Unless otherwise marked, all Scripture quotations are taken from the World English Bible (WEB), which is in the public domain. "World English Bible" is a trademark of Rainbow Missions, Inc.
Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publisher. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.
The "NIV" and "New International Version" trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by the International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.
Scripture quotations marked HCSB®, are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. HCSB® is a federally registered trademark of Holman Bible Publishers.
Scripture quotations marked (YLT) are taken from Young’s Literal Translation (1862 / 1898), which is in the public domain.
Daniel and Revelation
Daniel Chapters 1-6
All of the stories and visions in Daniel, which were dated by Daniel, occur near three specific dates or events. The first event is when Nebuchadnezzar conquered Judah, bringing the Jews to Babylon (605 BC). The second event is when Belshazzar received power (556 BC). The third event is when Babylon, under the rule of Belshazzar, was conquered by the Medes and the Persians (539 BC). The vision of The Four Great Beasts (Daniel 7) occurred just after the second event, at the beginning of Belshazzar's rule.
Chronologically, there was a big time gap between chapter 2 about Nebuchadnezzar's dream, and chapter 7 about the vision of the four great beasts.
NIV Daniel 7:1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream, and visions passed through his mind as he was lying on his bed. He wrote down the substance of his dream.
Daniel was given this vision 48 years after Nebuchadnezzar had the dream of the statue in chapter 2. Daniel has grown from a young man to an elderly man. Chapter 3, when Nebuchadnezzar set up the statue to be worshiped, happened sometime during the 48 years. Also chapter 4, when Nebuchadnezzar became a beast, is sometime during the 48 years. But these two chapters are not dated. After the 48 years, Daniel gets the vision of the four great beasts (Daniel 7), and then another important vision two years later (Daniel 8). Why does God pick this time to give Daniel these visions? This vision happened the very first year of the reign of Belshazzar, grand-son of Nebuchadnezzar. This is definitely not a coincidence considering there is a 48 year gap between the two dreams that are dated.
The book of Daniel is about the antichrist. It's also about Daniel living under the reign of antichrist types. Every vision and story in Daniel teaches us about the coming antichrist (or the coming two antichrists). Let's look at what each chapter progressively teaches us about the idea of the antichrist.
Chapter 2 is about the statue, which teaches us about the world government-kingdoms of the antichrists. These are world-government kingdoms which controlled the middle-eastern part of the world. (As we will see, this does not include Rome, which is in the west.) We collectively call these kingdoms Babylon, after the first of the series, the head of the statue. As a prophetic symbol, Babylon returns in the end times (Revelation 17-18) and rules over the middle-east and, from a religious perspective, the rest of the world.
Chapter 3 is about the statue that Nebuchadnezzar sets up for all the world to worship. We will learn that this is prophetic of end times when the second beast, the middle-east antichrist, will set up a statue for all the world to worship. I believe that this statue is the abomination that causes desolation. Chapter 3 is about the choice that has to be made between worshiping the antichrist of that time, the world ruler, and worshiping God. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were officials in the kingdom of Babylon, but they chose God over worshiping the antichrist.
Chapter 4 really defines for us the beast, with God literally turning Nebuchadnezzar into a beast for seven periods of time, until he acknowledged the authority of God over himself. The beast is an earthly ruler that will not acknowledge the authority of God. Chapter 4 also gives us the symbolism of the tree, which is symbolic of kingdoms. And we will learn about the two trees in the Garden of Eden. These two trees represent two kingdoms from which we must choose. So this also relates to the choice between worshiping God or worshiping Satan and the antichrist.
It's very important to look at this dating, and then to see the significance of each of these chapters. Starting with chapter 2, Daniel’s chapters progressively develop the idea of the antichrist.
By our definition of the antichrist, Nebuchadnezzar was not always an antichrist. He was turned into a beast, but then after the seven periods of time, he repented. Chapter 5 introduces us to Belshazzar by telling us about the end of his reign. As we will see, Belshazzar is the first real antichrist who did not repent. So he is a type for the end-times antichrist.
Daniel 5 is about the end of Belshazzar's rule. Daniel 6 happened after Belshazzar was dead. But Daniel 7 is a vision given to Daniel during the first year of Belshazzar's rule. These chapters are a bit out of chronological order. But actually the order does make since once you realize the significance. Belshazzar did not repent and that led to the fall of Babylon. "Mystery" Babylon returns in the middle-east at the time of the end. And the end-times antichrists do not repent. So the end times Babylon will also fall. Therefore, Belshazzar is very much a type for the end-times antichrist. More specifically, since Belshazzar is ruler of the middle-east, Belshazzar would be a type for the false prophet, which is the ruler of the one-world false religion, symbolically equated to Babylon.
Chapter 6 is about Daniel in the lion's den. Chapter 6 also relates to our choice between worshiping God or the antichrist. As we will see, every chapter of Daniel is something about the antichrist and our choice between the two trees of the Garden of Eden. We must choose the tree of life, even if that choice gets us thrown in the fiery furnace, or into a lion's den. We must choose the tree of life, even if that choice brings death. When we choose the tree of life even when faced with death, we will be resurrected and given life again.
The chapters are a bit out of chronological order because chapters 1 to 6 give us Daniel's personal history, which are stories that teach us about living under the rule of an antichrist. The vision of the statue in chapter 2 was a dream given to Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel interpreted the vision. As we will see, the meaning of the vision applies to the kingdoms that would follow Nebuchadnezzar's Babylon. They are not kingdoms that directly relate to Israel. Chapters 7 to 12, on the other hand, are visions given directly to Daniel. These visions directly relate to Israel. They get more prophetic about the end time events relating to the two end times antichrists. They are more complex, and Daniel has trouble understanding them.
Verse one of Daniel chapter one gives us the date when Nebuchadnezzar conquered Judah (605 BC). This date is also given in Jeremiah 25:1 and 46:2. From Jeremiah 25:1, we also see that it was also the first year of Nebuchadnezzar's rule in Babylon. If you compare these two verses, you will see that Daniel 1:1 indicates it's the third year of Jehoiakim's reign. But Jeremiah 25:1 indicates it's the fourth year of Jehoiakim. (Jehoiakim was king of Judah when Nebuchadnezzar conquered Judah.) This is not a mistake. The Jews dated the first year as the actual year a king gained power. The Babylonians dated the first year of a king starting with the next new-year's day. In other words, they counted the first full calendar year as the first year of a king. In any case, Daniel's story begins in 605 BC, when Nebuchadnezzar conquered Judah and brought the southern kingdom into captivity in Babylon.
The northern kingdom had already been conquered by the Assyrians in 701 BC. The northern kingdom never returned. They are considered to be the ten lost tribes of Israel. But the tribes of southern kingdom are the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. There were also some Levi there because they were the priestly tribe. They needed to be in Jerusalem at the temple. But only these three tribes went to Babylon. And only these three tribes returned.
Daniel 1:21 says that Daniel remained in Babylon until the first year of King Cyrus . This was 539 BC, when the Medes and the Persians conquered Babylon. Daniel was actually in Babylon a little longer. Daniel is just indicating that he was there during the entire time of the exile, during the entire seventy-year rule of Babylon over the people of Judah. The last vision recorded in Daniel (chapters 10-12) is dated as the third year of King Cyrus, 537 BC. Daniel was perhaps eighty-five or ninety years old by then. The seventy years of captivity was fulfilled in 537 BC, and the Jews were allowed to start returning to Jerusalem:
NIV Ezra 1:1-2 In the first year of Cyrus [539 BC] king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah, the LORD moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and to put it in writing: (2) This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: ‘The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah.
Daniel chapter 1 gives us good introduction to the character of Daniel himself. This is important because we can learn from the uncompromising character of Daniel and his friends while living under the reign of an antichrist.
Daniel 1:3-6 ESV Then the king commanded Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some of the people of Israel, both of the royal family and of the nobility, (4) youths without blemish, of good appearance and skillful in all wisdom , endowed with knowledge, understanding learning, and competent to stand in the king's palace, and to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans . (5) The king assigned them a daily portion of the food that the king ate, and of the wine that he drank. They were to be educated for three years, and at the end of that time they were to stand before the king. (6) Among these were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah of the tribe of Judah.
Take note of the fact that these were the best and the brightest of the youth of Israel. They were young and impressionable men. Given the horrible events of their captivity, and the fate of most of the Israelites, how many of today's youth, if they were faced with a similar situation, would not jump all over this opportunity without reservations? But Daniel and his friends turned down the best wine and food. It was more important that they stay true to God.
Daniel 1:7 ESV And the chief of the eunuchs gave them names: Daniel he called Belteshazzar, Hananiah he called Shadrach, Mishael he called Meshach, and Azariah he called Abednego.
There is a lot of significance to these name changes. Daniel means, "My Judge is El." It was changed to mean, "May Bel Protect Him." Hananiah means, "Jehovah is Gracious." It was changed to mean, "Illuminated by Shad" (sun god.) Meshach means, "Who is Like God." It was changed to mean, "Who is Like Shack" (love god). Azariah means, "Jehovah Helps Me." It was changed to mean, "Servant of Nego" (fire god). These young boys were being coerced into abandoning the God of Israel for the gods and the culture of Babylon.
Think about the culture of today's baby-boom generation. What sins do the youth of today face? What sins are being taught as not being sinful in our culture today? The four big ones are: (1) sex outside of marriage, (2) abortion, (3) homosexuality, and (4) the compromising of doctrine about the blood of Christ.
All past generations of almost every culture have known that sex outside of marriage is sinful. But this evil baby-boom generation denies this basic Biblical truth. Think back to old television shows such as the Dick Van Dyke Show. Dick Van Dyke played Rob Petrie. Mary Tyler Moore played his wife Laura Petrie. Even though they were a young married couple they were shown as sleeping in separate beds. Today it's hard to watch television without encountering the clear assumption that sex and marriage have nothing to do with one another. The Dick Van Dyke Show aired from October 3, 1961 until June 1, 1966. It's been less than fifty years, less than a generation, since that show was on. How many young people today would have Daniel's character of refusing to submit to the culture of this evil generation?
All past generations of almost every culture have known that abortion is sinful. Abortion is the murder of young children. But this evil baby-boom generation denies this basic Biblical truth. Roe vs. Wade was in 1973. It's been only forty years. How many people today still consider abortion to be murder? What is the difference between killing a child five minutes after birth vs. five minutes before birth? And if five minutes before birth is murder, then would wouldn't five weeks before birth also be murder? Or how about five months? Where do you draw the line before it's no longer murder? Liberals argue that the woman should have the right to do with her body what she wants. But when she becomes pregnant, there are two bodies involved. What about the rights of the child? Liberals argue that without legal abortion, women will use a coat hanger or seek the horrible-conditions of illegal abortions. But didn't this become a problem only after the free-sex movement of the sixties? How many young people today would have Daniel's character of refusing to submit to the culture of this evil generation?
All past generations of almost every culture have known that homosexuality is sinful. But this evil baby-boom generation denies this basic Biblical truth. Just a few short years ago, our culture understood that homosexuality is not God's design. But for the most part, God has been removed from our understanding of what is right and what is wrong. How many young people today would have Daniel's character of refusing to submit to the culture of this evil generation?
All the past Christian generations have known that the Islamic teaching about Christ not dying for our sins, and their teaching that Christ is not God, is an antichrist teaching. Today the world denies this. And some of the more liberal churches are beginning to deny this very basic Biblical truth for the sake of peace and to compromise with Muslims.
Daniel was trained all about interpreting visions and dreams using Babylonian methods. He became more knowledgeable about Babylonian methods than all the Babylonian magicians and enchanters. But Daniel remained faithful to God and was able to interpret visions and dreams by seeking wisdom from the Lord. We learn about Daniel to learn about God's true wisdom.
NIV Daniel 1:17-20 To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds. (18) At the end of the time set by the king to bring them in, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar. (19) The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s service. (20) In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.
Daniel and his friends were willing to give up their lives before compromising on their love and dedication to God. Daniel lived through the entire seventy years of captivity. This baby-boom generation must also stand firm to the end of a seventy to eighty year evil generation before Christ sets up his earthly kingdom.
We know that Daniel read Jeremiah's prophecies. So in all likelihood he also read Isaiah's prophecies. These prophecies should be considered as background material for interpreting Daniel.
The prophetic significance of the destruction of Babylon is important to understand for a proper understanding of the statue in Nebuchadnezzar's dream. The entire statue of Babylon is destroyed when the feet of the statue is struck by a Rock cut from the mountain, but not by human hands (Daniel 2:34-35, 2:45). This tells us about the complete destruction of Babylon in the end-times. We will also be relating some aspects of Daniel 9. All this is very important in not only interpreting Daniel 2, but also in understanding God's reasons behind these prophetic events.
Isaiah 13 (quoted below) is about the complete and absolute destruction of Babylon. The prophecy mentions the Medes as destroying Babylon. So it's partially fulfilled. But the Medes did not destroy all the people and leave the land completely desolate. And it was not God's wrath on the Day of the Lord. This prophecy in Isaiah was only partially fulfilled. Therefore, the destruction of Babylon by the Medes and the Persians is only a type for the final destruction and complete devastation of Babylon that is coming when Christ returns.
Don't miss the first verse which says this is a burden (oracle) concerning Babylon. Verse 8 says they will be in pain like a woman in labor. The woman in labor, or the birth pains of a woman, is a metaphor that is used throughout prophetic Scripture beginning with Isaiah 26:17-19. The metaphor is always a reference to the time of the resurrection. Also, you will probably recognize the words in verse 10. The sun is darkened and the moon will not give its light. The stars do not give their light. This was quoted by Jesus in Matthew 24:29, as happening "immediately after the great tribulation." It can also be found in the sixth seal of Revelation 6:12-13. These are signs that will be seen just prior to Christ's return. Also notice verse 11 which says, "I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity." This is the time of God's wrath on the Day of the Lord.
Verses 19-22 make it clear that this is unfulfilled prophecy. The destruction of Babylon "will be like when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah." It will not be inhabited after this destruction from generation to generation. "Wild animals of the desert will lie there, and their houses will be full of jackals." Today, ancient Babylon is no longer inhabited. But this did not occur because of war or sudden destruction. The inhabitants slowly vanished over time.
The only possible conclusion is that of an end-times "mystery" Babylon which will be completely destroyed when Christ returns. This does not mean the ancient city of Babylon will become inhabited again. It means there will be an end-times empire and a city that will strongly parallel ancient Babylon. And that empire will control the same area that ancient Babylon controlled. Ancient Babylon was the center of idol worship for the ancient world. Likewise, the end-times city, similar to Babylon, will be the center of the false religion promoted by the false prophet.
Ancient Babylon was the center of idol worship in the ancient world. So "mystery" Babylon will be all about the false religion of Islam. The ruler of "mystery" Babylon will be the false prophet. The Mahdi of the Islamic Caliphate is both the religious leader for all of Islam, as well as the government leader.
Isaiah 13:1-22 The burden of Babylon, which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw: (2) Set up a banner on the bare mountain! Lift up your voice to them! Wave your hand, that they may go into the gates of the nobles. (3) I have commanded my consecrated ones; yes, I have called my mighty men for my anger, even my proudly exulting ones. (4) The noise of a multitude is in the mountains, as of a great people; the noise of an uproar of the kingdoms of the nations gathered together! Yahweh of Armies is mustering the army for the battle. (5) They come from a far country, from the uttermost part of heaven, even Yahweh, and the weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole land. (6) Wail; for the day of Yahweh is at hand! It will come as destruction from the Almighty. (7) Therefore all hands will be feeble, and everyone's heart will melt. (8) They will be dismayed. Pangs and sorrows will seize them. They will be in pain like a woman in labor. They will look in amazement one at another. Their faces will be faces of flame. (9) Behold, the day of Yahweh comes, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger; to make the land a desolation , and to destroy its sinners out of it. (10) For the stars of the sky and its constellations will not give their light. The sun will be darkened in its going forth, and the moon will not cause its light to shine. (11) I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity . I will cause the arrogance of the proud to cease, and will humble the haughtiness of the terrible. (12) I will make people more rare than fine gold, even a person than the pure gold of Ophir. (13) Therefore I will make the heavens tremble, and the earth will be shaken out of its place in the wrath of Yahweh of Armies, and in the day of his fierce anger. (14) It will happen that like a a hunted gazelle, and like sheep that no one gathers, they will each turn to their own people, and will each flee to their own land. (15) Everyone who is found will be thrust through. Everyone who is captured will fall by the sword. (16) Their infants also will be dashed in pieces before their eyes. Their houses will be ransacked, and their wives raped. (17) Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, who will not value silver, and as for gold, they will not delight in it. (18) Their bows will dash the young men in pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb. Their eyes will not spare children. (19) Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldeans' pride, will be like when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. (20) It will never be inhabited, neither will it be lived in from generation to generation. The Arabian will not pitch a tent there, neither will shepherds make their flocks lie down there. (21) But wild animals of the desert will lie there, and their houses will be full of jackals . Ostriches will dwell there, and wild goats will frolic there. (22) Wolves will cry in their castles, and jackals in the pleasant palaces. Her time is near to come, and her days will not be prolonged.
Another very important prophecy to understand is Jeremiah 25 (quoted below). Notice verse 4, which says, "you have not listened, nor inclined your ear to hear." No doubt Jesus was picking up on this, and other verses like this, when he constantly told the Pharisees and teachers of the Law that they don't have eyes to see or ears to hear. Eyes to see but not seeing and ears to hear but not hearing is always about seeing and hearing the clear evidence of God but hardening one's heart against it. Israel hardened their hearts to the prophets and would not repent of their sins. So they were scattered to Babylon.
Verse 11 says the whole land will be a desolation. Jerusalem became desolate after it was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. The people of Israel had to serve the king of Babylon for seventy years. When the seventy years were completed, according to verse 12, the land of Babylon should have been completely destroyed and become desolate as Jerusalem had become desolate. The king of Babylon was certainly punished. Babylon was conquered by the Medes and the Persians. And king Belshazzar was killed. But the people of Babylon lived on under a new ruler. Babylon was not made desolate. Daniel himself was one of those who not only lived on. He lived to serve the new rulers. Did this prophecy fail?
As you can surmise from Isaiah 13, the complete destruction of Babylon will not occur until the end-times and the return of Christ. But how does that make the prophecy of Jeremiah be accurate?
Jeremiah 25:12 NIV "But when the seventy years are fulfilled, I will punish the king of Babylon and his nation, the land of the Babylonians, for their guilt," declares the LORD, "and will make it desolate forever.
The king of Babylon was punished right after the seventy years. But the land of Babylon was not made desolate. The verse says the people (nation) of Babylon will be punished because of their guilt. The NIV translates the word as "guilt." But most other translations use the word "iniquity." The Hebrew word can mean either "guilt" or "iniquity." The word "guilt" might imply punishment specifically for bringing Israel into captivity. And there is some truth to that. But I think the punishment being spoken of, that of making Babylon a desolate land, is more specifically because of the sins (iniquity) of the people. Israel was scattered to Babylon because of their sins. Could God rightly make the land of Babylon desolate for Babylon's sins if Israel is still sinning after the seventy years? There will be more about this after we read the chapter:
Jeremiah 25:1-38 The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah (the same was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon), (2) which Jeremiah the prophet spoke to all the people of Judah, and to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying: (3) From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, even to this day, these twenty-three years, the word of Yahweh has come to me, and I have spoken to you, rising up early and speaking; but you have not listened. (4) Yahweh has sent to you all his servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them (but you have not listened, nor inclined your ear to hear) (5) saying, Return now everyone from his evil way, and from the evil of your doings, and dwell in the land that Yahweh has given to you and to your fathers, from of old and even forevermore; (6) and don't go after other godsto serve them or worship them, and don't provoke me to anger with the work of your hands; and I will do you no harm. (7) Yet you have not listened to me, says Yahweh; that you may provoke me to anger with the work of your hands to your own hurt. (8) Therefore thus says Yahweh of Armies: Because you have not heard my words, (9) behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, says Yahweh, and I will send to Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against its inhabitants, and against all these nations around; and I will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and a hissing, and perpetual desolations . (10) Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones, and the light of the lamp. (11) This whole land shall be a desolation , and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. (12) It shall happen, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, says Yahweh, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans; and I will make it desolate forever. (13) I will bring on that land all my words which I have pronounced against it, even all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah has prophesied against all the nations. (14) For many nations and great kings shall make bondservants of them, even of them; and I will recompense them according to their deeds, and according to the work of their hands. (15) For thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel, to me: take this cup of the wine of wrath at my hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send you, to drink it. (16) They shall drink, and reel back and forth, and be mad, because of the sword that I will send among them. (17) Then took I the cup at Yahweh's hand, and made all the nations to drink, to whom Yahweh had sent me: (18) to wit , Jerusalem, and the cities of Judah, and its kings, and its princes, to make them a desolation, an astonishment, a hissing, and a curse, as it is this day; (19) Pharaoh king of Egypt, and his servants, and his princes, and all his people; (20) and all the mixed people, and all the kings of the land of the Uz, and all the kings of the Philistines, and Ashkelon, and Gaza, and Ekron, and the remnant of Ashdod; (21) Edom, and Moab, and the children of Ammon; (22) and all the kings of Tyre, and all the kings of Sidon, and the kings of the isle which is beyond the sea; (23) Dedan, and Tema, and Buz, and all who have the corners of their hair cut off; (24) and all the kings of Arabia, and all the kings of the mixed people who dwell in the wilderness; (25) and all the kings of Zimri, and all the kings of Elam, and all the kings of the Medes; (26) and all the kings of the north, far and near, one with another; and all the kingdoms of the world, which are on the surface of the earth: and the king of Sheshach shall drink after them. (27) You shall tell them, Thus says Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel: Drink you, and be drunken, and spew, and fall, and rise no more, because of the sword which I will send among you . (28) It shall be, if they refuse to take the cup at your hand to drink, then you shall tell them, Thus says Yahweh of Armies: You shall surely drink. (29) For, behold, I begin to work evil at the city which is called by my name; and should you be utterly unpunished?You shall not be unpunished; for I will call for a sword on all the inhabitants of the earth, says Yahweh of Armies . (30) Therefore prophesy you against them all these words, and tell them, Yahweh will roar from on high, and utter his voice from his holy habitation; he will mightily roar against his fold; he will give a shout, as those who tread the grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth. (31) A noise shall come even to the end of the earth; for Yahweh has a controversy with the nations; he will enter into judgment with all flesh: as for the wicked, he will give them to the sword, says Yahweh. (32) Thus says Yahweh of Armies, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great storm shall be raised up from the uttermost parts of the earth. (33) The slain of Yahweh shall be at that day from one end of the earth even to the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung on the surface of the ground. (34) Wail, you shepherds, and cry; and wallow in ashes, you principal of the flock; for the days of your slaughter and of your dispersions are fully come, and you shall fall like a goodly vessel. (35) The shepherds shall have no way to flee, nor the principal of the flock to escape. (36) A voice of the cry of the shepherds, and the wailing of the principal of the flock! for Yahweh lays waste their pasture. (37) The peaceable folds are brought to silence because of the fierce anger of Yahweh. (38) He has left his covert, as the lion; for their land is become an astonishment because of the fierceness of the oppressing sword , and because of his fierce anger.
Again, could God rightly make the land of Babylon desolate for Babylon's sins if Israel is still sinning after the seventy years? To understand better, we must look to Daniel 9. Daniel 9 begins with a prayer. This prophecy of Jeremiah 25:12 was referenced by Daniel as the reason for his prayer. At the time of his prayer, he understood that the seventy years had been completed. Daniel also understood that Israel had been brought in captivity to Babylon because of Israel's sins. So Daniel prayed for the forgiveness of Israel's sins and for the desolation of Jerusalem to come to an end.
God's answer to Daniel's prayer is the vision of seventy weeks. There is an obvious tie between the seventy years of captivity in Babylon and the seventy weeks of years for Jerusalem to not be desolate. The seventy weeks begins with this decree. Popular interpretations of Daniel 9 use either the decree of Ezra 7 or the decree of Nehemiah 2 as the "decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem." But I prefer to use the decree of Cyrus, given in Ezra 1. This decree happened the very year that Cyrus conquered Babylon. So this decree was made in the very same year that Daniel prayed for it to happen. No doubt Daniel interpreted this decree as the answer to his prayer. The decree was right after the seventy years had been completed. Thus, the seventy weeks of years began right when the seventy years were finished. Also, at the end of the seventy weeks of years, the Messiah comes. Israel is given seventy weeks of years to stop sinning before the Messiah comes.
Daniel 9:24-25a NIV " Seventy 'sevens' are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy. (25) "Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven 'sevens,' and sixty-two 'sevens.'
There is one more very important piece of the puzzle that must be understood. What is the purpose of Israel? Israel itself is a prophecy. Israel is a promise (prophecy) given to Abraham. God's covenant with Abraham promised that Abraham would have many descendants. God's covenant also promises that Abraham's descendants will own much of the land of the middle-east. Land plus a very large number of descendants equals a nation. In this case, it's a "holy nation." The borders of this land are much wider than the borders of Israel today, even with the so-called "occupied territories."
Exodus 19:3-6 NIV Then Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain and said, "This is what you are to say to the house of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: (4) "You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. (5) Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, (6) you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites ."
This promise of Abraham is not only for the Jews. The Gentile Church is grafted into the olive tree of Israel. The olive tree must be Israel because the hardened Jews who were broken off were excluded from Israel. Jewish Israel will be unhardened when the full number of Gentiles have come into the olive tree of Israel (Rom. 11:25). So the Gentile Church is a part of Israel and will also inherit the literal millennial promises to Abraham (Gal 3:29). Here, Peter quotes Exodus 19:6 (quoted above). By using a promise for Israel and applying it to the Gentile Church, Peter is making the Gentile Church be co-heirs to the promise of Abraham.
1 Peter 2:9-10 NIV But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (10) Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
But there is one other important prophecy that must be fulfilled before the promise of Israel can be truly fulfilled. A holy nation needs to have a holy King. The Messiah must return to rule over Israel. And we, being Israel, will rule over the nations as priests and kings with Christ (Rev. 1:6, 2:26-27, 5:10) in the age to come. But only those who overcome sin will reign with Christ according to Revelation 2:26-27. Israel, both Jew and Gentile, must completely overcome all sinful habits before we can reign with Christ.
Revelation 2:26-27 NIV To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations— (27) "He will rule them with an iron scepter; he will dash them to pieces like pottery'— just as I have received authority from my Father.
So let's put it all together. Jerusalem was made desolate and Israel was scattered to Babylon for seventy years, because of Israel's sins. All the people of Israel must stop sinning before the full extent of Abraham's promise can be fulfilled. If a holy nation is to rule the world along with God, everyone in the holy nation must first completely overcome all their sinful habits.
But Israel did not stop sinning during these seventy years. If they had stopped sinning, the Messiah could have come and rescued Israel from Babylon. God would have then punished ancient Babylon for her sins, making the land desolate. Then the kingdom of heaven could have been established here on earth. The meek would have inherited the earth at that time. But Israel did not stop sinning while in captivity at Babylon.
So God gave Israel another seventy weeks of years to stop sinning. During this time, Jerusalem would not be desolate. The Messiah will come after the seventy weeks of years are completed.
Daniel 9:24-25a NIV " Seventy 'sevens' are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy.
The Messiah came at his birth after the sixty-two weeks. After growing up, of course, Christ was crucified. Christ's crucifixion paid the penalty for our sins. But we, as Israel, must still stop sinning before Christ can set up his kingdom here on the earth.
Daniel 9:26 NIV After the sixty-two 'sevens,'the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing . The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.
If the people of Israel had stopped sinning and had accepted the Messiah, then Christ could have set up his kingdom eight weeks of years (56 years) from his birth. But they did not repent. So Jerusalem became desolate again in 70 AD and the Jews were scattered to the nations.
Matthew 23:33-39 NIV "You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? (34) Therefore I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. (35) And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. (36) I tell you the truth, all this will come upon this generation. (37) "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. (38) Look, your house is left to you desolate. (39) For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'"
Luke 21:20-24 NIV "When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. (21) Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. (22) For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. (23) How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. (24) They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
After almost two thousand years, in 1967, Jerusalem was no longer trampled on by the Gentiles. So we should have seven more weeks of years until the Messiah comes. But the antichrist will come at the same time. The Gentile Church has been grafted into Israel. And the Jewish portion of Israel will be unhardened after the full number of Gentiles have come into the olive tree of Israel. However, most of the Church today is still not ready for Christ to return. Most of the Church today have not stop sinning. I think 144,000, a relatively few in number, will be ready when Christ returns. The rest of Israel must go through the Great Tribulation. And "he who endures to the end will be saved" (Matthew 10:22, 24:13, Mark 13:13).
The New Jerusalem will appear in the sky when Christ returns. (This is the "heavenly Jerusalem" of Hebrews 11:10, 11:16, 12:22, and 13:14.) But as usual, most of Israel will not be ready to rule with Christ. So Christ will delay setting up his earthly kingdom for seven more years. He will confirm a covenant for one more week after he appears, after the seventy weeks are over. And the antichrist will be revealed at the same time. The Church will go through the great tribulation. Even the great tribulation works for the good of those who love God. It's great tribulation (persecution) for the Church. It's not tribulation for the world. This great persecution will cause the Church to get holy. The Bride will overcome all her sinful habits and we will be made ready to reign with Christ over the nations.
Revelation 11:1-2 NIV I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, "Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, and count the worshipers there. (2) But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months.
During the great tribulation, Jerusalem will again be trampled upon by the Gentiles for 42 months. In order for Jerusalem to be trampled upon 42 months, it would not be trampled upon in the months prior. So again, Jerusalem has not been trampled upon since 1967. But it will be trampled upon during the tribulation.
So finally, after the great tribulation, Israel will be ready for the Messiah to punish the wicked and to set up his kingdom. Then, and only then, will God judge Babylon for her iniquities and make the land of Babylon desolate.
Revelation 14:8 Another, a second angel, followed, saying, "Babylon the great has fallen, which has made all the nations to drink of the wine of the wrath of her sexual immorality ."
Revelation 16:19 The great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. Babylon the great was remembered in the sight of God, to give to her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.
Revelation 18:19 They cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and mourning, saying, 'Woe, woe, the great city, in which all who had their ships in the sea were made rich by reason of her great wealth!' For in one hour is she made desolate.
Before proceeding, you might want to read two and a half more chapters in Jeremiah. You can read Jeremiah 50 through 51:13. These chapters talk about the sudden destruction of Babylon that has not yet been fulfilled. As you read these chapters, think about what Revelation says about the fall of Babylon. Here above are three verses from Revelation. Revelation chapters 17 and 18 are about Babylon.
There will be an end-times world religion and a city that will strongly parallel ancient Babylon. That empire will control the same land that ancient Babylon controlled. Ancient Babylon was the center of idol worship for the ancient world. Likewise, the end-times city, similar to Babylon, will be the center of the false religion promoted by the end-times false-prophet antichrist.
Nebuchadnezzar conquered Israel in 605 BC. Nebuchadnezzar was a king of kings (Daniel 2:37). He was the king of Babylon. His kingdom ruled over many nations. Basically, Nebuchadnezzar was ruler of a world government. He ruled over the world that he knew. But he did not rule over Europe. Nebuchadnezzar had a dream from God. This dream was about all the world governments that would follow in his part of the world. In other words, he had a dream about the (middle-east) world governments that would come after his (middle-east) world government. But Nebuchadnezzar didn't understand the dream.
Nebuchadnezzar ordered his wise men to tell him the dream, as well as interpret the dream. This was to insure that he was not tricked and given a false interpretation. The wise men could not tell Nebuchadnezzar his dream, so Nebuchadnezzar ordered that all the wise men be put to death. Daniel was one of the wise men, but not present at first. When he found out about his death sentence, he told Nebuchadnezzar that he could reveal the dream. Daniel and his friends prayed, and that night God revealed to Daniel the dream and the interpretation. The next day Daniel tells Nebuchadnezzar his dream and its interpretation.
The head of gold is the Babylonian empire. After the Babylonian empire, another kingdom would arise. This kingdom is represented by the chest and arms of silver. Most biblical historians agree that the chest and arms of silver is the Medo-Persian Empire. This empire conquered the Babylonian empire in 539 BC. (The fall of Babylon was 65 years after king Nebuchadnezzar's dream.) The belly and thighs of bronze is considered to be the Greek empire, which was founded by Alexander the Great in 330 BC.
The legs of iron have traditionally been interpreted to be the Roman Empire. But here is where I have learned from Joel Richardson that we must question that traditional view. Rome did not actually rule over the region of Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom. We can say that Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom was the middle-east. Rome controlled primarily in Europe, as well as northern part of Africa, around the Mediterranean Sea. Rome did not control most of the middle-east.
The next major empire that controlled the entire middle-east was the Islamic Caliphate, which later became the Ottoman Empire. The legs of iron is the Islamic Caliphate. Under this interpretive view, the feet of the statue are seen as a revived Islamic Caliphate instead of a revived Roman Empire. Thus, the antichrist will be the Islamic Mahdi from a revived Islamic Caliphate. We seem to be seeing the start this revived Islamic Caliphate in the Arab Spring that is happening today.
The biggest champion of this view is Joel Richardson. Richardson has written two books that are a must-read for any student of Bible prophecy. Joel's teaching has really filled in the blanks for all the areas of Bible prophecy Scripture that I had been unsure about. I have attended three of his seminars, bought his DVDs, and I own autographed copies of both his books. I have met and spoken with Richardson during three of his seminars. I find him to be a humble and honest man who is quick to recognize that he might not have all the answers. And I have no doubt that Joel is in the center of doing the works the Father prepared beforehand for him to do (Eph 2:10).
Richardson's first book is titled The Islamic Antichrist. The book became a New York Times bestseller. This book compares Islamic eschatology with Christian Biblical eschatology. It's amazing how the two line up almost perfectly, with their good guy being our bad-guy antichrist. The second book is titled, Mideast Beast. This book is sub-titled, "The Scriptural Case for an Islamic Antichrist." There is overwhelming Scriptural support for the antichrist coming from the region of Turkey or Syria. (And not from a revived Roman Empire.) And there is overwhelming Scriptural evidence that Islam is the religion behind the enemies of the Jews of Israel and of the true followers of Christ during the great tribulation (And you can forget about a pre-tribulation rapture.)
Do the regions of the world really matter with regard to identifying the kingdoms? Consider these verses:
Daniel 2:29 ESV To you, O king, as you lay in bed came thoughts of what would be after this, and he who reveals mysteries made known to you what is to be.
Daniel 2:37-39 ESV You, O king, the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom , the power, and the might, and the glory, (38) and into whose hand he has given, wherever they dwell, the children of man, the beasts of the field, and the birds of the heavens, making you rule over them all--you are the head of gold. (39) Another kingdom inferior to you shall arise after you, and yet a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth.
Did Nebuchadnezzar rule over all the entire world? He did not rule over the land that later became Rome. He did not rule over Europe. The Babylonian Empire is represented by the head of gold. To the north-west it only extended about half way into today's Turkey. To the east it covered only a small portion of modern-day Iran. To the south, it covered some of Saudi Arabia, as far south as Mecca.
The Medo-Persian Empire is represented by the chest and arms of silver. It covered a whole lot more of the middle-east. To the north-west it covered all of Turkey and most of Bulgaria, which borders Turkey to the north. To the east, it covered all of Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and some of Kazakhstan. But to the south, it did not cover any of Saudi Arabia.
The Alexandrian Greek Empire is represented by the middle and thighs of bronze. It covered a very similar region of the middle-east. To the north-east, it covered slightly more than that of the Medo-Persian Empire. To the east it covered slightly less. But for all practical purposes, both empires covered the about same area of the middle-east as Nebuchadnezzar had ruled. These two empires barely touched Europe, which is to the north-east of Babylon.
The Roman Empire covered most of Europe along the Mediterranean Sea. Along the east coast, it covered the area of modern-day Israel. But it did not cover very far inland along that coast. In other words, the Roman Empire was simply not in the middle-east. It was not at all in the same area of the world as the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, and Alexandrian Greek Empires. The Roman Empire covered the West, not the Middle-East.
The Islamic Caliphate, on the other hand, included all the territory of the previous three kingdoms, plus more. To the north-east, it covered all of Bulgaria, Romania, and almost half of Ukraine. To the east it covered an area similar to that of the Alexandrian Greek Empire. In Africa, it covered Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia. To the south it covered all of Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Oman.
The pattern is clear. Verse 39 (quoted above) says, the "third kingdom [is] of bronze, [and it] shall rule over all the earth." All the earth (land), from Nebuchadnezzar's perspective was the middle-east. The succeeding kingdoms grew in size. But they were all geographically centered on ancient Babylon. The Islamic Caliphate was even bigger. It also geographically centered on ancient Babylon. The Roman Empire, for the most part, was completely outside the territories of the first three.
Daniel 2:40 NIV Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron—for iron breaks and smashes everything —and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others.
How is it that the fourth kingdom breaks and crushes the Babylonian Empire, the Medo-Persian Empire, and the Alexandrian Greek Empire? Would not the Babylonian Empire have long since vanished? The same is true for the Medo-Persian Empire. These empires have vanished, but the descendants of the same people in the same territories remain. When a new empire appears, it might or might not crush the people of the conquered nations and their religious cultures.
This would prevent Rome from being the fourth empire. Rome did not crush the religious cultures of the nations they conquered. Plus, they could not have crushed the descendants of the previous three empires because Rome ruled over a completely different region of the world. Also, more than any of the three previous empires, Rome was known for its tolerance of pre-existing cultures. Rome even adopted for themselves much of the Greek religion and culture from the Alexandrian Greek Empire. The effort to spread Greek culture in the conquered nations continued from the Alexandrian Greek Empires into the Roman Empire. Greek, and not Latin, continued to be the international language. For the Jews, this was known as the Hellenistic influence. So it would be impossible to say that the Roman Empire crushed the religions and cultures of the previous three empires.
The Islamic Caliphate, on the other hand, completely crushed and broke the people, their religions, and the cultures of all the nations that it conquered. Many, if not most, were forced to convert to Islam or be killed. Those who were allowed to live without converting were required to pay a tax. This tax served to effectively enslave those who would not convert. Eventually, most people would convert to avoid paying the tax. When the tax money ran out, they would move on to conquer another nation. So the iron that crushes is not the Roman Empire. It's the heavy iron fist of Islam. With that in mind, consider the next few verses:
Daniel 2:40-43 NIV Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron—for iron breaks and smashes everything— and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others . (41) Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay. (42) As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. (43) And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united , any more than iron mixes with clay.
When the fourth kingdom is interpreted as Rome, theologians tended to view the feet of iron and clay as the revived Roman Empire. According to verse 41, the people are divided. There was a tendency to say the divided kingdom was represented by the two legs, and was fulfilled by the eastern and western Roman Empires. Joel Richardson argues against this by pointing out that the eastern and western parts of the Roman Empire coexisted for only 140 years.
There is another problem with the traditional view. Theologians have said the two legs represent a division of the Roman Empire. Then do the two arms represent a division in the Medo-Persian Empire? One could argue that one arm is the Medo Empire and the other is the Persians. But then what would the chest represent? In my opinion, we should only conclude there is a division in the empire based on the text. We must stick with interpretation given to Daniel. The text only attributes the division of the people to the fact that iron does not mix with clay. Is one leg iron and the other leg clay? Therefore, in my opinion, the two legs do not represent a division.
Today, we would consider the actions of Muhammad and his followers to be radical Islam. So iron represents radical Islam. But over time, Muslims developed a more moderate view of Islam. During the 19th and 20th centuries, a more moderate, or even liberal, Islam developed that does not crush and break people of other faiths. Moderate Islam would be more like clay than iron.
The description of the statue itself mentions the clay only in the feet and toes. But the text would seem to elaborate and say the division of iron and clay exists throughout the fourth kingdom. Verse 40 mentions a "fourth kingdom." Then, in that immediate context, both verses 41 and 42 speaks of "this kingdom." In both verses, "this kingdom" includes both iron and clay. Early on, the Islamic Caliphate would have been primarily the iron of radical Islam. But over time, Muslims became more and more divided between the iron of radical Islam and the clay of moderate Islam. As a matter of fact, verse 41 says the clay is potter's clay or baked clay. A clay pot is easily broken by iron. This is exactly what verse 40 says. The fourth kingdom breaks and subdues other nations and people-groups as it expands.
Some people have suggested that that the division of two legs is the division of Islam between Sunni and the Shia. The problem with this view is in determining which is the iron and which the clay. Both Sunni and Shia have crushed like iron.
Many people equate the ten toes with the ten horns of Daniel 7. With this, I respectfully disagree. I have pointed out the problems of assigning meaning to the two legs as a geographical division of the Roman Empire. We must be cautious about assigning meaning to the physical properties of a human statue that are not explicitly brought out in the text. Likewise, we should not assume the ten toes mean ten kingdoms. The number "ten" is not in the text. The text does not put significance to the fact that there would be ten toes. The text simply includes the toes as part of the feet. The feet and the toes are made of iron and clay.
Why do I so strongly disassociate the statue of Daniel 2 from the four beasts of Daniel 7? Traditionally, the four kingdoms of the statue have been equated with the four beasts of Daniel 7. In seeing that the fourth kingdom of the statue is the Islamic Caliphate, and working under the assumption that both Daniel 2 and Daniel 7 are talking about the same empires, one would simply assume the fourth beast of Daniel 7 is also the Islamic Caliphate. Thus, working under that traditional assumption, one would naturally equate ten toes of the statue with the ten horns of Daniel 7. But again, the text of Daniel 2 does not have the number "ten."
My view of Daniel 7 is that the first three beasts are modern-day nations and the fourth beast is the United Nations. So Daniel 7 is more about a one-world government system that forms in the end-time generation of today. Daniel 2, on the other hand, is about ancient Babylon leading up to mystery Babylon, and is more middle-east centric. To put it another way: Daniel 7 is more about the antichrist who will be the global ruler. Daniel 2 is more about the antichrist who will be the regional ruler also known as the Mahdi and the false prophet.
There is one other aspect of verse 43 that needs to be discussed. The people are divided, as iron does not mix with clay. But verse 43 says they are mixed, but do not remain united. This has been confusing for many translators because they could not see how this fits with the Roman Empire. The KJV is very literal with this verse and says "they will mingle themselves with the seed of men." The ESV interprets that as marriage. It says, "They will mix with one another in marriage." The NIV eliminates the apparent sex or marriage and just says "the people will be a mixture." Did the east and the west of the Roman Empire mix, but not remain united? Did people from the east marry people from the west, but not stay married? The assumption that the legs and feet represent the Roman Empire is probably why the NIV seemed to have hidden this critical aspect of the verse.
Daniel 2:43 KJV And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.
Daniel 2:43 YLT Because thou hast seen iron mixed with miry clay, they are mixing themselves with the seed of men: and they are not adhering one with another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.
Daniel 2:43 ESV As you saw the iron mixed with soft clay, so they will mix with one another in marriage , but they will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with clay .
Daniel 2:43 NIV And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay.
When it's understood that iron is radical Islam and clay is moderate Islam, this verse becomes clear. The Islamic Caliphate would crush and break the people of the nations they conquered. They forced the people to convert to Islam. If they did not convert, they were often killed by the sword and their wives were taken as slaves. Muhammad allowed the captors to have sex with these slaves. They had children. In so doing they intermingled with the people of the nations they conquered. But over time, Muslims would not hold together. Radical Islam would naturally separate from moderate Islam. They didn't hold together for the same reason the iron does not mix with clay. As we have seen, this means many Muslims rejected the idea of spreading Islam by use of the sword.
Let's again examine the literal phrase in this verse. Young's Literal Translation says, "They are mixing themselves with the seed of men." The women were taken as slaves and forced to have sex. They were not forced to marry. But these slaves had children. In other words, "the seed of men" was forced upon these women, causing a mixing of sorts. But radical Islam still does not mix with moderate Islam.
When the iron is interpreted as Rome, this verse is very confusing. Some dispensational groups have begun to relate this verse with the Nephilim of Genesis 6:4. Apparently, fallen angels came and married human women. Their offspring were giants (Nephilim). The theory is that the same thing will happen again in the end times. The verse in Daniel 2:43 is used as a secondary proof-text verse to make the claim that it happens again in the end times. The idea is that mixing with the seed of men would have to mean that those doing the mixing are not the seed of men. So it would be aliens having sex with humans. A number of books have been written from this dispensational perspective. A discussion of alien abductions has become one of the hot topics of these books. The idea that the "seed of men" is being forced upon women by men is never considered by these dispensationalists.
Daniel 2:43 is their secondary proof-text verse. Their primary proof-text verse is the "days of Noah" verse in Matthew 24:37. The idea is that as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it at the time of Christ's return. It's reasoned that the fallen angels had offspring with humans in the days of Noah. So it will happen again. I've even heard one of these guys, while promoting his DVD, say things like, "I've always wondered what Jesus meant by that verse." The verse is quoted so often in reference to the Nephilim that people forget its original context. The verses before and after this verse clearly establishes the context.
Matthew 24:36-39 But no one knows of that day and hour, not even the angels of heaven, but my Father only. (37) "As the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. (38) For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ship, (39) and they didn't know until the flood came, and took them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
The "days of Noah" verse is clearly talking about the sudden destruction that will come at a time when the world is not expecting it. There is even a brief mention of the end times coming like a flood in the seventy weeks of Daniel 9:26. This verse in Daniel 9:26 also says to the end there will be war just like Jesus said in Matthew 24:6. There will be wars and rumors of wars before the end comes. So Jesus is clearly relating the days of Noah to the flood itself, and to the sudden destruction that will come when the world is not expecting it to happen. Also, the days of Noah is clearly an allusion to Daniel 9:26. After this, Jesus gives the parable of the thief in the night, which clearly illustrates this point.
At this point, we see that both of the verses which these dispensationalists have used to talk about the return of the end-time Nephilim are clearly shown to be talking about something else. It is theoretically possible that the Nephilim will return? Does the evidence of alien abductions mean that there will again be half-breeds living among us? It's possible. But we should be very careful to not use Scripture out of context in order to make our points. With that said, let's get back to Nebuchadnezzar dream in Daniel 2.
Daniel 2:34-35 ESV As you looked, a stone was cut out by no human hand, and it 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, all together were broken in pieces, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, so that not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.
Daniel 2:44-45 ESV And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever, (45) just as you saw that a stone was cut from a mountain by no human hand, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold. A great God has made known to the king what shall be after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation sure."
The Rock (Matthew 7:24-25) that smashed the feet of clay and iron is the Son of God, Jesus Christ. The feet represent middle-east Islam in the end times. When Christ returns, he will completely destroy Islam. Most Muslims in the middle-east will have the mark of the beast. They will be killed in the day of wrath. The Rock of Jesus Christ smashes the feet, and the whole statue is destroyed. So it's very important today for us to get as many Muslims converted as possible. Otherwise, they will wind up taking the mark of the beast and being eternally condemned.
After the Rock smashes and destroys Babylon by destroying Islam, it becomes a great mountain and fills the whole earth (verse 35). In the major and minor prophets of the Old Testament, mountains can be symbolic of kingdoms, or the land of a kingdom, especially God’s kingdom (1 Kings 22:17, 2 Chronicles 18:16, Isaiah 2:2-3, 11:9, 25:6-10, 40:3-5, Jeremiah 50:6, 51:24-25, Ezekiel 28:14-16, Joel 3:17, Amos 4:1, Micah 3:12, 4:1-2, Zechariah 4:7, and Zechariah 8:3). Thus, the mountain that fills the earth is God’s kingdom filling the earth. It’s the literal earthly reign of the Messiah just as Babylon was a literal kingdom. Daniel 7 also speaks of the kingdom of God which will be set up after the fourth beast is destroyed by Christ. The New Testament should be interpreted in the context of the Old Testament. Thus, in the New Testament, the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God is the earthly reign of Christ. But we can also recognize that the kingdom is “here and now but not yet.” The kingdom is right now in our hearts.
In the "Important Background Information" of the last section, we saw why Babylon was not made desolate, even though God had promised to do so. The destruction of Babylon waits for the return of Christ. The destruction of the statue, when Christ destroys Islam in the middle-east, is the destruction of "mystery" Babylon. The whole statue is destroyed. Those ancient empires are already gone. But the statue is not destroyed until Jesus Christ comes again. Babylon is the head of the statue, so the entire statue is Babylon. That is why the destruction of Babylon is foretold in Revelation 17 and 18, even though ancient Babylon is long gone.
The name Babylon comes from the ancient name Babel, which means confusion, from the tower of Babel.
Genesis 11:1-8 The whole earth was of one language and of one speech. (2) It happened, as they traveled east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they lived there. (3) They said one to another, "Come, let's make bricks, and burn them thoroughly." They had brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar. (4) They said, "Come, let's build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top reaches to the sky, and let's make ourselves a name, lest we be scattered abroad on the surface of the whole earth." (5) Yahweh came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men built. (6) Yahweh said, "Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is what they begin to do. Now nothing will be withheld from them, which they intend to do. (7) Come, let's go down, and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another's speech." (8) So Yahweh scattered them abroad from there on the surface of all the earth. They stopped building the city.
You see, this was really the first world government. God saw that when men come together like this, that we can do anything. This is quite a compliment from God! But God knows the danger of mankind being ruled by prideful leaders. So God came down and confused the languages. This scattered us all over the world and formed the nations. But as the nations come back together, we overcome the language problems and start forming a one-world language. In Greek and Roman times, Greek was the one-world language. Today, English has become the one-world language. English is the technology language. A few years back, I was in India, on the other side of the world, hiring computer programmers to do technical things, and telling them what to do using English. Our languages are no longer "confused." Today Babylon is returning. And the world is getting ready to form a one-world government, based on English. Babylon is from Babel, which means confusion. God confused the tongues, and today we are again overcoming that confusion. But the world is still confused about God.
Nebuchadnezzar had a ninety foot image of gold set up and ordered all people to worship the image.
Daniel 3:6-7 ESV And whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace." (7) Therefore, as soon as all the peoples heard the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, all the peoples, nations, and languages fell down and worshiped the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
In Revelation, we read:
Revelation 13:7-8 ESV Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, (8) and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.
Revelation 13:13-15 ESV It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, (14) and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived. (15) And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain .
In both cases, the king of kings orders all the people to worship an idol or be killed. In both cases, the Scripture is clear that it's all the people of every nation and language that's being ordered to worship the statue. In Revelation, it's more explicit. People from every nation, tribe, people, and language are being ordered to worship the beast. The pattern here is clear. The king of kings in ancient Babylon orders the entire world to worship him by worshiping a statue. And the second beast in end-times Babylon, the false prophet, orders the entire world to worship the first beast by worshiping his statue.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to worship the image. The furnace was heated up seven times hotter than usual and the three were tied up and thrown into the furnace. Then Nebuchadnezzar saw four men in the flames.
Daniel 3:25 ESV He answered and said, "But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods."
Amazingly, Nebuchadnezzar recognized the fourth man as the Son of God. Jesus is the Son of God. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were willing to be burned alive before worshiping a statue. They could have said, "We know the statue is not a real god. We can just pretend to worship it. Then we can ask God and he will forgive us." But they would not compromise. They were willing to lay down their lives for the Son of God. Jesus said:
Matthew 10:22 You will be hated by all men for my name's sake, but he who endures to the end will be saved .
Matthew 24:11-14 Many false prophets will arise, and will lead many astray. (12) Because iniquity will be multiplied, the love of many will grow cold. (13) But he who endures to the end, the same will be saved. (14) This Good News of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world for a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.
We must overcome sin and do the works of the Father to the point of being ready to die for Christ. We must be perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect. It's only then that we are ready for Christ to return.
Revelation 12:11 They overcame him because of the Lamb's blood, and because of the word of their testimony. They didn't love their life, even to death.
A radical Islamic antichrist is a scary thought. It's scarier than a European-based revived Roman Empire. The Gentile Church is grafted into Israel. So we are a part of Israel. Therefore, we can forget about a pre-tribulation rapture. Israel must go through the great tribulation before Christ will set up his kingdom. So we must be ready to die for Christ. Without holiness, most people will fail when put to the test. Peter thought he was ready to die for Christ. But he denied Christ three times. If we deny Christ during the great tribulation, and take the mark of the beast, we will lose our salvation.
Hebrews 6:4-6 ESV For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, (5) and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, (6) and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.
Believing in a false pre-tribulation rapture won't get you out of it. Believing, as preterists do, that there is no literal antichrist won't get you out of it. Believing the great tribulation is not global, and that the antichrist will not rule over every nation, tribe, people, and language, won't get you out of it. The only way to get out of it is to get ready for Christ to return. The only way to get out of it is to overcome sin and be completely sanctified before Christ returns.
Luke 21:34-36 "So be careful, or your hearts will be loaded down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that day will come on you suddenly. (35) For it will come like a snare on all those who dwell on the surface of all the earth. (36) Therefore be watchful all the time , praying that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will happen, and to stand before the Son of Man."
Sometime later (date unknown), Nebuchadnezzar had another dream. He saw a tree and heard a command from heaven to cut down the tree. Daniel was asked to interpret the dream. Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar he would be driven away from people, and would live with the wild animals and eat grass like wild animals.
Daniel 4:31-32 ESV While the words were still in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, "O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you, (32) and you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. And you shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will."
Earlier in the chapter:
Daniel 4:15-17 ESV But leave the stump of its roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze , amid the tender grass of the field. Let him be wet with the dew of heaven. Let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth. (16) Let his mind be changed from a man's , and let a beast's mind be given to him; and let seven periods of time pass over him. (17) The sentence is by the decree of the watchers, the decision by the word of the holy ones, to the end that the living may know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men.'
The dream is immediately fulfilled (verse 33). Nebuchadnezzar became like a beast. This is the first time in Daniel that the beast symbolism is used. Nebuchadnezzar’s mind became that of a beast. And the beast is symbolic of the antichrist. After seven periods of time, perhaps seven years, Nebuchadnezzar's, sanity was restored and he resumed his role as king of kings, giving glory to God and acknowledging that the Most High is sovereign even over him.
What then does the symbolism of the beast mean? The beast is a king or ruler that does not acknowledge God's sovereignty over himself. One who does not acknowledge his Creator's sovereignty over himself is without sanity. Such a king is foolish or even wicked. One who gives glory to God has wisdom.
Suppose a hunter in the woods encounters a wolf or similar beast. The beast growls at the hunter, thinking he can charge at the hunter and kill him. The beast does not understand that all the hunter has to do is pull the trigger and the beast would be dead. That's the mind of a beast. In the end times, the New Jerusalem will appear. The people of the world will be terrified. The antichrist, however, will blaspheme God and those who live in heaven. This boastfulness against God is the major characteristic given to the end-times antichrist throughout Bible prophecy. The antichrist will get the people of the world to rally around him because of their fear. They will join the antichrist in blaspheming God and those who live in the heavenly Jerusalem. Everyone who takes allegiance with the beast, and joins him in blaspheming God and those who live in heaven, will take the mark of the beast. At the end of the seven years, Christ will pull the trigger. All those who take the mark of the beast will be killed. It's foolishness, like the mind of an animal. Christ will establish his earthly kingdom.
Nebuchadnezzar is a type for the antichrist rulers of the world, and thus of the people they rule. In the same way, the beast is symbolic of both the ruler and of his kingdom. Nebuchadnezzar was given seven periods of time to acknowledge God. The final one-world government antichrist will rule for seven years, but will not acknowledge God. The first half of those seven years, I think, will be in establishing his global reign. Then, he will reign over the world for 42 months.
What about the symbolism of the tree?
Daniel 4:10-12 NIV These are the visions I saw while lying in my bed: I looked, and there before me stood a tree in the middle of the land. Its height was enormous. (11) The tree grew large and strong and its top touched the sky; it was visible to the ends of the earth. (12) Its leaves were beautiful, its fruit abundant, and on it was food for all. Under it the beasts of the field found shelter, and the birds of the air lived in its branches; from it every creature was fed.
Nebuchadnezzar saw the tree and heard a command from heaven to cut down the tree. Daniel was asked to interpret the dream. Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar that he would be driven away from people, and would live with the wild animals and eat grass like the wild animals.
Daniel 4:20-26 NIV The tree you saw, which grew large and strong, with its top touching the sky, visible to the whole earth , (21) with beautiful leaves and abundant fruit, providing food for all , giving shelter to the beasts of the field, and having nesting places in its branches for the birds of the air-- (22) you, O king, are that tree! You have become great and strong; your greatness has grown until it reaches the sky, and your dominion extends to distant parts of the earth. (23) "You, O king, saw a messenger, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, 'Cut down the tree and destroy it, but leave the stump, bound with iron and bronze, in the grass of the field, while its roots remain in the ground. Let him be drenched with the dew of heaven; let him live like the wild animals, until seven times pass by for him.' (24) "This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree the Most High has issued against my lord the king: (25) You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like cattle and be drenched with the dew of heaven. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes. (26) The command to leave the stump of the tree with its roots means that your kingdom will be restored to you when you acknowledge that Heaven rules.
The tree is symbolic of the world kingdom. It is also symbolic of the man who rules the world kingdom. After Nebuchadnezzar came the world kingdoms of silver (Medo-Persian), bronze (Greek), and iron (Islamic Caliphate). If Nebuchadnezzar is symbolic (forerunner) of rulers of the world, and the tree is symbolic of Nebuchadnezzar, then the tree is also symbolic of the rulers of the world.
Philippians 2:9-11 ESV Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, (10) so that at the name of Jesusevery knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, (11) and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
The tree in Nebuchadnezzar's dream had abundant fruit and gave food for all. Does this remind us of another tree? The tree of life in the Garden of Eden (and the New Jerusalem) gives everlasting life. Nebuchadnezzar's tree has abundant fruit and gives life. Life spans decreased dramatically after Noah. The further we got from the tree of life, the shorter our life spans became. When Jesus sets up his millennial kingdom, a river of life will flow from the temple and trees of life will be found on either side (Ezekiel 47:1-12, Revelation 22:1-4). Kingdoms of man provide for life with our economies, but how much greater will be the tree of life when Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords! (Revelation 19:16)
If the tree in Nebuchadnezzar's dream is symbolic of a world kingdom, what do the two trees in the Garden of Eden symbolize? Could they symbolize two different kingdoms? Adam was created by God, and lived under God's authority. Under this authority, Adam was told to eat (live by) the tree of life, and not the tree of knowledge of good and evil. But, knowledge of good and evil itself is not the issue. God goes to great lengths in the Bible to tell us good from evil. It's knowledge as in experiential sense that is the problem. The only way we can experience being unrighteousness is to become unrighteous. God did not want Adam to experience both good and evil. Also, it's when we begin to decide for ourselves what we should and should not do that there is a big problem. God alone decides what is good and what is evil. Adam and Eve were telling the Creator of the universe that they knew better than God what is right and wrong for us to do. This is Satan's lie.
Today, the world is doing the same thing as Adam and Eve. The world constantly debates whether this or that is right or wrong, without looking to God for the answer. Sex outside of marriage has become "good" when God says it's not. Today we are seeing for ourselves the damage to family life that sex outside of marriage has caused. Young men are growing up without fathers. They don’t have godly fathers as role models. They wind up living for street gangs and drugs. Think of the damage that killing children in their mother's wombs is causing!
Sin separates men from God. Yes, Christ paid the ransom for our sins. But continued sin still separates men from God. The world is saying some things, such as homosexuality, are not sinful. The world is unwilling to submit to God’s authority over that which separates God from men. Today, most don’t really care that they are separated from God. It really is two separate kingdoms.
When Adam ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, in disobedience to God, Adam put himself under Satan's authority instead of God's authority. Because of this, today Satan is the "ruler [or prince] of this world" (John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11). The kingdom of this world is ruled by Satan. God will allow it to continue only for so long. Then God must stop Satan's rule. And without the tree of life, which is symbolic of God's kingdom, (or authority), there is only death.
So, there are two trees of world rule or world authority: The tree of life is ruled over by Jesus. The tree of knowledge of good and evil is ruled over by Satan. Both trees are kingdoms. Adam became ruled by the authority of Satan instead of the authority of Jesus when he chose to submit himself to Satan's rule.
In Nebuchadnezzar' dream of the tree, the tree is another view of Satan's kingdom, because Satan is the prince of this world. We were all born into that kingdom. The stump was bound with iron and bronze. By this we can assume the tree started with Nebuchadnezzar (gold) and continued with Medo-Persian (silver), Greek (bronze), and the Islamic Caliphate (iron). The final kingdom of Satan will be the one of Islam. It's the world kingdom of the last beast and his 42 month reign over every nation, tribe, people, and language (Revelation 13:5-7).
Today the Kingdom of Heaven is spiritual because it exists only in our hearts. The Kingdom of God is advancing as more people find the Lord and overcome all the sinful habits in their lives. But when Christ returns, Christ's literal earthly kingdom will be established. Natural bodies must put on spiritual bodies in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven (John 3:3-13, 1 Corinthians 15:50-53). When Christ returns, He will rule here on the earth as "King of Kings and Lord of Lords" (Revelation 19:16). The tree of life will once again become the world's kingdom. The tree (kingdom) of knowledge of good and evil will be destroyed and Satan will be locked up for a thousand years.
As stated earlier, all of the stories and visions in Daniel, which were dated by Daniel, occur near three specific dates or events. The first event is when Nebuchadnezzar conquered Judah, bringing the Jews to Babylon (605 BC). The second event is when Belshazzar received power (556 BC). The third event is when Babylon, under the rule of Belshazzar, was conquered by the Medes and the Persians (539 BC). The writing on the wall occurred on the very day the Medes and the Persians conquered Babylon.
Daniel 5:1-3 ESV King Belshazzar made a great feast for a thousand of his lords and drank wine in front of the thousand. (2) Belshazzar, when he tasted the wine, commanded that the vessels of gold and of silver that Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem be brought, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. (3) Then they brought in the golden vessels that had been taken out of the temple , the house of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them.
This was a huge party. Everybody was getting drunk. Verse one says that thousands of the top officials were invited. (This party was probably why the Medes and the Persians picked that night to conquer Babylon.) Belshazzar did something here that apparently Nebuchadnezzar had never dared. He brought out the gold and silver goblets that had been taken from the temple in Jerusalem. He has a party with the goblets, with his wives and his concubines! The final abomination is a statue on the temple mount. But Belshazzar had his own abomination against the Temple. Belshazzar is the first type for the antichrist who did not repent.
Daniel 5:4-6 NIV As they drank the wine, they praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone. (5) Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote. (6) His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his knees knocked together and his legs gave way.
Daniel was brought in to interpret the writing on the wall. It predicted Babylon's fall to the Medes and the Persians. That very night Belshazzar was killed and his kingdom fell to the Medes and the Persians (Daniel 5:30). The battle between the Babylonians and the Persians continues today. The Babylonians inhabit Iraq and the Persians today live in Iran.
Daniel 5:18-21 NIV O king, the Most High God gave your father Nebuchadnezzar sovereignty and greatness and glory and splendor. (19) Because of the high position he gave him, all the peoples and nations and men of every language dreaded and feared him. Those the king wanted to put to death, he put to death; those he wanted to spare, he spared; those he wanted to promote, he promoted; and those he wanted to humble, he humbled. (20) But when his heart became arrogant and hardened with pride, he was deposed from his royal throne and stripped of his glory. (21) He was driven away from people and given the mind of an animal ; he lived with the wild donkeys and ate grass like cattle; and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven, until he acknowledged that the Most High God is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and sets over them anyone he wishes.
In the above verses, Daniel points out that Nebuchadnezzar was king of kings, over the whole world. Belshazzar, his grandson, now has that position. Daniel reminds Belshazzar about Nebuchadnezzar's experience of being turned into a beast until he acknowledged the authority of God. Nebuchadnezzar repented, but Belshazzar did not. Belshazzar was the first beast, the first antichrist.
Daniel 5:22-23 NIV "But you his son, O Belshazzar, have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this. (23) Instead, you have set yourself up against the Lord of heaven. You had the goblets from his temple brought to you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines drank wine from them. You praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or understand. But you did not honor the God who holds in his hand your life and all your ways.
The writing on the wall was interpreted to be death for Belshazzar, and Belshazzar knew it to be true. He ordered that Daniel be honored even though it was Belshazzar's death sentence. Belshazzar was defeated, but he never repented. And so it will be with both of the end-times antichrists.
Daniel 5:30-31 NIV That very night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians, was slain, (31) and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom, at the age of sixty-two.
Under Belshazzar, Daniel was an unknown. Somebody happened to remember him when the writing on the wall appeared and none of Belshazzar's men could interpret it. But Darius the Mede liked Daniel.
Daniel 6:1-3 NIV It pleased Darius to appoint 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom, (2) with three administrators over them, one of whom was Daniel. The satraps were made accountable to them so that the king might not suffer loss. (3) Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.
This made the other officials jealous of Daniel. They set out to trick the king of kings into setting Daniel up. They asked the king of kings to issue an order that no one during the next thirty days could pray to anyone except to Darius. Again, we have the two trees. Daniel had to pick between praying to God, and praying to a ruler of the government. Daniel chose the tree of life, and Darius reluctantly had to give Daniel the death sentence. But God saved Daniel in the lion's den, just as he saved Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace.
But Darius was not an antichrist. He acknowledged God's authority.
Daniel 6:16 NIV So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions' den. The king said to Daniel, "May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!"
Darius was greatly distressed over having to put Daniel in the lion's den. But somehow, even Darius knew that God could save him.
Daniel 6: 19-22 NIV At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions' den. (20) When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, "Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?" (21) Daniel answered, "O king, live forever! (22) My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight . Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O king."
The key here, is that Daniel was found innocent in the sight of God. The kingdom of heaven is about to come again. The New Jerusalem will appear. But we must overcome all our sinful habits before we can be caught up in the rapture. We must be found innocent in his sight. We must stop sinning so that we can endure the great tribulation. The blood of Jesus gives us forgiveness, but we must still stop sinning, just as Daniel did 500 years before Christ ever came.
Daniel 6: 23-24 NIV The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. (24) At the king's command, the men who had falsely accused Daniel were brought in and thrown into the lions' den, along with their wives and children. And before they reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.
When Christ returns, it will be much the same. He will kill all who falsely accuse us. The writing is on the wall for both of the end time's antichrists!
Daniel 6: 25-27 NIV Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations and men of every language throughout the land: "May you prosper greatly! (26) "I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel. For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end. (27) He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions."
This is the way it will be when Christ appears.