The history of the last 6000 years has been, despite outward appearances, a very simple one. Lucifer, now called Satan (the adversary), and the Devil, (the accuser), having been judged for his rebellion against the Most High God, has been attempting to gain the worship he seeks. He has done this for millenia by encouraging idolatry, knowing that when a man bows down to an idol the worship he offers is directed at the demon behind the idol, 1 Corinthians 10:19,20.
This idolatry has spread throughout the earth from its centre, the city of Babylon, formerly known as Babel. See Jeremiah 51:7. It was there that men first organised themselves to rebel against God, refusing to spread abroad as God had required, and instead building a city and a tower to centralise their opposition to Him. The city represented the political opposition, the tower, the religious. Satan knows that the allegiance of the hearts of men cannot be gained and kept by political considerations alone. Man has a spirit-dimension to his person, and was made at the beginning so that he could only be satisfied by communion with God. Now that he is a fallen creature, however, he turns from God, but is still a person with soul and spirit. The void in his heart the Devil is only too willing to fill by offering an alternative to the worship of God, even the worship of himself.
The way he will nearly achieve his ultimate goal of receiving the universal homage of men, is told us in the Word of God. The Book of Revelation speaks of a coming world leader who sets himself up in opposition to Christ, and who demands the worship of men, either directly, 2 Thessalonians 2:4, or indirectly through the worship of his image, Revelation 13:12,15. All who refuse to do this because they worship God, will be persecuted, and in many cases, martyred for their faith.
How this climax of world affairs is reached, we will now enquire.
GOD’S PURPOSE FOR MAN
At the beginning, God put the world under Adam, so that he might rule it for Him, see Genesis 1:28; Psalm 8 :4-9. Adam fell, however, because he began to prefer the word of Satan to the word of God. After he had sinned, it was the voice of the Lord God that caused him to hide, for he had listened to the enemy of truth, and had believed his lies, John 8 :44. So it is that the writer to the Hebrews states that we do not see all things under man now, for he has forfeited his right to rule for God, Hebrews 2:8. The believer does see Jesus, however, Hebrews 2:9, and He is kept in reserve by God, hidden like Joash in the presence of God until the moment of His revelation, see 2 Chronicles 22:12.
It is a solemn fact that God spoke of the seed of the serpent before He spoke of the Seed of the woman. The latter is Christ, born of Mary when she was still a virgin, and who therefore is not the seed of a man. But He has one who opposes Him, the seed of the serpent. Now if the seed of the woman is a person, (as well as being a company of people, Romans 16:20), the seed of the serpent is a person also, as well as being a company, (generation of vipers, Luke 3:7; of your father the devil, John 8 :8:44). And since the individual Seed of the woman is Christ, then the individual seed of the serpent must be Antichrist.
All through the centuries of the Old Testament, Satan attempted to prevent the Seed of the woman being born. He dismally failed, however, and Christ was born at God’s appointed time. But Satan knew that the Seed had come to die, so he then turned his attention to trying to prevent the Saviour dying at the appointed time, and in the appointed way. Whether it was Herod attempting to slay Him as a young child, or the men of Nazareth trying to throw Him from the hill, or Jews taking up stones to stone Him later on, all were unsuccessful, for His hour had not yet come.
The reason why Satan was so opposed to His death was that by it his downfall was assured, for by His death Christ spoiled principalities and powers, Colossians 2:15, and destroyed him that had the power of death, that is the devil, Hebrews 2:14.
In the wisdom of God, however, the devil is still allowed some latitude, so that he may so act that all his forces are eventually destroyed, whether human or demonic. His doom is certain, because it stands written beforehand in God’s word, “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the Lake of fire and brimstone, which burneth for ever and ever”, Revelation 20:10.
THE CLIMAX OF EVIL
The setting up of an image in the temple at Jerusalem is the climax of 6000 years of the Devil’s scheming and plotting. To intrude into the very sanctuary of God and install an image there is to nearly achieve his goal of universal worship. For all must worship the image, and by so doing worship the beast himself, the antichrist. When this is done, since antichrist only has authority because he has agreed to worship the Devil, Satan will have achieved his object. That which he miserably failed to get Christ to do, even though he offered Him the kingdoms of the world as the prize for doing so, antichrist will gladly do. See Matthew 4:8-10; Revelation 13:2.
We must consider the events and circumstances which lead to this, however. For 490 years, Israel disobeyed God in the matter of allowing their farmland to rest for one year in seven. They also went over to idolatry in a terrible way. For this, the nation was taken into captivity to Babylon, “so that the land may enjoy its sabbaths”, 2 Chronicles 36:21. The very seat of idolatry is now their home. In this way the horrors and excesses of heathen idol-worship would dawn upon them. They must learn how Jehovah felt when Manasseh set up an idol in the temple. Even though he had repented of his evil deed, and Josiah who followed him on the throne had been a godly king, God would not pardon the sin of Manasseh, 2 Kings 24:4.
THE KINGLY TRIBE IS TAKEN CAPTIVE
This captivity had another significance, for not only was there a religious side to it, the matter of idolatry versus the worship of the True God, there was also a political. The 10-tribed part of the nation, the northern kingdom, had long since been carried into captivity by Assyria. Only Judah, (the tribe from which the kings were to come, and from whom, therefore, the Messiah would rise), and Benjamin his ally, were left. Judah was now captive, however, for “Judah was carried away captive out of their land”, 2 Kings 25:21, and the kingdom of Israel was ended, for the time being. David had understood that his seed would forfeit the right to sit upon the throne if they did not keep God’s covenant, Psalm 132:11, and so it came to pass. Worse still, Jehoiachin, or Coniah, had eight sons, as listed in 1 Chronicles 3:17, but in Jeremiah 22:30 we read, “Thus saith the Lord, write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Israel”. By this word the Lord excludes all who are descended from David through Coniah from sitting upon David’s throne. But Christ is descended from David through Coniah, (otherwise known as Jeconiah), Matthew 1:11,12. So if He is Joseph’s natural son, He is not able to occupy the throne of David, even though Joseph was a son of David. But Mary is of the line of David too, Luke 3:31. So it is important that Joseph should not divorce his espoused wife Mary, but rather, should marry her before Christ was born, which he did, Matthew 1:24,25. At His birth, the Lord Jesus is a true Son of David “after the flesh”, Romans 1:3, because Mary is a descendant of David. He is also a true Son of David by legal right, because His legal father is a son of David. But none other can claim the throne, since they are disqualified by Jeremiah’s curse on Jeconiah. This explains why Zerubbabel, Jeconiah’s grandson, was simply governor of Jerusalem, and not king.
THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES
So it was that the “Times of the Gentiles” began, and will not finish until Christ comes. The passing of time now begins to be reckoned, not by the reigns of the kings of Judah, but according to the reigns of heathen monarchs. Jeremiah 25:1 gives a very significant date in this connection, for it links the rule of Jehoiakim with the rule of Nebuchadnezzar, and signals the transition to a new way of marking time. Jeremiah also states in that chapter that Judah would serve the king of Babylon for 70 years, who would then be punished, Jeremiah 25:11,12. This is one of the passages that Daniel was reading towards the end of the captivity period, Daniel 9:2.
Not only was the kingly tribe in exile, subservient to a Gentile monarch, but also God was now known as the God of Heaven. He no longer associated Himself with Jerusalem as “the place of the Name”, but retired, so to speak, to heaven. Jonah had fled from the presence of the Lord, for he believed that Jehovah dwelt in a special sense in the land of Israel, (even though he knew full well that God was immanent, or omnipresent, as Psalm 139:7-12 had taught). Now things are different, and the children of Israel are in disgrace, as is indicated by the term Jew that came to be used from this time on. Israelite is a title of dignity and destiny, (meaning “prince with God”, or “ruled by God”), whereas Jew is a title of disgrace. Nathaniel called Christ the King of Israel, John 1:49; Pilate and the Jews called Him the King of the Jews, thus showing in yet another way their contempt for Him.
Both Ezekiel and Daniel were captives; Ezekiel by the river Chebar, Daniel in the king’s palace. Ezekiel was priest/prophet, and was enabled to see things from the perspective of heaven’s throne, which he describes in chapter 1 of his book. He was shown in spirit the shame of the city of Jerusalem, as the high priest and his associates worshipped idols in the temple, Ezekiel 8. No wonder the glory departed! Later in his prophecy, however, he was projected into the future to see the restored glory of the city and the temple. The secret of the restoration being that the name of the city shall be called Jehovah Shammah, “the Lord is there”, Ezekiel 48:35.
Daniel, on the other hand, was a prophet/prince, and he shows first of all the supposed glory of Babylon, and then learns of its destruction and shame. Thus the two cities have opposing careers, Satan’s city from glory to shame, God’s city from shame to glory.
Sadly, Jeremiah, the other prophet of the time, saw only unrelieved shame for Jerusalem, and lamented over it with the words recorded in the Book of Lamentations. Christ wept over Jerusalem too, but whereas Jeremiah was helpless to remedy the situation, Christ is not, for by His death, resurrection and eventual return, the glorious destiny of the city is assured. Note the connection between what happens to the body of Christ, and what happens to the temple, as written in John 2:18-22. The death (“destroy this body”) and resurrection of Christ, (“I will raise it up in three days”), is indicative of the fact that although to be destroyed, the temple will yet be raised up again to God’s glory. When the descendants of Levi slew a man, they also digged down a wall, Genesis 49:6. The chief priests’ demand for the death of Christ meant the sure destruction of Jerusalem and its walls. But just as Christ rose from the dead, so just as surely the temple shall rise again.
A BOOK IN TWO LANGUAGES
The book of Daniel is written in two languages, Syriack, the language of Babylon, and Hebrew, the language of Israel. The first chapter, the first 3 verses of chapter 2, and from chapter 8:1 to the end, are written in Hebrew, and relate to matters more specific to the land and the sanctuary, whether it be the fact that the sanctuary and the land had suffered as a result of Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion, or that the sanctuary of the future was to be desecrated, Daniel 8:11-13; 11:31, and then anointed and sanctified, 9:24. The first chapter begins with Daniel in captivity in Babylon, whereas the last chapter sees him standing in his lot at the end of days. In other words, he, as a member of the tribe of Judah, would stand in his tribal inheritance in the resurrection of the just, ready to enter Messiah’s kingdom.
The central section has to do with Gentile domination, its course and consequences, without special reference to the land of Israel, but rather the current and ongoing rule of Gentiles over the world, or the eventual reign of the Son of Man over the whole world.
MEN PUT TO THE TEST
The Book of Daniel also contains two ways of presenting the truth. Either by dreams and revelations, or by events which happen to individuals to test them. So in chapter 1 Daniel is testedin relation to the food in Nebuchadnezzar’s palace. Not only would it be likely to infringe the Law of Moses as regards clean and unclean foods, but also it would probably have been offered to idols before being brought to the table. When he refuses to eat the king’s meat, Daniel triumphs, for the word of God is of highest importance to him, and he will bow to God’s claims, whatever the cost. In this he represents that godly company of Jews who in a day to come will have understanding in God’s ways, and will go forth to preach the gospel of the kingdom before the end comes, Matthew 24:14; Revelation7:3-8.
In chapter 3 it is Daniel’s friendswho are tested. Refusing to bow down to the image the emperor has set up, they are cast into a burning fiery furnace. They become an illustration of what will happen during the Great Tribulation to those who will refuse to bow down to the image of the beast, and who suffer exceedingly for it. They gain the victory, however, for God had said through Isaiah that “When thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee, for I am the Lord Thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour”, Isaiah 43:2,3. Shadrach and his companions found this to be true, for the Son of God was seen walking in the fire with them. Their counterparts in the future will be recompensed abundantly for the sufferings they will endure, for they shall stand on a sea of glass mingled with fire. The fire congealed in the glass so as to be no threat to them, Revelation 15:3, and the glass perfectly calm and storm-free, with the tempests gone for ever.
In Daniel chapter 4 it is Nebuchadnezzarwho is tested. His pride is judged and he is rendered insane for a season. Afterwards, however, he learns to give glory to the God of heaven. So, in a day to come, even kings will recognise Christ’s glory to be unsurpassable, for His sufferings were unsurpassable, and the two are in proportion according to Isaiah 52:14,15. “As many were astonied…so…kings shall shut their mouths at Him”. They will have nothing to say when His glory appears.
Belshazzarreacted differently when he was tested in chapter 5. Impiously bringing the sacred vessels from the temple of God into the profane atmosphere of his banqueting hall, he found that he was to be judged of God and lose the kingdom. Lose it, moreover, not to a Babylonian successor, but to a Medo-Persian one. Though he knew what had happened to Nebuchadnezzar, he did not heed the lesson, and became a classic example of what happens to the profane proud. And an illustration of what shall happen to the one who motivated him, Satan himself.
Daniel is tested againin chapter 6. This time it is the Persian monarch who asserts his power, and Daniel, refusing to worship any other than His God, is thrown to the lions. Faith triumphs, however, and he becomes a picture of those who shall gain the victory over the beast by escaping his clutches, for some shall be sheltered in the time of great tribulation in a place prepared for them by God, Revelation 12.
Coming to the prophetic section of the book of Daniel, we find in chapter 2 that Nebuchadnezzar has a dream. God overrules so that he forgets the dream. If he had not done so, his magicians would have invented an explanation for him, and they would probably have interpreted the image as being that of a god to be worshipped. Since Daniel is the only one able to tell the king the dream and explain it, then the king may be confident that the correct interpretation is given. Nebuchadnezzar had seen an image which represented the progress of Gentile dominion throughout the Times of the Gentiles, that period of time which runs between the kingly tribe of Judah going into captivity, and the return of the King of kings.
Five Gentile kingdoms are pictured by the five materials that make up the image. The head of gold is the Babylonian empire, as presided over at that time by Nebuchadnezzar, verses 37,38.
Then the breast and arms of silver are the Medo-Persian empire that would defeat the Babylonian, and have Babylon as its centre, 5:30,31. This would be an inferior kingdom, for whereas Nebuchadnezzar was sole monarch, (“whom he would he slew; and whom he would he kept alive”, 5:19), Darius was assisted by counsellors who could pressurise him to make laws he could not alter, as 6:15 shows.
The third kingdom of brass which succeeded the Medo-Persian is the Grecian empire, for this succession is made clear in chapter 8:19-21, where the ram, Medo-Persia, is overcome by the goat, Greece.
The fourth kingdom, the iron kingdom, which succeeded the Grecian, is not found in the Old Testament by name, but as we turn to the New Testament we learn of the Roman empire which is able to enroll and tax the whole world, Luke 2:1, thus showing that it bears rule over all the earth, as the other empires represented by the different parts of the image do. It is interesting to note that it is Luke, (who emphasises the title Son of man, and who has the Gentiles specially in mind as he writes), who tells us this, and not Matthew, who emphasises the Son of David, and Israel.
The fifth empire has part of the feature of the fourth, namely the iron, but also has brittle clay mixed in with the iron, making an unstable mixture. If iron is crushing military might, then the so-different clay may be the principle of democracy so praised at the present time, but which is summed up in the phrase, “government of the people, by the people, for the people”. Instead of rule being exercised from the top, democracy is based on the principle of the people deciding on the laws because they have the power of the ballot box on their side. If a potential ruler does not promise to give them what they want, they will not vote for him. They veto one and vote for the other. This is a recipe for disaster, and we see that disaster all around us. Not that an autocratic rule of a despot is any better, but the benign rule of a man with Divine right is God’s ideal, and one day will be seen in the earth when Christ Jesus in His own times shall show “who is that blessed and only potentate, King of kings and Lord of lords”, 1 Timothy 6:15. This will be the very best form of rule, theocracy, the rule of God.
THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST
And this is the rule that is symbolised by the stone which strikes the image, destroys all inferior forms of government, and establishes the rule of God in the earth. The theocratic rule of one who is God manifest in the flesh, 1 Timothy 3:16. We must always remember that the dream of Daniel 2 does not take into account the present age. The character of this current era is not the subject of prophecy, but is only revealed through the apostle Paul after the church age had begun at Pentecost.
This does not mean that the Messianic reign prophesied so profusely in the Old Testament is cancelled. In fact, it is not strictly true to say that it is even postponed. Events are postponed by men when unforeseen circumstances arise. There are none of these with God, however, for “Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world”, Acts 15:18.
We see this emphasised in Matthew’s gospel. Even though his is the gospel of the king, Matthew alone tells of Christ’s prophecy regarding the church, in chapter 16. Yet in the very next chapter the disciples have an experience which re-affirms their belief in the Messianic reign. Peter declares in 2 Peter 1:16-19 that the prophetic word was confirmed to him by what he saw happen on the holy mount of transfiguration. He witnessed the power and majesty that will be manifest when Christ comes in His kingdom.
So, far from the church replacing the kingdom, or even being the kingdom, we are assured that the reign of Christ over the earth is still to come. After the Lord Jesus has taken the church to be with Himself in heaven, God’s dealings with the earth shall resume, and rapidly come to their foreordained climax. Christ will come forth from heaven, defeat His enemies, and then personally sit on the throne of His glory, as He told his disciples He would, Matthew 25:31. The stone which comes from heaven fills the whole earth, “For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea”, Habakkuk 2:14.
FEATURES OF CHRIST’S KINGDOM
- It is set up by the God of Heaven, verse 41. Instead of being withdrawn, as He was at the captivity, with His capital city in ruins, He now intervenes as the God of all the earth. Christ’s kingdom shall be nothing less that God’s kingdom upon earth, the same kingdom the Lord taught his disciples to pray for, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven”, Matthew 6:10.
- It shall never be destroyed. There shall be no element of weakness in this kingdom, nothing of the fallibility of mortal men about it. Nebuchadnezzar must have been gratified to hear the words, “Thou art this head of gold”, yet a few moments later he heard the words, “after thee shall arise…” He is to be superceded. Long before, Isaiah had prophesied that God would make the diviners mad; turn the wise men backward; make their knowledge foolish. This happened when Belshazzar’s wise men were unable to read the writing on the wall. Moreover, he would confirm the word of His servant, (Daniel), and Babylon would fall. Even the technique used by the enemy to effect its fall was foretold, for Cyrus would dry up the rivers, diverting the river Euphrates whilst Belshazzar feasted with his lords. So it was that the two-leaved brass gates of the city would swing open to let the conquerors in, see Isaiah 44:25-45:3.
The Medo-Persian would also be conquered, for despite an army of 2.5 million men, (drawn, it is said, from 56 conquered nations), and a huge fleet, Darius III was still defeated by Alexander.
- The kingdom shall not be left to other people, as Alexander’s was, for his son and mother died with him, and the kingdom was divided amongst four of his generals. But the true King shall never die! David realised that the Messiah must be a risen man in order to have a kingdom that would never end, Acts 2:30,31.
- The kingdom shall stand for ever. For when all rule and authority and power has been subdued under Him, Christ shall do a very significant thing. All things in heaven and in earth are indisputably under His control- what will He do with this power? There was another who had possessed like power, and he responded by seeking to rise higher, even to usurp the throne of the Almighty Himself, Isaiah 14:13,14. No such idea comes into the mind of God’s Son, for when He is at the highest point of supremacy, He reaffirms the subjection to His God that He willingly began when He became man. “Then shall the Son also be subject to Him that put all things under Him, that God might be all in all”, 1 Corinthians 15:28. God, the Triune, shall be all-supreme in all ways and in all circumstances, with the result that there will never again be a rebellion such as when Lucifer rose up against God.
- It is not set up by human agency, for the stone is cut out of the mountain without hands. Christ Himself shall come to defeat His foes and set up His kingdom. It shall not be brought about by the preaching of the gospel, or through humanitarian activity, but by direct and sudden intervention from heaven. This is indicated by the tense of the word “come” in the phrase, “Thy kingdom come”, the aorist signifying “come decisively, instantly”. Not a gradual spreading of influence, but a decisive asserting of superior power.
- It is a replica of heaven’s kingdom, for it is cut out of the mountain. A mountain in scripture is a symbol of a kingdom, being that which seems immovable, and towers above all else. Heaven rejoices when this kingdom is set up, and great voices in heaven say, “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever”, Revelation 11:15. Then shall the earth experience the rule of God upon the earth, in the Person of His Son. It is written that “Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord as king instead of David his father, and prospered”, 1 Chronicles 29:23. Now this is realised in its fulness, as Christ rules the world from David’s throne in Jerusalem. Then David’s throne will indeed be the throne of Jehovah in the most complete sense.
- It shall fill the whole earth. The sway of this King will be universal. Whilst universal dominion was given to Nebuchadnezzar and his successors, they were never able to effectively govern the whole earth. Not so this monarch, for “He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth”, Psalm 72:8.
FURTHER REVELATION: FOUR WILD BEASTS
Having given a panoramic view of Gentile dominion from the time of Nebuchadnezzar to the time when Christ sets up His kingdom, God now informs Daniel through a dream more details of the end-time kingdom of Antichrist.
Significantly, the empires we now see in chapter 7 are not symbolised by materials, but by beasts. It is a feature of beasts that they live their lives in total disregard of God, yet all the while God is supreme above them. So it is with these beasts, for they act as if God does not exist, yet He is in the background, totally in control.
It is Daniel who has the dream now, not Nebuchadnezzar, for the latter is not involved in this unfolding of events. The dream has to do with four beasts “that shall arise”. But the Babylonian empire had arisen decades before. Again, these four beasts all arose as a result of the same storm, and from the same great sea. If the beasts represented the same empires as are found in chapter 2, it should be easy to interpret the various features found on them, but there seems to be no consensus in this matter. For instance, if the first beast is the Babylonian empire of the past, what were the wings, and what is the meaning of the wings being plucked, and the beast being made to stand like a man? It should be easy to say, but seems not to be. The second beast, the bear, comes up on one side, which superficially resembles the Medo-Persian empire in its development as a double kingdom; if this is the case, then it should be a simple task to say what the three ribs represent. Again, there does not seem to be any explanation forthcoming from those who believe the bear represents a kingdom which is now past.
No doubt Daniel is given this dream because one of the things emphasised is the treatment of the saints by the fourth kingdom depicted. Whilst we are still in that part of the book of Daniel which is written in Syriack, or Chaldee, the Gentile language, nevertheless the focus is gradually shifting to things more specific to Daniel and his people, the nation of Israel. Chapter 7 could be looked at as a bridge between the two sections.
The apostle John would later see a beast arise out of the sea with a combination of the beast-like features that are seen in this chapter, and so we are being introduced in Daniel 7 to the initial arising of those kingdoms which the fourth beast will incorporate into itself.
We might think from chapter 2 that the final form of Gentile dominion was weak and incapable. This dream dispels this idea, for the fourth beast is dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly, has great iron teeth, devours and breaks in pieces and stamps on its rivals, verse 7.
THE FOURTH BEAST
As it came up from the sea the fourth beast was seen to have ten horns. Then Daniel noticed that there was an eleventh. Whether it came up as he watched, or whether the “came up” was a description of the situation as the beast came into view, is not clear. So important is this little horn, that three times we are told about it. In verse 8 as Daniel describes his dream, in verse 20 as he asks the meaning, and in verses 24 and 25 as the meaning is given.
Now this little horn is of great interest, for within it were the eyes of a man, and it had a mouth speaking great things. The eyes would speak of discernment, and despite being an animal in some ways, the intelligence and insight of a man is possessed by this creature. The beast also communicated that discernment, for the mouth would speak of the ability to put ideas over with effectiveness. We shall learn from 8 :23 that the discernment is sinister in its content, and from 11:36 we shall discover that his speech is directed against the God of heaven.
GOD’S JUDGEMENT THRONE
Daniel must have been relieved to see the next development in his dream. Verse 9 says that thrones were cast down, meaning that they were positioned ready to be used in judgement, and the Ancient of Days held court, as “did sit” means. (Even today we speak of courts being “in session”, when judges are hearing cases). Despite the terribleness and seeming invincibility of the fourth beast, God is still in control of heaven and earth, and His will shall prevail in the end. Sentence is to be pronounced on the beast and its activity, so the books are opened. God keeps record of the doings of men and empires, and He will one day set things right on the earth through the One who will be introduced to us in verse 13.
As a result of God’s condemnation of the activities and attitude of this beast, it was slain, and given to the burning flame. This is what John saw in Revelation 19:20, and he records that the beast was taken and cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. Such shall be the end of Satan’s plan to dominate the earth and subdue it to himself.
Verse 12 refers to the other three beasts. The reference to the fourth beast being destroyed might cause us to wonder what happened to them. We are told their dominion was taken away, yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time. This cannot be after the fourth beast has been destroyed, since after that Christ alone rules. Verse 12 might be a hint of the amalgamation of the first three beasts into the fourth as is symbolised in Revelation 13 by the single beast there having the features of three others, a lion, a bear and a leopard. Their dominion is taken away by the fourth beast, and their lives are prolonged by being assimilated into it.
THE SON OF MAN RECEIVES THE KINGDOM
As he continued watching, Daniel saw an amazing thing. A man was brought before the throne of the Ancient of Days, and He had the clouds of heaven about Him. This is none other than Christ, who as Son of Man is destined to rule the earth for God. He has the clouds of heaven with Him, for He has ascended up through the clouds back to His Father. The word to Him had been, “Sit on My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool.” Hebrews 1:13. And again, “Ask of Me, and I will give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession”, Psalm 2:8. It is to this one that dominion, glory, and a kingdom are given, verse 14. Yet we learn a further remarkable thing in verse 22, namely that the one who comes to destroy the fourth beast is also the Ancient of Days. Thus we discover that the Son of Man is also rightly called the Ancient of Days, for He is Christ, the Son of God, equal with God in all respects.
This sheds light on the reaction of the high priest of Israel when Christ stood before him and declared, “Hereafter shall ye see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven”, Matthew 26:64. The high priest immediately accused Him of blasphemy, for He was claiming the right to sit upon the Divine Throne, and also to be the one who comes in accordance with Daniel 7:22, who is none other than the Ancient of Days. Both parts of this statement were claims to Deity. It is doubtful if the high priest was wearing his garments of glory and beauty when he rent them that day, but it is nonetheless true that his official robes would have had gold wires interwoven in with the linen threads, symbol of the way Deity, (the gold) and manhood, (the linen threads), are both found in perfect harmony in the person of Christ, Exodus 39:1-3. The high priest denied His Deity, and thus in his mind snapped the gold wires, and spoiled the whole garment.
In Acts 7:55, Stephen saw the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God. That which He had foretold had come to pass, and Stephen bore witness to it. This was too much of a reminder to the high priest and the Sanhedrin of what Christ had said, so Stephen paid the ultimate price for loyalty to his rejected Saviour.
THE SAINTS TAKE THE KINGDOM
Not only does the Son of Man reign, but those spoken of as saints reign also. Twice we are told this: verse 18, “but the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever”; and verse 22, “judgement was given to the saints of the Most High: and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom”. In a third reference, Daniel is told that “the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High”. Now who are these saints? Many will say, they are church saints. Others, Old Testament saints. We should bear in mind, however, that everywhere else in the book of Daniel the saints are angels, as a reading of the following passages will show: “a watcher and a holy one (saint) came down from heaven”; 4: 13; “This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the word by the demand of the holy ones (saints)” 4:17; “a watcher and a holy one (saint) coming down from heaven, and saying, “Hew the tree down”, 4:23; These references to holy ones, or saints, makes clear that angels have an administrative and punitive role in the affairs of the kingdoms of men. It is no surprise to learn that they have a part to play in the millenial kingdom.
This is not before the little horn has made war with the saints, and prevailed against them, verse 21. We are given insight into the conflict between angelic forces in chapter 10, and something of this is indicated to us here, for not only does this personage prevail against the saints, indicating that the evil angel-powers that control the nations are in the ascendancy, but he also wears out, or troubles the holy guardians of God’s interests in the earth.
In verse 27 however, we meet with another phrase, “the people of the saints of the most high”. We know from 10:13,20,21, that angelic forces contend behind the scenes of the children of men, and now we learn of the people for whom the good angels contend, even the people of Israel.
FEATURES OF ANTICHRIST
Just as we saw various features of the reign of Christ as depicted by the stone kingdom in Daniel 2, so now we are beginning to see some of the features that mark the antichrist, the little horn of this chapter:
- Ability to subdue his rivals decisively, verse 8 , “Three of the first horns plucked up by the roots”.
- Great intelligence and insight, verse 8 , “eyes like the eyes of man”.
- Oratorical skills, and plausibility, verse 8 , “mouth speaking great things”.
- An imposing presence, verse 20, “look more stout than his fellows”.
- Power to oppose the saints successfully, verse 21, “made war with the saints, and prevailed against them”.
It is little wonder that after seeing this vision the prophet was much troubled, and his countenance changed in him, verse 28. The vision that is next detailed, however, caused him even more grief, for it not only told of opposition to the truth, but also the removal of the daily sacrifice, and this affected Daniel deeply as a godly Jew.
THE RAM AND THE HE-GOAT
It is two years since Daniel’s first vision, but whereas before he was in his bed, presumably in Babylon, in chapter 8 he is in Shushan, in the palace, in the province of Elam. Now Shushan was the royal city of Persia, and thus Daniel is now transferred to the empire that will supercede the Babylonian. He needs to know further things so that the identity of the antichrist can be more precisely told.
The vision is not for the time near at hand particularly, for Gabriel’s words are, “at the time of the end shall be the vision”, verse 17; and “what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed shall the end be”, verse 19. Furthermore, the main personage in the vision stands up against the Prince of princes, Christ Himself, verse 25. Clearly the emphasis is on the end times, and immediate events are told us only to give us the connection between Daniel’s time and the time of the end. The object being to concentrate on the person who shall dominate the scene at the end of man’s period of rule.
The vision concerns a ram with two unequally sized horns, and a he-goat which attacked it successfully. After he had done so, however, it was broken, and his power distributed to four others. Out of the territory of one of these four came a power represented by a little horn, which magnified himself even to the extent of taking away the daily sacrifice in the temple at Jerusalem. Further details are given of this little horn, which show us how it is he succeeds so dramatically and blasphemously. Then Daniel is assured that he will be “broken without hand”, despite his seemingly invincible power.
THE MEANING OF THE DREAM
The interpretation of this vision given in verses 20-26 by Gabriel is as follows. The ram represented the kings of Media and Persia, who were allied together. Cyrus the Persian was the overall ruler at the time of the slaying of Belshazzar, but it was Darius the Median who “took the kingdom”, 5:31. It was not so much that he took the kingdom from Belshazzar, but that he took it from Cyrus. By the time of Daniel’s vision, the Medes were dominant. This is seen in the figurative language of the dream, for the highest horn of the ram was the one which came up last.
Not only had Daniel been transported in his dream to Shushan, the royal city of Persia, (see Esther 1:2), but the ram was standing before the river of Ulai, in the province of Elam; on his own territory in other words. One of the symbols of Persia was a ram’s head, as seen on Persian coins. Sapor, a Persian king, rode in front of his army with a golden figure of a ram’s head set with gems. The capital of Greece, however, was Aegis, meaning goat-city, and the sea surrounding Greece was, and is, the Aegean Sea, the Goat-Sea.
The ram pushed westward, northward and southward, seemingly invincible. From the west, however, came a he-goat, making speedy conquest, (“his feet touched not the ground”), and who confronted the ram and defeated it. This is a prophecy of the defeat of the Medo-Persian empire by Alexander, the Grecian emperor. At the height of his conquests, however, just when he was lamenting at the age of 33 that there were no more worlds to conquer, Alexander died as a result of his dissolute lifestyle. The great horn was broken, verse 8, and for it, or instead of it, came up four notable horns towards the four winds of heaven, or in other words, (and this is important when considering chapter 11), to the south, north, east and west. These notable horns or rulers would stand up to govern, but not because the great horn had wished it so, (not by his power, verse 22), but through force of circumstances. Alexander’s mother and son died at the same time as he, so there was no possibility of a succession that way, but four of his generals took control of the empire, dividing it up between them.
Ptolemy took Egypt and Cyprus. Cassander took Macedonia, Thessaly and Greece. Lysamachus took Thrace, Cappadocia and northern Asia Minor, whilst Seleucus took Syria, Babylonia and Media. This explains to us the terms King of the North and King of the South in chapter 11, the north and the south being parts of the divided Grecian empire. Note that although the empire passed to army generals, subsequent successors of these men are called King of the North, and King of the South. In other words, the title king does not necessarily signify an inherited kingship. Note, too, that the reference to the north is to the north part of the Greek empire, not Russia.
THE LITTLE HORN
Daniel’s attention is now drawn to a little horn, which came up out of one of the divisions of the Greek empire. Such is his power, that he is able to control what happens in the restored temple in Jerusalem. We learn from Gabriel certain facts about this king, in verses 1-12, and also verses 23-25.
- He waxes great even to the extent of being able to influence the host of heaven, meaning the angel hosts, verse 10. As we shall learn later, this king is energised by Satanic power, and hence it is no surprise that he can control spirit-beings. In chapter 10 we learn that there is conflict in heaven between holy and evil angel-representatives of the nations, and that victory is not easily achieved by the holy angels, such is the power of evil. So successful is this king in verse 10, that he is able to cast some of the host of heaven and the stars, meaning, presumably, angels, to the ground and triumph over them. This is awesome power, and reminds us we should not underestimate the power of the Devil. We take comfort from the fact, however, that the eventual triumph of Christ is assured, (for “He shall send forth truth to victory”, Matthew 12:20), and meanwhile, “greater is He that is you, than he that is in the world”, 1 John 4:4.
- He so exalts himself, that he aspires to attack Christ Himself, verse 11. We read the armies of the Antichrist make war with the Lamb in Revelation 19:19, and this statement is to the same effect. Not only is he antichrist in the sense of “instead of” Christ, but also in the sense of “against Christ”, for the Greek word “anti” has both these meanings.
- He interferes with the sacrifices offered on the altar in the rebuilt temple at Jerusalem, verse 11. Chapter 9:27 tells of a covenant with the majority in Israel to allow them to resume their temple worship. This covenant he breaks after three and a half years, and this signals the commencement of the Great Tribulation, Matthew 24:15,21.
- A host is a multitude, especially when organised for war. The fact that a host is given him against the daily sacrifice suggests Satan allots some of his demon-forces to allow him to do this without God’s angels, and in particular Michael, preventing him. Michael does not seem to be as strong as the Devil, as is seen in Jude 9, and Daniel 10:13 indicates that Gabriel was no match for the angel-prince of Persia until Michael came to assist him. In verse 11 he magnifies himself against the prince of the host, which from 12:1 we learn is Michael, the prince that stands for the children of Israel.
- He casts down the truth to the ground. This word “cast down”, is used in verses 7,11,12. The idea is of throwing out, down, or away. Here the little horn attacks the truth, and succeeds in casting it down, meaning that he persuades many to apostasise, especially in Israel, where the majority of the nation have sided with him, and only a remnant remains true to God. John tells us that one of the main features of the antichrist is that he denies both the Father and the Son, 1 John 2:22; 4:3. In other words, he totally rejects Christianity, with its emphasis on the revelation of the Father by the Son.
- He practises and prospers, for evil is having its final attempt to overthrow the things of God, verse 12. It will be said that “all the world wondered after the beast”, and no-one is able to make war with him, Revelation 13:3,4.
- He has a fierce countenance, for he will act with unimaginable cruelty, such is the nature of man, verse 23. It is no coincidence that he is likened to a wild beast, unmerciful and untamed. All the features of the bear, (relentless attack), the lion (fierce attack with strength), and the leopard, (swift decisive attack), will combine in him. In this he is like the one who empowers him, who is responsible for the misery and heartache experienced by men through the ages.
- Understanding dark sentences indicates that Satan gives him insight into the mysteries that have been hidden from the mass of men down the centuries. These secrets enable him to gain and keep hold of the minds of men.
- His power is mighty, but he owes it to another, for he will have succumbed to the temptation of the Devil, verse 24. He had offered the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them to Christ, if He would bow down to worship him. This the Lord refused to do, but this man will have done it, so that “the dragon gave him his power, his seat, and great authority, Revelation 13:2.
- He destroys wonderfully, for all the world shall wonder after the beast, such is the impressive nature of the things he is able to do by Satanic power. He shall prosper, but God is in control, allowing the Devil to overreach himself so that he may be finally and decisively defeated.
- He shall destroy the mighty and holy people, (literally “the people of the holy ones”, the ones spoken of in chapter 7:27), that part of the nation of Israel which refuses to renounce God. Such is the intensity of his onslaught against them that only a third pass through the fire to enter the kingdom age. Zechariah 13:9 had spoken of this, and it is interesting that Christ took a third of His apostles onto the Mount of Olives to tell them of these things, as recorded in Matthew 24. They represent the faithful remnant of Israel in that chapter, whereas in John 13-17 they represent the church.
- Through his policy he causes craft to prosper under his control, verse 25. Satan used the serpent in the Garden because it was more subtil or crafty than all other beasts of the field. Of course, before sin entered this simply meant that the serpent was crafty or skilful in the best sense. The devil used that characteristic to his own ends with the serpent at the beginning, and now is using it with the antichrist at the end.
- Magnifying of self is a feature of the devil, and the antichrist shares it. Pride is the condemnation of the devil, 1 Timothy 3:6, who sought in pride to be like the Most High, Isaiah 14:14. We learn that this pride on the part of the antichrist is the same, for he will magnify himself even above gods that are worshipped. Satan is using him to try to gain the goal he sought at the beginning when he tried to usurp the throne of God. He still has the five-point plan he had then, see Isaiah 14:13,14.
- By peace he destroys many, peace having the sense of “ease”, freedom from anxiety, freedom from stress. Those who worship him will be rewarded by him. They will be called “them that dwell upon the earth” in Revelation 13:8, who are content with earth, have no thought of heaven, and deny the existence of hell.
- He will be so bold as to stand up against Christ, the Prince over the angel-princes. He will no doubt attempt this by the devilish power Satan has given him. We little appreciate the power the Devil still wields, even though he is a defeated foe.
- He will be broken without any coming to “give him a hand”, in other words, utterly defeated. Such were the tremendous issues involved in this vision, and in particular the events concerning the little horn, that Daniel fainted, and was sick. He was astonished at what the vision indicated, but no-one understood the precise meaning of it.
Chapters 10-12 are one whole section, and present to us the final events at the end of the tribulation age. The time is the third year of Cyrus, king of Persia, (we should not be confused by 11:1, where Gabriel refers to his own action in the first year of Darius the Mede, probably in connection with the changeover from Babylonian to Medo-Persian rule, and the command to restore and build Jerusalem), and Daniel is mourning over something for three full weeks. At the end of this period he has a vision of a “certain man”, of very impressive appearance. At first glance, this person might be thought of as Christ, until we come to verse 13, where he was withstood by the prince of Persia for 21 days, and Michael the prince for Israel needed to come to his aid. Christ is not in view, then, for He is far superior to hostile angel princes. He identifies himself as being the one who had stood to strengthen Michael in the first year of Darius the Mede. This takes us back to Daniel 9:1, where Gabriel comes to Daniel as he prayed. So the personage of chapters 10-12 is Gabriel, the very one who came to Mary to announce the coming of Christ, and yet here he announces the coming of antichrist. No doubt he had stood up to strengthen Michael at the critical time of transition between the rule of the Babylonians and that of the Medo-Persians, and also at the time when Cyrus gave the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. The length of time Daniel was mourning was the same as the conflict in the heavenlies was going on. Does this show that Daniel was sensitive to the movements in heaven?
DANIEL IS SHOWN THE TRUTH
Gabriel undertakes to show Daniel the truth, this being some of the content of the scripture of truth spoken of in 10:21. God has a record of events before they take place, and it is from this record that Gabriel obtains his information. The details given to some degree overlap those of chapter 8, but go on to give further details about the end of the tribulation period and beyond. The four divisions of the Grecian empire give us the names King of the South and King of the North. It is the king of the north that is the focus of attention, for he is the same as the little horn of previous visions. Opinions differ as to where the past ends and the future begins. Some say at verse 5, others at verse 21, and still others at verse 36. Certainly the latter verse is as yet unfilled.
THE WILFUL KING
The verse begins rather abruptly if the matters foretold in the previous verses have come to pass. But if they are still to be fulfilled in their details, then the king mentioned is the King of the North that has been in view throughout the chapter. Alternatively, the abrupt mention of “the King” is against the background of the fact that the whole of the book of Daniel is about this one.
He does according to his will, which is the classic sign of one who is opposed to the will of God. The will of this man, even though it is his own, is in fact influenced by the devil himself, as he seeks to frustrate the will of God in relation to Christ and His eventual rule over the earth.
He shall exalt himself. We have come across this before, in 8:25, but there it was in his heart; this seems to be a further development, where the desire of his heart is being put into effect. In this he is the direct contrast to Christ who humbled Himself, even to the extent of obedience in death, and that the death on a cross, the most humbling death of all, for it was the death reserved for criminals.
We should not think, then, that the end-time ruler is simply another political figure. He must be much more than this if he is to counterfeit Christ. He must not only satisfy the political aspirations of people in terms of freedom from war, poverty and anxiety, (and this he will do), but also cater for the needs of the spirits of men. He must build “the city”, as well as “the tower”, the political and the religious, Genesis 11.
Man as made by God has a spirit-dimension. He is not just a collection of atoms. He is not complete without a response to God. Now that sin has come in, and man’s understanding has been darkened, Ephesians 4:18, he chooses to express that response in wrong directions. This takes many forms, but in the final analysis this waywardness is harnessed by the Devil to his own end. That end is the attracting of worship away from God and towards himself.
The last decades of the 19th century and the first of the 20th century were marked by a rise in atheism, with its logical outcomes of socialism and communism. From the middle of the 20th century, however, a change took place, a shift from an atheistic world-view to a pantheistic one. For atheism is essentially a negative attitude, and fails to fulfil the innermost longings of the human spirit, despite what its advocates may say.
Pantheism, with its belief that man, like everything else, is “god”, is an attractive way of filling the void that is left when Christianity is abandoned. Instead of believing in the existence of God who is separate from creation, the pantheist believes that “god” is everywhere, (including within himself), since all is “god”.
This, of course, is totally contrary to the teaching of the Bible; but one of the features of the New Age religion is its emphasis on intuition and experience rather than logic and reason. This leaves the mind open to illusion and fantasy, but also means that the minds of men are open to any suggestion that Satanic forces are prepared to instil into them.
Despite being a product of the imagination, pantheism has a very strong hold on men’s minds, since it replaces God with self, and removes the restrictions that the law of God places upon them.
This New Age religion is not new. It is but the re-emergence of the ancient philosophies of Hinduism, Buddhism and Eastern mysticism, and even further back, the mystery religions of the ancient world. This mix, combined with spiritism, theosophy and other occult systems, goes to make up the New Age religion, and professes to be able to bring in a new era of peace, plenty and harmony amongst men.
Clearly, this is a sinister movement, for the ultimate goal of it is to ensure that men realise they are God, and to bring in to the world the final great new world teacher, the new Age “Christ”, who is, in fact, Antichrist.
No wonder Daniel says that the personage he speaks of has understanding of dark sentences, for Satan will see to it that he is able to unfold to men the secrets that the ancient religions spoke of, and which, so they say, have been suppressed by those who worship the God of the Bible. Revelation 2:24 speaks of “the depths of Satan”.
So when we read in Daniel 11:37 that the wilful king does not regard any god, then we understand that all systems of religion that separate between god and worshipper, are to be shunned by him.
He does not regard the God of his fathers.Now this expression is used in the Old Testament of the worship by Israel of the true God. If this is so here, then it means that he is a Jew. We have already noted that the generals who divided up the Greek empire are called kings, even though they did not gain their authority through descent. It is significant that the original King of the North was ruler over territory that included the area to which the ten tribes of Israel were taken into captivity by the Assyrians. There are those who believe that the antichrist will emerge from the tribe of Dan, and this tribe was one of the ten-tribes of Israel taken to Assyria. If this is so, then we are confronted here by an apostate Jew; one, moreover, who sets himself up as a rival to Christ.
We also learn that he does not regard the desire of women.Some believe this refers to the fact that every godly Jewess longed to be the mother of the Messiah, so the desire of women is another way of saying “Messiah”. Alternatively, it may refer to the myth concerning Nimrod, his death and re-emergence as the child of the mother, the origin of the idea of The Mother and the Child. Perhaps this disdain for the “Mother and Child” concept is a reference to the overthrow of the scarlet woman, Babylon the Great who rides upon, (i.e. dominates), the beast in the beginning of his career, but who is overthrown by him towards the end. See Revelation 17. Nimrod was worshipped after his death, and this became the weeping for Tammuz that was especially engaged in by women. One of the abominations that Ezekiel saw being carried on in the temple at Jerusalem was just this weeping for Tammuz, Ezekiel 8:13,14. The antichrist will disdain this attention, however, because he will have renounced any sort of idolatry, (as the passage goes on to say, “nor regard any god”), in favour of the deification of self.
As a result, he will have magnified himself above all. This is how 2 Thessalonians 2:4 speaks of this same personage: “Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God”. This must be subsequent to the erection of the abomination of desolation in the Holy Place in the temple at Jerusalem, which signals the beginning of the Great Tribulation, the second half of Daniel’s 70th week, Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24:15,21.
We might ask how this achieves Satan’s goal, if it is a man that is elevated and worshipped on the earth, for Revelation 13:8 assures us that all unbelievers on the earth will worship the beast. The answer is found in verse 4 of Revelation 13, which states that men shall worship the dragon, or Satan. Daniel 11:38 confirms this, for it tells us the wilful king worships the god of forces. This must be Satan, for this is the price he demands if universal dominion is to be given to man. It is interesting that the Lord Jesus did not dispute the claim of the Devil to have the authority to give this dominion, Luke 4:6, which reads, “All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it”. As the prince of this world, John 14:30, the Devil still has immense power, even though he is a defeated foe.
It is significant that “The Force” is a favourite expression with New Agers, and signifies to them the all-pervasive influence of the energy in all things. In reality, this force is that of the Devil, and the antichrist worships him as such. Thus the age-old ambition of Satan will be realised, and the whole world, which wonders after the beast, is found to be worshipping Satan. He has realised the title of god of this age, as spoken of in 2 Corinthians 4:4. His glory will be short-lived, however, for the antichrist who worships him “shall come to his end, and none shall help him”, Daniel 11:45. And with his downfall comes the devil’s, for Revelation 19:20 tells of the fall of the antichrist and the false prophet, and then immediately after the Devil is bound for one thousand years, Revelation 20:21.
Thus Satan’s strategy shall be foiled, and the lie he told Adam, “Ye shall be as gods”, shall be exposed in all its wickedness, but not before a man has ruled the earth claiming to have achieved the full potential of what Satan promised.
We conclude with the words of 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12.
“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming: even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
SURVEY OF NEW TESTAMENT EVENTS
Birth of John the Baptist.
Birth of Jesus Christ.
Preaching and baptizing of John the Baptist.
Baptism of Christ.
Public ministry of Christ.
Christ presents Himself as King to Israel, when He rode into Jerusalem, John 12:15; Zechariah 9:9.
Death, burial and resurrection of Christ.
Ascension of Christ.
Descent of Holy Spirit on Day of Pentecost to form all believers into one body, 1 Corinthians 12:12,13; John 17:20-23.
Preaching of the gospel to the Jews, Acts 1-9.
Preaching of gospel to Jews and Gentiles, Acts 10 onwards.
On the day the Lord Jesus rode into Jerusalem and presented Himself to Israel as their King, until 7 years before His return to earth in the future, the progress of events specified in Daniel’s vision of 70 weeks, (= 490 years), is halted.
The present period is not the subject of Old Testament prophecy, being “hid in God”, see Ephesians 3:1-13.
The “Times of the Gentiles”, which began when the kingly tribe of Judah was taken into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar, will run its course until Christ comes as the “stone cut out without hands” to destroy Gentile rule in all its forms, Daniel 2; Luke 21:24.
The present age will conclude with the return of Christ to take His people of this church age to be with Himself in heaven, John 14:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:50-58. Often called “The Rapture”, because of the words “caught up” in 1 Thessalonians 4:17.
Start of the end-time judgements. The beginning of sorrows, Matthew 24:1-8.
Selection and sealing of 144,000 converted Jews to preach the gospel of the kingdom worldwide, Revelation 7:1-8. Many Gentiles saved as a result, Revelation 7:9-17.
Antichrist manifested, together with the False prophet, His herald, 2 Thessalonians 2:3,8; Revelation 13.
The city of Babylon becomes the centre of Antichrist’s rule, as the political, religious, and commercial centre of the world, Revelation 17, 18.
The majority of the Jewish nation accept the Antichrist as their messiah, John 5:43.
Seven years before Christ’s return to earth Antichrist makes a covenant with the majority of the nation of Israel, enabling them to carry on their sacrifices in the newly rebuilt temple at Jerusalem, Daniel 9:27.
After three and a half years he breaks this covenant and sets up an image of himself in the temple, the “Abomination of Desolation”, Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24:15.
The Great Tribulation, Matthew 24:21; Daniel 12:1; Revelation 7:14.
Believing Jewish remnant flee to safety, Matthew 24:16-22.
All nations gather together against Jerusalem to make war with “The Lamb”, Zechariah 14:1-3; Revelation 17:14; 19:19.
Christ returns to the Mount of Olives from whence He ascended, Acts 1:11; Zechariah 4-7; Revelation 19:11-21.
Antichrist and False Prophet cast into lake of Fire, Revelation 19:20.
Satan bound for a thousand years, Revelation 20:1-3.
Resurrection of the Just dead of Old Testament times and tribulation period, Revelation 11:17,18; 20:4-6.
Judgement of the living nations, Matthew 25:31-46.
One thousand years reign of Christ on earth, Revelation 20:4; 1 Corinthians 15:25; Daniel 2:44.
Final rebellion at end of thousand years, Revelation 20:7-10.
All unsaved dead raised, Revelation 20:12; John 5:29; Acts 10:42; 2 Timothy 4:1.
Satan banished to the Lake of Fire, Revelation 20:10.
Judgement of the Great White Throne, Revelation 20:11; Jude 6; John 5:22.
Every knee bows and every tongue confesses to the glory of God the Father, Philippians 2:10,11; Isaiah 45:23.
Unsaved banished to eternal judgement, Revelation 20:15; Jude 7; 2 Thessalonians 1:9.
All rule, authority and power has now been put down, and the last enemy, death, destroyed, 1 Corinthians 15:24-26.
Christ delivers up the kingdom to the Father, 1 Corinthians 15:24.
God now all in all, 1 Corinthians 15:28.
New heaven and new earth created, wherein dwelleth righteousness, Revelation 21:1; 2 Peter 3:13.