were going to be the world power; God said, “Not on your life.” And He stopped them, smashed them, and raised up Babylon. And Babylon was the world power in domination there up until 538 BC. So we see this Babylon, this great nation. But like Assyria, they would pay. Look back in Jeremiah 50. Jeremiah prophesies that Babylon is going to be put down. I hope you’re catching what we’re talking about here. God is doing this. God’s raising them up; God’s putting them down. God’s raising them up; God’s putting them down. Who’s in control? Buddy, you better believe He’s in control. And everything He ever told through His prophets, it happened exactly like He told them.
Jeremiah 50:1-3: “The word which the Lord spoke concerning Babylon, the land of the Chaldeans, through Jeremiah the prophet: Declare and proclaim among the nations. Proclaim it and lift up a standard. Do not conceal it but say, ‘Babylon has been captured, Bel [that’s one of their gods] has been put to shame, Marduk [Marduk was called the “god of gold.” You see, Babylon used more gold than any other nation at that time. They built their temples out of gold and they had a god of gold. They were called golden Babylon.] has been shattered; her images have been put to shame, her idols have been shattered.’ For a nation has come up against her out of the north; it will make her land an object of horror, and there will be no inhabitant in it. Both man and beast have wandered off, they have gone away!”
And then in chapter 51, verses 11 and 28—I could read a lot more, but these are just the ones I picked out—verse 11: “Sharpen the arrows, fill the quivers! The Lord has aroused the spirit of the kings of the Medes” [oh, friend, that’s going to be the next nation we’re going to look at: The Medes and the Persians] because His purpose is against Babylon, to destroy it; for it is the vengeance of the Lord, vengeance for His temple.” Now, look at verse 28: “Consecrate the nations against her, the kings of the Medes, their governors and all their provinces, and every land of their dominion.” I didn’t misread that. A prefect was one that oversaw a province, so that was all the provinces there, it says, in every land of their dominion.
And so it’s prophesied by Jeremiah, “Babylon, you’re going to fall. Friend, you’ve been a tool, God has used you, kept His people out of their land, but now your time is over. You’ve been raised up, boom! Now, you’ve been put down and we’ve got another nation coming on the scene.”
Now I want you to go way back to Isaiah again. Isaiah 44. Friend, if you want to see a prophecy, folks, this is a couple of hundred years before it takes place. God said they would be there 70 years and they would come back and see the temple and the city rebuilt. That’s what was prophesied. Isaiah 44:28, notice this, way a long time ago. Isaiah prophesied, “It is I who says of Cyrus [notice the name Cyrus], ‘He is my shepherd! And he will perform all My desire.’ And he declares of Jerusalem, ‘She will be built,’ and of the temple, ‘Your foundation will be laid.’”
Look in chapter 45:1-7: “Thus says the Lord to Cyrus His anointed, whom I have taken by the right hand, to subdue nations before him, and to loose the loins of kings; to open doors before him so that gates will not be shut: I will go before you and make the rough places smooth; I will shatter the doors of bronze, and cut through their iron bars. And I will give you the treasures of darkness, and hidden wealth of secret places, in order that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name. For the sake of Jacob My servant, and Israel My chosen one, I have also called you by your name; I have given you a title of honor though you have not know Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other; besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me; that men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun [now watch this] that there is no one besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other.”
Way back yonder, Isaiah said there was going to be a man by the name of Cyrus, who’s going to set those people free to go back to their homeland, rebuild Jerusalem, and rebuild the temple. Well, look in 2 Chronicles 36. Chronicles and Kings kind of give us an historical flavor of what took place with Israel. And we see this in 2 Chronicles 36:22-23. If we don’t do anything else, we’re going to nail the fact down that God is in control, folks! “Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia,” now why does it say king of Persia? Because it was Cyrus who united the kingdom of the Medes and the Persians. That’s a united kingdom: two kingdoms into one. And it says, “The first year of Cyrus king of Persia—in order to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah—the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king Persia, so that he sent a proclamation throughout his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying, ‘Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and He has appointed me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever there is among you of all His people, may the Lord his God be with him, and let him go up!’”
Isn’t that incredible? And it was prophesied hundreds of years before it took place. And what did Daniel tell us again? He’s the One who raises up kings, He’s the One who establishes kingdoms and it is God who changes the seasons and the epochs and the time. Okay, so we have then Babylon and now we have a new nation, a new world power that’s come on the scene. The Medo-Persian Empire. You can relax; I’m not going to go into as much detail with them as I did with Babylon. So hang on, I’ll just give you a few notes, hang on to it, it’s going to help you now when you get into your study of Daniel.
By 538 BC, Babylon sort of phased out and history tells us that this kingdom, Medo-Persian Empire, came in about 538 BC, and goes to about 331 BC. That would be the time period, and way back in 722 Israel was taken captive. Then in 605 there we see the first siege as Babylon moves in on Judah, and now they go out in 538 and Medo-Persians come in until 331. Something about them; if you’ll read your history books—and the scriptures do not tell this, but the history books do—they tell us that they were a financially sound people. Matter of fact, they tell us that they even built roads in order for people to get to the houses to tax the people. They made sure they had roads. Not so they could get around, but so they could get to their houses to tax them. Sounds like they came right out of America, doesn’t it? And they were very financially sound people. They were basically Iranian people; they were a two-horned nation: remember now, two kingdoms into one. You think that’s not important right now, you better hang on buddy when we get over into Daniel. That’ll be very important. And Cyrus the Persian and Darius the Mede have several mentions in the book of Daniel. We know for a fact from the Word of God that this took place. We also have it documented by history. But you don’t document anything by history, friend, you document it by the Word of God. That’s what we always remember.
Well then, thirdly, there’s another nation. In about 331 BC another nation moved in and took over, another world power. Babylon, you’re raised up. Boom! You’re put down; Medo-Persia, you’re raised up. Boom! You’re put down; for God establishes kingdoms. And then, there’s another one that comes on the scene. Son, it’s going to fire you up. You know what it is? It’s the nation of Greece. And Greece had a leader. Who was the leader there? Alexander the Great! Buddy, was he ever a world threat. And he moved in power; but when he died suddenly—this is the only thing I’m going to say about Greece, but we’re going to get into it later—but when he died suddenly, history records that there were four kings that took his place. But out of those four kings, only two became world powers. That is very, very important when you’re studying the book of Daniel. Remember what I said: out of that nation of Greece, there came four kings, but out of the four kings there were two nations that became world powers. Something about Greece that you might be interested in and might help you a little later on, they were the first ones ever to make weapons out of bronze. What’s bronze got to do with anything? I don’t know, read the book of Daniel.
And then the fourth nation I want to tell you about—I’m having more fun because I know what’s ahead of you! —and the fourth nation I want to talk to you about tonight, and I’m just going to mention it, is the nation of Rome. About 146 BC, Rome came in, conquered Greece. And they were the biggie, friend. They were the ones who made weapons out of iron that could pierce those bronze instruments that the Greeks had, and they ruled from 146 BC to about 500 AD.
You say, “I appreciate you going through all this, but this has been kind of boring. I can’t even get excited about going home, much less to the mission field. What’s all this about?” Well, you just wait. If you’ll read through with me, I tell you what, you get in there and you start seeing things like gold, bronze, silver, what’s this iron? And you start thinking, “What could that be?” You remember this message, will you please? Because it has something to say about the book of Daniel. He’s going to talk about that.
These are important kingdoms, world powers, and the secular historians haven’t got the slightest hint of the fact that it was God that raised them up! And it was God that slam-dunked them. Friend, He put one up, put one down, raised one up, put one down, raised one up, put one down. You know what? Let me just share this with you. If our God can do that, do you think He might be able to handle a few things that you’re going through in your life?
One of the things I want to keep saying over and over again: all during this time there were the skeptics. All during this time there were the skeptics. My Bible tells me that Jesus is coming for His church. Is that what your Bible tells you? That’s what God said, friend, I didn’t say that. That’s what God said. And we’ve got people living today, flirting with sin, loving the ways of the world, laughing in God’s face. “You’re not going to bother me.” Well, I’m going to tell you something: He’s coming and He’ll be like that thief coming in the night and, buddy, when He comes, you’re going to wake up real quick and understand that there’s going to come a day that even the unbeliever—you can turn on your television set and watch all the people spit on the name of God; you can watch all the pornography and all that junk—there’s going to come a day that every knee shall bow and confess that Jesus is Lord! The sad part about that is, to some of them it’s going to be way too late, when they finally recognize that this Book has got it all worked out.
Man, that fires me up. I can face tomorrow because I know He’s already in control of it. I love it! I love it!