Summary: Kingdoms come and kingdoms go. And there is a huge one that is coming, and may already be here! Should we be afraid? Not if we are part of God's kingdom
Passage: Daniel 7:15-28
Intro: When we look at passages like this one, we don’t see the grace of God, but terror and death and destruction.
1. the dream itself caused Daniel to be troubled.
2. and for the 2500+ years since this dream and interpretation was made known, we have remained troubled.
3. what we are going to see here is a revelation of character; of what these two opposing forces are like
4. God graciously tells us how to recognize both the kingdom of Antichrist, and the kingdom of God.
5. and He shows us the end of each, so we can avoid getting caught up in Satan’s web, but rest securely in the arms of God.
6. don’t be afraid of the information! It is given by our gracious Father, who wants us to walk into the future with a deep abiding faith in His nature.
7. so the format a little different: we will build a chart of contrasting character
8. most of the information is about Antichrist’s kingdom, because his is the one which is briefly terrifying, and submission to it will seem like our only option to be safe.
Four Earthly Kingdoms
1. this dream, like John’s in Revelation, came complete with an interpreter
2. and that’s who Daniel went to..v16
3. “what is the true meaning”…He was troubled, but he sought information from God!
4. in v17, our first piece of info: the four beasts will rise from the earth!
5. we identified three last week as Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece.
6. and the fourth is like them in this regard; they are earthly in origin,
-and things that come from the earth and especially human things, have a problem.
7. they are sinful, part of the fallen nature of everything on earth.
PP Genesis 6:5
8. and so each kingdom will exhibit the characteristics of sin and death.
9. self-absorbed, taking, dominating, cruel, destructive
10. this list of four kingdoms is not exhaustive; there have been many empires.
11. large and small, some worse than others, but all with common characteristics
12. British Empire the largest, based mostly on trade. And yet it still took, dominated, and sometimes imposed it’s will on others.
PP We will to think that USA is different, and in some ways our Christian heritage has helped. But if you would ask a Native American, you might get a different perspective.
13. one common characteristic of earthly kingdoms, they rise and they fall.
PP Map of Mongolian empire, now reduced to 3,000,000
14. in contrast, God’s kingdom is forever, v18
15. and it is forever because the One who rules it is eternal; never began, will never end
16. one more characteristic of earthly kingdoms; their sinfulness is restricted by God’s common grace.
A Different Earthly Kingdom
1. now Daniel was really interested in the 4th beast, and we are too. V19
2. this beast is different, not from God’s kingdom only, but from the others!
3. the others were earthly and so sinful, but this one is sinful on steroids!!
4. Rome?! Not hardly. Rome was no different than others, and in land area, actually #18 on the all time list.
5. allow yourself to be free of the “Rome as the fourth beast scenario”
6. 4th beast described: ruthless, destructive, without redeeming values, merciless, rules the whole earth!
-so far no empire has gotten close.
7. has ten kings that come from the kingdom, v24 they do not establish it
8. the kingdom is already there, already powerful, but something happens that releases that power to do evil.
9. so what kingdom is currently ready to become this terrible beast, having these kinds of characteristics that will become very apparent when the restricting power of common grace is removed?
PP Map of the Muslim World at present
-1.3 billion population
10. here is a kingdom that possesses the characteristics this beast has, but presently in a limited way.
11. yet terribly murderous of Christians even now!
Il) heard from brother Walt, 250,000 Christians will die for their faith this year. Majority at hands of Islam.
12. this “little horn”, rises from this kingdom and becomes it’s leader, “wages war against the saints.” V25
13. he “speaks boastfully”, i.e. he is a deceiver, promising what he cannot deliver.
14. and he is opposed to the laws of God, and brings in another law. V25
Il) guaranteed, Islam does not wage war according to the Geneva Convention.
Il) and if you want to see a different system of law, take a look at Sharia Law.
Il) even though American soldiers, not Muslims, inadvertently burned a Koran, Sharia law says they must die!
15. believers have tried to identify this fourth beast for centuries, and I could be wrong.