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Sunday 11th July 2010
The Kingdoms of This World
By Ann Herbert
If I was to ask us all here today where our focus needs to be on a day to day, moment by moment basis, we would probably all give an answer somewhere to the effect of; ?our eyes need to be heavenward and not on things of this world?; ?on the 7th Day - the Millennial Reign of Christ?; ?being found worthy at the Judgment seat of Christ?, the Kingdom to come etc.?
Today we are going to take a look at how prophecy shows us that the kingdoms of this world, the kingdoms of this age, will be destroyed and become that very Millennial Kingdom of Christ.
We are going to look at some of the dreams and visions within the Book of Daniel and how they give a complete picture of the period of time known as ?The Times of the Gentiles?. We are going to see how God uses imagery to portray details of the pertinent kingdoms within this period and then He repeats Himself in other visions and similarly with other prophets.
I have produced a chart that you may find helpful as we go along as it shows at a glance how some of Scripture reveals through imagery ?the kingdoms of this world?.
1) Lu 21:20 ? "But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near? 22 "For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled? 24 "And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
25 "And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; 26 "men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven will be shaken. 27 "Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 "Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near."
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2. The Times of the Gentiles began in 605 BC when Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem and took captive the inhabitants of Jerusalem - the first of 3 waves of captivity from the southern kingdom of Judah. Daniel was taken to Babylon in that first wave of the captivity at the age of 15 or 16. His life would span over 70 years in Babylon from the reign of Nebuchadnezzar to Cyrus the Persian king.
The Times of the Gentiles will last approximately 2600 years and as our scripture from Luke 21 shows, it will end with the Coming of the Son of Man in His Kingdom Power and Glory.
a) Re 11:15 Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!"
b) The Times of the Gentiles began in Babylon at that time and in that place because the final 2 tribes of Israel had been taken into captivity to Babylon, by the most powerful ruler of the known world at that time and because that was then the seat of Gentile world power. The Times of the Gentiles will also end in Babylon because that will be the seat of Gentile world power again under the final form of the Babylonian Kingdom lead by Anti-Christ and his 10 nation (or kingdom) confederacy. We will see this portrayed in Daniel chapter 7.
c) Interestingly Babylon is mentioned much earlier in Scripture in connection with Nimrod and the first mention of ?kingdom? in the Bible.
d) Ge 10:8 Cush begot Nimrod; he began to be a mighty one on the earth. 9 He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; therefore it is said, "Like Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD." 10 And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. 11 From that land he went to Assyria and built Nineveh, Rehoboth Ir, Calah, 12 and Resen between Nineveh and Calah (that is the principal city).
e) The northern 10 tribes of Israel had been taken into captivity by the Assyrian Empire over 100 years before Judah around 722 BC. And that Assyrian Empire was the pre-curser to the Babylonian Empire of Nebuchadnezzar and his descendants. And of course it was occupied and controlled from that same region of the Middle East. If you were to study Nimrod you would also see that he is a type of the Anti-Christ who scripture says will be an Assyrian.
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f) Mic 5:5.... When the Assyrian comes into our land, And when he treads in our palaces, Then we will raise against him Seven shepherds and eight princely men. 6 They shall waste with the sword the land of Assyria, And the land of Nimrod at its entrances; Thus He shall deliver us from the Assyrian, When he comes into our land And when he treads within our borders. (Map)
3. At the end of Daniel chapter 1 we find that Daniel and his 3 friends have been examined with regards to all matters of wisdom and understanding by King Nebuchadnezzar and found to be 10 times better than all the magicians and astrologers in his realm.
Then in chapter 2 Nebuchadnezzar has a very troubling dream and he calls for his magicians, astrologers, sorcerers and the Chaldeans to make known to him not only the dream but its interpretation. And if they cannot then he will have them cut into pieces and their houses made an ash heap.
a) 10 The Chaldeans answered the king, and said, "There is not a man on earth who can tell the king's matter; therefore no king, lord, or ruler has ever asked such things of any magician, astrologer, or Chaldean. 11 "It is a difficult thing that the king requests, and there is no other who can tell it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh." 12 For this reason the king was angry and very furious, and gave a command to destroy all the wise men of Babylon... 19 Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. So Daniel blessed the God of heaven. 20 Daniel answered and said: "Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, For wisdom and might are His. 21 And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding. 22 He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, And light dwells with Him. 23 "I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers; You have given me wisdom and might, And have now made known to me what we asked of You, For You have made known to us the king's demand."
b) So Daniel is brought before the king:
Da 2:27 ."The secret which the king has demanded, the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, and the soothsayers cannot declare to the king. 28 "But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream, and the visions of your head upon your bed, were these:
?31 ? "You, O king, were watching; and behold, a great image! This great image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome. 32 "This image's head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and
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thighs of bronze, 33 "its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. 34 "You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. 35 "Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. 36 "This is the dream. Now we will tell the interpretation of it before the king.
37 "You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory; 38 "and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all-you are this head of gold. 39 "But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth. 40 "And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others. 41 "Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter's clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay. 42 "And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile. 43 "As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay. 44 "And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. 45 "Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold-the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure."
4. Nebuchadnezzar?s dream and its interpretation in Daniel chapter 2 forms the foundation for much of what follows in the various dreams and visions recorded in the book of Daniel. If you look at the chart I have provided you will see down the left hand side 4 kingdoms as outlined in chapter 2 followed by Christ?s Kingdom, the stone cut out of the mountain, the one that will break in pieces and consume all the other kingdoms, at the bottom. (Explain chart)
5. In chapter 3 of Daniel we find Nebuchadnezzar building a huge image of gold which at the sound of the music all people are commanded to fall down and
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worship and if they will not then they will be cast into the midst of a burning, fiery furnace. We are probably all familiar with the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego who will not bow down and so end up in the furnace. I think it would be quite logical to assume that as a result of the dream given to him of the awesome image in chapter 2 that Nebuchadnezzar builds the golden image of himself who was typified by the head of gold that folks are to worship. You could say that the power and glory went to his head!
6. As a result, in chapter 4, because Nebuchadnezzar would not heed the warning given to him concerning a vision he had of a tree that was immensely strong and whose height reached to the heavens that was cut down typifying his power and authority reduced to nothing - this is what follows as Daniel gives him the interpretation:
a) Da 4:23 And inasmuch as the king saw a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, 'Chop down the tree and destroy it, but leave its stump and roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze in the tender grass of the field; let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let him graze with the beasts of the field, till seven times pass over him'; 24 this is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king: 25 They shall drive you from men, your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make you eat grass like oxen. They shall wet you with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses. 26 And inasmuch as they gave the command to leave the stump and roots of the tree, your kingdom shall be assured to you, after you come to know that Heaven rules. 27 Therefore, O king, let my advice be acceptable to you; break off your sins by being righteous, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor. Perhaps there may be a lengthening of your prosperity." 28 ? All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 At the end of the twelve months he was walking about the royal palace of Babylon.
30 The king spoke, saying, "Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?" 31 While the word was still in the king's mouth, a voice fell from heaven: "King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you!
b) Pr 16:18 ? Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.
19 ? Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, Than to divide the spoil with the proud.
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c) Nebuchadnezzar the most powerful man on the earth, because of his pride, is brought low and humbled in the most humiliating of ways:
d) Da 4:33 That very hour the word was fulfilled concerning Nebuchadnezzar; he was driven from men and ate grass like oxen; his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagles' feathers and his nails like birds' claws.
34 ? And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom is from generation to generation. (Card)
e) This section of scripture is very helpful in understanding how the present system of rulership from the heavens over the earth works. King Nebuchadnezzar had failed to recognize how the most High God rules in the kingdom of men; how the Most High God appoints and removes rulers; how his kingdom had been given to him by the Most High God for the Most High God?s purpose, which as we know was a means of punishing Israel for her sins and to bring her to repentance.
7) In Daniel chapter 7 during the reign of Belshazzar, a descendant of Nebuchadnezzar and the last of the Babylonian kings typified by the head of gold in chapter 2, Daniel himself has a dream or vision of his head whilst on his bed. This dream gives, through imagery, further details concerning the kingdom of this world based in Babylon, followed by their destruction at the hands of the Son of Man coming with the clouds of heaven.
a) Da 7:2 Daniel spoke, saying, "I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the Great Sea. 3 "And four great beasts came up from the sea, each different from the other. 4 "The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings. I watched till its wings were plucked off; and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand on two feet like a man, and a man's heart was given to it. 5 "And suddenly another beast, a second, like a bear. It was raised up on one side, and had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. And they said thus to it: 'Arise, devour much flesh!' 6 "After this I looked, and there was another, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird. The beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it. 7 "After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth; it was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. 8 "I was considering the horns, and there was another horn, a little one, coming up among
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them, before whom three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots. And there, in this horn, were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words. 9 ? "I watched till thrones were put in place, And the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, And the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, Its wheels a burning fire; 10 A fiery stream issued And came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, And the books were opened. 11 "I watched then because of the sound of the pompous words which the horn was speaking; I watched till the beast was slain, and its body destroyed and given to the burning flame. 12 "As for the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away, yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time. 13 "I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. 14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.
8. In the vision and its interpretation much detail is given about the 4 kingdoms based in Babylon however time does not permit us to go into great detail but maybe you would be inspired like I have been to do some independent study.
a) Da 7:17 'Those great beasts, which are four, are four kings which arise out of the earth.
b) Notice as you look at the imagery the 4 kingdoms are represented by 4 beasts or beastly animals, unlike the dream in chapter 2 which is of a great image. However the commentary on the dream by Daniel makes clear it is giving more details concerning those Babylonian based kingdoms from chap.2 as we will see. In fact we can go elsewhere in the Prophets to see the same beastly imagery used of the lion, the bear, the leopard and the terrible beast:
c) Ho 13:6 When they [talking of Israel] had pasture, they were filled; They were filled and their heart was exalted; Therefore they forgot Me. 7 "So I will be to them like a lion; Like a leopard by the road I will lurk; 8 I will meet them like a bear deprived of her cubs; I will tear open their rib cage, And there I will devour them like a lion. The wild beast shall tear them. 9 ? "O Israel, you are destroyed, But your help is from Me.
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d) Then again in Amos: Am 5:18 Woe to you who desire the day of the LORD! For what good is the day of the LORD to you? It will be darkness, and not light.
19 It will be as though a man fled from a lion, And a bear met him! Or as though he went into the house, Leaned his hand on the wall, And a serpent bit him!
20 Is not the day of the LORD darkness, and not light? Is it not very dark, with no brightness in it?
e) Then again in Rev.13:1-2: Re 13:1 ? Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. 2 Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority.
f) As we look at the chart and we see that the lion represents the Assyrian/Babylonian kingdom; the bear the Medo-Persian Babylonian kingdom; the leopard the Grecian Babylonian kingdom and the terrible beast the kingdom of Anti-Christ - the Assyrian whose reign will be from Babylon, how do we know that they represent these kingdoms?
We can know 2 ways why this is so:
(i) Historically the 1st kingdom was replaced by the Medes and then the Persians. And then that kingdom was removed and replaced by the Greek Alexander the Great and after his death by his 4 generals. Although he was from Macedonia Alexander also ruled from Babylon.
The next historical global power to arise was the Romans atleast 280 years after Alexander?s death. However Rome never did rule from Babylon but from Rome. It never conquered the Greco-Babylonian kingdom; that just faded from the scene. Rome cannot be the 4th beast or kingdom for those reasons just stated but also because the image in chapter 2 clearly shows it standing in Babylon, not Rome or elsewhere.
(ii) Secondly we can also know the identity of the 4 beasts who are 4 kings from further revelation given to Daniel in his vision in chapter 8 which clearly says who the last 3 kingdoms are that where/will be based in Babylon. See chapter 8 for reference.
Daniel actually lived through several changes of authority in Babylon from Nebuchadnezzar to Belshazzar to Darius the Mede to Cyrus the Persian king. He was an eye witness to much of that which God had shown him concerning the Times of the Gentiles. He was also able to prosper under those kings despite attempts by others to destroy him but due to his faithfulness God protected him and gave him great revelation and power.
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9. As we begin to wrap up let?s go back to Daniel chapter 7 where we see that particular emphasis is given to the 4th beast and to his future kingdom - the kingdom of Anti-Christ. (In fact the same is true in the vision given to Daniel 2 years later in chapter 8.)
a) Da 7:19 "Then I wished to know the truth about the fourth beast, which was different from all the others, exceedingly dreadful, with its teeth of iron and its nails of bronze, which devoured, broke in pieces, and trampled the residue with its feet; 20 "and the ten horns that were on its head, and the other horn which came up, before which three fell, namely, that horn which had eyes and a mouth which spoke pompous words, whose appearance was greater than his fellows. 21 "I was watching; and the same horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them, 22 "until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom. 23 "Thus he said: 'The fourth beast shall be A fourth kingdom on earth, Which shall be different from all other kingdoms, And shall devour the whole earth, Trample it and break it in pieces. 24 The ten horns are ten kings Who shall arise from this kingdom. And another shall rise after them; He shall be different from the first ones, And shall subdue three kings. 25 He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, Shall persecute the saints of the Most High, And shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand For a time and times and half a time. 26 'But the court shall be seated, And they shall take away his dominion, To consume and destroy it forever. 27 Then the kingdom and dominion, And the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, Shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And all dominions shall serve and obey Him.'
b) The kingdom of the 4th beast, that of Anti-Christ will have its center in Babylon - the 1st and last seat of Gentile World Power - it will be destroyed but not before he persecutes and kills the saints of the Most High God, Daniel?s people, during the last three and a half years of the Tribulation. And not before he is given the power, the throne and authority directly from Satan - the Dragon - as we saw earlier in Rev.13:1-2. Anti-Christ?s kingdom will be broken and crushed, not by human means or hands:
c) Da 8:24 His power [talking of Anti-Christ] shall be mighty, but not by his own power; He shall destroy fearfully, And shall prosper and thrive; He shall destroy the mighty, and also the holy people. 25 "Through his cunning He shall cause
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deceit to prosper under his rule; And he shall exalt himself in his heart. He shall destroy many in their prosperity. He shall even rise against the Prince of princes; But he shall be broken without human means.
d) Da 2:34 "You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. 35 "Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.
e) Of course we know that the stone cut without hands is Christ, the Chief Cornerstone and we know that the mountain that fills the whole earth is the Millennial Kingdom. Not only does He destroy the 4th Babylonian Kingdom under Anti-Christ but also the previous 3represented by the gold, silver and bronze. Christ will totally remove all signs of Gentile world power from the earth and from the heavens.
f) Jer 50:34 Their Redeemer is strong; The LORD of hosts is His name. He will thoroughly plead their case, That He may give rest to the land, And disquiet the inhabitants of Babylon?46 At the noise of the taking of Babylon The earth trembles, And the cry is heard among the nations.
g) Ps 2:1 ? Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, 3 "Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us." 4 He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision. 5 Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, And distress them in His deep displeasure: 6 "Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion." 7 ? "I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. 8 Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession. 9 You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter's vessel.'" 10 ? Now therefore, be wise, O kings; Be instructed, you judges of the earth. 11 Serve the LORD with fear, And rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, And you perish in the way, When His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.
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