"By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible" (Heb 11:3 NIV). The NASB translates "the worlds were prepared by the word of God" (:3). God's command is equivalent to the word of God. Words are spoken. "The Lord God commanded the man [Adam], 'You are free to eat from any tree in the garden'" (Ge 2:16). Adam's choice was not limited. However, a command is an authoritative instruction which likely contains a consequence for not following the directive. Therefore God explained, "'You must not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you shall surely die" (:16).
God told Isaiah, "'I am God, and there is no one like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure'" (Isa 46:9-10). "'Behold, the former things have come to pass, now I declare new things; before they spring forth I proclaim them to you'" (42:9). What God plans happens. He predicts future events. "'Do not tremble and do not be afraid; have I not long since announced it to you and declared it" And you are My witnesses'" (44:8). Daniel exclaimed, "'Wisdom and power belong to Him. And it is He who changes the times and the epochs'" (Da 2:20-21). "'It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things'" (:22). Are there alternatives? "'I am the first and I am the last, and there is no God besides Me'" (Isa 44:6). "'The King of Jacob says. Let them bring forth and declare to us what is going to take place'" (41:22). "Surely there was no one who declared" (:26).
God instructed Adam. He also said to Noah, "'I am going to put an end to all people'" (Ge 6:13) "'so make yourself an ark of cypress wood'" (:14). Furthermore God said, "'But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark'" (:17). "Noah did everything just as God commanded hiim" (:22) and he and his family were saved. They were obedient to God's commands. But during the period of the judges "unlike their fathers, they quickly turned from the way in which their fathers had walked, the way of obedience to the Lord's commands" (Jdg 2:17). There are consequences to disobedience. However, God eventually puts an end to suffering as "when the sons of Israel cried to the Lord on account of Midian, the Lord sent a prophet to the sons of Israel" (6:7-8). Also, the Lord told Moses, "'I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt . . . [and] am concerned about their suffering'" (Ex 3:7). "'So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians'" (:8).
In the first case the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon while he was "beating out wheat in the wine press in order to save it from the Midianites" (Jdg 6:11). Gideon responded saying, "'Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?'" (:13). "The Lord looked at and said, 'Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?'" (:14). He also stated, "'Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat Midian as one man'" (:16). Gideon's strengths were that he was working in adverse circumstances and he believed that God had delivered Israel from Egypt. Also when he "saw that he was the angel of the Lord, he said, 'Alas, O Lord God! For now I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face'" (:22).
In the second case "the angel of the Lord appeared to him [Moses] in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush" (Ex 3:2). "When the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush, and said, 'Moses, Moses!' And he said, 'Here I am.'" (:4). "Then he said, 'I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.' At this Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God" (:6). Then God said, "'So now, go. I am sending you to Paraoh to bring the Israelites out of Egypt'" (:10). "But Moses said to God, 'Who am I?'" (:11) "and God said, 'I will be with you'" (:12). "Go" is a green light, and when God works with you it will be a success.
Initially "the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend" (Ex 33:11). God said, "'With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles; he sees the form of the Lord'" (Nu 12:8). But God would also address Israel as a group. He told Moses "'let them be ready for the third day, for . . . the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people'" (Ex 19:11). The agreement would be "'if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, they you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine'" (:5). God said, "'I shall come to you in a thick cloud, in order that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may also believe in you forever'" (:9). Israel agreed saying, "'All that the Lord has spoken we will do!'" (:8). Then when the third day came "there were thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound" (:16). "Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the Lord descended upon it in fire" (:18). "When the people saw it, they trembled and stood at a distance" (20:18). "Moses said to the people, 'Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin'" (:20). Their response was to say to Moses, "'Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, lest we die'" (:19). "Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, 'You yourselves have seen that I have spoken to you from heaven''" (:22). Moses was to later say "'the Lord spoke to you face to face at the mountain from the midst of the fire . . . [and] you were afraid because of the fire and did not go up the mountain'" (Dt 5:4-5). Later God said he would "'raise up for you a prophet like me from among you'" (18:15). When Moses referred to a prophet like himself that means he considered himself a prophet. "'This is according to all that you asked of the Lord your God in Horeb on the day of the assembly, saying, 'Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, let me not see this great fire any more, lest I die''" (:16). God would choose individual prophets in the future like Moses.
God told Moses, "'I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you'" (Dt 18:18). "God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets" (1Co 12:28). "He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets" (Eph 4:11). He raised up Isaiah when he "heard the voice of the Lord, saying, 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?'" (Isa 6:8). Isaiah replied, "'Here am I. Send me!'" (:18). God answered, "'Go, and tell this people'" (:9). God also sent Jeremiah saying, "'Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations'" (Jer 1:5). To Ezekiel God said, "'Son of Man, I am sending you to the sons of Israel'" (Ezek 2:3). Amos said, "'The Lord took me from following the flock and the Lord said to me, 'Go prophesy to My people Israel'" (Amos 7:15). Amos stated "surely the Lord God does nothing unless He reveals His secret counsel to His servants the prophets" (3:7). Uriah was "a man who prophesied in the name of the Lord" (Jer 26:20). "Haggai, the messenger of the Lord, spoke by the commission of the Lord to the people" (Hag 1:13).
Prophets didn't just say anything they felt like. "No prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God" (2Pe 1:21). "All scripture is inspired by God" (2Ti 3:16) which includes the prophecies in scripture. God told Ezekiel "'whenever you hear a word from My mouth, warn them from me'" (Ezek 3:17). Furthermore "'when I speak to you, I will open your mouth and you will say to them, 'Thus says the Lord God'" (:27). "The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah . . . saying, 'Go and speak'" (Jer 28:13). The Hebrew word for prophesy (nabi) means to freely speak the message of God from a full heart which contains it. "Every word of God is tested . . . [so] do not add to His words" (Pr 30:5-6). The prophet does not compose a presentation from his own imagination. God asks, "'Who is blind but My servant, or so deaf as My messenger whom I send?'" (Isa 42:19). Moses prophecys, "'I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him'" (Dt 18:18). God told Jeremiah, "'Everywhere I send you, you shall go, and all that I command you, you shall speak'" (Jer 1:7).
Prophecy is communication which is essential to a relationship. One reason God uses prophecy is to prove that the Bible is genuine since it is "the truth of the gospel" (Gal 2:5). "When the word of the prophet shall come to pass, then that prophet will be known as one whom the Lord has truly sent" (Jer 28:9). "Not one of the good promises which the Lord had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass" (Jos 21:45). However, the question is, "'If a prophet . . . gives you a sign or wonder, and the sign or wonder comes true'" (Dt 13:1-2) is it automatically valid? It could still be idolatry. In that case "'God is testing you'" (:3). The purpose is that, "'You shall follow the Lord your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him'" (:4). The major prophets were sent to Israel. Once Isaiah was told to "'comfort My people . . . [and] speak kindly to Jerusalem'" (Isa 4:1-2). "One who prophesies edifies the church" (1Co 14:4). But Israel's problem was that "'My people do not know the ordinance of the Lord'" (Jer 8:6). "'The lying pen of the scribes has made it into a lie'" (:8). Also, God pointed out that there were "'prophets who are prophesying in My name, although it was not I who sent them'" (14:15). "'They speak a vision of their own imagination, not from the mouth of the Lord'" (23:16). "'The prophet who shall speak a word presumptuously . . . [or] speak in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die'" (Dt 18:20).
The most common understanding regarding prophesy is that it predicts the future. That would require supernatural insight available only from God. Daniel told the king, "'There is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries'" (Da 2:28). John wrote of "the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His bond-servants the things which must shortly take place" (Rev 1:1). The Hebrew words ro'eh and hozeh refer to revelations which only the anointing quickens that ordinarily can't be seen. "The mystery was revealed to Daniel in a night vision" (Da 2:19). Saul's servant said, "'There is a man of God in this city, and the man is held in honor; all that he says surely comes true'" (1Sa 9:6). "He who is called a prophet now was formerly [in Israel] called a seer" (:9). He could divinely see into the future what God planned to do. Pharaoh stated, "'I have heard it said about you, that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.' Joseph then answered Pharaoh, saying, 'It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer'" (Ge 41:15-16). Daniel told King Nebuchadnezzar, "'This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the Most High'" (Da 4:24).
John was told to, "'Worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy'" (Rev 19:10). God communicates his intentions. "'I have sworn by Myself, the word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness'" (Isa 45:23). God appointed prophets to carry it out "'Even as My servant Isaiah'" (20:3). "Men should seek instruction from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord of Hosts" (Mal 2:7). "He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old" (Lk 1:70). "The Lord has sent to you all His servants the prophets again and again" (Jer 25:4). They challenged people to trust God. They rebuked sin and called for obedience and repentance. They pronounced judgment. "He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways" (Heb 1:1). "All the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and his successors onward, also announced these days" (Ac 3:24). "It is you who are the sons of the prophets" (:25).
"As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful search and inquiry" (1Pe 1:10). Jesus said, "'From now on I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am He'" (Jn 13:19). On the road to Emmaus "beginning with Moses and all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the scriptures" (Lk 24:27). Later he said, "'These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled'" (:44). "Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name every one who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins" (Ac 10:43). "We have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention" (2Pe 1:19). However, Jesus observed, "'O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all the prophets have spoken'" (Lk 24:25).
Moses prophesied, "'The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you'" (Dt 18:15). "'I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him'" (:18). In his second sermon Peter quoted, "'It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him'" (:19). Israelites were taught the Torah in the temple. They asked John the Baptist, "'Are you the Prophet?' And he answered, 'No'" (Jn 1:21). "They asked him, 'Why are you baptizing, if you are not . . . the Prophet?'" (:25). Jesus raised a dead man to life and he exclaimed, "'A great prophet has arisen among us!'" (Lk 7:16). "The people saw the sign [of feeding the 5000] which He had performed . . . [and said] 'this is of a truth the Prophet who is come into the world'" (Jn 6:14). "The multitudes were saying, 'This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee'" (Mt 21:11). He is "Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word in the sight of all people" (Lk 24:19).
A valid prophecy should be accepted and a bonefide prophecy would pass judgment. "When the word of the prophet shall come to pass, then that prophet will be known as one whom the Lord has truly sent" (Jer 28:9). But what about future, unfulfilled prophecies? When Moses prophesied, "'I will raise up a prophet from your countrymen like you'" (Dt 18:18) it was considered that this person would be the Messiah. That is why they asked John, "'Are you the prophet?'" (Jn 1:21). Prophesies pointed to the coming Messiah. "'Of the fruit of your [David's] body I will set upon the throne" (Ps 132:11) and "'He will reign as King'" (Jer 23:5). "'One will go forth for Me to be ruler of Israel'" (Micah 5:2) and "'Your throne shall be established forever'" (2Sa 7:16). "'There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace'" (Isa 9:7). The woman of Samaria said, "'I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ)'" (Jn 4:25). That is why the high priest asked, "'Are You the Christ?'" (Mk 14:61). In Nazareth they asked, "'Where did this man get this wisdom, and these miraculous powers?'" (Mt 13:55). They did not believe who he was and Jesus said, "'A prophet is not without honor except in his home town'" (:57).
Nebuchadnezzer conquered Judah and took captives to Babylon. Some were chosen who had ability to serve in the king's court. They were to receive three years of training and directed to eat and drink the king's provisions. But Daniel didn't want to defile himself so he requested vegetables instead. In the New Testament they wrote "that they abstain from things contaminated by idols" (Ac 15:20). They were tested in this for ten days and "at the end of ten days their appearance seemed better and they were fatter" (Da 1:15). Furthermore, "God gave them knowledge and intelligence . . . [and] Daniel even understood all kinds of visions and dreams" (:17). When they entered the king's personal service "he found them ten times better than all the magicians and conjurers who were in all his relm" (:20). Then "Nebuchadnezzer had dreams; and his spirit was troubled and his sleep left him" (2:1) and he asked his soothsayer priests, sorcerers, and the Chaldeans to explain them saying, "'My spirit is anxious to understand the dream" (:3). When his wise men couldn't provide an answer he ordered them killed. Daniel asked the captain of the king's bodyguard about this and "Arioch informed Daniel about the matter" (:15). Then Daniel asked the king to give him time to respond (:16). Daniel then told his friends "so that they might request compassion from the God of heaven concerning this mystery" (:18). Daniel took the initiative to talk to the king and to ask God for an answer. "Let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace in time of need" (Heb 4:16).
"Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a night vision" (Da 2:19). Daniel thanked God saying, "'To You, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, for You have given me wisdom and power; even now You have made known to me what we requested of You, for You have made known to us the king's matter'" (:23). Jesus said, "'All things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive'" (Mt 21:22). Daniel told the king that it had been revealed "'for the purpose of making the interpretation known to the king, that you may understand the thoughts of your mind'" (:30). Daniel cited that the king's "'thoughts [had] turned to what would take place in the future'" (:29) and that God had made known "'what will take place in the latter days'" (:28). Unbeknownst to them, the latter days would be farther in the future than they knew. Later Daniel said, "'I heard but could not understand; so I said, 'My lord, what will be the outcome of these events?' He said, 'Go your way, Daniel, for these words are concealed and sealed up until the end time'" (12:8-9). God had chosen to give Nebuchadnezzer dreams and Daniel was present to interpret them. God thereby recorded it in the Bible "to seal up vision and prophecy" (9:24).
The king had his dream in the second year of his reign (Da 2:1). "Daniel continued until the first year of Cyrus the King" (1:21). He recognized God, saying, "'It is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings'" (2:21). He told the king about the large statue he saw standing in front of him which appeared "'awesome'" (:31). The word is from 'dehal' which means "to fear" which is perhaps why the king was "troubled" (:1). Daniel explained, "'The head of that statue was made of fine gold'" (:32) which gave it "'extraordinary splender'" (:31). Since it was a statue of a man it describes something about man, himself, and his activity in history. "'Its breast and its arms [were] of silver, its belly and its thighs [were] of bronze, its legs [were] of iron, [and] its feet [were] partly of iron and partly of clay'" (:32-33).
Daniel interpreted to the king that he was the "'head of gold'" (:38). He explained that "'the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the strength and the glory . . . [and living things] into your hand and has caused you to rule over them all'" (:37-38). Then he interpreted, "'After you there will arise another kingdom inferior to you, then another third kingdom of bronze, which will rule over all the earth'" (:39). He continued saying, "'There will be a fourth kingdom as strong as iron'" (:40) and "'in that you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter's clay and partly of iron, it will be a divided kingdom'" (:41). Since it is strong like iron "'it will crush and break all these [previous kingdoms] in pieces'" (:40). Also, "'As the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of pottery'" (:42) "'it will have in it the toughness of iron'" (:41) "'and part of it will be brittle'" (:42). Furthermore, "'They will combine with one another in the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another , even as iron does not combine with pottery'" (:43).
Daniel interpreted the dream "'before the king'" (Da 2:36). The current kingdom was described as ruling "'over them all'" (:39). Then a second kingdom will take over which is "'inferior to you'" (:40). The first was of "'fine gold'" (:32) but the second of "'silver'" was not as valuable. Perhaps its being "'inferior'" (:39) was better understood in their own venacular. However, it couldn't have meant militarily weaker because it defeated Babylon. It didn't mean less morally depraved just because Babylon was already "'the mother of harlots'" (Rev 17:5). Mysticism and idolatry had been practiced earlier in Egypt from 2900-1150 B.C. and in Assyria from 1100-633 B.C. Babylon (626-539 B.C.) continued in "'the abominations of the earth'" (17:5) with their idols and sacrifices. Additionally, they developed a mystical priesthood and a "mother and her child" religion. However, the king did have "'the power, the strength and the glory'" (Da 2:37) and ruled "'over them all'" (:38). He was a dictator with all the authority, whereas the Medo-Persian empire was controlled by Darius the Mede and Cyrus the Persian who had to share the power which made it "more inferior" regarding rulership.
Then Daniel interpreted that "'another third kingdom of bronze [would arise], which will rule over all the earth'" (2:39). Bronze is lower on the scale of superiority. Theologians have concluded that it referred to Alexander the Great. This kingdom from Greece lasted from 330-30 B.C. But after Alexander conquered the area he died suddenly and four of his generals divided up the region. The Olympics present gold, silver and bronze medals. The third kingdom ruled "'over all the earth'" (:39) but its bronze status caused by power being diluted by the four rulers gave it a lower political score. The "'fourth kingdom as strong as iron . . . crushes and shatters all things" (:40). Conquering empires tend to absorb the cultures of those they overcome and are tolerant to varying degrees. But this one will "'break all these [previous ones] in pieces'" (:40). Theologians believe that this kingdom is represented by the Roman Empire. It seems logical to conclude that the iron legs were the western zone headquartered in Rome and the eastern in Constantinople. But politically Rome had an emperor, senate and representatives. It took more effort to arrive at a consensus, so its power structure was not as concentrated as that of the upper levels of the statue. Rome was in power from 30 B.C. to 476 A.D. Babylon essentially wasted away by 280 B.C.
Daniel described a fourth kingdom which was very strong because it was made of iron (Da 2:40). But its feet and toes were susceptible since they were a mixture of iron and clay. The Romans had a form of mortar they built with but it is doubtful that the iron was rebar since it was "'mixed'" (:41) and the clay was "'pottery'" (:42). It speaks of the kingdom being "'divided'" (:41) where part of it "'will be strong and part of it will be brittle'" (:42). The Romans subjugated many nations which were combined "'in the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another'" (:43) because they are dissimilar. At that time God instigated a plan. Daniel prophesied that, "'In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed'" (:44). Nebuchadnezzar had seen "'that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold'" (:45). "'It became like chaff . . . and the wind carried them away . . . [and] the stone . . . became a great mountain and filled the whole earth'" (:35).
Its not surprising that Daniel had another dream in "the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon" (Da 7:1) because even Jesus spoke of him as "'Daniel the prophet'" (Mt 24:15). You might say that it reinforced the meaning of the dream Nebuchadnezzar had. Daniel saw the "'four winds of heaven churning up the great sea'" (Da 7:2) which is the sea of humanity producing activity. A beast "'like a lion'" (:4) came up. A beast is symbolic of a government. Beasts can be ferocious which would make that government totalitarian and warlike. It had the "'wings of an eagle'" (:4) which a study Bible says represents "cherubim . . . [which] guard the way to the tree of life" (Ge 3:24). There were statues of winged lions that stood guard at entrances to palaces and temples in ancient Mesopotamia. Then "'its wings were plucked, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man; a human mind also was given to it'" (Da 7:4). It symbolized Babylon. The king became prideful and God declared, "'Sovereignty has been removed from you . . . until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the relm of mankind'" (4:31-32). He was "'driven away from mankind'" (:32) and seven periods of time passed until the kingdom was restored to him and the king thereby proclaimed, "'He is able to humble those who walk in pride'" (:37).
Daniel received the interpretation that, "'The four great beasts are four kingdoms that will rise from the earth'" (Da 7:17). The second beast "'looked like a bear . . . [and] was raised up on one of its sides'" (:5). It is said that the Persians had a greater influence in the Medo-Persian federation. God "says of Cyrus [the king], 'He is my shepherd and will accomplish all I please'" (Isa 44:48). The decree of Cyrus (Ezra 1:2-4) authorized the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem leading to the restoration of the city. It had three ribs in its teeth and "was told, 'Get up and eat your fill of flesh!'" (:5). The empire defeated these nations: Lydia (546 B.C.), Babylon (539) and Egypt (525). A third beast like a leopard appeared. "'On its back it had four wings like those of a bird'" (7:6). Alexander the Great of Greece conquered the region speedily (334-330 B.C.) as symbolized by the "flying leopard." But he died suddenly in 323 B.C. and his four generals divided the region. The beast "'had four heads'" (:6) and the head is where thinking and decision making occurs. Consequently "'dominion was given to it'" and it therefore had the authority to exercise its decisions, inherently having control over others' lives as well. Antipater and Cassander took Macedon and Greece, Lysimachus took Trace and Asia Minor, Seleucus I took Syria, and Ptolemy I took Egypt.
Then a fourth beast arose who was "'dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong; and it had large iron teeth'" (7:7). The fourth kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar's statue was "'strong as iron; inasmuch as iron crushes and shatters all things'" (2:40). This beast "'devoured and crushed and trampled down the remainder with its feet'" (7:7). "'It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns'" (:7). The statue had ten toes (2:42). Ten is the number of testing and trials, law and government. Daniel "'was contemplating the horns'" (7:8). He was told, "'As for the horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise'" (:24). John was told, "'The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour. These have one purpose, and they give their power and authority to the beast'" (Rev 17:12-13). Grazing animals have horns whereas predators have teeth and claws. Horns are for protection and used in battles to determine supremacy in the herd. Power struggles can become violent and injuries are common.
"Another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems" (Rev 12:3). Diadems are royal headbands which indicate that the wearer has supreme political power in the state. "His tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth" (:4). Then there was a war in heaven and "the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world" (:9). "'Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time'" (:12). The crowns on the dragon's seven heads represent the imperial claims the devil has exhibited over the seven kingdoms of Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome and expected worldwide control. Then "the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore" (13:1) next to the sea of humanity. John "saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names" (:1). Now the crowns are on the horns designating the kings as sovereign. Also, the leaders somehow have irreverent names attached to their heads which reminds of those "given a mark . . . on their forehead . . . [which is] either the name of the beast or the number of his name" (:16-17). Once again John said, "He carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness; and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names having seven heads and ten horns" (17:3). It was explained to John that "'the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits'" (:9). A study Bible says that Rome was initially composed of settlements on several hills adjacent to the Tiber River which a number of writers later refer to. Others speculate that the Revived Roman Empire will become a stronghold of the Antichrist.
God gave dreams to the king. Its because he wanted to illustrate some parallels and make some pertinent points. Kings rule and reign because they set the rules and reign over their implementation. They have dominion, sovereign authority and power over a geographical area and in certain other spheres of influence. This would be his kingdom. He was preoccupied with his position and Daniel accordingly interpreted that "'the great God has made known to the king what will take place in the future'" (Da 2:45). The two dreams culminated in renditions of the final makeup of the ultimate kingdom. "'In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever'" (Da 2:44). "'Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him'" (7:27). The main characteristic is that it "'will never be destroyed . . . [and] will itself endure forever'" (:44) and "'will be an everlasting kingdom'" (:45). An angel speaking of Christ said, "'He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end'" (Lk 1:33).
But Jesus didn't just appear out of nowhere. God authored prophesies throughout the Old Testament to delineate his plan to use Jesus to reestablish his kingdom. There is a prophetic connection through King David. Jesus himself said, "'I am the root and the descendant of David'" (Rev 22:!6). An angel told Mary that Jesus "'will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David'" (Lk 1:32). It was established initially that "the Lord has sworn to David . . . of the fruit of your body I will set upon the throne" (Ps 132:11). Nathan reiterated, "'Your throne shall be established forever'" (2Sa 7:16). "In accordance with all these words and all this vision, so Nathan spoke to David" (:17). Firstly it was noted that, "'The scepter shall not depart from Judah . . . until Shiloh comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples'" (Ge 49:10). Furthermore, "'One will go forth for Me to be ruler of Israel'" (Mic 5:2). Jeremiah prophesied "'I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; and He will reign as king'" (Jer 23:5). Isaiah prophesied, "'There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom'" (Isa 9:7). Jesus' disciples knew all these scriptures. They were therefore prompted to ask, "'Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?'" (Mt 24:3). Jesus listed eight signs (:4-14) and replied, "'The day is coming when you will see what Daniel the prophet spoke about'" (:15).