The 35 Most Asked Prophecy Questions – Program 5
| September 23, 2013 |
|By: Dr. Renald Showers; ©1995|
|God laid out for Daniel the outline of world history and the kingdoms that would rise to play a role carrying out God’s plan for his people.|
Daniel’s Vision of the Future
- Showers: In Daniel 7 God delivered a very significant prophecy in the form of a vision to the prophet Daniel. The first thing that Daniel saw in his prophetic vision, verse 2, was a sea which was being whipped into a stormy condition by the winds of the heavens. Now, keep in mind, this is a vision and in visions you have symbols but symbols are very real things. When the sea is used symbolically in the Bible, it is used to represent the world of nations, particularly the Gentile nations, and that’s what it is representing here. The world of Gentile nations in a state of chaos. Because what God was going to portray in this vision is one Gentile nation or kingdom rising up against another and conquering it and assimilating it into itself. As Daniel was watching this vision, one by one there were four different animals that came rising out of that storm-tossed sea. What God was indicating through these animals was the whole future course of Gentile world power or dominion from Daniel’s day when Babylon was the great world power right up to the Second Coming of the Messiah back to planet earth in the future.
- The first wild animal that came out of the sea was a winged lion and that represented the ancient kingdom of Babylon which as we said was the great world power in Daniel’s day when he received this revelation from God. Winged lions were the national symbol of the ancient kingdom of Babylon. Standing at the entrances of the royal palaces of the Babylonian kings in the capital city of Babylon were huge stone images of winged lions. So it was the national symbol of Babylon, so the winged lion represents Babylon.
- But then Daniel saw a second animal rising out of the sea and that was a bear. A bear that was lopsided; one side raised higher than the other. This was God’s way of indicating that Babylon would not remain the great world power forever but eventually would be conquered by a second great Gentile kingdom represented by this bear as is described for us in verse 5. And from our historic vantage point, we know what that second Gentile kingdom was represented by the bear. It was the kingdom of Medo-Persia. And this part of Daniel’s prophetic vision was fulfilled in the year 539 BC because in 539 BC Medo-Persia conquered Babylon and assimilated it into itself. Why would God ahead of time represent Medo-Persia in the form of a bear? In that part of the world in ancient times a full-grown bear was larger than a full-grown lion. And it’s a fact of history that the Medo-Persian kingdom ended up being much larger than the Babylonian kingdom. It not only conquered Babylon, it conquered another great kingdom known as Lydia which was located in the area of the world we know as Turkey today and then it also conquered the ancient kingdom of Egypt. By the way, this bear had three ribs between its teeth and its mouth representing the remains of three victims that it had devoured. Those three victims were Babylon, Lydia, and Egypt. The three great Gentile kingdoms that Medo-Persia conquered. Why was this bear lopsided with one side raised up higher than the other? The Medo-Persian kingdom was a partnership kingdom. In 550 BC, one ruler was able to bring together two national groups: the Medes and the Persians, to form one kingdom. After a while, one of those partners, the Persians, became the dominating partner. It gained more control and authority than the other partner, the Medes, and so God represented one side of the bear representing Persia raised up higher than the lower side of the bear representing the Medes.
- But then in verse 6 of Daniel 7, Daniel saw a third beast rising out of the storm-tossed sea. This was in the form of a leopard with four wings and four heads. This was God’s way of indicating that the Medo-Persian kingdom would not last forever as the great Gentile world power but eventually would be conquered and assimilated by a third great Gentile kingdom represented by this leopard. From our historic vantage point today, we know that third kingdom was the kingdom of Greece—initially under the leadership of Alexander the Great. And this part of Daniel’s prophetic dream or vision was fulfilled by the year 331 BC because by 331 BC Alexander the Great and his Greek Macedonian armies had been able to completely conquer the Medo-Persian kingdom.
- Why would God represent this leopard with four heads? Well, it’s a fact of history that Alexander the Great died at a very young age, age 32, while out on the field with his men conquering more territory. There was not another man in the Grecian kingdom of the same charisma and administrative ability and influence that Alexander the Great had who was able to replace him and hold that Grecian kingdom together as one unit. And so what happened was, the four leading generals of the Greek army subdivided Alexander the Great’s Grecian kingdom into four divisions and each of those generals took over one of those divisions to rule.
- But then in verse 8, Daniel saw a fourth beast come rising out of the storm-tossed sea. And we have to call this a nondescript beast because there was no animal alive on the face of the earth that could accurately represent this particular beast. This was God’s way of indicating that Greece would not remain the great Gentile power forever but eventually would be conquered and assimilated by this fourth Gentile kingdom represented by this non-descript beast. And from our historic vantage point today we know what that fourth kingdom was. It was Rome. And this part of Daniel’s prophetic vision was fulfilled in 146 BC because by that time Rome had conquered the Grecian kingdom and Greece no longer was an independent kingdom.
- Now, the major thing emphasized about this fourth beast was its tremendous strength and overwhelming destructive power, and that was certainly true of the ancient Roman empire. It was able to conquer and bring under its dominion almost all of the ancient Mediterranean Sea world and even some regions beyond the Mediterranean Sea world and was so powerful that the western half of that Roman Empire was able to last for almost a thousand years and did not fall until 476 AD when barbarian tribes overran it. But the eastern half of the Roman Empire continued to exist for almost another thousand years until finally Muslim forces destroyed it in 1453 AD.
- Now, Daniel noticed that this fourth beast had ten horns on its head, and he was really curious as to what this fourth beast was about and its ten horns. He said in verse 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, his nails of brass which devoured, broke in pieces, stamped the residue of its feet, and of the ten horns that were in his head.” He was really curious about this fourth animal and its ten horns.
- Thankfully, there was an interpreting angel who attended this vision and the interpreting angel interpreted the fourth beast and the ten horns. Verse 23, “The angel 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; and the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise.” The angel was indicating that this fourth kingdom, the Roman kingdom, would pass through two phases: the first phase, the beast-conquering phase. And that was certainly true of the ancient Roman Empire. But the second phase, that Roman kingdom would be characterized by ten divisions with ten equal rulers. Basically, the idea of a confederation of divisions confederated together for the purpose of strength and influence in the world but not totally integrated but would have ten equal rulers ruling over them at the same time.
- If you were to study the history of the ancient Roman Empire you would find that never did that empire consist of ten divisions with ten equal rulers ruling over the Roman Empire at the same time. And because that was never true of the ancient Roman Empire, scholars have been forced to conclude that this part of Daniel’s prophetic vision has not yet been fulfilled and that therefore, God was indicating that sometime in the long range future there would be a revived form of the Roman Empire that would be established in the world and that revived Roman Empire at first would consist of ten divisions with ten equal rulers. Now, is there something looming on the horizon today that has the prospect of fulfilling this prophetic vision that God gave to Daniel? Many scholars are convinced, and I believe they are right, that this is the direction that the common market or as it is presently know, the European Union, is heading at the present time.
- Interestingly, Canadian National Television in 1990 put on a fascinating documentary across the nation of Canada. The documentary was on the direction that Western Europe is heading with the common market or European Union. The title of the documentary is fascinating. “Birth of a Super State.” And the Canadian people went to the member nations of the Common Market or European Union and they interviewed key Western European leaders to get their evaluation of what’s going to develop through the European Union. And after interviewing these leaders, the Canadian people said that when this is established, that Europe will be the super power of the twenty-first century which will challenge the rest of the world. That it will be the greatest economic bloc of wealth that the world has ever known. Some of the European leaders they interviewed, economists, historians, politicians, had some fascinating statements. One of the Western European leaders made this statement: “A new empire is taking shape.” Another European leader said, “The world will never be the same.” Another one said, “This is the beginning of a new epoch.” Another one said, “This is the hope for peace in Europe.” And another one said, “What has transpired in Western Europe with the European Union is far more significant than what has transpired in Eastern Europe with Eastern Bloc nations breaking away from Soviet control.”
- And so it looks as if the European Union, once it is fully established and functioning, will fulfill this phase of Daniel’s prophetic vision that it will constitute that revived Roman Empire that initially will have ten divisions with ten equal rulers.
- Now, what do we do with the number ten? For a number of years there were twelve member nations in the common market. Now there are fifteen, and some are saying it could quickly swell to nineteen nations because other European nations are filing application to join. Interestingly, in Forbes magazine just a few years ago a German banking firm put in an advertisement talking about the future direction of Western Europe, and they indicated that once this system is fully operational, Europe is going to be reorganized into regions rather than nations; that national boundaries will be erased and Europe will be reorganized into regions. And so it could very well be that the number ten that’s here in the Book of Daniel is referring to ten regions rather than ten nations. Ten regions, confederated together, for the purpose of power and influence in the world but not totally integrated with each other; but ten regions with ten equal rulers ruling over that confederation. These are things that are beginning to form on the horizon during our time right now and it looks as if it’s not too far into the future that they will fulfill this prophetic vision that God gave to the Prophet Daniel some 2500 years ago.