Summary: Daniel’s prophecies of the end times
“Foretelling the Future”
Intro: What would it be worth to have a way of telling the future? Think about it. People spend millions of dollars a year going to psychics, reading horoscopes, trying to find out what stock to invest in. People buy books of “winning” lottery numbers. The thought that you could know the future excites most people. Well, we have a book that is filled with prophecies of the future. We are going to look at some of them today.
There has been a lot in the news about Y2K. What is the possibility that some great catastrophe is going to happen on January 1, 2000? As we go to the Bible, today we can say with 100% certainty, the future holds great tragedy and turmoil like there never has been in the past. Yet, the threat is not Y2K, but the coming rule of a godless leader who sets up a kingdom in opposition to God.
We have a lot of scripture to look at this morning, and we will only touch on it a little, but hopefully it will whet your appetite for further study. Let’s consider the prophecies of the future as given in the book of Daniel.
Let’s start with Daniel 2 and the dream of Nebuchadnezzar. You remember the king had a dream, which he couldn’t remember. Daniel comes, tells him his dream, then tells the interpretation of the dream.
I. The Four World Kingdoms
We see one of the key prophecies given is that there are four key world kingdoms. Remember throughout the years past there had been several powers, all battling each other. At this time the Babylonian kingdom has come to power. This is a great, powerful kingdom. Yet, God prophecies the next great kingdoms to come.
Here in this prophecy we see it is the head of gold. Nebuchadnezzar’s is a great kingdom. In Daniel 7, we see a similar analogy given. Read 7:1-14. In this passage the Babylonian kingdom is the beast like a lion with the wings of an eagle. The wings signify the spread of the kingdom. Both the eagle and the lion were symbols used by the Babylonian empire.
B. Medo-Persian Empire
Here in chapter 2, the chest and arms of silver. In chapter 7, the beast like a bear. The bear had three ribs in its teeth. This symbolizes the 3 main conquests of the Medo-Persian empire: the Lydian kingdom, the Chaldean kingdom, and the Egyptian kingdom, all falling to the Medo-Persian forces. In chapter 8, we see the picture of a goat. Read ch. 8:1-8.
C. Greek Empire [Alexander the Great]
Here in chapter 2, the belly and thighs of bronze. In chapter 7, the beast like a leopard, having wings like a bird, signifying the swiftness of the kingdom in overthrowing enemies. The four heads signify four leaders who followed Alexander the Great. Because he didn’t have children, his kingdom was split into four between his generals: Antipater, Lysimachus, Seleucus, and Ptolemy. We see in chapter 8, this split of the four kingdoms in chapter 8, as it speaks of the one horn being broken off and four smaller horn growing up.
D. Roman Empire
Here in chapter 2, the legs of iron, and feet of iron mixed with clay. In chapter 7, the terrifying beast with teeth of iron. The Roman Empire crushed all other nations. No one stood against them. It was the supreme force in its day.
God uses Daniel to predict hundreds of years ahead of time the future kingdoms of the earth.
II. Daniel predicts the time of the Messiah
In Daniel 9, we see Daniel reading Jeremiah’s prophecy, knowing that 70 years were supposed to be soon finished, and that God had declared he would restore his people. An angel comes to him to explain God’s timetable. Daniel had figured his 70 years from the first coming of King Nebuchadnezzar, and not from the destruction of the city, so he was a few years off in calculation. God gives Daniel a timetable for events of the future. Read 9:24-27.
7 weeks of years - or 49 years after the decree of Artaxerxes found in Nehemiah 2 - not just the decree of Cyrus or Darius that the Jews could return - from the decree to rebuild the city it would take 49 years to happen. But the most exciting part is the next prophecy. After the 7 weeks and the 62 weeks - that is 69 times 7 - or 483 years after Artaxerxes command, the Messiah would be cut off - not for himself. 483 years from this date, Christ was crucified in fulfillment of the prophecy of Daniel. If you are interested in this dating, I can offer you some sources to do further study. How exciting to see God predicting the Messiah’s death hundreds of years beforehand.