From Mystery to Revelation

From Mystery to Revelation

Scripture: Daniel 2:20
Date: 01/18/2020  Lesson: 3
'Whenever we face a big problem, we also should recognize that our God is great enough to resolve even the most unsolvable challenges.'

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Doug Batchelor: Welcome, friends, to our "Sabbath School Study Hour." We're so glad that you've tuned in and you're joining us. I want to extend a special welcome to our friends who are watching via social media from around the world and some of our online Sabbath School class members. We're glad you could study with us this very important lesson we're going to get to a little later today. And, now, just so you understand that, when we record these programs, we record them three weeks in advance of the rest of the country that is going through our study guide, and that provides us time to edit the programs, to put in closed-captioning, to send the programs off to the various studios.

We want to thank those networks that are carrying our "Sabbath School Study Hour," but, right now, this is, as the time of our recording, the last Sabbath of 2019, and we're going to be studying lesson number three in our new quarterly on Daniel. But we have a special offer that goes along with today's study, and it's a special full-length magazine, beautifully illustrated magazine on "Daniel & Revelation," produced by Amazing Facts. This is--well, you might say that this is our special holiday gift for everybody that studies with us because this is a premium offer. If you don't have this magazine, it'll give you a beautiful and detailed overview, and it's beautifully illustrated to the books, the prophecy books of "Daniel & Revelation," a free offer.

You don't want to miss this opportunity. All you've got to do is call the number on your screen. That's 866-788-3966. That basically is 866-Study-More. Now, sometimes our free offers, you can download them. You can't really download this one. We want to mail it to you. So you just got to go--oh, wait, they're telling me, no, there is a way to do a digital download. Scratch that. You can get the digital download. All you do is you text the code "SH021." Text that to 40544. I guess they figured out a way to do that. So you can download it, and you can also order it if you want the hard copy in your hands. I like the hard copy so you can feel it and touch it. Free. All you've got to do is contact, and we'll send that to you.

And in a minute, we're going to get into today's study, but before we do, we're going to invite our singers out. They're going to lead us in a few songs of praise, and then we'll get into the Word for today.

♪♪♪

♪ My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus's ♪

♪ blood and righteousness. ♪

♪ I dare not trust the sweetest frame, ♪

♪ but wholly lean on Jesus's name. ♪

♪ On Christ the solid rock I stand, ♪

♪ all other ground is sinking sand, ♪

♪ all other ground is sinking sand. ♪

♪ When darkness seems to veil His face, ♪

♪ I rest on His unchanging grace. ♪

♪ In every high and stormy gale, ♪

♪ my anchor holds within the veil. ♪

♪ On Christ the solid rock I stand, ♪

♪ all other ground is sinking sand, ♪

♪ all other ground is sinking sand. ♪

♪ His oath, His covenant, His blood supports me in the ♪

♪ whelming flood. ♪

♪ When all around my soul gives way, ♪

♪ He then is all my hope and stay. ♪

♪ On Christ the solid rock I stand, ♪

♪ all other ground is sinking sand, ♪

♪ all other ground is sinking sand. ♪

♪ When He shall come with trumpet sound, ♪

♪ O may I then in Him be found, ♪

♪ that in His righteousness alone, ♪

♪ faultless to stand before the throne. ♪

♪ On Christ the solid rock I stand, ♪

♪ all other ground is sinking sand, ♪

♪ all other ground is sinking sand. ♪♪

Female: Thank you for singing with us.

Doug: Thank you very much for leading us in those songs. And now as we go into our study, it's a good idea to begin with a word of prayer. Father in heaven, in a very special sense, we're going to be venturing on holy ground today, not only because we're in Your holy Word, but we're looking at one of the mountaintops in the vista of Scripture and prophecy. Pray that Your Spirit will be present. Remove every distraction. We asked that the truth will be proclaimed in triumphant tone so all can understand, and we ask this in Jesus's name, amen.

Well, once again, welcome to those who are joining us for our "Sabbath School Study Hour," and you probably heard me allude to it in prayer that we are sort of on holy ground today, in a special sense, in our Bible study. You know, when an evangelist goes out to do an evangelistic meeting, oh, about 80% of the time, somewhere in the first two nights of his evangelistic meeting is Daniel chapter 2.

Now, we're on lesson three in our study. Lesson three, because we spend some time on introduction, is dealing with Daniel chapter 2. Daniel chapter 2 is probably one of the most powerful prophecies in the Bible to give you a panorama of world history from the time of the prophet to the Second Coming, and it's a place in Scripture that it's just really irrefutable. And some people, it's like Mark Twain said, "A person convinced against his will is of the same opinion still."

Some people, no matter how much evidence you present, they're not going to believe. But a reasonable person who looks at Daniel chapter 2--and you can show that the prophecy was written before the events foretold, not just from Daniel, but it's showing from the books of Isaiah and Jeremiah and many others, how these kingdoms would unfold, and it happens in such an incredible way that it's absolutely astounding. So all evangelists love to use that because it strengthens faith in the Word of God as they proceed through all of the other presentations.

Now we have a memory verse. By the way, the lesson is called "From Mystery to Revelation." "From Mystery to Revelation." Our memory verse is from Daniel chapter 2, verse 20. If you've got your quarterlies, you'll see it in there. It's from the English Standard Version. Daniel 2, verse 20, and you can say this with me: "Daniel answered and said, 'Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might."

So in the first section, it's talking about the eminence of God. Now, the author of the lesson gives a great illustration. You can go to the Arctic. I've never been there, but I've heard about it. You can see a very mysterious site. On the Arctic Ocean, you'll see it's covered with ice, and the ice blocks are going in two opposite directions and colliding with each other, and you think, "What in the world is happening?" Well, what's going on is there's a breeze on top of the water. It's moving the small blocks, but the deeper blocks and icebergs are being carried by the current. So you can have the breeze going one way and the current going the other way, and depending on the depth of the ice, they're going opposite directions.

Well, when you look at the events of time, you can see that there is a deeper current unlike what you might see above water and the forces above water. There is a deeper current that is carrying history, and inexorably you have seen the kingdoms of the world follow a track that God outlines in His Word. This story in Daniel really summarizes it all.

So I'm going to invite you--if you haven't already done it, turn to the second book--second chapter in the book of Daniel, Daniel chapter 2, and we're going to begin, and pray for me as I proceed because I've always wished that I had, like, two and a half hours to cover this subject, and then you'd still be covering just the high points of the subject. It is such a magnificent study.

Let me tell you one more thing about it: In preparing, last night I went online, and I looked at some of the great Protestant Bible commentators. Now, these are not Seventh-day Adventist commentators, but they're great. You know, you've got John Wesley and Matthew Henry and Adam Clarke and Albert Barnes and Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown. You've got the "Pulpit Bible Commentary." You got everybody from Luther, all around. This is one of the places in the Bible that they almost uniformly agree is undeniable. They call it the "Prophecy of the Four" or five--I'll explain that many--great kingdoms. And in this prophecy of a dream Nebuchadnezzar has of this great image, it outlines the kingdoms of the world.

So let me just begin reading, and, again, pray as I proceed. "Now, the second year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign--" he's technically Nebuchadnezzar II, but he's called Nebuchadnezzar the Great. He's the one that we know about in history. This is taking place about 605 B.C., and you might wonder, "Why does it say Daniel studied three years under Nebuchadnezzar, and now it's the second year of his reign, and Daniel shows up?" Nebuchadnezzar reigned for two or three years with his father as a co-regent. This is now the second year of his sole reign after his father's death, and that's why some people say, "Oh, that makes sense now." Looks like there's a conflict there.

"Nebuchadnezzar had dreams, and his spirit was troubled so that his sleep left him." Now, if you want to know what he's dreaming about, you read later on in the passage, Daniel tells him, "You were thinking on your bed about what is going to follow after me." So he's anxious when he goes to sleep that night about, here, he's built up this magnificent kingdom, one of the great empires of the world, and he wonders how long it's going to last.

Nebuchadnezzar took every precaution to make sure his kingdom would not be followed by another, including the walls around the city and a number of other things. So he goes to sleep and he's troubled, and he has this dream, and his sleep was troubled. "The King gave command. He calls his magicians, astrologers, his sorcerers, his Chaldeans, to tell the king his dreams. So they come, and they stood before the king. And the king says to them, 'I've dreamed a dream, and my spirit is anxious to know the dream.' And his wise men spoke to him, and they said in Aramaic, 'O king, live forever. Tell your servants the dream, and we'll give the interpretation.'" "We'll concoct something. We'll make something up." "And the king answered and said to the Chaldeans, 'My decision is firm.'" He says, just, "I want you to know, I've already made up my mind. You guys tell me whatever you think I want to hear. This is a supernatural dream. I really want to know what it means. If you claim to have supernatural connections with the gods, then you tell me what I dream, and you tell me the meaning."

Now, how many of you have had a dream? It's very vivid. An hour later, you try and tell somebody, and that part of your brain where you dream is sort of subconscious, and it's hard to recall because your dreams are really happening in a different place in your brain. Every now and then, you'll have a very vivid dream. It frightened you awake. You remember it. You think about it with your conscious mind, and you're able to recall it better then because you've stored it in two places, but when you first wake up and you have a dream, if you don't spend any time thinking about it, it'll leave you.

Nebuchadnezzar knows, 'I've had this supernatural dream. It was very vivid. I woke up in a sweat. I was troubled, and now I can't remember the details. You tell me what I dreamed, and tell me the interpretation. Then I'll know your interpretation is real.' And they said, 'No, you tell us the dream.' And the king says, 'Look, my decision is firm. If you don't make known to me the dream and its interpretation, you're going to be cut in pieces--'" "drawn and quartered," they used to call that-- "and your houses are going to be made a dunghill," an ash heap, a dump. "However, if you tell me the dream and its interpretation, you'll receive from me gifts, rewards, and great honor. Therefore tell me the dream and its interpretation."

One of them has the courage to speak up. In verse 7, he says to the king, "'Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will give the interpretation.' The king said, 'I know for certain that you'd like to stall. You want to gain time, because you see my decision is firm. If you don't make known to me the dream, there's only one decree for you. You've agreed to speak corrupting and lying words before me. You're going to just make up something--'" I'm paraphrasing here-- until the time has changed, until I forget about it, and there's something, some other emergency.

That's what politicians do--is they stall. "'Therefore, tell me the dream, and I'll know that you can give me the interpretation.' And then one of the wise men answered the king, and he said," in verse 10, "There's not a man on earth who can tell the king's matter. Therefore, no king--this is why no king, lord, ruler, has ever asked such a thing of any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean." And by the way, the Chaldeans and the Magi, who came looking for Jesus, some of them were in the same caliber. "'It's a difficult thing the king requests, and there's no one else who can tell it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.' For this reason, the king was angry, and he was very furious--" you see that he gets angry in other chapters too-- "and he gave a command to destroy all the wise men of Babylon."

You know, Daniel, in chapter 2, says that God's given you a great kingdom. Who you set up, you set up. Who you put down, you put down. Nebuchadnezzar, he would snap his fingers, and that would be a person's destiny. So the king, he's preparing a decree to gather and to execute on a certain day all the wise men of Babylon. "And he gives a command to destroy all the wise men. So the decree went out, and they begin killing the wise men. So they sought Daniel and his companions to kill them. Then with counsel and wisdom, Daniel answered Arioch, the captain of the guard, who had gone out to kill the wise men of Babylon, he answered and said to Arioch, the king's captain, 'Why is the decree from the king so urgent?' Arioch made the decision known to Daniel.

So Daniel went in and he asked the king of time that he might tell the king the interpretation. Then Daniel went to his house. Now, Arioch said, 'Look, there's some wise men here, and you know those four Hebrews you tested and you said they were ten times smarter than anyone else? They said, if you give them a little time, even if you give them a couple of days, they'll be able to tell you what you want.'" Now the king is starting to regret he says, "wiping out all the wise men."

What do you have after you kill all the wise men? Dumb men. And so he thought, "This isn't going to help the kingdom." So he probably was going slow. I'm not so sure he had started to execute them. I think he was gathering them. In the original, it's not clear because, I mean, of course, you're going to--anyone that's getting ready to be killed, you can say, "Yeah, wait, no, I got an idea of what the dream is." You'll try something.

So he goes back. He says, "Look, there's some Hebrews here. If you give them a little time, they'll tell you your dream." Well, Nebuchadnezzar, he still wants to know the meaning of the dream. So he evidently grants them at least 24 hours. And it says that "Daniel then, he makes the thing known to his friends Hananiah, Mishael, Azariah, his companions, that they might seek mercies from the God of heaven concerning this secret, so that Daniel and his companions might not perish with all the wise men of Babylon."

You know, because of Daniel's intercession, they do not perish. It's because of the intercession of Jesus, we do not perish. "And the secret was revealed to Daniel in a night vision, and Daniel blessed the God of heaven." Now, when you're struggling and you need to know something, Matthew chapter 18, verse 19, "Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven."

You get two honest believers, or three, the Bible says, "An effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much." If you get two or three of them together and, here, you've got the four of them and they're agreeing together, they're the representatives of God in this pagan nation. They're missionaries. They say, "Lord, what good are we going to do to You as missionaries in this country if we're all exterminated? Show us the king's dream and the interpretation." And they prayed. They have a very serious--at least, part of the night--prayer meeting.

Eventually, they go to sleep, and Daniel has the king's dream. He knows it's the king's dream. "Then the secret is revealed to Daniel in a night vision. So Daniel blesses the God of heaven." First thing he does is he thanks God. "Daniel answered and said, 'Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His, and He changes the times and the seasons. He removes kings and raises up kings.'" This is the content of the vision. "He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals the deep secrets, the secret things. He knows what's in the darkness, and light dwells with Him. I thank you and praise You, O God of my fathers. You have given me wisdom and might and have made me to know what we asked of You, for You have made us to know the king's demand."

Now, what did Daniel say? "You have given us wisdom." What does James say? "If any of you lack wisdom, if you ask of God, he'll give to all liberally." And by the way, that's one of the gifts of the Spirit. In Isaiah chapter 11, verse 2, it says that "the Spirit of the Lord was upon Him--" and one of those characteristics, the spirit of wisdom. So God will give you wisdom if you need it, especially if you want wisdom to be a witness, and that's what they were praying for.

"So then Daniel goes to Arioch, captain of the garden, who the king had appointed to destroy all the wise men of Babylon." And they probably got all the wise men all huddled up in cages or prisons, ready for mass execution. "And he went, and he said, 'Do not destroy the wise men of Babylon. Take me before the king, and I will tell the king the interpretation.' So Arioch quickly brought Daniel before the king and said thus to him, 'I have found a man--'"

Now, did he find Daniel, or did Daniel find him? But, you know, the guard is looking for a reward. You always want to say, "I found him. I was out searching diligently because I know the king wanted to know, and I found somebody." Well, Daniel went and found him. So you notice that here you've got the Babylonian seeking the glory for himself--but you got Daniel. What does he do? He gives the glory to God. "The king answers," in verse 26, "he says to Daniel, whose name was Belshazzar, 'Are you able to make known to me the dream which I have seen and its interpretation?' And Daniel said yes, because I'm smarter than everybody else. I've got the special powers. You know, even Joseph, when he told the pharaoh his dreams--and by the way, in the first section, when it talks about the eminence of God, you've got the same thing happening in the story of Joseph, where he's telling the king his dream.

It's so often through the Bible history, you've got the Jewish prophet, who's telling the pagan leader what the future says or what the future is all about, and you have it happening with Mordecai and Ahasuerus with Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar, with Daniel and Darius, with Joseph and Pharaoh. It's like God is using these representatives in these pagan countries to guide, and even in the time of Jesus, Pilate's wife has a dream and says, "Don't kill that righteous man, the Jew."

Isn't that interesting? So he says--Daniel can take the credit for himself. "He said, 'The secret that the king has demanded, the wise men, astrologers, magicians, and soothsayers cannot declare to the king, but there is a God in heaven." Now, I can think of three times they went to the wise men, and they couldn't do it. Well, the pharaoh's wise men, could not reproduce all the plagues, could they? That Moses could produce. And the pharaoh's magicians could not interpret the dream that Joseph could interpret. And when the handwriting is on the wall, they bring in Belshazzar's --not Belteshazzar-- Belshazzar's wise men. They can't tell what the writing means, they have to call Daniel in to tell what it means.

And here, again, the astrologers, you know, whenever I drive home from church, there's a place on the left-hand side of the road, "Soothsayer, card, tarot cards." You know, I've never gone in, but I've been really curious before, to go in there and just to say, "Tell me, what's going on? Help me know the future." I want to just see--you want to know what they're going to say.

So, he gives the glory to God. "There is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He's making known to Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days." All right, so what's this dream about? What's going to be in the latter days. "Your dream--" now, I'm trying to get through these 50 verses here-- "Your dream and the visions of--you're on your head--on your bed--are these."

All right, now, we're going to show you something on the screen in just a moment. Amazing Facts spent three and a half years--you know, that's 1,260 days. We spent three and a half years working on a video on Daniel 2. We're not going to go through this lesson without showing you at least the vision of what Nebuchadnezzar dreamed, and so here's a quick--and I think I'd do some narration on it. We're going to show you--if you guys are ready to roll it, we'll show the video from our "Kingdoms in Time" video.

Doug: One night, about 2,500 years ago, the powerful Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar fell asleep while contemplating the vast glory of his kingdom. As this grand architect of one of the world's most powerful empires drifted off into a restless sleep, he wondered what the future held for his kingdom.

♪♪♪ Doug: God took this opportunity to reveal to him, through a vivid dream, not only the ultimate fate of his nation, but also the rise and the fall of world empires from his day, all the way to the end of Earth's history.

♪♪♪ Doug: In this amazing prophetic dream found in Daniel chapter 2, God showed Nebuchadnezzar a colossal statue with a head of gold, the chest of silver, thighs and belly of bronze, legs of iron, and the feet and toes mixed partly of clay and iron. Then, suddenly, a huge stone plunged from the heavens and smashed the idol, pulverizing it into dust.

♪♪♪ Doug: And the stone, it grows into a gigantic mountain that fills the earth.

Doug: Nebuchadnezzar knew this was no ordinary dream. So the troubled king called for his wisest counselors to come and relate to him the dream and explain its meaning. They, of course, were powerless to tell the king his dream, but then God gave the same dream and its interpretation to a Jew stationed in Babylon, a young man by the name of Daniel. He went before the king and presented the precise details of the dream, and then gave the interpretation.

♪♪♪ Doug: And, by the way, I want to thank Nathan for, at the last minute, Nathan Batchelor cut that out of the DVD for me yesterday so we could share it with you today. It gives you a visual. By the way, this is two minutes of a one-hour program, called "Kingdoms in Time," and as I mentioned, if you want to see the whole prophecy study, you can go online and learn about that.

But so he has this dream, and now Daniel's getting ready to tell the king what the dream is all about. And you go to verse--let's see here, verse 31, "You O king, are watching and behold, a great image--" so it's very tall. It's very big-- "this great image whose splendor--" it's very bright, it's excellent, it's brilliant, it's powerful, it's awesome--"stood before you. It's form--" where it says, "awesome," there, it means "terrible, frightening." Now, Nebuchadnezzar is a pagan king, and what you have happening is these pagan empires are outlined in the form of an idol. They all were involved in idolatry.

It's interesting, later, Daniel has a dream, and his dreams are about beasts in Daniel chapter 7, we'll get to later. Daniel, as a Hebrew, they were always worried about beasts that ate their sheep, and it's all these beasts that eat sheep, you know, lions and leopards and bears, and then this strange, nondescript beast. But Daniel--Nebuchadnezzar, rather, he's getting this vision as an idol because this is an outline. The different idol and the different metals representing the kingdoms that would rule over God's people.

Now, you might be thinking, "Are all these the major empires of the world?" No. "I mean, what about China? What about the Inca Indians and their great empires in many parts the globe at this time, advanced civilizations?" The only ones mentioned here are the ones that had principle power over God's people. And as God's people spread during the time of Christianity, you notice Rome is included, and then the divisions of the Roman Empire. So that's why it's not talking about the kingdom of China or the Incas, or others that might be mentioned.

So he goes on, and he said, "You see this great image. The head is fine gold. Its chest and its arms are of silver. Its belly in its thighs are a bronze. Its legs are of iron. Its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. You watch till the stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on the feet of iron and clay and broke them in pieces. Then the iron and the clay and the bronze and the silver and the gold were crushed together and became like chaff of the summer threshing floor, and the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found, and the stone that struck the image became a great mountain, and it filled the whole earth. This is the dream. Now we will give the interpretation of it before the king."

Now, the king probably is absolutely speechless. Can you imagine somebody telling you what you dream? It's like someone reading your mind, and the king is realizing this young Hebrew whippersnapper, he's connected. He knows the Lord. And the king is on the edge of his seat. He didn't even want to interrupt Daniel because Daniel just keeps on going. He doesn't say, "Am I right, King?" You notice that? With complete authority, he says, "This was your dream, and now we'll tell you the interpretation." He doesn't wait to say, "How did they do? Is that close to what your dream was?" So that just shows you the confidence. He knew that it was the Holy Spirit that had guided him.

"Now we will give the interpretation before the king. You, O king, are a king of kings." There were a lot of kingdoms under him. He's a counterfeit Babylon king of kings. Jesus, the King of king, New Jerusalem. Nebuchadnezzar, king of king, Babylon. "For the King of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory, and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field, and the birds of the heaven, He's given them into your hand, and He's made you ruler over them all. You are this head of gold."

Well, right now, Nebuchadnezzar, he's feeling pretty good, but then he's remembering, "Wait, it doesn't stay gold." And so, then he goes on, and he outlines the other kingdoms. Now, I'm going to go through the other kingdoms, and I'm going to back up. I'm going to give you a little more detail on each of them, just so we can get through the passage here, okay? "But after you--" I'm in verse 39, Daniel 2, verse 39. "After you shall arise another kingdom inferior to you, then another third kingdom of bronze, which will rule over all the earth.

Then a fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron, inasmuch iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything, like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush the others. Whereas you saw the feet and toes were partly of potter's clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided, yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with--" and the word there is "miry clay" or "potter's clay," and I'll get to that in just a moment. "But as you saw the iron mixed with the ceramic clay, they'll mingle with the seed of men, but they'll not adhere. They'll not cleave. They'll not be glued or fixed to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay.

And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, and the kingdom will not be left to other people, but it will break in pieces and consume all of these kingdoms, and it will stand forever. Inasmuch as you saw a stone cut out of the mountain without hands and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, the gold, the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this." He says, "He's showing you what's going to come to pass. The dream is certain and its interpretation sure."

Now here, in the middle of the Bible, you've got a statement about Bible prophecy. God's Word does not fail. The heavens and earth will pass away. God's Word does not pass away. These words are certain and sure. Did it happen? Well, we know from the Dead Sea Scrolls, and even just basic Jewish history, Daniel was a real person. If you don't believe the Dead Sea Scrolls, believe Jesus. Jesus talks about Daniel the prophet. He said, "If you want to know the future, whoever reads, let him understand." And he outlined what was going to happen here, and it happened exactly as it was foretold.

Babylon was a kingdom that was a golden kingdom. The historian Herodotus, the Greek historian Herodotus, he said that Babylon--and most historians today think he was exaggerating, but he said the walls are about 60 miles around, 15 miles on each side, 300 feet tall. They were massive, maybe not that big, but it was a massive kingdom. Nebuchadnezzar did not want any other kingdom to be able to overthrow his kingdom. He was bent his entire life on being king of the world, and just like Nimrod built Babel, because he wanted to be king of the world. That's why they built the tower--Nebuchadnezzar built Babylon, and he actually--the ruins, supposedly, the ruins of the ancient Tower of Babel were still visible during his day, and he took the stones and began to rebuild it. He built a great seven-layer tower. He did build the Tower of Babel, not as tall as the other one, to Marduk. He supposedly spent 50 tons--had 50 tons of gold--I think that's more gold than we have in Fort Knox--on one statue--I think it was of Marduk--in the temple. And so everywhere there was gold.

It was the most magnificent palace in the world in Ancient Babylon. Even after Alexander the Great conquered Persia, you know where he ended up dying? Babylon. He moved to Babylon. And our son was in the Marines. He was stationed in Iraq, and he went and looked at the ancient ruins of Babylon. It's still there today. God said Babylon would fall and it would never be rebuilt, and that's what happened, and you--I don't want to say too much about it now, but you read in Daniel 5 about the fall of Babylon. That was foretold, not only by Daniel, but by others. Jeremiah, Isaiah, talked about the fall of Babylon, the handwriting on the wall, and Cyrus, the Persian general, working with the Medes. It was a Medo-Persian kingdom. They diverted the river, went under the walls. That was all foretold.

You read in Isaiah chapter 45, it says the name of the king that would overthrow Babylon, and it tells them means that the king would use to overthrow Babylon, and it happened exactly as it was foretold. It says the gates would be left open. The soldiers would be terrified, and they'd be inebriated, and there was a party that night. All that exactly was fulfilled. We know that Isaiah wrote that before it transpired. God must know the future.

Now, you notice what's happening. You go from the golden kingdom of Babylon. The splendor and the power of Babylon was unsurpassed. Nebuchadnezzar, you know, he had stamped millions of bricks around Babylon with his own name, Nebuchadnezzar II, and they found many reliefs that said things like this: "Babylon, the city which is the delight of my eyes, which I have glorified, may it last forever." They found that written in Babylonian cuneiform all over the empire. "May it last forever. May it last forever."

You get to our next study on Daniel 3, he builds a great image all of gold because he wants his kingdom to last forever. He thinks he can overrule the dream, the vision, by making it all gold, but Babylon fell to the Persians. Cyrus--of course, you had the Medo-Persian Empire, the two arms. You got the bear stands up on one side because--in Daniel 7. The Persians were a little stronger than the Medes. Cyrus eventually shifted it all. His father was Persian. His mother was Median, so they let him be the sole king, and soon it was known as just the Persian Empire.

Silver, they are a little bigger. They last longer, but silver is inferior. They didn't have the glory of Nebuchadnezzar. The currency in Persia was silver, but then, after--the Persian kingdom lasts for--oh, let me see--the Babylonian kingdom lasts about 66 years. Persian kingdom, it lasted from 538 to about 331 B.C., and it falls to Alexander the Great, and they were known as the Greek soldiers--bronze soldiers, rather, because bronze was their--I know it says in your Bible, "brass" in some of your Bibles. There was no modern brass. That was made with tin. It was really what we called "bronze" back then, and they used to use bronze armor, and one of the--you can read in your lesson, Psammetichus I, of Egypt, according to Herodotus, the historian, he saw invading Greek pirates that were the fulfillment of a prophecy that was foretold of "men of bronze coming from the sea." And so they had heard that these men of bronze, Greek men of bronze--isn't that interesting?

So totally outside of the Bible, even in history. So when Daniel says, "Next, there's this kingdom of bronze." Now, which is worth more, gold or silver? Gold. In Solomon days, it says, "Silver was counted for nothing because everything was gold." But what's worth more, silver or bronze? Silver. And then you've got the kingdom of Alexander, and it lasts a little longer, and it spreads a little farther but--and he was--Alexander was very smart in how he entrenched his government. So even when the Romans took over, they still used Greek as the language of learning.

Alexander was brilliant on many levels. But he dies in Babylon. His kingdom is divided among his four generals, and then they finally fell to the Romans. They figured that was about 168 B.C., and they, the Romans then last for about 500 years, and it's interesting: The Roman Empire lasts longer. So what's happening here with each one of these metals--you getting this? You've got gold is softer than silver, which is softer than bronze, which is softer than iron, which is softer than concrete.

Now, what is in the feet? Iron and what? Iron and clay. You know what he says he saw? He says, "iron and miry clay." What is the number one building material in the world today? It's reinforced concrete. It is iron mixed with concrete is the number one building material we are living today in the world, and, you know the people who mastered concrete? The Romans. You ever heard of the Pantheon? It--built about 120 A.D. It's the largest expanse of non-iron reinforced concrete--because this is during the time of just Rome, which is, you know, this kingdom of iron, but then they learned to reinforce iron mixed with clay about the time that Rome fell to the barbarians from the north.

And then, down in the feet, you've got these ten toes. So look at how perfectly this all happened. He foretold that Babylon would fall to the Persians, the kingdom of Greece--I'm sorry--of Persia, the silver. Then you heard that the Persians would fall to the Greeks. That's the bronze. The Greeks would eventually fall to the Romans. Roman is known as the kingdom of what metal? Iron. You know why the Romans were able to conquer? They had mastered iron. What did David say about the sort of Goliath? He said, "There's none like it." You know why? Because the Israelites at first had bronze swords, and they're great if you're cutting a person, but as soon as you went and tried to fight another iron sword with a bronze sword, the iron sword would cut the bronze sword in two. It was so much harder--as much as iron breaks in pieces everything else.

When the Romans learned to mass produce iron weapons, it was iron swords. It was an iron spear that went into the side of Jesus. Probably iron nails that put him on the cross. And so Rome became known as a kingdom of iron. In the midst of their kingdom, God waited until that moment where you had a universal language. You had roads going everywhere. Greek was the language of commerce, just like in the world today English is the language of business. And all the Chinese study English and, you know, even Brazil, all the different parts of world, they learn English because it's the international language of business.

In the time of Jesus, it was Greek. The writing was in Greek. The Scriptures were even translated into Greek because everyone could read Greek. The Romans built roads that went all the way--the Roman Empire went from the islands, the British Islands, to the Arabian Sea, to the coast of North Africa. It was a vast empire. So you see what's happening with each one of these kingdoms? They're occupying God's people. That's why these kingdoms are mentioned, okay? God is telling his people what to expect about the kingdoms that would occupy them and because they weren't going to get another king again.

After Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem, he said, "You're not going to have your own independent King again, until the Son of David comes, the Messiah." That's the stone, the last part of the vision, right? So each kingdom lasts a little longer. The Persians lasted longer than the Babylonian--not as glorious--bigger territory. The Greeks lasted longer than the Persians. Alexander marched to India. There are Afghanis that have Greek blood, still to this day. They've done a DNA test, and the people in Afghanistan have Greek blood because Alexander's soldiers went through there, and there are people in Northern India that have Greek blood--isn't that interesting?--when they do DNA tests.

Then you've got the Romans--went even farther. They went into North Africa. They went up into Europe, and then, when the Roman Empire fell, and you get into the feet, ten divisions of the Roman Empire then scattered around the world. From those kingdoms of Spain and Portugal and England, you've heard it said, "The sun never set on the English Empire." They went around the world. Brazil, they went around the world. Portugal, I mean, they went around the world. Spain, they went around the world. They took those kingdoms and around the world, and with them, the Gospel went. So it still was the kingdom that would occupy their people.

Now, when you get to the feet--I talked to you about the building material--why does it say, "iron and clay"? "Iron" is what empire? Rome. What does clay represent? What was man made of? The dust of the ground. And, you know, Jesus, once he spit on the ground, he took some dust. He made some clay, put it on someone's eye. That's how God made man. Probably wasn't just dry clay. He added some living water to it and made man.

And so here, what you have in the feet is you've got a combination of state and religion. And this is what happened during the division of the Roman Empire. Instead of it Rome being ruled by Caesars, now Rome was ruled by popes, and we know that that would receive a deadly wound, but that same power would come back again. What calendar do we use now? Roman calendar. Yeah, I know. Several hundred years ago, we went from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, but they're both Roman calendars, and the reason we got a month named July is Julius Caesar, and the reason we have a month named August--this is all over the world, isn't it? Do the Chinese still have August? Yeah, they use the same calendar we use--it's Augustus Caesar. And so anywhere you go in the world today, you can see the influence of Rome.

So we're still living in the division, those ten divisions of the Roman Empire, and, I realize they fractured and re-divided several times, but where do you think the economies of the world-- where's the power rest? It's from those divisions. America is really an extension of the British kingdom. I know we broke away. South America, they're extensions of the Spanish kingdoms and the Portuguese kingdoms and the-- the Swiss and the Burgundians and the Italians.

And so those ten divisions of the Roman Empire ended up going around the world, but at that point, during the time of Paul, Christianity began to spread around Rome, and when the Romans fell, Christianity then spread around these divisions, and so everything has happened perfectly.

Now we got to get to the last part. What happens, at the end, you get a stone. "Inasmuch as you saw the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands--" what does that mean, "cut out of the mountain without hands"? Is this a normal rock? Exodus 20, "And if you make an altar," Exodus 20, verse 25, "If you make an altar of stone, you shall not build it of hewn stone, for if you use your tool on it, you've profaned it." Why did God tell the children of Israel, "Do not lift up your tool on the stone?" One of the commandments is "Do not make idols." You can make an altar, but as soon as you start lifting up your tool on it, you're going to get creative. You're going to put little eyeballs and a nose on it and arms and legs, and you're going to start thinking, "That's what I look like." And so the Jews were death on idolatry, all the way from Revelation to the very beginning, "Do not worship idols," so do not lift up your tool.

So when he says, "A stone is cut without man's hands," it means this is a pure stone. It's a stone of God. Who cut out the first two tables of stone the Ten Commandments were on? God did. "Not man's hands," is what that means. Now, Moses wrote down the ceremonial law. God wrote His law with His own finger, not the hands of man. This stone represents God's kingdom. By the way, you can read in Deuteronomy 27:5, "If you build an altar to the Lord, you shall use stones. You shall not do an iron tool on them." Jacob has a dream of a ladder that goes to heaven, and that ladder is Christ. What does he set up as a memorial? A stone, and he pours oil on it. You know what that is? That's an anointed stone. Christ is the anointed Rock of Ages.

You read in Zechariah chapter 3, "For behold, the stone that I have laid before Joshua." The word "Joshua" actually means "Jesus." "Upon the stone are seven eyes." That's Zechariah 3:9. Stone with seven eyes. Do you have in Revelation 4, a lamb with seven eyes? Who's the lamb? Who's the stone? Jesus. So how does Daniel--I'm sorry. How does David bring down Goliath? 1 Samuel 17:50: "So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and he struck the Philistine and killed him."

What happens in Daniel chapter 2? Now, David hits him in the head. Daniel hits him in the feet. But it's a stone that brings down the idol. Of course, you know, when they implode a building, you've probably seen images where they bring down some skyscraper. They've got demolition crews. They don't put a bomb at the top. They plant dynamite around the bottom, and once the foundation goes, the whole thing collapses, right? And so that's what's happening. The stone strikes it on the feet.

Also what time--do the feet represent the end of time? We're living now in the time of the toes, and as some evangelists like to say, "We are living in the toenails of the toes. Okay, we're at the very end of time." Has everything else in this vision happened so far? Right on schedule. Do we have any doubt the last part is going to happen?

So what is that last part? Great stone cut out a mountain without man's hands, comes and strikes the image on the feet, pulverizes it into dust, so it blows away. That means this idol that represented the religions and the kingdoms of the world that fought against God's people, they're obliterated.

Now, why is this all happening? God's people are occupied during that time by a foreign pagan power that worshiped other gods. They're being oppressed. God is reminding even Nebuchadnezzar and God's people, "Your kingdom is not going to last." Daniel is having the audacity to say, "God gave you the strength to let you know, 'Your kingdom doesn't win. My kingdom wins.' Your god doesn't win. My God wins."

And I think Nebuchadnezzar got that subtle message several times. He gets it in chapter 3, where he says, "There's no god like Daniel's God who can deliver from the fiery furnace." He gets it in chapter 4, when he says, "I now lift my eyes to the God of heaven." This is a battle between gods that's happening. Is it an idol we worship, or is it God, a stone without man's hands, which is the opposite of an idol? You see what it's saying here? So this is just a beautiful parable, and he said, "This thing is sure." So who is the stone? Jesus is the stone. His kingdom fills the whole earth. "Blessed are the meek, they will inherit the earth." And He is the King of kings. Jesus is called the Rock of Ages. Jesus said, "He that hears these words of mine and does them is like a wise man building on a rock." And so the Ten Commandments are written on stone, and Jesus is the Word. This is what destroys the image.

So, you get the Babylonian Empire, 605 to 539; the Persians, 538 to 331; the Greeks, 331 to 169; pagan Rome, 168 to 476; the divisions of the Roman Empire from about 476 to our present day. Next thing is the stone comes. Now, I don't know if that excites you, but that excites me. It means that Jesus is coming soon, amen?

How does Nebuchadnezzar respond? Let me just read this to you. They'll fix it in the editing. I know I'm going a moment long. "Then Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face, and he prostrates before Daniel--" instead of worshiping an idol, he's worshiping a Jewish prophet, and you're not supposed to do that either-- "and he commanded that they should present an offering and incense--" they're worshiping him like a God--" and burn incense before him. And the king answered Daniel and said, "Truly your God is the God--" not "a" God. He says, "He is the God of gods."

In the beginning, it says, Nebuchadnezzar was the king of kings. At the end, "Your God is the God of gods--" Jesus is the King of kings-- "'the Lord of kings, revealer of secrets, since you could reveal this secret.' Then the king promoted Daniel, and Daniel said, 'King, I've got three friends that were part of the prayer meeting with me.' And he gave him many great gifts, and he made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief administrator over all the wise men of Babylon. Also, Daniel petition the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego over the affairs of the province of Babylon, but Daniel sat at the king's gate like Mordecai. He's a judge in the city, the capital of Babylon.

Wonderful study, friends. I hope you got something out of it. Again, you can look up that new DVD called "Kingdoms in Time," and we will send you this free study on "Daniel & Revelation." It's a great illustrated study. All you've got to do is call... That's 866-Study-More, or you can even text, and there's a way to download and read this. And you text "SH021" to 40544, and you can download that where you're at right now. God bless you, friends. Lord willing, we'll study his Word together again next week.

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Male: I had a lot of pressure as a pastor's kid to perform. They're not allowed to make the same mistakes as everyone else. Not only are people looking at you, but they're judging your father according to what they see in you. After a while, you get tired of carrying that load as a child. By the time it got time for me to leave home, I was pretty much finished with all that. I just--I wasn't good enough, and I didn't belong in there, so when I left home, I went to the world at a dead run. You know, I partied and went to work and, you know, was living my life as the way I wanted to, and I just wanted to be left alone.

One day, I was driving my motorcycle with some buddies of mine. All of a sudden, I had oil running everywhere, all up and down my arm and across my legs and rippling down the tank in the wind and loaded it up on a trailer and sent it to the shop to have it fixed. So I went to pick it up, and a mechanic came out, and he said, "You know," he said, "we got your front end rebuilt." He said, "That wasn't the bad part." He said, "The bad part was the only thing holding the front tire on was the weight of the motorcycle." So all I would've had to have done was accelerate quickly and front tire would've came off.

And it got my attention and got me to thinking, you know, you hear a lot of people talking about, you know, the relationship that they have with Jesus, and all that, and I didn't even know what that was supposed to look like. It began to work on my mind. I think God was beginning to speak to me. I believe that you can say I may be a poster child for the Shepherd--lost sheep story because I wasn't looking for God. I didn't really care, but He cared about me, and He came and got me.

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Doug: What can be more irresistible than a kitten? These guys might look cute now, but some of their ancestors have grown into man eaters. [roaring] We're here in a lion park in South Africa now where we can view these creatures in relative safety, but there's a reason they're known as the "king of beasts." So what is it that people find so enchanting and frightening about lions? Is it their speed, their claws, their sharp teeth, or all of the above?

Might also be some of the stories about man-eating lions, like in 1898, right here in Africa, they were building a bridge over the Tsavo River in Kenya, and two brother lions terrorized the construction process, eating 135 workers.

Did you know lions are mentioned in the Bible over a hundred times, and you can find them all the way from Genesis to Revelation? It's usually in reference to their ferocity and how dangerous they are. Of course, Samson killed a lion with his bare hands. David kill a lion. There are man-eating lions in the Bible. The way that they punish criminals was by throwing them in the lions' den, and early Christians were even fed to lions.

But, amazingly, as the Bible mentions, not all lions are to be feared. There have been a few friendly lions in history. For example, in the 1950s, a couple, George and Margaret Westbeau, who lived up at a ranch near Seattle, Washington, adopted an abandoned lion cub. They named it Little Tyke because they felt sorry for it. But they discovered, as they tried to feed her, she refused to eat any meat at all. They were concerned, thinking there was no hope for this little lioness to survive, and everybody told them the same because we know, in the wild, lions survive on almost an entirely meat diet. Then someone showed the Westbeaus that verse in the Bible that talks about, in heaven, the animals are vegetarians, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. That encouraged them, and so they began to feed Little Tyke a purely vegetarian diet.

Not only did she survive, she thrived, growing into a lion that was over 352 pounds and over 10 feet long. In fact, zoologists that examined Little Tyke when she was full grown, said they had never seen such a perfect specimen of a lioness in their life, a pure vegetarian.

You know, when we hear incredible stories about that of Little Tyke, it reminds us that God's original plan was to make a world of total peace. It describes it here in the Bible in Isaiah chapter 11, verse 6: "The wolf also will dwell with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with a young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together, and a little child will lead them." Nothing is going to hurt and destroy in the new heavens and the new earth that God is going to create. Wouldn't you like to live in a kingdom where there's perfect peace, where there's no more death or killing or pain? God says that He wants you in that kingdom. The Lamb of God made it possible for you to have an encounter with the Lion of the tribe of Judah. Wouldn't you like to meet Him today?

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