Monday, January 16, 2017

Living Lives Of Purpose: Lessons From The Book Of Daniel. Day 9, Ten End-Times Kingdoms

Living Lives Of Purpose:
Lessons From The Book Of Daniel
Day 9
Ten End-Times Kingdoms

Yesterday we took a look at the statue of Nebuchadnezzar's dream, the statue made of several types of materials. The kingdom of Babylon was the head of gold, the Medo-Persian Empire was the chest and arms of silver, the Grecian Empire was the belly and thighs of brass, and the Roman Empire was the legs of iron. The statue possessed an unexpected mixture for the feet: a combination of pieces of iron and baked clay. These feet represent both a fulfilled prophecy and one yet to come. In a historical sense, they symbolize the division and eventual downfall of the Roman Empire. But in a prophetic sense, we find evidence in Nebuchadnezzar's dream that the complete fulfillment regarding the feet of iron and clay has not yet come.

We know Nebuchadnezzar's dream has not been fulfilled in its entirety because Daniel says, "In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands---a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces. The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy." (Daniel 2:44-45) The rock in Nebuchadnezzar's dream is the eternal kingdom of Christ. When His kingdom comes, all others will be no more, and He will reign forever. He will begin by crushing the kingdom which is in place at His return (a ten-nation alliance) and will continue crushing the statue from foot to head, ending with the most ancient kingdom of Babylon, the place where man first led an organized rebellion against God by building the tower of Babel.

Daniel says this will happen "in the time of those kings" as he concludes his description of the feet of iron and clay. If the ten toes represent ten kings then these must be literal kingdoms which will exist on the earth in the end times, right before the return of Christ. Daniel naturally refers to the heads of these nations as kings, for he knew of no other type of ruler, but it's safe for us to simply think of them as world leaders. These leaders could be dictators, monarchs, presidents, fascists, despots, prime ministers, chieftains, emperors, czars, or any other title that exists for a head of state. Daniel himself will have a dream in Chapter 7 regarding these ten kingdoms of the end times and we will see that these kingdoms have sworn their allegiance to the evil one, who is the world dictator during the Great Tribulation. The evil one and his ten-nation coalition will wage war against the principles of God and against His faithful people, but will not prevail in the end, for the One to whom all things belong will come and crush the evil one and destroy his power and his hold over mankind. 

We find similar imagery in the Apostle John's vision in Revelation 13, when a beast comes out of the sea having ten horns and a crown on each of the tens horns, representing ten nations that ally themselves with the beast. An angel speaking with the Apostle John interprets the vision for him, "The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast. They have one purpose and will give their power and authority to the beast. They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because He is Lord of lords and King of kings---and with Him will be His called, chosen and faithful followers." (Revelation 17:12-14) In the time of Antichrist, ten nations will voluntarily hand their authority over to him in order to share in what they believe will be his victory and glory. This coalition will have a very short lifespan, for "one hour", which could represent a literal hour of battle against the Lamb or may simply indicate a short period of time. 

The ten toes representing ten kingdoms in Nebuchadnezzar's dream had not yet come into existence in Daniel's day. They still had not come into existence in John's day. We can't know for certain whether these nations are yet in existence in our own day, although I think it's extremely likely, but we don't know which ones they are. At one time many students of Bible prophecy thought the United Nations would turn out to be the ten toes of Daniel 2. Some thought the European Union would fulfill this prophecy. It's quite possible that the ten nations involved will not be made known until the time of the Great Tribulation, after Christ has taken the church from the world. It can be interesting to speculate of these matters, but as the church we should be most focused on Christ our Bridegroom, not on the Antichrist and his wicked kingdom and whether it is already taking shape. We are to be about our Father's business, being a light to the world and getting the gospel out to every corner of the earth. No matter how you look at it, time is short. It's getting shorter by the day. We don't know how much longer we have to get the gospel message out to the world. We don't know when the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation will suddenly begin to be fulfilled. Christ could come for His church any day to take us home to be with Him, so we must work while we can.

The main thing we can take away from the conclusion of the prophecy in Daniel 2 is that a kingdom is coming that will have no end, a righteous and holy kingdom, led by the Lamb of God who loved us and gave Himself for us. Evil will exist no more. The earth will be restored to its former Eden glory and we will live in peace under the rule of the Prince of Peace. Before then, wickedness will have its day, but its day is short. In comparison with the long years of eternity ahead of us, we will look back on the trials of life and feel as if they lasted only one hour. Even under the curse of sin, this world is a beautiful place and many godly acts of kindness are carried out by those faithful to God. Just imagine what this world will be like when Christ is King over it and sin is destroyed forever.

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