Through the Bible with Les Feldick, Book 10
LESSON ONE * PART I
NEBUCHADNEZZAR AND DREAM (DANIEL 3)
We trust that as you study with us that you will find it to be as
thrilling and understanding to you as it is in our classes. We have no ax to
grind; we're an informal Bible study and we don't try to twist peoples arms
into thinking one way or another. We just like to open the Scriptures and help
people see what The Book really says. So many of us have been bound by
tradition, and if there is any word in the Scripture that is condemned, it is
tradition. We must be careful that we don't find ourselves locked into a
tradition that is not necessarily in line with The Book. So this is our
only goal; and that is to help folks see what the Bible really says.
This Book is so gloriously supernaturally put together so that there is no
possible way that human hands could have done it. For example, there are
three books of Prophecy written by Jews of course. But all written outside the
land of Israel. Daniel, which we will be looking at, is one of them.
Daniel is writing from Babylon, while he is captive there under King
Nebuchadnezzar. The second one is the Book of Ezekiel which was also written
from captivity in the next empire, as Ezekiel writes from Persia. And
the third one is the last Book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation, written
by John from the Isle of Patmos, which is in the Aegean Sea, between
Turkey and Greece. Now those three Books of Prophecy also are unique in that
all three write in symbolism.
Just stop and think about it. Ezekiel uses for example, The Dry Bones, The
Stick, and the Fiery Wheel. All those are symbolism, but they have a literal
truth. Now we come into the Book of Daniel and we will see this Great Image,
with a head of gold, and a chest of silver, a belly of brass and on down its
body. It's a symbolism of all the great empires that would be coming down
through history. And then when you get to the Book of Revelation written by
John, most people are afraid to even study the Book of Revelation. They can't
understand it. And therefore won't even read it, simply because it is in
symbolic language. But you see all those symbolisms are all interpreted by
Scripture itself, in one place or another. And all you have to do is search
the Scriptures and these things begin to fall into place. So that is enough
for introduction. So now let's come back to the Book of Daniel where we left
off in our last program. Daniel is writing shortly after Nebuchadnezzar has
besieged the Jews and taken them back to Babylon. He is now being trained by
the Babylonians for service in the king's kingdom. Daniel is brought to
pre-eminence by interpreting this dream of the King, that his magicians were
unable to interpret for him. A person asked me several years ago if I were
aware there were people who believed that Daniel was written by an impostor
many years after the events had happened. And of course I am. He wanted to
know if I had proof that they were wrong. And immediately one verse came to
mind, because in Matthew 24 we have the proof. And although there are
certainly other evidences that Daniel is in line with Scripture, there are
other reasons that prove it is a legitimate Book of Prophecy, but the best one
of all is here in Matthew where the Lord Jesus is speaking during His earthly
"When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation,
spoken of by Daniel the prophet,..."
If Jesus is who we know He is, and was what we know He was: The Eternal
Creator, Sovereign Almighty God, and Author of this Book and He says
that Daniel was a prophet, then that settles it for me. That is as far as you
have to go. He put His stamp of approval on the Book of Daniel as a Book of
prophecy. This Book of Prophecy was written about 606 B.C. and Daniel is going
to unleash upon us all the Gentile Empires that will be coming down through
So we might as well go to Chapter 2 of Daniel, where we have king
Nebuchadnezzar all shook up because he had this tremendous dream, and it must
have been a nightmare. Otherwise he wouldn't have been so belligerently, and
antagonistically against all his magicians, trying to get them to uncover the
dream. So he puts out the command for all the magicians to come in before him
and tell him not only the interpretation of the dream, but to tell him what the
dream was. That is asking for something isn't it? Remember I told you last
week that these ancient oriental kings were ruthless. If someone couldn't
fulfill what they requested, they would put them to death. So these magicians
were right on the line with their life.
"For this cause the king was angry and very furious
(because these magicians couldn't recover his dream), and commanded to
destroy all the wise men of Babylon." Now that is quite a king isn't it?
"And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain;
and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain."
Remember Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were all in that kettle
of fish as far as the king was concerned. Now Daniel speaks up. Remember he is
just a young fellow, and has no reason to be respected for his age.
"Then Daniel answered with counsel and wisdom to Arioch the
captain of the king's guard. which was gone forth to slay the wise men of
Babylon. ...Why is the decree so hasty from the king? Then Arioch made the
thing known to Daniel. Then Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he
would give him time, and he would show the king the interpretation." Then
"Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision
(remember this is the Sovereign Almighty God at work). Then Daniel
blessed the God of heaven."
God now reveals to Daniel the dream that Nebuchadnezzar had forgotten. So he
is brought before the king. Verse 25. Now I'm skipping some verses for sake of
"The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was
(Daniel's name had been changed from the Hebrew to the Aramaic.)
Belteshazzar, `Art thou able to make know unto me the dream which I have seen,
and the interpretation thereof?' Daniel answered in the presence of the king,
and said, `The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the
astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king;'"
"But (now here comes Daniel with his testimony) there
is a God (remember this is a God that Nebuchadnezzar knew nothing of. I
always remind my classes and most of you know this. That beginning with the
Tower of Babel, the whole human race now has been saturated with idolatry of
one sort or another. They had so many different gods, but didn't know the true
God, until He called Abraham. So then Abraham had a knowledge of Jehovah, and
that was passed on through Isaac, Jacob, and the Twelve Tribes. So Israel
alone had a knowledge of the one true God) in heaven that revealeth secrets,
and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter
days...." (what is Daniel saying? God has revealed to you prophetic
events. Now remember that as I stressed it last week, and I'll keep on
stressing it, that all true prophecy centers on the Nation of Israel. And
usually within a time frame. God will put the details out there and He will
put it in time. Like when we get to Chapter nine He's going to say 490 years
are determined upon the Nation of Israel. Now the Church Age has nothing like
this whatsoever. There is no prophecy concerning the Church.
We can see as the church is approaching the end of the Age of Grace, by virtue
of events getting ready for prophecy coming on the scene. But
for the most part there is no prophetic utterance connected with the Church
Age. When people say that on such and such a day the Lord is coming, just mark
them off as false. There is nothing in Scripture that can help us set a
date for the Lord to return for the Church. But as soon as the Church Age
is done, and that undetermined period of time has ended, and the seven years of
Tribulation begins, then, yes, prophecy begins again. Then we will be back in
a time frame. Seven years are going to elapse. Now to Daniel as he stands
there before the king, verse 29:
"As for thee, O King, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy
bed. what should come to pass hereafter:... But as for me, this secret is not
revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but for their
sakes that shall make known the interpretation to the king, and that thou
mightest know the thoughts of thy heart (now here comes the dream).
Thou, O king sawest, and behold a great image...."
The image has to be in the form of a man, because it has a head, shoulders,
belly, legs, feet and toes. He sees this likeness of a man. Just to give us a
little hint of how huge it must have been, turn the page and go to Chapter 3.
I have to think this dream somehow or other was a catalyst for what
Nebuchadnezzar actually does in this next Chapter. He's forgotten about
Daniel, and has gotten so filled up with his own power, that he wants to unite
all those pagan worships into one image which would be of himself. This is
interesting, because we are going to see the last great world ruler, the
Anti-christ, is going to do the same thing. So we will tie it together. We
will go to Revelation after we look at the size of this thing:
"Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold (the one he
saw in his dream just had a head of gold. I imagine in his dream he saw that
gold just glitter in that middle eastern sun. He gets the idea that this is
what I'm going to do, so he makes this image of gold), whose height was
threescore cubits, and the breath thereof six cubits:... "
That is 90 feet high, and 9 feet wide. That is a big image, and remember
it's made of gold. He sits it out there on that Middle Eastern desert sand and
demands that whole known world worship that image. Turn with me now to
Revelation. Remember when we started this study in Daniel, that when you study
Daniel, you must also study Revelation; both are so intertwined. And again
because they were both written outside of Israel.
I guess I should also tie in the other analogy, that falls into that same kind
of category. That is between the twelve Apostles and the Apostle Paul.
Very few people realize that drastic difference. Jesus chose the 12 within
the borders of Israel. But that other Apostle, the one who so many people try
to force into the twelve, would never fit. And one of the reasons he won't
fit is because he was never called within the borders of Israel. He was called
on Gentile ground, outside of Damascus. And that set him totally apart from
the twelve. If any of you ever doubt me, just read Galatians Chapter 1 and 2
very carefully. And you will notice that Paul emphasizes that he had nothing
to do with the twelve back there in Jerusalem. That is why the Lord called
him from Gentile grounds, and sent him to the Gentiles.
Now let's turn to the book of Revelation, Chapter 13, and I guess we have to
start in verse 11, in order to pick up the flow. Here is another thing I like
to bring out. As we study the Scriptures, and I hope I have never been guilty
nor will never be guilty, of lifting verses out of context and making them say
something by themselves. That is the most dangerous thing you can do with the
Scriptures. We have to look at every verse in its context and it will always
dove-tail together. I have told people in over 20 years of teaching, that if
your doctrine doesn't fit from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21 you are on thin
ice. Because it will all beautifully fit together if you understand it
correctly. Now verse 11:
"And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he
had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon," Break this verse
John says "And I beheld (in his vision) another beast
(now when we study the Book of Revelation the first thing I always
emphasize is the word beast isn't talking about some ferocious looking animal
or dragon. A beast in Revelation is always a governmental power. Now John
sees another government of sorts) coming up out of the earth
(remember the first one in verse one comes up out of the sea. The sea of
humanity. But this one is going to come up out of the earth. Now some people
take the stand that since this is the earth, and there is only one part of the
earth God concerns Himself with, and that is Israel, that this second beast
will be a government but centered in a person, and in this case it will be the
religious government, and that he would have to be a Jew. Well I don't say he
has to be. I think he could be but not necessarily. But anyway). he has
two horns like a lamb (because he is a religious leader). and he
spake as a dragon."
So even though he is religious, where is he receiving his power? From Satan.
So we have a satanic religious system coming on the scene here in this second
"And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him
(which is the political leader, the Anti-christ, they will we working hand
and glove), and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship
the first beast,..."
First man of power, in other words, this religious leader, this powerful
individual, under the cloak of religion but still under the inspiration of
Satan, is going to cause the masses of humanity to worship the other great
world leader, the Anti-christ. When we teach the Book of Revelation, I always
like to point out throughout the Book there is a counterfeit trinity. What is
a counterfeit? It is something that looks like the original. So this is the
counterfeit trinity where Satan is a counterfeit of God the Father. The
Anti-christ is a counterfeit of God the Son. And the false prophet or the
religious leader here is a counterfeit of God the Holy Spirit. As the Holy
Spirit today draws people to God the Son, this counterfeit of the Holy Spirit,
this religious leader of the Tribulation period, causes people to worship of
the Anti-christ, the counterfeit son. And so this counterfeit of the Holy
Spirit does much what the Holy Spirit does legitimately:
"And he doeth great wonders (oh he's a counterfeit), so
that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,..."
Now Christ will never deceive but this counterfeit will.
"And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those
miracles which he had power to do (I'm always emphasizing, just because it
is a miracle don't say, "That's God." Satan has tremendous miracle working
power, and he is going to really do it here in the tribulation.) in the
sight of the beast (remember these are two great world leaders, these
aren't animals, they are men, but they are bestial in their personality because
they will be so ruthless toward their fellow man.); saying to them that
dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast (so they
will make an image of the Anti-christ just like Nebuchadnezzar did back in
Daniel. Nebuchadnezzar thought he'd bring all the worship of the world and
centralize it in himself, by building this great image. Now the Anti-christ
and the false prophet are going to conspire together to do the same thing.
They, too, will amalgamate all the religions of the world together to make them
worship one great image.); which had the wound by a sword, and did live."
"And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast
(that is not stretching the imagination one bit in our present technology is
it? I read an article a couple of years ago where the Japanese are working
frantically on a living cell computer. Can you believe that? Not only will it
be fed by electricity, it will also have biological cells working within it.
So it will almost become like a human. Well, here it is. This is prophecy and
it is going to happen. So), that image of the beast should both
speak (our technology is already there, we have computers that can talk:
and the image is going to), cause that as many as would not worship the
image of the beast should be killed." I would like to finish this Chapter
during this lesson, and touch on this mark of the beast, because there is so
much confusion about it.
"And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free
and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads; And
that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the
beast, or the number of his name."
We know that when it comes to computers everything is based on numbers. Your
whole system of the universal product code, as it is called, has those little
bars on everything you buy. And it is three sets, and I have taught since the
computers came on the scene in the 1970's that this mark of the beast is
nothing more or less than an eighteen digit computer number. It will either be
put on the hand or forehead, and maybe in such a way that an ultraviolet light
can detect it. So that when people come through a check-out line, or receive
their salaries or so forth, all they will have to do is just show their number,
and it will be electronically computed. Everything will be transferred through
electronics. That is the mark of the beast. And it will not come on the scene
until the Anti-christ comes in the Tribulation.
And those of us who are believers, have nothing to worry about, because we
won't be there. So as a Christian, don't worry about ever being forced to take
the mark of the beast. We will not be here. And I want people to know that.
But for people who have rejected the Gospel and find themselves left
behind after the Lord takes us (believers) out, yes that is going to be one of
the first things that will happen. They will be forced to take this number,
and without it they won't be able to transact any business or even live.
LESSON ONE * PART II
NEBUCHADNEZZAR AND DREAM (DANIEL 3)
This is an informal Bible study, and all we try to do is open the
Scriptures where anybody can understand them. I know that so many people read
their Bibles. I've had some tell me "I've read it through five times and
still don't understand much of it." We try to change that, and help people
to understand what it is really talking about. Picking up from the last lesson
with the great image that King Nebuchadnezzar had constructed more or less of
himself. It was huge and made of gold. He tried to amalgamate all the
religions of his day under a worship of himself.
And we took you back to Revelation and showed you that the Anti-christ and the
false prophet will do the same thing during the Tribulation. So in reality the
times of the Gentiles begins here. Two lessons ago we talked about that.
When Jesus spoke in Luke 21 of the times of the Gentiles, when Jerusalem would
be trodden down by Gentiles until He returns, and then of course it will all
revert back to Israel and their relationship with their Jehovah God. Now back
to Daniel Chapter 2. We will drop down to verse 31, where Daniel begins to
interpret this dream:
"Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great
image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee (the vision of
this great image just shook the king to his feet. It was frightening. There
was something about it that was beyond human understanding); and the form
thereof was terrible."
"This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms
of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, His legs of iron, his feet part
of iron and part of clay."
It is interesting if you know anything of mathematics or science at all, you
will notice that the highest specific gravity density is at the top. I used to
try and draw a picture of this image. But picture a human torso, and the head
as Nebuchadnezzar was pure gold. His chest was of silver, the belly area of
brass, the legs of iron, and feet were a mixture of iron and clay. You will
immediately see that the specific gravity, the density, is the heaviest at the
top, as gold has the highest specific gravity of any of these elements. And
then you get down to the iron and clay that has the lowest. So what you really
have is an image here, as far as engineering is concerned, that is top heavy.
NEBUCHADNEZZAR AND DREAM (DANIEL 3)
We trust that as you study with us that you will find it to be as thrilling and understanding to you as it is in our classes. We have no ax to grind; we're an informal Bible study and we don't try to twist peoples arms into thinking one way or another. We just like to open the Scriptures and help people see what The Book really says. So many of us have been bound by tradition, and if there is any word in the Scripture that is condemned, it is tradition. We must be careful that we don't find ourselves locked into a tradition that is not necessarily in line with The Book. So this is our only goal; and that is to help folks see what the Bible really says.
This Book is so gloriously supernaturally put together so that there is no possible way that human hands could have done it. For example, there are three books of Prophecy written by Jews of course. But all written outside the land of Israel. Daniel, which we will be looking at, is one of them. Daniel is writing from Babylon, while he is captive there under King Nebuchadnezzar. The second one is the Book of Ezekiel which was also written from captivity in the next empire, as Ezekiel writes from Persia. And the third one is the last Book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation, written by John from the Isle of Patmos, which is in the Aegean Sea, between Turkey and Greece. Now those three Books of Prophecy also are unique in that all three write in symbolism.
Just stop and think about it. Ezekiel uses for example, The Dry Bones, The Stick, and the Fiery Wheel. All those are symbolism, but they have a literal truth. Now we come into the Book of Daniel and we will see this Great Image, with a head of gold, and a chest of silver, a belly of brass and on down its body. It's a symbolism of all the great empires that would be coming down through history. And then when you get to the Book of Revelation written by John, most people are afraid to even study the Book of Revelation. They can't understand it. And therefore won't even read it, simply because it is in symbolic language. But you see all those symbolisms are all interpreted by Scripture itself, in one place or another. And all you have to do is search the Scriptures and these things begin to fall into place. So that is enough for introduction. So now let's come back to the Book of Daniel where we left off in our last program. Daniel is writing shortly after Nebuchadnezzar has besieged the Jews and taken them back to Babylon. He is now being trained by the Babylonians for service in the king's kingdom. Daniel is brought to pre-eminence by interpreting this dream of the King, that his magicians were unable to interpret for him. A person asked me several years ago if I were aware there were people who believed that Daniel was written by an impostor many years after the events had happened. And of course I am. He wanted to know if I had proof that they were wrong. And immediately one verse came to mind, because in Matthew 24 we have the proof. And although there are certainly other evidences that Daniel is in line with Scripture, there are other reasons that prove it is a legitimate Book of Prophecy, but the best one of all is here in Matthew where the Lord Jesus is speaking during His earthly ministry.
"When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet,..."
If Jesus is who we know He is, and was what we know He was: The Eternal Creator, Sovereign Almighty God, and Author of this Book and He says that Daniel was a prophet, then that settles it for me. That is as far as you have to go. He put His stamp of approval on the Book of Daniel as a Book of prophecy. This Book of Prophecy was written about 606 B.C. and Daniel is going to unleash upon us all the Gentile Empires that will be coming down through history.
So we might as well go to Chapter 2 of Daniel, where we have king Nebuchadnezzar all shook up because he had this tremendous dream, and it must have been a nightmare. Otherwise he wouldn't have been so belligerently, and antagonistically against all his magicians, trying to get them to uncover the dream. So he puts out the command for all the magicians to come in before him and tell him not only the interpretation of the dream, but to tell him what the dream was. That is asking for something isn't it? Remember I told you last week that these ancient oriental kings were ruthless. If someone couldn't fulfill what they requested, they would put them to death. So these magicians were right on the line with their life.
"For this cause the king was angry and very furious (because these magicians couldn't recover his dream), and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon." Now that is quite a king isn't it?
"And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain."
Remember Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were all in that kettle of fish as far as the king was concerned. Now Daniel speaks up. Remember he is just a young fellow, and has no reason to be respected for his age.
"Then Daniel answered with counsel and wisdom to Arioch the captain of the king's guard. which was gone forth to slay the wise men of Babylon. ...Why is the decree so hasty from the king? Then Arioch made the thing known to Daniel. Then Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would give him time, and he would show the king the interpretation." Then verse 19:
"Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision (remember this is the Sovereign Almighty God at work). Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven."
God now reveals to Daniel the dream that Nebuchadnezzar had forgotten. So he is brought before the king. Verse 25. Now I'm skipping some verses for sake of time.
"The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was (Daniel's name had been changed from the Hebrew to the Aramaic.) Belteshazzar, `Art thou able to make know unto me the dream which I have seen, and the interpretation thereof?' Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, `The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king;'"
"But (now here comes Daniel with his testimony) there is a God (remember this is a God that Nebuchadnezzar knew nothing of. I always remind my classes and most of you know this. That beginning with the Tower of Babel, the whole human race now has been saturated with idolatry of one sort or another. They had so many different gods, but didn't know the true God, until He called Abraham. So then Abraham had a knowledge of Jehovah, and that was passed on through Isaac, Jacob, and the Twelve Tribes. So Israel alone had a knowledge of the one true God) in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days...." (what is Daniel saying? God has revealed to you prophetic events. Now remember that as I stressed it last week, and I'll keep on stressing it, that all true prophecy centers on the Nation of Israel. And usually within a time frame. God will put the details out there and He will put it in time. Like when we get to Chapter nine He's going to say 490 years are determined upon the Nation of Israel. Now the Church Age has nothing like this whatsoever. There is no prophecy concerning the Church.
We can see as the church is approaching the end of the Age of Grace, by virtue of events getting ready for prophecy coming on the scene. But for the most part there is no prophetic utterance connected with the Church Age. When people say that on such and such a day the Lord is coming, just mark them off as false. There is nothing in Scripture that can help us set a date for the Lord to return for the Church. But as soon as the Church Age is done, and that undetermined period of time has ended, and the seven years of Tribulation begins, then, yes, prophecy begins again. Then we will be back in a time frame. Seven years are going to elapse. Now to Daniel as he stands there before the king, verse 29:
"As for thee, O King, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed. what should come to pass hereafter:... But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but for their sakes that shall make known the interpretation to the king, and that thou mightest know the thoughts of thy heart (now here comes the dream). Thou, O king sawest, and behold a great image...."
The image has to be in the form of a man, because it has a head, shoulders, belly, legs, feet and toes. He sees this likeness of a man. Just to give us a little hint of how huge it must have been, turn the page and go to Chapter 3. I have to think this dream somehow or other was a catalyst for what Nebuchadnezzar actually does in this next Chapter. He's forgotten about Daniel, and has gotten so filled up with his own power, that he wants to unite all those pagan worships into one image which would be of himself. This is interesting, because we are going to see the last great world ruler, the Anti-christ, is going to do the same thing. So we will tie it together. We will go to Revelation after we look at the size of this thing:
"Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold (the one he saw in his dream just had a head of gold. I imagine in his dream he saw that gold just glitter in that middle eastern sun. He gets the idea that this is what I'm going to do, so he makes this image of gold), whose height was threescore cubits, and the breath thereof six cubits:... "
That is 90 feet high, and 9 feet wide. That is a big image, and remember it's made of gold. He sits it out there on that Middle Eastern desert sand and demands that whole known world worship that image. Turn with me now to Revelation. Remember when we started this study in Daniel, that when you study Daniel, you must also study Revelation; both are so intertwined. And again because they were both written outside of Israel.
I guess I should also tie in the other analogy, that falls into that same kind of category. That is between the twelve Apostles and the Apostle Paul. Very few people realize that drastic difference. Jesus chose the 12 within the borders of Israel. But that other Apostle, the one who so many people try to force into the twelve, would never fit. And one of the reasons he won't fit is because he was never called within the borders of Israel. He was called on Gentile ground, outside of Damascus. And that set him totally apart from the twelve. If any of you ever doubt me, just read Galatians Chapter 1 and 2 very carefully. And you will notice that Paul emphasizes that he had nothing to do with the twelve back there in Jerusalem. That is why the Lord called him from Gentile grounds, and sent him to the Gentiles.
Now let's turn to the book of Revelation, Chapter 13, and I guess we have to start in verse 11, in order to pick up the flow. Here is another thing I like to bring out. As we study the Scriptures, and I hope I have never been guilty nor will never be guilty, of lifting verses out of context and making them say something by themselves. That is the most dangerous thing you can do with the Scriptures. We have to look at every verse in its context and it will always dove-tail together. I have told people in over 20 years of teaching, that if your doctrine doesn't fit from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21 you are on thin ice. Because it will all beautifully fit together if you understand it correctly. Now verse 11:
"And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon," Break this verse down.
John says "And I beheld (in his vision) another beast (now when we study the Book of Revelation the first thing I always emphasize is the word beast isn't talking about some ferocious looking animal or dragon. A beast in Revelation is always a governmental power. Now John sees another government of sorts) coming up out of the earth (remember the first one in verse one comes up out of the sea. The sea of humanity. But this one is going to come up out of the earth. Now some people take the stand that since this is the earth, and there is only one part of the earth God concerns Himself with, and that is Israel, that this second beast will be a government but centered in a person, and in this case it will be the religious government, and that he would have to be a Jew. Well I don't say he has to be. I think he could be but not necessarily. But anyway). he has two horns like a lamb (because he is a religious leader). and he spake as a dragon."
So even though he is religious, where is he receiving his power? From Satan. So we have a satanic religious system coming on the scene here in this second beast.
"And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him (which is the political leader, the Anti-christ, they will we working hand and glove), and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast,..."
First man of power, in other words, this religious leader, this powerful individual, under the cloak of religion but still under the inspiration of Satan, is going to cause the masses of humanity to worship the other great world leader, the Anti-christ. When we teach the Book of Revelation, I always like to point out throughout the Book there is a counterfeit trinity. What is a counterfeit? It is something that looks like the original. So this is the counterfeit trinity where Satan is a counterfeit of God the Father. The Anti-christ is a counterfeit of God the Son. And the false prophet or the religious leader here is a counterfeit of God the Holy Spirit. As the Holy Spirit today draws people to God the Son, this counterfeit of the Holy Spirit, this religious leader of the Tribulation period, causes people to worship of the Anti-christ, the counterfeit son. And so this counterfeit of the Holy Spirit does much what the Holy Spirit does legitimately:
"And he doeth great wonders (oh he's a counterfeit), so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,..." Now Christ will never deceive but this counterfeit will. "And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do (I'm always emphasizing, just because it is a miracle don't say, "That's God." Satan has tremendous miracle working power, and he is going to really do it here in the tribulation.) in the sight of the beast (remember these are two great world leaders, these aren't animals, they are men, but they are bestial in their personality because they will be so ruthless toward their fellow man.); saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast (so they will make an image of the Anti-christ just like Nebuchadnezzar did back in Daniel. Nebuchadnezzar thought he'd bring all the worship of the world and centralize it in himself, by building this great image. Now the Anti-christ and the false prophet are going to conspire together to do the same thing. They, too, will amalgamate all the religions of the world together to make them worship one great image.); which had the wound by a sword, and did live."
"And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast (that is not stretching the imagination one bit in our present technology is it? I read an article a couple of years ago where the Japanese are working frantically on a living cell computer. Can you believe that? Not only will it be fed by electricity, it will also have biological cells working within it. So it will almost become like a human. Well, here it is. This is prophecy and it is going to happen. So), that image of the beast should both speak (our technology is already there, we have computers that can talk: and the image is going to), cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed." I would like to finish this Chapter during this lesson, and touch on this mark of the beast, because there is so much confusion about it.
"And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads; And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name."
We know that when it comes to computers everything is based on numbers. Your whole system of the universal product code, as it is called, has those little bars on everything you buy. And it is three sets, and I have taught since the computers came on the scene in the 1970's that this mark of the beast is nothing more or less than an eighteen digit computer number. It will either be put on the hand or forehead, and maybe in such a way that an ultraviolet light can detect it. So that when people come through a check-out line, or receive their salaries or so forth, all they will have to do is just show their number, and it will be electronically computed. Everything will be transferred through electronics. That is the mark of the beast. And it will not come on the scene until the Anti-christ comes in the Tribulation.
And those of us who are believers, have nothing to worry about, because we won't be there. So as a Christian, don't worry about ever being forced to take the mark of the beast. We will not be here. And I want people to know that. But for people who have rejected the Gospel and find themselves left behind after the Lord takes us (believers) out, yes that is going to be one of the first things that will happen. They will be forced to take this number, and without it they won't be able to transact any business or even live.
LESSON ONE * PART II
NEBUCHADNEZZAR AND DREAM (DANIEL 3)
This is an informal Bible study, and all we try to do is open the Scriptures where anybody can understand them. I know that so many people read their Bibles. I've had some tell me "I've read it through five times and still don't understand much of it." We try to change that, and help people to understand what it is really talking about. Picking up from the last lesson with the great image that King Nebuchadnezzar had constructed more or less of himself. It was huge and made of gold. He tried to amalgamate all the religions of his day under a worship of himself.
And we took you back to Revelation and showed you that the Anti-christ and the false prophet will do the same thing during the Tribulation. So in reality the times of the Gentiles begins here. Two lessons ago we talked about that. When Jesus spoke in Luke 21 of the times of the Gentiles, when Jerusalem would be trodden down by Gentiles until He returns, and then of course it will all revert back to Israel and their relationship with their Jehovah God. Now back to Daniel Chapter 2. We will drop down to verse 31, where Daniel begins to interpret this dream:
"Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee (the vision of this great image just shook the king to his feet. It was frightening. There was something about it that was beyond human understanding); and the form thereof was terrible."
"This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay."
It is interesting if you know anything of mathematics or science at all, you will notice that the highest specific gravity density is at the top. I used to try and draw a picture of this image. But picture a human torso, and the head as Nebuchadnezzar was pure gold. His chest was of silver, the belly area of brass, the legs of iron, and feet were a mixture of iron and clay. You will immediately see that the specific gravity, the density, is the heaviest at the top, as gold has the highest specific gravity of any of these elements. And then you get down to the iron and clay that has the lowest. So what you really have is an image here, as far as engineering is concerned, that is top heavy.
There is no stability to it whatsoever. Now let's read on.
"Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands (no human element involved. Now Who does that have to be? A Person in the Godhead. And as most of you now know, when you have a reference to a rock or stone in Scripture it is Christ), which smote the image upon his feet (we will come back in a moment and explain. So this stone, coming out of nowhere, strikes this image. And remember this is speaking in symbolism. It is teaching us a literal truth.) that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces."
It is already top heavy, so what happens? That thing just tips right over and this stone just literally rolls it like a steam roller building a highway. It just rolls over all the metals of this great image
"Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors: and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone (Christ) that smote the image became a great mountain,"
Now I always stress, when a mountain is used, as it is here, it is always a kingdom. Most generally the Kingdom. And remember the Kingdom is the Kingdom is the Kingdom. All through Scripture there is only one Kingdom. And it is the Kingdom that Christ will set up on the earth when He returns, to become King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Even in His earthly ministry, when He said the Kingdom is within you, theologians have taken that and they have so twisted it out of shape that no one can recognize it. But literally what He was saying is, "That in order for us become part and parcel of that literal physical, political Kingdom that is one day coming on the earth, we have to have that inner spiritual relationship with God to become part of it." That's what He meant when He said to Nicodemus in John's Gospel, Chapter 3, "Except a man be born again he cannot see the Kingdom of heaven." And that is so true. But this Kingdom of heaven is going to be the Kingdom on earth. It is the same Kingdom.
Today, during the Church Age, we need to look at some Scriptures. Go to the Book of Colossians. When John the Baptist began his ministry, what was the crux of his message? The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. What was he talking about? Jesus was just around the corner. He was about to begin His earthly ministry. And He is the essence of the Kingdom. But it is not a spiritual, ethereal, invisible Kingdom, although that is also involved. This Kingdom is spiritual, it's physical, and it is political. And it will come to its fruition when Christ returns and sets it up on the earth. In the interim, since He is no longer on the earth, and we can no longer say the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand; when He went back to heaven, the Kingdom went with him.
I have stressed Genesis 1:1 from the beginning. What does it say? "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." All through Scriptures we have these two entities. The Nation of Israel, the earthly people of God, and the Church (the heavenly people of God). In Colossians Chapter 1, Paul is writing to us Gentiles, and he is praying for the Colossi believers and it is valid for us today.
"Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet (or prepared us) to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who (speaking of the Father) hath (past tense) delivered us (believers) from the power of darkness, and hath (already) translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:"
If you are a child of God today, where are you? In the Kingdom! Now when Christ comes at His second coming and sets up the Kingdom on the earth, where will we be? With Him. And as the New Testament teaches so plainly (Paul, as well as the Book of Revelation), when that Kingdom is set up, if you and I are in the Body of Christ today and we are truly born from above, we are going to rule and reign with Christ over that Kingdom.
So remember the Kingdom is the Kingdom, is the Kingdom. It's spiritual yes; it's physical yes; and it's going to be set up on the earth. When you read Isaiah Chapter 11 (we've read it even here on television) how the wolf and the lamb will lie down together, and little children will be playing with them - that's physical. He is going to be King of Kings and Lord of Lords over the whole earth. That's political. And yet it is going to be a Kingdom of righteousness, holiness, and sinlessness, no death, no curse, and that makes it spiritual. So the Kingdom is all three wrapped up together, but it is still the one and only Kingdom.
Come back to the Book of Daniel with me. Christ, the Stone, smites all these metals that make up this image, beginning with the feet, and they become like the dust or chaff of a threshing floor that the wind just blows away. In other words, everything that these metals represent will just be blown away, and nothing will be left of it. And the Stone becomes a Kingdom, and I like to emphasize the last two or three words of verse 35. Is that Kingdom just going to be in the land of Israel? No, "the whole earth." Let me show you another verse. Turn with me to Zechariah Chapter 14. We must follow this up with more than one verse, because you know I'm not one of those who take one or two verses and build a doctrine on it. There are many more verses other than this one in Zechariah that say the same thing. We know that this is in reference to the Kingdom that will follow His second coming. We almost have to go up to verse 1 in order to get the flow:
"Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; (what is that? Armageddon, the last great battle) and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished;... Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle."
"And his (The Lord, the same One that ascended from the Mount of Olives in Act Chapter 1, and went back to the Father. Now He's coming back, and where do His feet stand? On that same Mount of Olives.) feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east,... Let's move all the way to verse 8:
"And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea (the Mediterranean Sea), and half of them toward the hinder sea (the Dead Sea); in summer and in winter shall it be.
We won't take time to go back to the Book of Ezekiel and look at it, but Ezekiel says that this river of water flowing from the throne room in Jerusalem, back to the Mediterranean and down to the Dead Sea, will have every species of fish in it that the Mediterranean has now. In other words, it will no longer be a salt water sea. It's going to be living water. Now if you ever get to Israel, and you get to the Dead Sea, you'll find nothing can live in it now, but the day is coming when that will change. Let's just stop and look at it. But first let's read verse 9 here in Zechariah:
"And the LORD shall be king over all the earth:...Where is this Kingdom going to be? On the earth.
Let's go to Ezekiel and follow up on our previous discussion. I do some of these things only for interest. I may have to look for a moment. Look in Chapter 47. Remember, this is another one of those three Books spoken in symbolism. Ezekiel is speaking of a river, coming out from under the sanctuary there in Jerusalem, just as we saw in Zechariah. Come down to verse 9 and 10:
"And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed (waters in the Dead Sea); and every thing shall live whither the river cometh."
"And it shall come to pass (this is when the Kingdom is set up), that the fishers shall stand upon it (the Dead Sea) from En-gedi (now when we get to Israel we will be going to this little village of Engedi; it is still there right on the shores of the Dead Sea.) even unto En-eglaim, they shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the great sea (the Mediterranean), exceeding many."
These are all physical elements of the Kingdom. We have already alluded to Isaiah Chapter 11, about the wolf and the lamb. So this Kingdom that Daniel is prophesying in Chapter 2 will indeed cover the whole earth. It will be a glorious earth, everything is going to be productive. This is a verse everyone knows: "They shall beat their swords into plowshares,..." What do plowshares do? They prepare the earth for production. There will be tremendous production. There will be no want, or poverty, no famine. That is part of the physical aspect of the Kingdom. Yet it will be a glorious spiritual Kingdom, because there is no curse. There is no sin. And it will be political because Christ is going to rule over the whole earth.
I remember one of my children went to a Sunday School class while he was at the university, and they happened to be talking about the Kingdom in the Book of Matthew. He tried to tell them what it was referring to, and they about laughed him out the door. And they said, "You mean a political Kingdom?" So he called that Sunday afternoon, and asked me how to answer them when they just ridicule that there will be that kind of Kingdom? I told him when people are blind, it's pretty hard to open their eyes. It takes time and showing them lot of Scripture. Now let's go back to Daniel. He is going to interpret what that means. The Scriptures always interpret for us. You don't have to go to seminary to learn how to interpret Scriptures, but a lot of people think you do. Always let The Book interpret itself:
"Thou, O king, art a king of kings (and indeed he was, we saw that when he could put all of magicians to death with just a word.): for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory."
"And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he (The Sovereign God) given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all (he was an absolute dictator king. He didn't have to consult with anyone to make a decision. Now Daniel says). Thou art this head of gold." So what are we seeing in symbolism? Empires.
"And after thee (in other words after Babylon rises and falls, as all empires do) shall arise another kingdom (or empire) inferior to thee,..."
When I started teaching this many years ago this word "inferior" bugged me. How does an inferior kingdom defeat a superior kingdom? Militarily it just doesn't happen. So what you have to look at, as you look at this progression of metals, we go from what we normally think of as the most precious, the most expensive, to the next, to the next, and so forth down to the least. And so the progression is from something great to something less great. So this is why the prophets say that a kingdom inferior to Babylon would defeat them. Daniel wasn't talking about the military side of it. He was talking about the political. Because this head of gold was an absolute under-god. He was a government of one.
After the head of gold, you come down to the kingdom that was inferior to him, and politically we know that the next kingdom that came on the scene and defeated Babylon was the Mede and Persian Empire. Militarily, they were already greater than Babylon. Otherwise they could never have defeated them. But instead of having an absolute dictator of one, they had two kings who came together. They were Darius the Mede, and Cyrus the Persian. And naturally, before they made any kind of a move military, economically or politically, they had to agree with each other. It is a lot harder to get two to agree than one. Now let's read on:
"...and another third kingdom of brass which shall bear rule over all the earth."
The next kingdom that came on through secular history was the kingdom of Alexander the Great of Greece. But just as soon as Alexander completed his conquest at the age of 33, he died. And what happened to his kingdom? It was divided between his four generals. The political flow is already picking up. Instead of having absolute power of one, then a consensus of two, a consensus of four is now required. The next great empire that comes on the scene is the Roman Empire. Even though we think of Rome as being governed by the Caesars, in reality what kind of government was the Roman Empire? A republic. They depended on their senate and representatives. And here you have the seed of democracy in its infancy. But do you see politically what is happening? You are coming from an absolute, to a consensus of two, to a consensus of four, to a consensus of many. Now coming on down the legs of the Roman Empire are the East and the West. The East of course was capitalized in Constantinople, and the West stayed at Rome. We read it in verse 41:
"And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters' clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided (East and West); but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay, And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken,"
In verse 43, with that kind of mixture there was no real strength. Now we know that the Roman Empire passed off the scene between 300 and 400 A.D. It just disappeared. The rise and fall of the Roman Empire. But in our own day we are seeing the rise of that same geographical and political area, Western Europe, called the European Community. It started out with ten nations and it's been fluctuating, and it will end up again with ten nations. We call it the Revived Roman Empire. And these are the ten toes, or ten nations. But again as you see Western Europe today, it's an enlarged democracy, and democracies are weak. If the people don't like the government all they have to do is fill the streets and demonstrate, and what happens? And consequently it is inferior.
LESSON ONE * PART III
NEBUCHADNEZZAR AND DREAM (DANIEL 3)
Let's get right back to Daniel Chapter 2, where we left off in our last lesson. Politically, these great empires that Nebuchadnezzar saw in symbolic language, you might say of the head of gold and so forth, we pointed out how that politically everyone of these empires will become weakened by an increasing number of people involved in decision making. We love democracy, and it is the greatest form of government ever brought on the scene. But when it comes to getting something done, it's probably the worst that was ever conceived. Now when Christ sets up His earthly Kingdom again, that's why it will be so glorious, it will be a Kingdom of One. He will have absolute power. There will be no confab, or consensus. It will be a glorious Kingdom.
Had Nebuchadnezzar been a benevolent type individual, and had the love and graciousness of God, he could have probably had that kind of empire. But no human has those kinds of attributes. So Nebuchadnezzar, like any other great dictator, was a totalitarian, he had no concerns about his subjects. Nevertheless, his decision-making was within himself. And as we have seen all through human history, all these empires were inferior to the one before, politically. Militarily, each one became greater, until we get down to what we call the revived Roman Empire, or our present European Community. Yet NATO, and other Military organizations have tremendous power of nuclear weapons, and technology that we have witnessed over the past few years. So keep this in mind, that as these Gentile empires came on the scene, in everyone of these empires, Israel was connected.
The iron and clay (the ten toes of the European Community), as yet do not have that kind of relationship with the Nation of Israel. It is mostly America that is keeping the little nation going. But never lose sight of the fact that the Anti-christ is going to come out of the geographical area of the old Roman Empire. Now we will see that in a few lessons later when we get to Daniel Chapter 9. I personally think he will come from Western Europe. Others think he may come from the Middle East, or the Mediterranean. But be that as it may, he's going to come from some place out of that old Roman Empire. And he will come in peaceably according to Daniel. And with flattery. Look at Europe tonight with all their turmoil, their ethnic problems and their immigrant, political, economical problems. If suddenly a man would come on the scene, especially in Europe, more so than any other place in the world; if he had the charisma of a John F. Kennedy, with the diplomacy of a Henry Kissinger; and maybe with some of the economic smarts of a Milton Freedman and so forth. If this guy could come on the scene with all these attributes rolled up into one, and seemingly have all the answers to their problems, do you know what they would do? They would fall on their knees and kiss his feet. In fact, maybe some of you heard it (I think it was on one of the news commentaries the past couple of weeks), where they were interviewing the German youth who were in some demonstrations. They were asked what they really wanted, and they said, "If a man could come on the scene that would be a leader we would follow him in a minute." Well the world is getting ready for that.
And so as we see these empires, they have come and gone through history, but we are now down to the iron and clay toes of the Western Europe consortium of nations. I think it is so perfectly illustrated with iron and clay. Being an old farmer, I can remember way back before farmers mixed their concrete with washed sand, they would use any kind of gravel they could get their hands on. If you mix the best of cement with just simply gravel, how long will that cement last? Not long at all, and it will just start to crumble. It doesn't have the ability to cleave.
That is the way Europe is tonight. You have all these nations, that over hundreds and hundreds of years have hated each other with a passion. That is why that region has been a battle ground for centuries. The Germans hate the French and so on. And those hatreds run deep. Even though they have now agreed to come together in a political and economic United States of Europe, the whole thing is so fragile because of those latent hatreds. And that is what I think is depicted here in the iron and clay. Its got strength but its got weakness. They will have a United States of Europe someday, and out of that consortium of ten nations (and they will end up with ten because the The Book says so) will come the man Anti-christ. And he will make a treaty with Israel, as we will be seeing in a few weeks, that will trigger God's time clock of prophecy once again, and those final seven years will click off. Let's wind up this vision with Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel Chapter 2.
"And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men (just exactly as Europe is doing tonight): but they shall not cleave one to another,..."
In other words there will be no political unity. The whole thing will be fragile. That is why it will be so easy for one man to come on the scene. And we are getting so close. I'm not a date setter, you know that, but I do feel that we are so close to the appearance of the Anti-christ. Remember though, before he makes his appearance, we have to go. The Lord will be taking us (believers) out. We won't see, or be able to put a thumb on, who he is. But when the Anti-christ comes, the world will be falling at his feet. He will rule and reign satanically for that seven years. It will be the most awful seven years in all of the earth's history. I like to put it this way. The holocaust of Nazi Germany will be a Sunday School picnic compared to those seven years. And it will be world wide.
The Sovereign God is in control of the whole thing. That is why I like to start in Genesis. The plan of God for the whole Age of History. It is all architecturally drawn up from eternity past. Nothing takes Him by surprise. It is just so hard to comprehend how a Sovereign God prepared everything that has happened. And yet he left man with a free will. Now that is hard to reconcile isn't it? That a Sovereign God lays it out, gives man and nations their free will, and they all meet at the end. I can't explain it, but I believe it. And you can see it happening constantly. I have told my classes to go back and read the history of World War II, and how some of our great battles in the Pacific, as well as in Europe, hinged on the change of the weather. That wasn't just by accident, that was a Sovereign God. Man is operating on his own free will, and doesn't have any idea that God has any thing to do with it. But He has everything to do with it. Now look at verse 44.
"And in those days of these kings (when these ten nations of Western Europe, headed up by the Anti-christ, have run their course of 7 years) shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom,..."
What Kingdom? The same Kingdom we have been talking about from day one. The Kingdom He is going to have on the earth. A Kingdom that will never be destroyed. The Book of Revelation puts a time element on the Kingdom. How long? A thousand years! That is how we get the term millennium and even the world likes to use it. Have you noticed that lately? When they talk about the next thousand years they will use the word millennium. Well, they're talking in secular terms of the next thousand years from the year 2000 to 3000. But the thousand years that Scriptures refer to, and we refer to, is that thousand years of reign and rule. But we know it's going to end by the providential act of a Sovereign God. This is, when Satan is loosed for a little season and everything is going to have to go through a great turmoil. But when the new earth and new heaven come on the scene (eternity), it's going to be the same set of circumstances as was in that thousand year reign and rule.
It took me a while to come to that conclusion, but I'm so convinced of it, I speak it now without apology. That the thousand year reign of Christ is limited in time. Absolutely it is. The Scripture says "A thousand years," but in essence that same Kingdom economy is going to go right on into all eternity. That is why the language always speaks as it does here. That this Kingdom shall never be destroyed. It will never end. Oh, it will be interrupted again, but it will come right back on the scene for eternity. I have always gotten a kick out of seeing people light up when I explain to them when we go into eternal abode, in our eternal state, we won't be floating around up on some ethereal cloud, in an invisible spirit form, and strum an invisible harp. That won't be heaven. Heaven is going to be a place of intense activity. We are going to be so busy. I don't think God will have anything to do with idleness. I think that activity will be glorious beyond our comprehension. Never lose sight of that.
I tell men who love to fish, I don't know whether you will fish in that new heaven and new earth, but there is going to be something even better than that. So this Kingdom is ushered in at the return of Christ on a glorious earth, wherein the curse has been lifted. There will be a tremendous population explosion (we will explain that some day when we get to it during this study on prophecy). And it will go on throughout eternity. Now let's continue verse 44:
"...and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms,..."
All these great Gentile kingdoms that were precipitated and were based on nothing but greed. I was so thrilled several months ago when we came out of our class here in Tulsa, and in the parking lot, one of the fellows said, "I can see it for the first time in my life. Everything is based on greed." And you think about it. The whole ball of wax in which we are living today is based on greed. Everyone of these empires was based on greed. Take for example Alexander the Great, who grew up in Greece in the poorest part of Greece up in Macedonia. They didn't have a thing, and that started to gnaw away at him and he decided he wanted more than this. So he began to prepare himself and he became the conqueror of the whole known world. Why? Greed. Along come the Romans, and they look at all the good things that those Greeks have got. All their beautiful architecture, all those smart philosophers, and so what do they say? "Hey I want that." Boom! They go after it. Now this is what scares me when they talk about disassembling our military. Don't you know that the whole world sits out there, and with that greedy look says, "I wish we could have what those American have." And you know what? If we would let them have it they would take it in a moment.
Let's move to Chapter 7. I'll skip Chapter 3 and 4 for the time being at least. As for Chapter 5, most of you know the context and have heard many sermons on it. Now in Chapter 7, Daniel has his own vision. And Daniel is going to see, basically, these same Gentile Empires. Only he is going to see them come down in order. Rather than metals of gold, silver, and so forth, Daniel sees them as various wild beasts. But it is the same unfolding of history:
"In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters. Daniel spake and said, `I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven (East, West, North and South) strove upon the great sea.'"
For those of you who have not marked it in the margin of your Bible you may want to do so now. The sea here again is a symbolic term for humanity. Most of you know that. So the four winds are just striving upon the masses of humanity. Even though at the time of Daniel there were not that many. But nevertheless it was still humanity. Now verse 3:
"And four great beasts..."
Here again, I always remind my classes, don't let that word beast stir up a vision of some seven-headed lion. The beast term in Scripture is simply a government. Now the reason God has chosen the word "beast," is because all these great empires, as we will see from Daniel's point of view, are bestial in their behavior and again in their greed. And in the way they treat their subjects. I hope you all realize that all the way up through human history, unless you were fortunate enough to live among the very elite in the ruling class, what was life for the rest of the people? It was just existence. Most of them under abject poverty, slavery, oppression, and it was not until the Magna Charter, that came out of England in about the 13th century, that delineated some human rights. Before that, there was no such thing as human rights.
Since the Magna Charter, at least in our Western Civilization, there is a semblance of human rights. But even among our Western Civilizations, how many people are still living in a down trodden state. We are not in any Utopia. We are certainly blessed as a nation. But we still have many people that are in poverty, and have none of this world's goods. So Daniel sees these empires come out of the mass of humanity, bestial in their make-up, and he sees them in the same unfolding as Nebuchadnezzar did. Now verse 4.
"The first was like a lion, (that was Babylon. But instead of a head of gold Daniel sees it as a lion.) and had eagle's wing: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked (it was defeated and fell), and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man's heart was given to it." And now verse 5. As a result of that fall what happened? Another empire.
"And behold another beast (we know it was the Medes and Persians), a second, like to a bear, and raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said, thus unto it. `Arise, devour much flesh.'" So the Medes and Persians took over the known world. Verse 6. Now this is history:
"After this I beheld, and lo another (another empire), like a leopard (the leopard is one of the swiftest animals in the world. It depicts Alexander the Great who was swift in his conquests. Alexander the Great could move his armies over territory that no one else would ever dream possible, and in less time. He was known for it, so consequently he was pictured as a leopard.), which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl (when Alexander the Great died, his four generals took his place. Now what does Daniel see? Four wings. The same picture. Instead of having one great dictator such as Nebuchadnezzar, this third empire is divided into four.); the beast had also four heads: and dominion was given to it." Now in verse 7, after the Grecian Empire falls, up comes the Roman Empire:
"After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly (and we know the Romans were. The Romans had control of the then known world, over the general population, like no other empire before it.); and it had great iron teeth (it was strong politically): it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse (or different) from all the beasts that were before it (why? It was the start of democratic form of government, the world had never experienced that before. And then you have a semicolon and what is the last part of the verse?); and it had ten horns."
As we look back on history, that semicolon jumped about 1700 years of time, because we are coming all the way from the Roman Empire, which ended between 300 and 400 A.D. up to the present time, and the appearance of the European Community as the revived Roman Empire. Ten horns. The horns again in Scripture merely refer to kings. Now we need to go back to Revelation again. We are now dealing with the kingdoms that will be on the earth at the time of the Tribulation, and we pick this up in Revelation for this book is the road map of the Tribulation for the most part. Revelation Chapter 13. We were here last lesson when we looked at the religious leader, but now we want to look at these 10 horns that will be the base of operation for this world ruler we call the Anti-christ.
"And I stood upon the sand of the sea (what are we talking about again? The sea of humanity.), and saw a beast (government) rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns (see how that fits with Daniel? Now this is not any seven headed creature it's a consortium of nations.), and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy,"
"And the beast (this Government will be headed up in one man, this Anti-christ) which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion (what does that tell you? What we just read in Daniel 7. The same thing. Daniel saw Greece as a leopard, he saw the Medes as a bear, and he saw the Babylonians as a lion. Now John sees them in the same context): and the dragon gave him (the Anti-christ) his power, and his seat (or throne), and great authority."
"And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed:"
Now here again I wish I had more time to explain. A lot of people think that the man Anti-christ will be shot, and brought back to life. I prefer to think that we are dealing with the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire was the one that suffered a deadly wound. It died and collapsed, and faded off the scene 1700 years ago; and here we see it coming up again.
If you think I am stretching the point, about Western Europe being a revived Roman Empire about two years ago in "Insight Magazine" was an article on the European Community. It was written by a lady, and she was describing all the ins and outs of Western Europe. Exactly like I shared with you in the last lesson; their hates, and problems, and so forth. And yet they have the biggest potential for gross national product of any place on earth. But she ended her article with this statement, "It may seem odd to think that these nations who hate each other can come together and make a United States of Europe. Everyone of these have been in an empire together once before: the Roman Empire." And that is the way she ended her article.
An so even a secular writer can see that what we are having come out of Europe now, is the very outline of that same old Roman Empire. So here in Revelation we have the same language as you have in Daniel. You have the ten horns and the aspect of his government will be bestial. He is going to have the power and totalitarian exercise of it like Nebuchadnezzar. He is going to rumble over people like the old bear (the Medes and Persians). He will have the swiftness of the leopard (empire of Alexander the Great). He is going to have all the residue of the ancient Roman Empire, with a seeming democracy behind him, but he himself will be absolute. This whole thing is coming together perfectly and the closer we come to it the more we will see how accurate this Book really is. The head that was wounded is the old Roman Empire, and all of a sudden it is alive and well and on the scene today. So I say, watch Western Europe.
LESSON ONE * PART IV
NEBUCHADNEZZAR AND DREAM (DANIEL 3)
Let's continue where we left off last lesson in Daniel Chapter 7. Daniel sees the same unfolding of human history and all the Gentile empires in animal forms, as Nebuchadnezzar sees in metals, the gold, the silver, the brass and so forth. Daniel saw it as lion, bear, leopard, and then a beast that couldn't be explained, which was the Roman Empire. And then we left off in verse 7. We said there was a semicolon after, "... it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it;" and then the verse ended "; and it had ten horns." Now that last semicolon is two thousand years of time as we reckon it. But always remember that in God's way of reckoning, it has been no longer than a semicolon.
Everything in prophesy that's been laid out in the Old Testament never gives a hint of that intervening Church Age. Once I can get people to understand that, then prophesy, as well as the Age of Grace, falls into its right perspective. But the Old Testament know nothing but the prophetic program moving straight through to the end. Remember, as far as God is concerned, from start to finish in the context, it goes without interruption. But we know historically that it was interrupted. It's still interrupted, but it's going to end one day. Now back to Chapter 7, verse 7 of Daniel. "...it had ten horns." You'll remember that we went back to Revelation and saw that John speaks with the same language. That these empires are going to be bestial as Daniel saw them. And it's going to end up with ten horns, ten nations and out of that ten nations is going to come the Anti-christ. And of course you pick that up in Revelation. But now I want to go on:
"I considered the horns (these leaders. These kings), and, behold, there came up among them another little horn,..."
Now here is the mention of the Anti-christ. These nations of Western Europe are seemingly coming together. And believe it or not, there is already a Western European Parliament. They already meet. They don't have absolute power yet, but the organization is already there. I read the other day that they already have their own currency. It's already registered on the world's currency market. You can go and exchange dollars for what they call the European Community Unit, ECU. If you want to exchange dollars into ECU's, you can do it already today. They're not pushing yet, because they're not quite ready for it. But everything is set. The whole Constitution of Western Europe is ready to be implemented. What I think is going to happen (and this is strictly projection. I can't prove it, but it seems that when you study the Scripture, that when these ten nations seemingly feel like they've got their act together, like we're seeing in Europe today); there's going to be so much turmoil that this is going to make the time right for the appearance of a strong man. And that of course is going to be the Anti-christ. And he's the little horn here. Out of these ten nations that make that revived Roman Empire, the ten toes of Nebuchadnezzar's vision, out of those ten toes or nation, will come this little horn:
"... before whom there where three of the first horns plucked up by the roots:..."
Now I think all that means is that of the ten nations that originate the European Community and their Parliament and their government, three of the smaller ones will lose their identity. They will just be gobbled up by the other seven. And then out of the remaining seven will come this man, Anti-christ. Let's go back to Revelation for just a second. I didn't intend to do this, but I think that it will help you to see how these two great prophetic books work hand in glove. Go back to Revelation Chapter 13 verse 2:
"And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear,..."
In other words, you have all the attributes of these previous empires coming to a head in this revived Roman Empire. So all the best parts of the Babylonian kingdom are still with us. All the best parts of the Medes and Persian Empires are still with us. All the best parts of the Grecian are still with us. Their architecture, their philosophies, etc. All the best parts of the Roman Empire are still with us. Their courts of law and their so-called justice and jurisprudence and what have you, are still with us. So all of the attributes of these previous kingdoms are going to be headed up in this final empire. So you have the feet of the bear and the mouth of the loin, but Satan gives it its power. Then you come down to verse 4:
"And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast (in other words, Satan is going to begin to show his authority through this man Anti-christ.): and they worshipped the beast (the Anti-christ), saying, `Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?'" And then in verse 6, we see his true character.
"And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven."
In other words he's literally going to war against the very spiritual powers of God and of heaven itself. Now over to Chapter 17, and come down to verse 9, because I want you see these numbers; how they all fit with Daniel.
"And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains (in other words, seven nations with seven prime ministers or kings), on which the woman sitteth." The woman is the religious system which we see taught earlier in the Chapter.
"And there are seven kings (in other words, three have already lost their identity. We started with ten. Three were usurped by seven):... one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space."
In other words, there will probably be another world leader or European leader, or whatever. He's probably going to come in that interval. But now verse 11:
"And the beast that was, and is not (I prefer to think that this is the old Roman Empire that was seemingly dead, it was seemingly gone. And now here it is, back on the scene with all its attributes in place. And this man, Anti-christ is going to head it up.), even he is the eighth,..."
I brought it out that numbers all have a value in Scripture. For example, the number three refers to the Godhead Deity. Number five is the number of grace. Number six is the number of man. Man was created on the sixth day. Seven always refers to Deity. Eight always refers to that which follows the completion of number seven. You take how many souls went into Noah's Ark? Eight. And so they were the new beginning after the flood. And you get back to the book of Revelation and you move into eternity. Christ has had seven names of Deity all through Scripture, and we've pointed them out. There are seven I AM's in the Old Testament. There are seven I AM's in the book of John. In the book of Revelation where He is the I AM, or the Bright and Morning Star, that's the eighth I AM, and that is the new beginning of the eternal day. And so the number eight will follow the perfect number seven, signifying another beginning or a new beginning. This is what the Anti-christ is. He comes on the scene and everything that has seemingly been completed, he brings it to the finish. And he even is the eighth. He's out of the seven, but what's his end? He goes into perdition.
We will see that later on when we study the book of Revelation in detail. This is not intended to be a study of the book of Revelation and I think you all know that. Now back to Daniel Chapter 7. The man Anti-christ comes on the scene out of Western Europe, and reigns and rules for his 7 years, and then verse 9:
"I beheld (Daniel says in a vision) till the thrones were cast down, (remember, Nebuchadnezzar crushed under the stone until they became powder and the wind blew them away. Now Daniel sees them as cast down, destroyed) and the Ancient (now Ancient is capitalized so it is referring to God. So) the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool (now this is merely the symbolic picture again of the purity and the majesty of the Godhead): his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire."
Now that takes you back to the Book of Ezekiel Chapter 1. I saw the wheels, the Scripture says. And if you will read Ezekiel 1 you will see what I'm talking about.
"A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him (millions), and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him:"
There is a colon and we will stop there, for the rest of the verse leaps the millennium again and ends up at the Great White Throne, and we are not ready for that yet. Let's go to verse 13:
"I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him."
I like to put the two persons of the Godhead here. God the Father sitting on the throne. God the Son comes before Him here.
"And there was given him dominion and glory, and a (there's that word again, what?) kingdom (now this is God the Son coming before God the Father as He is about to return to earth and smite these Gentile Empires that have been in human history now for 2600 years. He is going to come and destroy them. They will disappear from view, and He sets up His Kingdom, which shall not pass away. It is eternal as I said in my last lesson, and will be interrupted again when Satan will be released for a short time. But then comes the new heaven and new earth and the Kingdom just continues on into eternity. Now finishing the verse), ...and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed."
There He's got His rule and reign. Now let's go back to Revelation Chapter 5. Now I think this gets very interesting. I can't help but love these things, because it is just so beautifully put together. And then when they say that this is just a bunch of myths and stories, that gets to me. This is so intricately fitted together.
"And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne (now Daniel saw Him as the Ancient of days with pure hair like wool, and it's the same setting.) a book (a better interpretation would be scroll, they only used scrolls back at that time when John wrote.) written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals."
There is that number of completion again. This scroll was written within and on the backside, so here you need to know your Old Testament and Jewish history. This is what a mortgage was. So God is holding a mortgage. And in this mortgage or scroll is written details within and without. If you go back into the Old Testament, a Jew could mortgage his land just like we can mortgage property today. And just like we do today, whatever is for public scrutiny has to be recorded in the court house for the protection of others who may want to buy your property. Not knowing it was mortgaged, they would end up behind the eight ball. In Israel it was the same way, If they mortgaged their land, the details that were pertinent to the public were written on the outside. Details that were not public were written on the inside. So what we have here is a mortgage. Even though God is holding it, who's mortgage is it? It's Satan's mortgage. Now let's go on:
"And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?" Now we would normally think the other way around. Who is worthy to take off the seals and open the scroll.
"And no man in heaven, (no one, not even the angels) nor in earth, neither under the earth,..." No where in God's creation was there any one that had the authority or capability to open this mortgage. Now in verse 4 poor old John says.
"And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and read the book, neither to look thereon. And one of the elders saith unto me, `Weep not:' behold the Lion of the tribe of Juda,"
The word Lion is capitalized, and who came out of Judah? Christ did. So here we have Jesus the Christ Who is already in heaven, and He comes before the throne of the Father, and He is the only one that has the authority to open this mortgage and to say, "I'll pay it off." Again you have to go back into Jewish history and customs. You can pick this up especially in the Book of Ruth.
If a Jew had mortgaged his land, and had become incapable of paying it off, but just before they would foreclose on the land and take it away from him - as we see happening every day now - they, like we, could have a rich uncle, but it had to be a next of kin. They couldn't go to a stranger, but they could go to a next of kin and say, "Uncle, I've got this mortgage that I can't pay and they are about to foreclose on me, will you help me out?" Now that rich uncle had three prerequisites for bailing the young man out. 1. Naturally, he had to have the funds. So he had to be able. 2. He had to be the next of kin. 3. He had to be willing. Remember no one has to do anything they don't want to. So if that rich uncle didn't like the nephew, he could say, "Buzz off. I won't help you." But if he had the funds and if he wanted to, and he was a next of kin, he would say, "Why of course I'll pay off your mortgage." That's the picture here. Jesus comes before God the Father and the question is who can pay this mortgage? Look what it says:
"And I beheld, and lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, (angelic beings), and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb (capitalized) as it had been slain (referring to His death, burial, and resurrection), having seven horns and seven eyes (now that depicts his political power and the seven Spirits. We don't have time to look at it now, but if you will go back to Isaiah Chapter 11:2 you will find the seven attributes of the Holy Spirit and these are referred to here.), which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth."
"And he (The Lamb, Jesus the Christ) came and took the book (or scroll) out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne."
I know the question is going to come up. "Where do you get the idea that this is a mortgage? Why is something having to be paid off? Let's go all the way back. In fact, let's do it Scripturally. Go back with me to Genesis Chapter 1 verse 28. Adam has just been created, he's on the scene, and God has given him his instructions.
"And God blessed them, and said unto them (that is Adam and Eve, although Even hasn't been created, she is still in Adam. So He is addressing them both.), `Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have (what?) dominion...'"
In other words Adam was to have rule over the whole creation under God. He had total dominion. He was going to be literally God's second in command. When Adam sinned, what happened to that role as having dominion? He lost it. He dropped the ball. Who picked it up? Satan did. From that time on Scripture makes it so abundantly clear, who is the god of this world tonight? Satan is. Another Scripture says, "The world lieth in the lap of the wicked one." Satan is the god of this world. Everything that mankind accomplishes, whether it's good, beautiful, ugly, or bad, who has prompted it? Satan has. God is not in the business of a material world. And so the world is truly in the lap of that wicked one. Satan has total dominion. Let me show you another good example. Go to Matthew Chapter 4 if you doubt me. Here we have the temptation. And Satan is trying every ploy, trying to get Jesus to bow down to him. But the only one I want to look at is verse 8:
"Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;..."
Do you see that? All the beautiful parthenons, aqueducts, and all the productions; and everything that mankind had accomplished. Satan said, "Do you see all of that?" Now look at the next verse:
"And saith unto him (Christ), All these things will I give thee,..."
Was it his to give? Yes! Absolutely they are his dominion tonight. But he didn't trick Jesus, because Jesus knew that one day He would have them anyway. And He didn't have to fall down and worship Satan to get them. Now back to Revelation Chapter 5. So as the Son of God comes before the Ancient of days and He takes that mortgage from God the Father. He says in so many words, "I'll pay it off." Now what is he going to pay off? He is going to pay off the curse. The world has been under the curse ever since Genesis Chapter 3. And now it is time to end it. Look at the misery going on the world tonight and wonder how much longer is it going to last. It is just about over. He will pay off Satan's mortgage. And He alone can do it. Because of his death, burial, and resurrection. He is worthy. Now verse 8:
"And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb... And they sung a new song, saying `Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; (why is He worthy?); for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests (here is that promise); and we shall reign on the earth."
Now how is this going to all happen? Well, this is the whole reason for the seven years of Tribulation. Satan is going to have his final time. And it's going to be such a crescendo of the wrath of God upon Satan and mankind which have been following him. And all the cataclysmic events of those seven years will culminate with the curse being totally lifted from the earth. Satan defeated and removed from the scene, and after all that holocaust, out will come that Garden of Eden like earth for the Kingdom.
LESSON TWO * PART I
PRAYER: PROPHECY: OLD TESTAMENT
Now get your Bibles and turn to Daniel Chapter 6, I'm going to digress from the prophetic aspect for just one lesson, and we are going to talk about prayer. I think if there has ever been a time when the Christian community needs to come back to the basic tenet of prayer, it's the day in which we live. And we will take it from the setting in Daniel. Because we like to do everything as much as we can according to the Scriptures. In Daniel Chapter 6, we find that the decree has now gone out, by virtue of the king, because of those who hated Daniel, and knew his prayer habits. Unknown to the king, they get him to sign a decree that everyone has to pray and bow their knee only to the King of the Medes and Persians. That puts Daniel on the outside doesn't it? So let's pick it up in verse 10:
"Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed (the decree) he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God,..."
Here is the secret I think of prayer. And he did what? He gave thanks. A lot of times we think of prayer as only asking. But what God demands first is a heart of thanksgiving. And if we can pray with thanksgiving, then we can rest assured that we are on Scriptural grounds. Now I would like for you to come on over then to Chapter 9 where again we pick up this man Daniel using the power of prayer. Now get the setting. Here's this young Jew in captivity, out of his homeland and clear out in a pagan land, strange and far from home. And yet he can give thanks. But now look at his prayer on behalf of his people Israel. As he prays in verse 4 and then goes on to say in verse 5:
"We have sinned, and have committed iniquity (he is speaking about himself and his people, the Nation of Israel, and of course that is why they are in captivity because of their rebellion.), and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments: "
I won't read his whole prayer; I trust that you will do that in your spare time. But now let's come down to verse 18 as his prayer is winding down. And he is praying his heart out on behalf of his own nation. I decided to take this half hour in prayer, again, because I think that all of us are alarmed at what is going on in our country. We are alarmed about the spiritual rebelliousness, there is no interest, and really there is only one answer to it. And that is that God's people are going to have to get back on their knees.
If every born again child of God in America, would spend 10 to 20 or 30 minutes a day on their knees (couples together, or as individuals if they could do that), I know that things would start happening in our favor instead of going against us. We realize that you know what is going on. The enemy is getting to the place where they can almost push us out the side door. And they are just simply trying to make us inoperative as believers in The Book. Unless I'm convinced that the believing community gets back on their knees. And it's not all that hard. It's a habit like anything else. We will be looking at that as we go on through the lesson. So now verse 18:
"O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations (Daniel is praying on behalf of his own people Israel and the City of Jerusalem.), and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses (not because they deserve it, but why?), but for thy great mercies."
Now it is the same way for us today. We can never go before God and ask for anything because we deserve it. Everything that we get, every breath that we breathe, every heartbeat is because of the Grace of God. And so Daniel, even back here under Law, when they have no knowledge of what we call the Grace of God, yet he is calling upon the very Grace of God. Now verse 19.
"O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God:..."
Can't you hear the heart cry of this young man? He is not just uttering words. He is not just spinning a prayer wheel. He's not just counting beads. This man is pouring out his heart. And remember it's the same God you and I pray to today. We are under a whole different economy, granted, and we will go to the New Testament now and see what a difference that does make. Let's go to the Book of Philippians and come to Chapter 4. Again there is such a difference in some of these commands to pray. But here in Paul's letter to the Church, we have something that is so practical. I think I have helped people over tough spots more often by taking them to these two verses than anything else, during the time of trial and sorrow. Because here are verses that every believer can tie into. Now remember that all of this is the privilege of the believer. That is who Paul is writing to. Paul doesn't write to the unbeliever. Never! As he writes to the believer, he speaks to the unbeliever. But he writes to us the believer. And he says in verse 6:
"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God."
Let's break that tremendous verse down. "Be careful for nothing; (now the word "careful" is translated out of a Greek word that really means to be anxious, or I like to put it in even plainer language: worry about nothing. Now we can have concerns. I think there is a big difference between worrying and having concerns. Each of us have our concerns. And that is not necessarily worry. So be able to differentiate the difference. To actually sit and be a worry wart, God forbids it. You've heard the old saying, "Why worry when you can pray." Well that is so true. God doesn't want us to worry); but (instead of worrying)in every thing (what does everything mean? It means everything.
There is nothing that God has canceled out, and said,"Don't bother Me with it." I've had people tell me, "Les I can't go to God with my little problems, He doesn't want to be bothered." Yes, He does. He wants to be bothered, if that's the word you want to use) by prayer and supplication (the same word Daniel used. But what's the next two words?) with thanksgiving (I don't think it does any good to go before God and ask and ask and ask. I don't think He will pay any attention. But if we asked with thanksgiving, with that attitude of realizing that He doesn't have to do what you are asking Him for. He's going to answer you prayer according to His Grace, and Mercy. It took a long time for me to learn that. That as you pray you thank him first. Thank him for what He is going to do with your particular request. And that is exactly what Paul is referring to. And we will also see in Thessalonians that He says basically the same thing. That as we pray we do it with that heartfelt attitude of thanksgiving) let your requests be made known unto God.
You mean God doesn't know? Why sure He does. But what does He want? He wants you and I to communicate. He wants us to let Him know from our hearts what we desire and what we need.
Someone once asked me and it made me think for about a week before I could come up with an answer: "God is Sovereign, and God knows about everything, and His will is going to be accomplished anyway, why pray?" Have you ever thought of that? Why pray? I don't know if I answered correctly or not, but the answer I gave the young man was this. I said, "Look in the foreknowledge of God. He knows everything that is going to be prayed for." Have you ever thought of it like that before? Everything is based on His foreknowledge. And so He can answer prayers and it will still fit in His Sovereign will, because He knows ahead of time that you were going to ask for it. Consequently, it becomes part and parcel of His will, but He couldn't have done it had you not asked. Because His foreknowledge would have said "They are not going to ask for it anyway" That might confuse you for now, but mull that over in the days to come. That as we pray, we don't change God's mind. You can't change a Sovereign God's mind. But He's already planned everything according to the fact that you were going to pray for it.
There is another great truth that I need to bring out in this verse. In this verse we have all three of God's answers evident. You may say that you don't see any answers in here. I'm not talking about some audible voice. But when you pray, just ask yourself what kind of an answer do I expect?. Bring it into your everyday life. If a child asks a parent for something, what kind of an answer do they normally expect? Yes, no, or maybe. I can remember when I was a young lad, and I wasn't big enough to hold up one or two wheels yet. But when I asked for that new bike what do you suppose that answer was? When you get a little older. Later. Put that into this verse when we come before God with anything and everything.
Naturally we shouldn't be silly in our requests. Don't waste yours or God's time on things that you know are unnecessary. But when you come into the presence of God asking and petitioning with thanksgiving, for legitimate things, you can expect a "yes," "no," or "maybe later." Just think about that. Maybe you have a loved one that is desperately ill. You have every right in the world to come before the throne of Grace on behalf of that loved one. God may answer "yes." We have had it happen to our class at people's request, and it is just thrilling, when all of a sudden their requests are answered. It happened again the other day. A lady asked us to pray for her mother in Indiana who had just been diagnosed with cancer. Of course we prayed, that was about four weeks ago. The other night she informed me that they had done exploratory surgery on her mother and found no cancer whatsoever. That wasn't just my prayer, but that's the concerted prayers of everyone she had probably shared it with. That was an immediate "yes" answer. God may have chosen to leave her with her cancer and the answer would have been "no." She may have just gone on and become terminally ill. On the other hand, God may have said, "Now just be patient, down the road we will make her better." And that's a possibility also. It is the same way in any other request you can make. But the next verse puts the cap on this whole concept of coming before the throne of Grace with anything and everything. Even though God may say "no." And it may leave us in limbo. Look what the next verse says:
"And the peace (not with God, but the peace of God. You made peace with God the day you took His offer of salvation. That is reconciliation. Reconciliation is when you the sinner who was separated from God, was reconciled to God through the work of the Cross. Then you made peace with God. There is no longer that enmity. You're no longer an outcast. You're now His child. As you walk the Christian life, you can have an outpouring of the peace of God. It never leaves us, but I think we can have more at sometimes than others. It is the same with the filling of the Spirit. Here we are promised that as we pray, leaving everything in the Throne Room of Heaven, we can live every day knowing that the peace) of God, which passeth all understanding (it is beyond human concept to have this peace of God. And only the believer understands what that is. When you have that peace of God that passeth all understanding it ), shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
Even though we may go through adverse circumstances our mental health can be kept in a balance, with the fact that God has given us the assurance of His peace. So whether God says "yes," "no," or "maybe later," we come away with a complete tranquility knowing it's in His care and that He is going to provide anything and everything that we need. Just take that with you. Whenever a crisis comes into your life, you run to these two verses and you literally claim them. And say, "Now God this is what you promised, that I can come to you with anything and everything and I'm going to thank you for what you are going to do. But whether you answer yes or no or maybe I know that I have that peace of God that passeth all understanding." What more could we ask for? As I said before, we're living in a day when I think our nation needs our prayers as never before. So I would like to take you over to I Thessalonians Chapter 5. The Apostle Paul again is writing to believers up in Greece. And they have been under intense persecution. The persecution had been so great, that they honestly thought they were in the Tribulation. Drop down to verse 16. Now imagine if you were under persecution and pressure, and then someone writes to you with what we find in this verse:
I Thessalonians 5:16,17
"Rejoice evermore," That doesn't sound right does it? Yet Paul right on target. These Thessalonian believers had this assurance, that again their God was with them. That no one could touch them without His knowing it. So Paul could rightfully write, "Rejoice evermore, Pray without ceasing."
When you are under persecution, that would be pretty easy to do. But see the problem here in our beloved America, is that we have all got it so good most of the time, we don't really have a need, we think, to get on our knees and spend that 10-30 minutes a day that I think God expects of every believer. He expects and wants us to communicate with Him. That takes habit. Some of you are already doing it. I've had several of you tell me this. Just imagine if every believer in America would do that. Young and old. Families.
I remember when I was a kid (and most of you do too), we used to have what we called the "Old Family Altar." Dad would read a few verses out of the Bible and they would have a circle of prayer. That was usually before we got on that very early school bus. But you don't hear that anymore. But listen, God hasn't changed. His promises are the same. And when He says, "Pray without ceasing," that's what He means. And when He says, "In everything bring Me your supplications. Bring Me the desires of your heart and bring Me your praise and thanksgiving." He still means it. He hasn't changed. II Thessalonians Chapter 2 gives another reason why we as believers should be praying extra hard. Because if you know anything about prophesy (and we'll be going back to that in our next program), we know that, or at least we are quite sure that, we are in the final hours and days of this age. We know that the whole world's system is getting ready for the man of sin; the man Anti-christ. But God has left the responsibility, the timing aspect on track so that he doesn't come on the scene before it's time to. I think He leaves it with you and I as born again believers. II Thessalonians 2:3, and I've just told you that the Thessalonians were going through such terrible persecution that they thought that they were in the Tribulation. Paul says in verse 3:
II Thessalonians 2:3
"Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day (in other words, the beginning of the Tribulation and the coming in of the Anti-christ.) shall not come unless there come a falling away first (an apostasy or also a departure of the saints. In other words, the Anti-christ is not going to appear before the Church is gone.), and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition:
II Thessalonians 2:4
"Who opposeth (this is Paul's description from the Old Testament's description of the man, Anti-christ) and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God (we are going to see in the next few weeks how he is going to do that), shewing himself that he is God."
II Thessalonians 2:5
"(Paul says) Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?"
This is my reason for teaching as much prophesy as I do. If Paul thought prophesy was important in his day to those new believers fresh out of paganism, then how much more important it is for us to teach it, and to know it as we are approaching the hour.
II Thessalonians 2:6
"And now ye know what withholdeth (or restraineth like a dam in the river) that he (the Anti-christ) might be revealed in his time (in other words, not ahead of time. There is a restraining power on the earth tonight, that is making sure that the man, Anti-christ, does not come on the scene until it is God's time.)."
II Thessalonians 2:7
"For the mystery of iniquity doth already work (it's been on the scene from day one): only he who now letteth will let, until he (that is, the hindrance) is taken out of the way."
Now, who is the "He?" It's the Holy Spirit. And where's the Holy Spirit? Indwelling the believer. So it's the believer that is the restraining power through the work of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. Whereby we hold back this flood of iniquities that is coming on the world, in order to introduce the man of sin, the man Anti-christ. So it is up to us to stand in the gap, to hold it back. And I think the first place we have to start is on our knees in the prayer closet beseeching God.
LESSON TWO * PART II
PRAYER: PROPHECY: OLD TESTAMENT
Go back with me to Daniel Chapter 9, and we're going to pick up our study on prophecy. Now you'll remember I have been stressing that true prophecy is directed to the nation of Israel and usually, but not always, but usually, within a time frame. And here is a perfect example of what I am talking about. Daniel Chapter 9 verse 24 where God speaks to the prophet Daniel. And He said:
"Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Now let's explain that verse:
"Seventy weeks (that is seventy weeks of years. And some of your newer translations have already put it into 490. So 490 years) are determined upon (who?) thy people (now who were Daniel's people? Israel, the Jew. Now it's interesting if you come on up through Scripture that from the very onset of the Nation of Israel coming out of Egypt, how many times the pronoun will switch with God's dealing with Israel, from My people to thy people. Remember that? Sometimes He would tell Moses, "My people," and other times He would say, "Thy people." Now here again He tells Daniel, "Thy people." What's the difference? Well you see, when they're in the place of obedience, when they're in the land and in the place of blessing, then God calls them, "My people." When they're in a place of rebellion, such as they are here in Babylon as a result of their going into idolatry; their rejecting Jehovah, what does God say? "Thy people." "Lô' `Ammî" is the Hebrew for "They're not my people." And yet that doesn't mean that He has left off His Covenant promises. But they are out of a place of relationship, so now the pronoun goes back again in Daniel to, "Thy people." So here we have a prophecy directed to the Nation of Israel that is in a time frame of 490 years.) and upon thy holy city (the city of Jerusalem.), to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity,..."
Now that was all accomplished in the work of the Cross. That was where Satan was utterly defeated. I know that he is alive and well, but for the believer, his power has been broken as a result of the work of the Cross. When Christ died, that was when reconciliation was made possible. As Paul brings out in II Corinthians 5:20 "...be ye reconciled to God." We now have the ministry of reconciliation. We can tell a lost world, "You've already been reconciled. It's all been accomplished." Believe it (the Gospel as found in I Corinthians 15:1-4 for your salvation.) and God will count you as reconciled. Now continuing with verse 24:
"...to make reconciliation for iniquity (that comma represents nearly a 2000 year time span), and to bring in everlasting righteousness,..."
That hasn't happened yet. That is the Kingdom. And the Kingdom of course, has by no way or stretch of the imagination, come on the scene. But what I'm going to be emphasizing is that we are going to show that all of these Old Testament prophecies are in a continuous flow from the time of Abraham, until the coming of the King and the Kingdom. Let me put it on the board. There's a reason I don't draw these things ahead of time. I know that a lot of people ask why I don't you just use charts? Well, it would be so much easier. But I always have to remember my old physics professor back in college days could have used charts, but he always wrote as he taught so I could follow him. If he had the whole board already full of stuff, and just used a pointer, I couldn't have followed his teaching as well. And so I think the same way with you folks. I'm going to take the time to put it on the board because it slows me down a little bit, and it helps you follow a little easier than if I had the whole thing up here.
So if we could just come back to our timeline. Adam is way back here at 4,004 B.C. Then we'll put the Cross up here in the middle. And half way between Adam and the Cross, remember, we had the call of Abraham or Abram as he's first known, at 2,000 B.C. And beginning with this call of Abraham, God pulls out a separate race of people. I always put it on the board as, "Jew only," and for those of you who have been with me, I always put what? "With Exceptions." Jew only, with exceptions. And the main river of Gentile humanity continues on its way. But beginning with that call of Abraham, God is going to bring out a separated nation of people. And it's to these people that prophecy is to be directed within a time frame. In other words, the first thing that He told Abraham is that, "430 years he would sojourn, and then the nation would be brought back to Himself." And it was exactly 430 years to the day just as God had said.
Now always get the time frame. Jeremiah had prophesied that the nation of Israel would go into captivity for 70 years. And do you remember a week or two ago why I pointed out why it was 70 years? Because every seventh year, while they were in the land of promise, they were to have left it fallow. They were supposed to let it rest. But what did they do? They kept right on farming it. And after 490 years of neglecting that sabbatical year, God says, "I'm going to get my seventy years of sabbaticals." So they were sent into that captivity in Babylon for seventy years and the land laid rest. Now of course it wasn't just because of their neglecting the sabbatical, it was also they had gone into idolatry and had rejected Jehovah and so forth. But primarily the seventy years was to make up for the one out of every seven, out of 490 years of time.
With Daniel we have a prophesy concerning 490 years from a particular time, which of course, will be after the Babylonian captivity, which took place. Nebuchadnezzar came over to Israel in 606 B.C. and took Daniel and all the Jews, captive back to Babylon. And then as that 70 years elapsed that they were to be in captivity; that brings us to 536 B.C., when Ezra goes back, you remember, by the decree of Cyrus to rebuild the Temple, which Nebuchadnezzar's force had utterly destroyed. About 90 years later, Nehemiah writes in Chapter 2 of that Book, about a decree by another king: that now the Jews can go back to Jerusalem, not to rebuild the temple, because that had already been done by Ezra.
But now they were to go back and rebuild the city wall and the gates, because in antiquities, that was their main line of defense for safety. And from that decree until the crucifixion was a period within this 490 year time frame, but it was 483 years instead of 490. So from that decree of Daniel Chapter 9 then, until Christ was cut off was 483 years. That left seven to make the 490. What most of you have heard in regard to most prophetic teaching is Daniel's 70th week. It is that seven-year period of time that we now know is still future. We think that we're getting close to it. And that is the final seven years of the Tribulation. But the point I want to make, and that's why I wanted to put it on the board, is that all the Old Testament prophecies merely speak of this timeline concerning Israel as going right on through to the completion of the 490 years, when Christ could have (this is hypothetical because it didn't happen) set up His Kingdom and He would have been the King. The nation of Israel could have been the priests that they were promised that they could be. And this goes all the way back to Exodus 19. That's why I like to take people from Genesis right through the Scriptures. Because as God brought Israel right out of Egypt, they became His Covenant people. And He told them that if they would be obedient, if they would be what He wanted them to be, they would be a nation of priests. What's a priest? He's a go-between man and God.
So every Jew was intended at some future day to become a priest of God, to bring all these pagan Gentiles to a knowledge of their God. But what I want to show at this time is that all of these prophecies run continuously. Read back again, so that you will know what I'm talking about here in this verse in Daniel Chapter 9:
"Seventy weeks (490 years) are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity (in other words, that was all satisfied at the first advent. Christ's crucifixion, His burial and resurrection.), and to bring in everlasting righteousness,..."
See, that's the Kingdom. That was all to flow right in that 490 years period of time. Go back with me if you will, to Psalms Chapter 2. Here we have again a graphic illustration that this is exactly how the Old Testament writers saw it. They didn't see, at least they certainly didn't understand, that there would be a 1,900 year gap between the 483 years and the fulfilling of the last seven. All of the Old Testament writers speak of it as a continuous flow of events until Christ would return and set up His Kingdom. Israel then could have been the vehicle to evangelize the nations.
Now always remember that when you study these things, that when Paul comes on the scene with the Gospel of Grace, the first thing that the Holy Spirit has him reveal is that all these things that Paul teaches were kept secret, hid, in the mind of God. All these Grace Age truths that we now are so aware of, they were kept secret in the mind of God. So when these Old Testament writers wrote, concerning this Old Testament history, they did not see the Church Age. Otherwise it would not have been a secret kept in the mind of God. Look in Psalms Chapter 2; this is another perfect example:
"Why do the heathen rage, and the people (Israel) imagine a vain thing (that they could get along without God)? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers (that is of Israel and they take) council together (this was fulfilled when the High Priest and Pilate consorted together to put Christ to death.), against the LORD, and against his anointed (The Christ), saying," And they say in plain English that they will not let this man rule over them.
"Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us." And then verse 4, the reaction of a Holy God the Father, I think we can put it that way, when they reject His Son. He laughs a laugh of derision.
Notice there is no indication of a break in here. It just goes from His rejection and His crucifixion. Then what did God the Father say to God the Son in Psalms 110:1? "...Sit thou at my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool." That was the invitation for the ascension and He did ascend. But you see according to the Old Testament He would not have stayed there long, and He would come right back and set up His Kingdom, "if." There is the big "if," and that is why it becomes hypothetical, because it was all based upon the obedience of the Nation of Israel and the belief of Israel that Jesus was the Christ. When you get into the Book of Acts, this is the whole concept of Peter and the eleven preaching to the Nation of Israel. The One you Crucified was the Christ. He is our King. He is alive. He can yet come be our King.
In the next program or two we will show how all these things were prophesied to fall right in place till the coming of the King and the Kingdom. And then Israel could evangelize the Gentiles. But in reality Israel rejected it in unbelief. And God instead turned to the Gentiles with the Age of Grace. See the difference? We have to take it through the Old Testament and not put the cart before the horse. So as the Israelites and the Gentiles, the Romans in this case, rejected and crucified the Messiah, God sits in heaven and laughs and invites the Son back to His right hand and then verse 5:
"Then shall he speak unto them in his (what is the next word?) wrath, (that is not love, nor mercy, or Grace) and vex them in his sore displeasure (what is that? That is the Tribulation. It could have followed right on the heels of the ascension so that Christ could have returned and set up His Kingdom. Because now look what the next verse says. And remember this is immediately after He vexed them in the Tribulation in verse 5)."Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill o Zion." Go to verse 8:
"Ask of me (God says), and I shall give thee (He is speaking to the Messiah) the heathen (or Gentiles) for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession."
What is that? That is the Kingdom. That's not talking about the Church, or the Age of Grace, but the Kingdom. That could have immediately followed all these things. Let me go to another one. The one we looked at a couple of lessons ago. You know I'm a stickler for a lot of review. And it is not because I'm getting old and senile and forget what I've taught before, I do it purposely. Repetition is the only way you learn. Daniel Chapter 2. Here we go to that image that Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream. This huge likeness of a human being, but made of the various metals, you remember. Now verse 34. This dream depicted all the great Gentile empires that would come on the scene, beginning with Babylon, Medes and Persians, Greeks, and Romans. And he said:
"Thou sawest until (time. You saw all these empires come and go until) that a stone was cut out without hands (that's the coming of Christ at His second Advent), which smote the image upon his feet (the empire that was on the scene at that time. We showed it to be the revived Roman Empire, as we see it coming on the scene in Western Europe even today.) that were of iron and clay and brake them to pieces." Now verse 35; watch the flow in this one verse:
"Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together (all the residue of those great Gentile Empires) and become like the chaff of the summer threshing floors (they are ground to powder); and the wind carried them away (that is all going to happen in the Tribulation.), that no place was found for them (look how it ends): and the stone (the returning Christ) that smote the image became a great mountain (or Kingdom), and filled the whole earth."
It doesn't say heaven. It is not talking about a Kingdom in heaven, it is the Kingdom on earth. But did you see the flow? Everything is moving from start to finish with no hint of a 1900 plus years of the Church Age. It is all prophesied straight down the line. Turn over a few pages to the little Book of Joel. And again a prophecy concerning the whole flow of events. Joel Chapter 2, drop down to verse 28. You need to know what went ahead of all of this in this Chapter. In the first part of the verse it speaks of afterward. After what? Well, after His coming, and being rejected, crucified, risen from the dead, ascended back to glory. And those are all parts of this Old Testament program.
"And it shall come to pass afterward (we know from our point in time, this is when it happened. That's speaking of the coming of the Holy Spirit.), I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh (Pentecost); and your sons and your daughters (Israel's) shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit." There is no break in your Bible there. There is just a continuation right into the next verse and it says:
"And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come."
Now stop and ask yourself, did all that happen right after Pentecost? Has it happened yet? NO! Why not? Because it has been interrupted. But the Old Testament prophet couldn't see the interruption. He saw it all coming as one event right after another. That is why I tell you that God is using the Nation of Israel in a "Jew only" situation, with exceptions, and I'll give you a couple of those exceptions in the near future. They would reject, and crucify Christ; he would ascend; then the Tribulation (hypothetically now) could have come right on in and Christ could have returned and set up His Kingdom. Israel could have then evangelized the Gentiles. Let's look at another verse before we run out of time on this lesson. Let's go to Zechariah Chapter 8, and we will look at a verse we read quite often, especially in the teaching of prophecy. In the passage we are leaping some of the program, but we are teaching how it was to have happened with the onset of the King and the Kingdom, so far as Israel is concerned. And remember this is God speaking. A God who knows the beginning to the end.
"Thus saith the LORD of hosts; It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities: And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts; I will go also. "
"Yea, many people and strong (what?) nations (plural. We are not talking about Israel now we are talking about Gentiles.) shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD,"
"Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days (when Jehovah God is ruling in Jerusalem; He is the King of Israel; King over all the earth, as Daniel has just said about His knowledge shall cover the earth as the water covereth the sea. When that has come to pass, as Psalms says, when the Tribulation has passed and the King is sitting on the Holy hill of Zion, now here was Israel's prospective role.) it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, `We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.'"
That was their prospect, they could have been priests, a Holy Nation to have had the opportunity of bringing all the Gentile nations to a knowledge of their God. Go back to Isaiah and we may have to continue this whole thought when we go into the next lesson. Start back at Isaiah Chapter 2 verse 2:
"And it shall come to pass (again, this is God speaking through the prophet) in the last days, that the mountain (or the kingdom) of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills (what does that last part say?); and all nations shall flow unto it."
LESSON TWO * PART III
PRAYER: PROPHECY: OLD TESTAMENT
Now we will drop back in where we left off in our last lesson, concerning that God was going to use the Nation of Israel, after the King and the Kingdom were established to bring salvation and knowledge of their Jehovah to the Gentiles. Now I always emphasize that this was the prophetic program. Which of course, we know that Israel rejected. But I want all my students to understand that everything is moving along through time, according to the prophetic program. So now in Isaiah Chapter 42, we're going to continue with this theme that Israel, once her Messiah was in place and was her King, would have had the opportunity to bring the Gentile to a knowledge of her God. Always remember that God is dealing with the Jew only at this point and time.
"Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: (these are pronouns, so who are we talking about? We're talking about Christ, the Messiah.) he shall bring forth judgment (the word judgment here does not mean like we think of a judge handing down a sentence or punishment, but it's rather, rule. To whom?) to the Gentiles."
He would bring forth rule or government to the Gentiles. Now back up in Isaiah to Chapter 9. Every time you hear Handel's Messiah, especially the Hallelujah Chorus, I want you to be reminded that this is where it comes from.
"For unto us (who's the us? The nation of Israel. Unto the nation of Israel) a child is born, unto us a son is given:..."
Do you know what I love about this Book? You never exhaust it. Now I always have to be so careful so that I'm not misunderstood. I've tried to explain to people over the years, that the text, John 3:16 makes no mention of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. We put it in there because we now know that this is part and parcel of it. But when Jesus said it, He hadn't yet gone to the Cross. He hadn't yet died and then raised from the dead. So I've sort of struggled in trying to explain to people what was meant by, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son," and then the other night when I was reading this verse here in Isaiah, the light came on and I said to myself, "Why didn't I see this before?" Now you'll see it. I know you will.
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is (what's the next word?) given:..."
Isn't that plain? What did God do? He gave them the Son. He gave them the Messiah. They didn't work for it. They didn't deserve it. It was all part of their Covenant promises that He would come and be their Messiah. "For unto us a son is given." Tie that into John 3:16 and you're in perfect accord with Scripture. Alright, read on:
"...and the government shall be upon his shoulder (and when that comes to pass, He is on His throne in Jerusalem and the Kingdom is set up, what will be His titles? Now can't you hear Handel's Messiah? Oh, it just rings in my ears.): and his name shall be called Wonderful, (the) Counsellor, The (what?) mighty God (and then some of these liberal theologians tell us that Christ was never God. Never claimed to be God. The Scriptures scream that He's God. The mighty God.), The (what?) everlasting father,..."
Now do you remember what He told Philip in John 14?
"Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us." (what was Jesus' answer?) Jesus saith unto him, `Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the (Who?) Father;..."
Now here it is in the Old Testament. The Son that was given to the Nation of Israel is the same One Who's name shall be called (when He sets up His Kingdom, even though we know from our aspect that these names are already valid); He is the:
"...Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."
"Of the increase of his (what?) government (what's government for? To rule. To maintain law and order is the way we look at it) and peace there shall be no end (and not from heaven, but from where?), upon the throne of David (be logical. Be sensible. Where was David's throne? On earth or in heaven? On earth, of course it was. And that's the same throne that Jesus is going to assume in Jerusalem.), and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment (or rule) and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this."
In other words, because He's the Sovereign God. Let's go to Chapter 49. These things are so thrilling if we just let the Bible say what it means and mean what it says, and not twist it out of shape.
"And now, saith the Lord that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob (that is, the nation of Israel) again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be my strength."
" And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel (to restore them to the place that they're going to have the kingdom): I will also (that's an important word. Israel is going to be there. But along with Israel I will:) give thee for a light to (whom?) the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth."
So when I say that all the way from Abraham into the New Testament that God was looking at the Jew only, with those exceptions, yes He was. But had He lost sight of this Gentile river of humanity? No! He had the whole program laid out that Israel could have just evangelized those nations of Gentiles and brought them to a knowledge of Jehovah. They could have been a nation and a kingdom of priests. I say, "Could have" every time, because they didn't. But they could have. Hypothetically, this is the way it could have all happened, as I have the timeline on the board. Let's go over to another one. Isaiah Chapter 59. I try to keep this in order just to facilitate your finding these scriptures.
"And the Redeemer shall come to Zion (where's Zion? Jerusalem), and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord."
In other words, what would have to be the spiritual climate in Israel? Every one of them had to be a believer. Now we'll see that when we get to Acts 3:26, where Peter said, "Every one of you", not 90%. It had to be 100%. Now let's read on:
"As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the Lord (where does that Covenant go back to? Abraham. Now there were other Covenants that came under the Abrahamic Covenant. God made the Covenant of law with Moses. He made the Covenant of a royal family with David. But they're all wrapped up in that Abrahamic Covenant.); My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever. Now go right on into Chapter 60:
"Arise, shine; for thy light is come,..."
What did Jesus tell the nation of Israel in His earthly ministry? "I am the light of the world." See, in fulfillment of this, your light is come "...and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee."
"For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth (what kind of a darkness? Spiritual! Oh, you want to remember, as I've said over and over, the whole world in the time of Christ was steeped in idolatry and paganism and mythology, with the exception of the Jews which should have had a knowledge of the One, true God. But they were in a spiritual darkness.), and gross darkness the people (even Israel was in a spiritual darkness); but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee."
See, this is why Matthew 15:24, and also Paul in Romans 15:8 tell us the same thing. He came to the children of Israel in the Gospels, not to the Church as some claim to reveal Himself of who He was, and what He was and why He had come. They should have had their eyes opened. They should have known. I've told my class a thousand times, if I told them once, Israel should have known Who He was. The Old Testament was full of it. Israel could have known Who He was if they had just studied the Book. But Israel did not know. We are getting to the same place in America. There is not a man, woman, boy or girl in America that could not know the plan of salvation. They should know that we are in the last days, but they don't. Why not? Because they don't want to. They will not listen, they will not learn because they don't want to know better. That was Israel's plight as well. Then verse 3:
"And the (who?) Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.
Do you remember the verse that we read in Isaiah on the last program, Isaiah 2:2? "And the Gentiles shall flow unto it." Well, it's the same picture here. If only Israel could have believed it. Now let's go all the way into your New Testament. Let's just follow this same premise. As we come into the New Testament, I'm going to stop with Matthew 1:1 for just a second, because it's not going to be too long until we'll be coming into the New Testament during our weekly study. But just to whet your appetite for just a little bit; stop at verse 1 of Chapter 1 where it says:
"The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham."
Why stop at Abraham? When you get to the next genealogy in Luke Chapter 3, where does it go? All the way back to Adam. But Matthew is presenting Christ as the King. And since He's being presented as the King, the Scripture only goes back to that part of Scripture that promises a King. And what part is it? The Abrahamic Covenant. So the first verse stops then, "...the son of David, the son of Abraham." Period. It's out of that Covenant with that man Abraham that the King is coming on the scene.
Let's go on into Luke's gospel for just a moment. Chapter 1. Following this same format now, the prophetic program given to Israel within a time frame of 490 years. They could have had their King and their Kingdom and they could have evangelized the world. Now Luke Chapter 1. I always like to explain the setting a little bit. You have the birth of John the Baptist just around the corner. And what we are dealing with is the parents. You need to remember that Zacharias and Elizabeth were well along in years, much like Abraham and Sarah were.
And so John the Baptist's birth was actually miraculous in itself. And you'll remember that during her whole pregnancy, Zacharias was stricken dumb. He was a priest but he couldn't speak. And so as the child was about to be born, others asked Elisabeth what she was going to name him. And she said, "John," of course, inspired. And they said, "Nobody in your family had been named that before, we better go check with the father." So they go to the Temple and look up old Zacharias and they ask him, "What's the child's name?" And he asked for a writing tablet because he couldn't speak. And so what did he write on the tablet? Well let's back up there in verse 63:
"And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all." The biggest marvel was that as soon as he wrote the word John, he got his speech back!
"And his mouth was opened immediately,..."
Oh, this is all in tune with, now, what God had programmed. Elizabeth agreed and Zacharias agreed that his name was to be John, and he got his voice back. And now come down to verse 67:
"And his father (John the Baptist's father) Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost,..."
Many people think that the Holy Spirit wasn't on the scene before Pentecost, but they just don't know their Bible if they say that. Because here it is. Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit. I emphasize this is to show that Zacharias is not merely mouthing the desires of an average Jew, or even a priest of the Jews. Wishful thinking. But what Zacharias is saying in these following verses is the mind of God being spoken through this man. Oh, this shocks people every time I read it. Verse 68. He starts out saying:
"Blessed be the Lord God of (the world? No. You see how it confines everything to Jew only? Blessed be the Lord God of) Israel;..."
God isn't being picky here. God isn't being unfair. He dealt with the whole human race for 2,000 years. From Adam until Abraham. And what did they do with all His offers of salvation? They walked it underfoot. So He turns His back on the Gentile river of humanity and He goes to the Jew. And here it is. The God of Israel:
"...for he hath visited and redeemed his people."
Now you see, Zacharias understood the prophetic plan that once his little son would announce the coming of the King, the King would come. And Israel would have her Kingdom. Let's read on.
"And has raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David (is that confining? Sure it is. It doesn't include the Gentiles. This is Jew only,); for us in the house of his servant David."
"As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets (what's he referring to? The Old Testament. The prophetic program as we have been reading it.), which have been since the world began: That we should be saved from our (sins? It doesn't say that. From our what?) enemies (now who were Israel's enemies at the time of Luke? The same ones that they've got today. The Syrian, the Egyptians, and the Persian, and you name it. Everyone who lived around them. The Romans, and you know how they hated the Romans), and from the hand of all that hate us;"
"To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant;" The next verse tells you which Covenant:
"The oath which he sware to our father Abraham,"
See how all this goes back to Abraham. Matthew 1 went back to Abraham. Luke 1 goes back to Abraham. Everything that Jesus does in His earthly ministry goes back to that Covenant. And oh, if people could just see that. That just answers all the controversies, all the misunderstanding, when you realize that everything He is doing is under the Covenant promises that He made with Abraham. And that was Jew only. Now you all know the verse in John 1:11 "He came unto His own (And who were His own? The Jew.), and His own received Him not." Read on:
"That he (God) would grant unto us (the Nation of Israel), that we being delivered out of the hand our enemies (mortal enemies. Physical enemies. Next door enemies.) might serve him (that is, the God of Abraham) without fear, In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. "And thou, child (speaking of John the Baptist), shalt be called the prophet (or the forerunner) of the Highest (who's that? The Christ. The One we just finished reading about in Isaiah 9. The Mighty God. The everlasting Father. The Prince of Peace): for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways (and that's what John did. He announced the coming of the King);"To give knowledge of (what?) salvation..."
Now we come to the spiritual part of it. First you've got the introduction of the physical, literal, political aspect of the Kingdom, granting peace and safety to the Jewish people. Also you have to have the spiritual side, because what did Jesus tell Nicodemus in John 3:3? ...Except a man be born again (or experience salvation) he cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven." The two have to come together. I think in one of our previous programs, I put the two lines on the board. Do you remember it? I said all the way up through the Old Testament, you have two parallel thoughts: The King and the Kingdom. And a suffering Savior. And do you remember I emphasized that every Jew wanted the King and the Kingdom, but they did not want to deal with the Savior. And that was their problem. But here it is. They were to be saved from their physical enemies. They were to have a physical Kingdom. They were to have physical peace and prosperity. They also had to have a spiritual salvation.
"To give knowledge of salvation unto the people by the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God;..."
Now then, verse 79. This is the verse I wanted to lead to. As they would come to this place of spiritual, as well as, a political and a physical fulfillment, what is the next step of Israel?
"To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,..."
And who were they? The Gentiles! This was to be their lot. They now had the light of the world and they were going to take it out to the Gentiles. Well, let's move on to the Book of Acts, Chapter 1. And I always like for people to see how all of this moves right through the Old Testament. Beginning with Genesis Chapter 12, Jew only. All the way through the prophetic books. Through that time period that Daniel prophesied, The Messiah came. He was rejected. He was crucified. He ascended. But you move right into the New Testament from the Old on all these things. And now when you come into the Book of Acts, which is after His crucifixion and after His resurrection, pick it up in Acts Chapter 1 verse 4. There hasn't been a single word yet about going to the Gentiles with the Gospel of Grace, but a lot of people like to put it in there. Not a word. Everything is based on this Abrahamic Covenant dealing with Israel first and then to the Gentiles.
"And, being assembled together with them (Christ in His resurrected body with the eleven), commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me."
And then verse 5. And this is going to be a separate lesson someday. Now in our week-night classes it comes up periodically. Here on television it's not quite as easy in thirty minutes. But as a rule in our class, when we have two hours and we have feedback, we can permit people to interrupt me. They'll ask me a question and we'll cover these things. But in thirty minutes, we just can't do it.
"For John truly baptized with water; but (now all through Scripture whenever I've shown you that word "But," what have I always told you? It's the flip side. John baptized with water, but) ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence (when did that begin or when did it happen? At Pentecost).
"When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
What's on their heart? The Kingdom Come back to Matthew Chapter 19. Remember why I came back here? What were they looking for? The Kingdom. Will you at this time restore the Kingdom. That's all that's filling their mind.
"Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? Now they've got their salvation.
"And Jesus said unto them, `Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory (when will that happen? When He sets up His kingdom. Now He says, "When I set up My Kingdom"), ye also (He is speaking to the twelve. Judas is left out) shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging (or ruling who?) the twelve tribes of Israel.'" And from where? Jerusalem.
LESSON TWO * PART IV
PRAYER: PROPHECY: OLD TESTAMENT
We'll pick up where we left off. You'll remember that we stopped in Acts, and the big concern of the twelve was, "Are you about to restore the kingdom?" And then in our closing minute I took you back to Matthew, where Jesus promised the twelve that they would indeed rule the Twelve Tribes of Israel from Jerusalem under his authority, of course, when the kingdom would be set up. Now with that kind of anticipation, I mean that was the way the Lord left it, "You will rule the twelve tribes. When the kingdom is set up and the earth is regenerated, back like it would have been in the Garden of Eden." So these guys are pumped up. They had a lot to be looking forward to. Now you come into the Book of Acts. Christ has been crucified and buried, but risen from the dead. He has just spent forty days with them in His resurrected body. And now it's about the day for Him to be ascending back to glory. And there He is on the Mount of Olives with the eleven. Of course Judas is gone. And now the eleven said:
"When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time (right now) restore again the kingdom to Israel?
Now when the word "again" pops in there, you must realize that Israel had reached her glory as a nation under what king? or kings? David and Solomon. And the glory of it had spread to the then known world. And I think that these men understood that even the glory of Solomon was nothing compared to the glory that would be when their Messiah would rule and reign. So they were excited. They were anticipating, and so the question was logical, here in Chapter 1 verse 3:
"To whom (that is, the eleven) also he shewed himself alive after his passion (His death, burial, and resurrection) by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to (what?) the kingdom of God:"
For forty days in His resurrected body, what had He been doing? He had been explaining things that up until now, they hadn't comprehended. Do you remember I showed you way back in Luke Chapter 18 (so that you get an idea of how blinded these men were), how totally unsuspecting that these men were to what was about to happen, in spite of their knowledge of their Old Testament. As I said in the last program, they should have known, but they didn't. Now Luke 18, beginning in verse 31:
"Then he (Jesus) took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished."
Everything that was about to take place had already been foretold. His suffering, His death, His resurrection, His ascension, His coming again. It was all back there. Psalms is full of it. I wish some day that I could teach a whole lesson or a series of lessons on the Book of Psalms. The prophetic aspects of the Book of Psalms. It's all in there. And that doesn't even mention Isaiah and all the others that we've already looked at. Now then, read on:
"For he (speaking of himself) shall be delivered unto the Gentiles (the Romans), and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on:"
"And they (that is, the Gentiles and the Jews, of course), shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again." Plain English? Or plain Aramaic, or whatever language that He spoke? As plain as it could be. Look at the next verse:
"And they (the twelve) understood (how much?) none (not a word of it. It went off of them like water off a duck's back. It never registered.) of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken."
Now that's kind of hard to swallow, I know it is, but the Book says it. Consequently, when the crucifixion came on the scene, were they expecting it? No. When He died, they placed Him in the tomb. Did they camp out until that resurrection morning? No. Why not? They did not know. They did not know that He was going to rise from the dead. Maybe they should have, but they didn't. Why? Because God had sovereignly kept them ignorant of it. That is also the reason they couldn't have preached the Gospel that saves you and I tonight. (Believing in His death, burial, and resurrection for our salvation. I Corinthians 15:1-4) People write me and tell me, "My, you've just opened my understanding." No I don't do that. That's not me. God does that. When you all of a sudden see a scriptural truth, don't give me the credit for it. Just say, "Well Lord, thank you for opening my eyes." Because that's the way it works. He is the one that has to discern or help us discern these spiritual truths. Alright while you're in Luke, stop at Chapter 24. Remember the verse in Acts 1:3 , "...being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:" Now just for an example here in Luke 24, He comes on the scene in His resurrected body, remember. He's come out of the tomb and this is during that forty days:
"And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet."
Now He's physical. He's not there in some sort of fog, or like Star Trek, beaming up or down. He was there physically, visible, and they saw the scars in His hands and His feet.
"And while they yet believed (what's the next word?) not (most people read their Bible and they don't see that little not in there. They didn't believe it. They still couldn't comprehend that all this had taken place.) And while they believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? (now the word, "meat," in the King James, 99 times out of 100 means food.)
"And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb."
And what did He do with it? Did He say, "Hey fellas, I don't need this."? No. He ate it. When we get into our new estate; when we enter into glory in our resurrected bodies, we are going to have pleasures that this world knows nothing of. Do you know that one of them is going to be eating! And we won't have to worry about a weight problem. We won't have to worry about a diabetic problem, or a high blood pressure problem. We're going to have the pleasures of things. You might say, "Where do you get that?" In the Book of Revelation Chapter 22, paraphrased it says, "The fruit of the Tree of Life will grow on both sides of the river 12 months of the year." And it's to be eaten. It's for us. And that is just one example. So the resurrected body is capable of ingesting food. But the glory of it is there will be no need of sanitation. It's going to be a chemistry that is totally different then any thing we know of. It will be totally consumed rather than the small percentage we now eat. So Jesus ate. Now verse 44:
"And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me (now look at the next verse). Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,"
It took an act of God. Do you see that? And when He sovereignty ordained that they should understand these things, all of a sudden the lights came on and they began to see this whole Old Testament program as it had been unfolding. And here is the miraculous part of it, contrary to what most of us have had taught and preached at us. There is still not a single hint of the Church Age or of God going to the Gentiles any other way except through this prophetic program. Which I'm still going to confine to the 490 years. 483 up until the Cross. Then the 7 years that were left, could have happened immediately after He ascended, and He would have come back at that time, but Israel didn't buy it. Israel rejected Him and the program. But nevertheless the 11, soon to be 12, now understood that all of this prophetic program had been fulfilled or was about to be fulfilled. Now back to the Book of Acts.
"...Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?"
Now if they were out in left field on this question, and were talking about this physical, political, and spiritual Kingdom that we have been explaining, and it was nothing but a spiritual, ethereal thing that is out there in heaven someplace, what would the Lord have said in this next verse? He would have upbraided them and explained to them, "Now listen fellas, you are barking up the wrong tree, you're not understanding," but He doesn't. He let's them ask that question, and the only thing He refuses to answer is, not the "if," but the "when." The Kingdom is going to come but He says, "It is not for you to know the times or the seasons." Or when. Now according to the prophetic program it could have all happened, the Tribulation could have come right in. All of that 7 years has to happen. It could have run its course, and Israel could have had her King. It might never have been explained that way to you before. I want to make you think and study. Now since they don't know anything but the Old Testament program of death, burial, resurrection, ascension, Tribulation and His return. Now look what Peter does in Acts 2. The Pentecostal Chapter. The Chapter where the Holy Spirit comes down to the Nation of Israel. And do you remember how they were all amazed at hearing in their own language, from whatever part of the Roman Empire they had come for the Feast of Pentecost. And remember it was one of the seven Jewish feast days. They (the Israelites, we find that in verse 13) thought these men were full of new wine. But Peter says, "No way."
"For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel."
Remember we looked at these verses in Joel, not long ago, to show that the prophetic program runs constant right on through to the end. Now the amazing thing is Peter didn't have the foreknowledge to stop where he should have stopped at the end of verse 18 of this Chapter. Because beginning with verse 19 it is all Tribulation talk. Peter couldn't see 1900+ years of the Church Age. So Peter quotes from Joel Chapter 2 the prophetic program.
"And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:"
All of this was happening. This is what Joel was talking about. But Peter doesn't stop there. So Peter continues in verse 19:
"And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:"
Did that happen? Has it happened yet? No! But Peter didn't know that it was going to be interrupted. Peter could see this whole thing coming right down the pike. The Tribulation, the return of Christ, and the setting up of the Kingdom. And then Peter and the eleven could have taken the knowledge of their Jehovah to the ends of the earth. Sometimes I shake people up a little bit. You all know what the Great Commission says in Matthew 28. We call it "The Great Commission." "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations,..." Did Peter and the eleven go? No they didn't. Were they remiss? No. Because they knew their theology better than most people do today. It wasn't for them to go to the ends of the earth preaching the Gospel, because they were not to do that under the Covenant until they had the King. And so this is where I can really shock people. Turn with me to Acts Chapter 8. And this is no study on the Book of Acts by any means. But I still want you to see the flow of this Old Testament prophetic program, even as far along as the Book of Acts. We've come through His three years of ministry all on Covenant grounds. Israel under the law. Not once did Jesus even hint that the Jews were no longer under the Law. Everything He spoke was to the Jew under the Law. Now Peter comes on the scene, here in Acts, and Israel is still under the Law. And now here in Acts Chapter 8 it is seven years after Pentecost. And seven years is still a long time:
"And Saul (the one that became Paul) was consenting unto his death, (Stephen) And at that time there was a great persecution against the church (or assembly) which was at Jerusalem; and they were all (all those Jewish believers. And when the Scriptures say "all" I say it means "all." Every Jew who had embraced the fact that Jesus was their Messiah was under such intense pressure that they had all left Jerusalem except the apostles) scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria except (who?) the apostles." Everyone else had run for their lives except the apostles. Can you picture that. Here is such an intense persecution of people (Jews) being put to death for their faith because of Saul's persecution. This is what Paul lives to regret, that he had persecuted those Jewish believers. And they all fled except the very 12 men you would think would be the first to go.
Why were they sitting so tight in Jerusalem when the Great Commission says they should have been long gone around the world with the Gospel. But after seven years they are still in Jerusalem and persecution can't even drive them out. Now were they derelict in their duties? No. Quite the opposite, they knew that they had no ministry to the ends of the earth until this Covenant program was fulfilled. Their ministry was to the Jew. Now let me show you another verse that comes to mind. Turn to the Book of Galatians. Here Paul is writing to Gentiles at the Church he had established in Asia Minor. It is now the land of Turkey. And this is about 22 years after Pentecost. And now they (the twelve) have called Paul and Barnabas back to Jerusalem on the carpet for having the audacity to go to Gentiles with that which they thought was only for the Jew. And for the sake of time, Galatians 2:1 Paul says.
"Then fourteen years after (that which had taken place up in Chapter 1) I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also.
"And I went up by revelation (now when Paul uses the term revelation he is referring to the fact that God had revealed to him the necessity to go. So he goes up to to Jerusalem to meet the wheels of Judaism, as I call them. They were the 12, and of the believing Jews. Those who had believed that Jesus was the Christ. They were at the assembly at Jerusalem.), and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles,..."
The prophetic program has been interrupted by now. But I'm trying to show you how Peter confined his ministry to the Jew. So Paul comes to Jerusalem to show the twelve this Gospel that he is now preaching to the Gentiles. Let's come on down to verse 6.
"But of these who seemed to be somewhat (now he is referring to the twelve), [whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me; God accepteth no man's person:] for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me."
That is a snide remark, because by this time, 22 years after Pentecost, the prophetic program had begun to fall through the cracks. Israel was rejecting it left and right. In the meantime God had raised up this Apostle to the Gentiles. While Israel is going down, the Gentile assemblies are coming up. So this is the setting. Paul says these twelve who still thought they were in the prophetic program, and not even realizing it was falling away from them.
"But contrariwise, when they (the twelve) saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision (Gentiles) was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision (Jews) was unto Peter;"
Now verse 9. And if you can see Peter, James and John going to the Gentiles in this verse, then you read English differently than I do.
"And when James, Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship (they shook hands. And this is what they shook hands on.); that we should go unto the heathen (Gentiles), and they unto the circumcision." Or the Jew.
Now isn't that plain. How can you miss it. Now let's come back to Acts 3:13. And this follows shortly after the Pentecostal sermon of Acts Chapter 2. I just want you to see that Peter is still aware of nothing but the Covenant prophetic program promised to Israel. And here Peter says:
"The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers (does that include Gentiles? Not a one. This is so "Jew only" that you can't escape it.), hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go."
"And killed the Prince of life (does that sound like our message? What do we say? Oh, God loved us and gave Himself for us. He died for our sins. Peter doesn't say that. Peter says, "You killed him."), whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.
"And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers (under Israel's Law, ignorance could be a loophole.).
"Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;" And he shall send Jesus Christ..."
For what purpose? To be their King. Then in verse 21, Peter knew that the times of restitution of all things had to take place. That's the seven years. Now verse 24 and 25:
"Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days." The coming of the King and the Kingdom.
"Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham,..." You're the children of the what? The Covenant.
LESSON THREE * PART I
DANIEL'S 490 YEARS
Now get your Bible and let us prove from Scripture just how unique this Book really is, and how miraculous and so interesting to study. We need go go back to Daniel Chapter 9 for a while. It's a portion of Scripture that is almost impossible to exhaust. And if you ever want to be student of prophecy, this is one of the places you have to start. Because this is the foundation of all the rest of end-time events.
Here is the prophecy in time of a 490 year period, in which God is going to bring Israel all the way from their coming out of the Babylonian captivity, to the coming of Christ to the Nation of Israel, as we know happened in the Book of Matthew. But here in Daniel Chapter 9, it is broken down into three distinct areas of time. We will start at verse 25. And this is clear language. Does God want us to be in a fog on these things? No! The command here is to know these things. Not to be waffling, and not to be carried around on every wind of doctrine. But we can study and know.
"Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince..."
Now watch that word Prince. Notice it is capitalized. So this Prince is the Prince of peace. the Lord of Lords, and King of Kings Remember the Babylonians in 606 B.C. came and destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple, and took the holy things and the people back to Babylon. That was the beginning of the "Times of the Gentiles." We know they were in captivity there for 70 years as prophesied by Jeremiah. I know this is a little review. So 536 B.C. is the end of the 70 years, when Ezra will be the leader of the Jews to come back to Jerusalem not to build the city, but the Temple. They had to have their Temple worship under the system of law given to Moses. Now you notice in verse 25 it does not refer to Ezra's commandment to rebuild the Temple, but it refers to another commandment to rebuild the city and the walls. So now we have another element of time and it's in history. And we find it in Nehemiah Chapter 2. Now this is the commandment that Daniel is referring to in Daniel 9:25. Now here is how chronologers arrive at these various times. Look at what it says:
"And it came to pass in the month Nisan (April), in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king (now archaeologists as well as ancient history, have given us a pretty close date of when the twentieth year of Artaxerxes really was. It was in the area of 454 B.C. So in 454 B.C. is the when Nehemiah Chapter 2 comes on the scene. Now let's read on.), that wine was before him: and I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king...."
Nehemiah was the king's servant and was still under that 70 years of captivity. By this time, Babylon has fallen, and the Medes and Persians are running the empire. So rather than being in the palace in Babylon, they are at the palace in Shushan on the Tigress River. Now verse 2.
"Wherefore the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid."
Kings back then didn't have much concern for human rights. Anything could turn them off and they would just say, "Kill him, he is of no use to anyone." So Nehemiah was rightfully fearful.
"And said unto the king, Let the king live forever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city (Jerusalem), the place of my fathers' sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire?"
Now that all took place when king Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem back in 606 B.C. So it has been laying waste all these years. So the city in most part was still in shambles.
"Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request?" Nehemiah was a spiritual man, and so even there as he stands before that pagan king, what does he do? He prays silently. And here again comes this whole idea of prayer. Do you have to be some place on your knees in order for God to hear? Why, no! Prayer is something that we can accomplish anywhere and anytime, even as Nehemiah would not have dared to pray out loud before that king. So he prayed silently from the heart. "So I prayed to the God of heaven." As he was praying silently, he speaks to the king:
"And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers' sepulchres, that I may build it."
Come back to Daniel Chapter 9. This is the time factor then. The only reason we are doing this is to show you that all of this took place explicit in a time factor. That is the beauty of prophecy. That God is in such control of the whole business of human history. He can prophecy these things in time and fulfill it in time. So back to verse 25:
"Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem (Nehemiah Chapter 2) unto the Messiah the Prince (Christ's first coming) shall be seven weeks,"
As I said before, this 490 years is divided into 3 segments. Right here is one of them. And it will be seven weeks. These are sevens of years. So seven weeks of years is how many years? 49. So from 454 B.C. subtracting 49 should leave us at 405 B.C. Now we are down to 405 B.C. Historically, this is the year that Ezra's Temple is finally finished. Now that is over 100 years of rebuilding that Temple. We refer to this Temple as the second Temple. The first one was the one King Solomon built. We American's wouldn't stand still for something that took that long would we? They had been working on the Temple from 536 B.C. till 405 B.C. when the Temple was dedicated. Now that is the seven years of that verse Let's read on), the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times."
Now if you will go on and read the Book of Nehemiah, you will notice that as they rebuilt the city wall, and began to construct the gates, there was much opposition from the Arabs at that time (no different than it is today). The Arabs gave these Jews so much trouble trying to keep them from accomplishing what they were trying to do, Nehemiah finally says (I believe it is in Chapter 6) that the workers had to work with a trowel in one hand and a sword in the other. But they got it done. Now in verse 26:
"After threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off,..."
Now that is how many? That is another sixty-two weeks, and that is 434 years. So adding that 434 years with the previous 49 years in verse 25, you have 483 years total, and that brings you to 29 A.D., when Christ was crucified. So from the commandment given to Nehemiah to rebuild the city until Christ was crucified was 483 years. Do you see that I'm trying to show how accurate the Scripture is. I always give people leeway. I'm not saying it had to be just exactly so many years. Because a lot of things come into play when you start dealing in chronology. Always remember that a Biblical year is 360 days. In other words 12 thirty-day months. That is real handy except we have a problem and what is it? We have 365 days and a fraction in every year. So what did the Jews do? Every few years they would correct their calendar and make up for those 5 days. We do it with an extra day every so often, and then every 4 years we have a leap year. Now if you will put a pencil to it or calculate it over a period of 483 years those extra 5 plus days can be quite a period of time. So I don't get dogmatic and say this is the exact number. But I think you can see already that Scripture is so close, that over the long haul there is very little difference.
So the prophecy was exact again in this instance. But remember in verse 24, it wasn't 483 years but, instead, 490 years that was prophesied on the Nation of Israel. Now we still lack 7 years for it to be complete and we know now that it must be completed on this side of the Cross. And remember what I have been stressing for the past several lessons. There is nothing in the Old Testament, or even in the Gospels, or even in the early chapters of Acts that indicates there will be 1900 plus years between this and the end of the seven years. Not a hint. So we have to look at it coming out of the Old Testament as they saw it. And that was the 483 years the crucifixion, and then the Tribulation. Now lets read on with verse 26:
"And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself (Paul tells us He died for us): and the people of the prince (notice it is a small letter "p." So it is not the same prince that is up in verse 25. So who is the small letter prince? The Anti-christ. It's the counterfeit christ that we know is going to come on the scene. As far as I can tell, there is no indication of the man of sin, the Anti-christ, anywhere else in Scripture except here in Daniel. Jesus refers to him in Matthew 24, Paul describes him in II Thessalonians Chapter 2. And other than that we know nothing of the Anti-christ till we get to the Book of Revelation. But Daniel is revealing that this seven-year period is also going to be attended by an individual, a man. A prince that shall come. A lesser than God. Let's read on) that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary;..."
We know Babylon destroyed the first Temple. Now what empire was responsible for destroying the second Temple? The Romans. Go back to the dream of Nebuchadnezzar. How many empires were there? There were four. The head of gold was Babylon. The chest of silver was the Medes and Persians. The belly of brass was the Greeks. And the legs and feet were the Romans. Also remember on the timeline from 606 B.C. until the Cross, all of these empires had come on the scene and had been replaced by the preceding empire. So remember the Roman Empire was responsible for destroying the second Temple. And this little prince will come from that same empire and become the Anti-christ. So this is where we get the whole concept that the Anti-christ will come from some place out of the geography area of the old Roman Empire.
Now the Old Testament doesn't give us a hint that Rome would fall, disappear and come back. We have to read that between the lines. But when I teach this whole concept that the Roman Empire ended between 300-400 AD and now it is coming on the scene again as the Europe Community over there, we see all the makings of a revived Roman Empire. Even though there have been several hundred years that have passed, how long is that to our God? A snap of the finger. It's just like it never happened. So this is the concept you must look at. The Scripture looks at the whole picture. And the Church Age was placed in there without any mention whatsoever in the Old Testament. And the Old Testament goes right on as if the same empire that destroyed the second Temple is on the scene for the Anti-christ, because a 1000 years with the Lord is like a day. And the same empire that destroyed the Temple and Jerusalem after Christ, is the same empire that is going to bring forth the Anti-christ. But we don't won't to put the cart before the horse; let's keep everything in order.
Now as we come down to the end of verse 26, this prince that shall come out of the Roman Empire (a revived one now), and his appearance until the end of time as we know it, is going to be nothing but trouble. It is going to be war and desolation. Now that is the seven-year period that Jesus refers to in Matthew 24, where there will be a flood of prophets claiming to be the Christ. Then in Matthew 24, He will bring us up to the mid-point of the Tribulation and he will refer to verse 27 of Daniel. In verse 27, Daniel introduces us to the man who will again kick God's time clock into gear. And those seven years will begin to roll.
LESSON THREE * PART II
DANIEL'S 490 YEARS
Now we will go right back to Daniel Chapter 9 and pick up again where we left off last lesson. Let's pick up that last period of time. We told you last lesson that the 490 years prophesied for Israel was divided into 3 segments. We covered the first 49 years as being that time of Nehemiah and the rebuilding of the wall. And then the 434 years that went from the dedication of the Temple until the crucifixion of Christ. But we still have 7 years left. Now remember all the reference to this prophetic program makes it sound like all of this 490 years will flow right to the end, with no interruptions, and then the earthly Kingdom would be set up.
In one of the last Jerusalem Post articles written by one of the head Rabbi's in Israel, the headline read, "Is the end really near?" Even in Israel they realize that it is time for their Messiah. Of course they won't recognize that He is coming the second time. So this whole article was with regard to what is happening around the world, but especially in Israel. The rabbi recognizes from these same Old Testament Scriptures that when the Messiah comes, whether he is man or God, he wasn't all that sure on that. But he went on to say "that this Messiah will bring about peace on earth through the Nation of Israel." I have been stressing that God hadn't given up on the Gentiles, but would bring them to Himself through the Nation of Israel after the Kingdom was set up.
Now that is the Old Testament. And the Old Testament speaks only of that progressing of events. We will see of course that when Israel rejected it, early in the Book of Acts, what God already had hidden in His mind, but He had never revealed it. No one, not even the twelve had any idea that the Old Testament program would have to wait almost 2000 years for those final 7 years to be completed. Now let's come in at verse 27 of Daniel Chapter 9, where this prince that shall come out of the Roman Empire who would destroy again the Temple and the city of Jerusalem. This man would come on the scene and will sign a seven-year treaty with the Nation of Israel. Now let's look at it and we will comment.
"And he (the prince that shall come) shall confirm the covenant with many (Israel) for one week (7 years): and in the midst (or middle) of the week (this is where we get the first teaching that the Tribulation is split in half. It will always be referred to as 3 1/2 years and 3 1/2 years. Or 42 months and 42 months. In another place it is 1260 days and 1260 days. But it is all a total of 7 years. So this prince in the middle of the week) he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease,..."
Now we need to stop right here. In order for Israel to be in the midst of sacrifices and rituals and oblation, what does she have to have? The Temple. And today she doesn't have the Temple and hasn't had one for over 1900 years. So we know from this prophecy that Israel is soon going to have her Temple. And she will reinstate Temple worship, and will be back under the Law as best she can. It certainly won't be the law as Moses and Aaron practiced it. But it will be more or less a religion as the Temple worship was at the time of Christ. It was just a form of religion. Remember Jesus went into the Temple and drove out the money changers and livestock. What had the Temple become? A place of merchandise. Profit taking. And much of that, I think is going to come back when they rebuild the Temple. It's going to be a formal religion, but it certainly will not be the pure system that Moses and Aaron instituted coming out of Egypt.
Anyway, this man Anti-christ as we know him to be, will come into the Temple there in Jerusalem at the middle of the seven years. So all I can say is sometime before that, the Temple will be rebuilt. Whether it's before the treaty is signed or whether it's sometime after the treaty is signed. Now another thing that I like to point out: there has been no indication of prophecy or time about the Age of Grace. It's what we call the calling out of the Body. The Church, however you want to put the nomenclature. Here in this parenthetical period of time, there has been no indication, prophecy-wise, as to how long. So for all these 1,900 and some years, we do not know when it will end.
All we know is that at the end of the Church Age, God is going to bring about another seven years in time. The minute Anti-christ signs that seven-year treaty with Israel, God's time clock will kick in and will go right down the line for seven years, like it always did back in the Old Testament. Now see, we're not under that kind of a time frame tonight. We don't know when the Church Age will end. We don't know when the Lord will come for the Church. All we know is that it's imminent. It could be today. It could be tonight. It could be next year. It may be a long time yet. We don't know. But as things are shaping up, we feel that it can't be much longer. Now, let's just read on and then we'll go and look at the verses in the New Testament. So when he signs that treaty, and Israel almost thinks that he's the Messiah, he's going to promise the peace and prosperity that they're looking for. He's going to give the the freedom of Temple worship. And to have the practice of it. But in the middle of that seven years, Daniel writes:
"...he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations (we are convinced he will start by offering a sow, or hog, on the altar there in Jerusalem, to defile it) he shall make it desolate (Israel will go under intense persecution. He will try to force them to worship him rather than the God of Abraham.), even until the consummation (now what does consummation mean? It is finished! And so until the end then, all the things that are determined, prophecy-wise), shall be poured out on the desolate."
Now the King James calls it the desolate, but it makes more sense to put it, "The desolator," because we know that the wrath of God is going to be poured out on this man, Anti-christ. Let's go to Matthew 24. We're going to pick up the Tribulation Chapter in our New Testament. Now the whole Book of Revelation is the road map to the Tribulation. But before we go to Revelation, it's always a good idea to stop here in Christ's earthly ministry in the Book of Matthew. And I maintain, and I don't claim to have all the answers, but I maintain that all of Matthew 24 is Tribulation ground. Everything that is spoken of in here, even though we are seeing the beginnings of it, we're seeing the stage being set: we're seeing all the props put in place: we're seeing the cast coming on the scene. But it hasn't lifted the curtain. That will come sometime later. But now in Matthew Chapter 24 verse 1:
"And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple." Now you want to remember the Temple was a whole complex, and the center of Israel's social fabric.
"And Jesus said unto them, `See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.'"
Here is another indication; did Jesus know the future? Absolutely. In this case He's looking down the pike forty years. Forty years from His statement is when the Roman general Titus and his armies will fulfill this. Now the disciples didn't know what He was talking about, but He did. And so now read on. Verse 3:
"And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately (in other words, no crowds to hinder their conversation), saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?"
Now remember, they understood the Old Testament format. They understood that Christ was here to be their King. Now they didn't understand the Cross. They had no idea, at this point and time, that he was going to the Cross. Now unless somebody looks at me wondering, turn with me to Luke Chapter 18. Because I constantly get the comment, "Well Les, I've never heard this before." So I have to be careful that I show where I get it. Otherwise, some might think that I'm just dreaming this at night and then just spewing it out as gospel. And I don't ever want to be accused of that.
So here is the spiritual background of that, when I say that the twelve had no idea as yet that he was going to the Cross. All they understood was that coming out of the Old Testament, the King would come. There would be the Tribulation. They knew that. But they had no idea yet, that He was going to die on a Roman Cross. But then He would set up the Kingdom and then they could go out and evangelize the Gentile world. Now to verse 31. Now this so totally shocks people so often, that I have to use it over and over to make my point. Here we are almost at the end of this three years. They're up in northern Palestine and are making their way south to Jerusalem, for the Passover, and of course, his crucifixion. So they've been with Him now for almost the full three years.
"Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, `Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets (see, He's going back to the Old Testament.) concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: And they (that is, the Gentiles, which of course was Rome) shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.'"
I made a comment one night and people took me wrong and laughed royally. I said, "Now that's plain English." I know that Jesus didn't speak English, so whether it was Aramaic or Greek, nevertheless, it was plain. There was no hidden interpretation here; He put it straight to them. "We're going to Jerusalem. I'm going to be tortured. I'm going to be misused. I'm going to be put to death, but on the third day I'm going to rise from the dead." Did they know what He was talking about? Read the next verse:
"And they (the twelve, and I'm going to leave Judas in here) understood none of these things (it rolled off of them like water off a duck. They never heard it. Why? Read on): and this saying was (what's the word?) hid from them,..."
You mean God actually blinded their understanding? Yes. They had no concept, whatsoever, that He would be crucified and that He would rise from the dead. And He said it so plainly and He told them more than once. But they never heard it.
"...neither knew they the things which were spoken."
Now let's go to John Chapter 20. Resurrection morning. You all know the account, how that Mary Magdalene had gone to the sepulchre early that resurrection morning. Probably before daylight, for the custom of anointing the Corpse. Now I know that I have some questions. How did she expect to have the stone rolled away and so on and so forth. But whatever, it was customary. So she goes to anoint the Body. But, she gets there and what's happened? The stone's rolled away and Christ is gone. Did she immediately say, "Well, the twelve said He'd rise from the dead?" No. She immediately went running and told Peter and John, "Oh the Lord's gone. His body isn't in the grave. Somebody has taken Him."
"...They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him. "
She has no idea that He's alive. Isn't that something? And these people had been with Him constantly for three years. Now read on. Peter of course, was shocked. I think Peter was a big, old, lumbering, big footed fisherman. And I hope that when I get to glory, that he doesn't say, "Now Les, you had it all wrong." But whatever, that's the way that I have him pictured. And I think that John was like a track man. I like to picture John as fleet of foot and just a little more finer boned than Peter. And so they both take off running. And you know the account. Who gets there first? Well, John outruns him. But John's a little timid. And so he stands at the door to that sepulchre, which was a cave, you remember. And he's a little too timid to just barge right in. But huffing and puffing a few minutes later, who comes on the scene? Here comes Peter. He doesn't even slow down. He just jumps right in. And he looks the whole thing over:
"And he (John) stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. Then went in also that other disciple..."
John has now a little more nerve. And the two of them go in and look the situation over. And the proof is there. This is what He was wrapped in. He's out of it. That which was wrapped around the Head was folded and laid over in a corner. Read on:
"...and he saw (now what?), and believed. (but look at the next verse) For as yet they (Peter and John and everyone else with them) knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead."
Shocking? Yes. I think it is. In other words, when the followers of Christ saw him hanging on that Roman Cross, was there one of them that could say with victory, "Well listen, this had to happen. So let's just wait till Sunday morning." Not one of them. Remember when Jesus joined those disciples on the road back to Emmaus? What was their frame of mind? They had their chin on the ground, didn't they? "Everything that we thought was going to bless Israel is down the tubes, is all gone; is done. He's dead." See, they didn't know. And you have to constantly remind yourselves that if Israel didn't know, then nobody knew. Because God certainly didn't reveal this to the pagan Gentiles.
You have to understand that all these things that Jesus is talking about, they knew from Scripture that He would be the king. They knew that He was going to set up a Kingdom that would glorify Israel. But they had no concept of His being crucified and raised from the dead. And if they didn't know that, and let me just add one more jot to the whole tittle; they had no idea that there would be some 1,900 plus years of God going to the Gentiles, while Israel was out there in dispersion. No idea whatsoever. Oh, let me show that from Scripture. Come on over into Romans Chapter 16. Now Paul is writing to us Gentiles. He's writing to the Gentile Church at Rome. I've come to the conclusion that there are very, very few, even believers, who know this verse is in their Bible:
"Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery..."
Now what's revelation? Well, just what the word means. A revealing, an unveiling. If a sculptor puts together some work of art and they're going to dedicate it some day at a public dedication, what do they do with that sculpture? They have it veiled. They have something over it. And then at the appropriate time somebody pulls it off. That's a revelation; it's an unveiling. This is exactly what Paul is talking about. That this Gospel of Paul's was a revelation of a secret. That's what the word mystery means. It comes from the Greek word, musterion, which is also translated, secret.
"...which was kept (what?) secret (how long?) since the world began,"
God is keeping something secret. And He can. He's Sovereign. Come back to Ephesians Chapter 3. And until we get this concept straight, this scripture is confusing; I know it is. And that is why I think there is so much confusion amongst all of Christendom tonight. Because people don't take the time to separate things, and they have to be separated.
"For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for (who?) you Gentiles (see, not for Israel, but for you Gentiles.),"
`If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward (we'll comment on that somewhere down the road. And then he says:):
"How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (or the secret) [as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read (the letters of Paul), ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ.]
"Which in other ages (or generations, or dispensations or administrations or whatever word you want to use.) was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;" Come down to verses 7 and 8:
"Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;"
Among whom? The Gentiles. Now get this. All the way up from Abraham, what have I always put on the board? "Jew only, with exceptions." But predominantly Jew only. But now who is God dealing with? Gentiles.
"And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery (or the secret), which from the beginning of the world hath been (what's the word?) hid in God,..."
See, hid in God! Turn over a couple of pages and come to Colossians Chapter 1. This isn't unique to just one little spot in Scripture. Paul makes reference to it throughout all of his writing, that this whole body of revealed truth had been hid in the mind of God. That's why Peter and John didn't understand the crucifixion. This is why Peter comes into the Book of Acts, and he knows nothing of a Gospel based on death, burial and resurrection. Why? Because it was still kept hidden in the mind of God.
"Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations..."
LESSON THREE * PART III
DANIEL'S 490 YEARS
Remember that we were talking about the fact the Church Age, God going to the Gentiles with what Paul called "His Gospel," was something that had been hidden from the whole human race. Nobody had any concept of a 1,900 plus years of time where God would go to the Gentiles without Israel. The Old Testament is full of references that Israel had an understanding, that the Messiah would naturally, come to Israel. And through Israel, would bring peace to all the nations of the world. I mentioned before about this Rabbi in the Jerusalem Post who had this understanding.
Well, he wasn't very far off according to the Old Testament concept. Now I'm going to use what the Lord Jesus did Himself as my authority for doing it. You will find in Book 5, Lesson 3, Part I we did a whole lesson on Parenthesis and Dashes. If you will mark them in your Bible as we come to them, it will help you know if a certain thing in this prophetic program has already happened, (-) or is it still future. We're going to go through Old Testament prophecy that lays out the whole program. And we're going to show how much was accomplished until the time of Christ's first coming. The rest still has to be future. As I said, my authority for doing it this way is because Jesus did it. Luke Chapter 4 verse 16. Now this is again in his earthly ministry:
"And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day,..."
I remind all my classes constantly, to never forget that Jesus' whole three years of ministry was under the Law. People miss that. Everything He taught, said, and did was in accordance with the Law. I emphasize, we're under Grace, not under Law! But nevertheless, we can come in here and we can learn so much from the Gospels, even though it was all under Law. So He went into the synagogue because He was a Law keeping Jew, in so many words. So He went into the synagogue on the sabbath day (Saturday):
"...and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book (or the scroll); he found the place where it was written,"
Now when He uses the words, "He found," this is where you have to be a stickler for words. When it says, "He found the place," what does that indicate? He looked for it. He had this portion of Scripture on His mind and for a purpose. So He went through the scroll until He came to this portion of the Scripture which was Isaiah 61. He found where it was written and He reads to the synagogue audience:
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised. To preach the acceptable year of the Lord (that's what He read out loud, out of Isaiah). And he closed the book (or the scroll), and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them (as they sat there, marveling at what He had said and done.), This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears."
Isn't that something? Let's go back to Isaiah Chapter 61 and see what He did. Those Jews in the synagogue knew what He did.
"The spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,..." (-)
Now in the Old Testament, what's the punctuation mark? Comma. What did Jesus put there? Period. See that. That's where He stopped. He stopped after reading "To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." But, what didn't He read?
"...and the day of vengeance of our God;..."
What is that a reference to? Tribulation. This is the 70th week of Daniel. This is the prophecy. There's no break here in Isaiah. Isaiah has no idea that the seven years is going to be pushed out 1,900 years into the future. Jesus knew. So He stopped exactly where this much prophecy would be fulfilled. And everything beyond that, Jesus knew would be in the future. But the twelve didn't know it. The Jews of Jesus' day didn't know it. The prophets that wrote it didn't know it. And this is what we have to be aware of. That these things that Paul wrote, were hidden in the mind of God. Now God wasn't caught off balance and then all of a sudden had to shift gears, and change His program. He knew the end from the beginning, but He didn't reveal it. He kept it secret from the whole human race until it was time for it to be revealed. This is what we have to understand. Read on. The prophecy said that the day of vengeance of our God, the Tribulation:
"...to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified. And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations. And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vine dressers. But ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord:..."
You have to stop there a minute. What does Exodus 19 promise the nation of Israel? As they came out of Egypt, they're camped around Sinai. The Lord told Moses if Israel would keep the commandments, they would be a kingdom of what? Priests. And here it is. Now what's the program? Christ would come. He would present salvation, the acceptable year of the Lord. Then would come the day of Tribulation, Daniel's 70th week. And what would follow Daniel's 70th week? The Kingdom. What's left out? 1,900 plus years of the Church Age. It's not in here, but everything else is.
Come to Psalms Chapter 2. Have your pens ready so you can prepare yourself for this. As I give you the next reference, I want you to write it in the margin of your Bible, so that if you want to show this to someone, you can go from reference to reference without having to use a concordance or to tax your memory. Don't be afraid to write some things in your margin, because after all, this is a Book meant to be studied. Psalms Chapter 2. And I might as well take the first six verses in their context.
"Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
The whole world's population is in those two statements. The heathen are the Non-Jew world - the Gentiles. The people are the Jews - Israel. Together they say, "Vanity, vanity, all is vanity."
"The kings of the earth set themselves (the rulers of the Gentile nations), and the rulers (of Israel), take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us."
What's this about? Rome, Pilate and others in authority, consorting with the high priests and rulers of Israel to crucify the Messiah. In those final days of Christ's earthly life before He was crucified, what's the Jews position? When Pilate said, "I see nothing wrong with this man," they said, "We have no king, but Caesar. Away with this Man. We'll not have Him to rule over us. Crucify him."
That's the prophecy. They're rejecting His offer of ruling them as a benevolent King. They don't want any part of it. So they say, "Break his bands asunder." I'd like to stop a second. Do you see the pronouns here are plural? Where the people say, "Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us." Why plural? Remember what I taught you way back in Genesis Chapter 1, Elohim is a plurality. It's a Godhead of three, not one. Here's the reason for the pronoun. Same way back in Genesis 1:26, when God said, "Let us make man in our image," what are the pronouns? They're plural. Because Elohim is a Trinity. He's a plurality in the Godhead. Verse 4. As they were rejecting the offer of Christ's Kingship and His Kingdom, and they said, "Away with him. Crucify him." What was the attitude of God, who was in heaven? Read on:
"He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh (not a laugh of amusement, but a laugh of what? Scorn, ridicule and judgment): the Lord shall have them (the nations of the world) in derision." (-)
Then (we don't know how much time, even the Old Testament prophecies, allotted for that verse 4, the time of derision. No hint. But what's the immediate thing after that? Then, and that's a time word) shall he speak unto them (the nation of Israel, but also the nations of the world) in his (grace and mercy? No in His) wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure."
What is that? The Tribulation. Daniel's 70th week. We'll be looking at the verses now, that describe that awful period of human history. Then we're going back to Matthew 24 and see what Jesus says about it. The Tribulation has run its course in verse 5. What comes on the scene in verse 6? The Kingdom.
"Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion." There's the kingdom. And then, verse 8:
"Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen (or the Gentiles) for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.
Who's possession? The Messiah's, when He rules and reigns here on the earth. He's not just going to rule and reign over Israel. He's going to rule the whole world. Now there's the Old Testament program in a nutshell, plain as day. But I said that we were going to break it in half, or break it like Jesus did. How much of this prophecy was fulfilled at His first coming? Well, up until the verse that speaks of his wrath and vexation, that never happened. God didn't pour out His wrath in the Book of Acts, did He? God hasn't poured out His wrath upon the human race. Oh, we have a lot of calamities. We've got wars and famine. That's not the wrath of God. That's just the evidence of the curse. We know nothing of what it's going to be like on this planet, when God's wrath is poured out, especially during that last half of the seven years. That's going to be the real vexation.
So you can split that whole prophecy right there between verse 3 and verse 5. That first part was fulfilled. The Messiah came, offered Himself as King, and the world rejected Him. And in between that you have to go to Psalm 110:1. Keep your hand here in Psalms 2 for just a second and we'll come back to it. But now in Psalms 110:1. This took place in the interval between verse 4 and verse 6 in Psalm 2:
"The LORD said unto my Lord,..."
Now the casual reader won't see the difference in those two terms, "Lords." The average reader will just say, "Well what is this? Just one person talking to another?" Well in essence, it is. But I'm going to show you something. The first LORD is all capitalized, but the second Lord is Capital L, but small o-r-d. Now, what's the difference? If you know your Old Testament terms for Deity, the first LORD is the Jehovah God. And this is one of the few instances where Jehovah does not refer to the Son, as much as it does to the Father. But here we have in essence, God the Father saying to Jehovah Adonay. And Adonay meant "Master," and that's why Christ is referred to so often as Master even in the New Testament. He was Jehovah Adonay. So what you have here is God the Father saying to God the Son at the time of His rejection:
"...Sit thou at my right hand, until..." (-)
And what's that word, "until?" Time word. Yes, He ascended, and Hebrews tells us that after He had purged us from our sins, He sat down at the right hand the Majesty on high, right in accordance with Psalms 110. And so He ascended and He sat down at the right hand. But He's only going to stay there until some point in time, when the world is ready for His return. And then you can come back to Psalm 2. Then the LORD says:
"Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill in Zion."
Oh, it's been interrupted. But does that mean that the last half isn't going to be fulfilled? Not at all. It's coming. It's going to be just as sure as everything that went before it. I was going to have you write in your margin. Write in here that the next portion of Scripture you want to go to is Psalm 118. But write it here in Psalm 2. Then you go to Psalm 118, to verse 22:
"The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner." (-)
It doesn't sound like an awful lot, but that's loaded. Now, who claimed to be the Stone, and Who was the Stone, the Rock of Offense, that presented Himself to Israel? Jesus! He was to be the Headstone of the corner. But what did Israel do? They rejected Him. They cast that Cornerstone aside, and it became a Stone of stumbling. You can split that verse right in the middle. Because, you see, He has not yet become the Headstone of the corner. That will be fulfilled when He comes back and sets up His kingdom.
So the first half was fulfilled at His first coming. You put a little dash in there and a parenthesis around it, and that's the last 1,900 and some years. And the last half is yet going to be fulfilled. He's still going to be the Headstone of the corner. He's going to fulfill all these Old Testament prophecies. Now then in the margin, write, Isaiah Chapter 9 verse 6. And I'm not hitting all of them by any means. I'm just hitting the ones that are easiest to understand.
"For unto us (the nation of Israel. They're the "us," no one else) a child is born, unto us a son is given: (-) and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David,..."
What's all that in reference to? Well, when He sits upon the throne in Jerusalem and sets up His Kingdom. Again, verse 6:
"Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given:..." (-)
That happened at His first coming. But He hadn't set up His government as yet. He hadn't set up the Kingdom. So you put a dash in there, because that's all been pushed out into the future. We don't know how long from now, but it's already been pushed out some 1,900 plus years. But the prophecy is that the King would come and He would end up by setting up His Kingdom. Let's go on to Isaiah 61. That's the one that we looked at a moment ago, but let's stop there so you can put your next reference there. Isaiah 61. Put your dash or parenthesis, however you're marking it, after the word "Lord," in verse 2. After the word "Lord" where there's a comma, you put right in there a parenthesis. The rest of that prophecy is even future to our time.
Now go to Joel Chapter 2 and it will be verse 29. Write there Isaiah 61:2, and in Isaiah, write in your margin Joel 2:29. Let's start at verse 28. This is the same portion that Peter quoted verbatim in Acts Chapter 2, on the day of Pentecost. And again, Peter quoted the whole prophecy because he did not know, that a break would occur before it would be fulfilled.
"And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh (that happened at Pentecost): and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit." (-)
That happened of course, at Pentecost. Which was in conjunction with His first coming. But you see, Peter went right on and read the next verse as if it too, would be fulfilled. And what does it say?
"And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come (did that happen? No. Then the next verse,). And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance,..."
What's that in reference to? The Kingdom. So you put a parenthesis back there between verse 29 and 30. Verses 30 through 32 haven't happened yet. But they're going to. In this margin, you can write, "Zachariah 9:9,10." Zachariah is the next to the last book in the Old Testament. I always tell people to go find Matthew and then back up to the left, to Malachi, and right before Malachi you'll find Zachariah. Now between verses 9 and 10:
"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King (capitalized) cometh unto thee: he is just and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon the colt the foal of an ass." (-) (now, did that happen? Sure it did. That was fulfilled on the triumphal entry. Then verse 10:)
And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the house from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen (Gentiles): and his dominion (or his Kingdom) shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth."
What's that? The Kingdom. Did it happen? No. Is it going to happen? You'd better believe it. But you see, it's been interrupted. There's been a period of time put in there. I have one more in the New Testament, believe it or not. Luke Chapter 1, between verses 31 and 32. Now watch it carefully again:
"And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS." (-)
Did that happen at His first coming? Absolutely. But then look at the next verse. That didn't happen.
" He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:"
Is Christ sitting on David's throne tonight? No. That won't happen until He returns. After the Tribulation has run its course. Then He will return and sit upon His throne in Jerusalem.
LESSON THREE * PART IV
DANIEL'S 490 YEARS
Let's just come right back to where we left off, Matthew 24. We've been talking about Daniel's prophecy of 490 years. 483 were fulfilled at the time of Christ's first coming. His crucifixion, death, burial, resurrection and ascension. But before all that transpired, none of the Old Testament Scriptures gave any indication that the whole prophetic program would not be fulfilled, one thing right after the other. But it would be interrupted or postponed, or whatever word you want to use.
Now as you come into Matthew 24, I'd like to have you pick it apart. I would like you to find even a hint from Jesus that there's going to be a Church Age. You can't find it. I've tried. I've been looking at it for many, many years. There is not even a hint anywhere in the Gospels that there's going to be 1,900 plus years that God is going to be calling out Gentiles into what we call, the Body of Christ. It's just never alluded to. Everything is always resting on this Old Testament prophetic program that we have been studying. Now then, Matthew 24, in that same light then, Jesus is sitting upon the Mount of Olives, when the disciples (the twelve) came to him:
"And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, `Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming (in other words, the setting up of your kingdom); and the end of the world (as we know it)?' And Jesus answered and said unto them, `Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ;...'"
Or "I am the Messiah." Now stop a minute. Are we already seeing that? Sure we are. But to no extent that it will after that seven years has begun. And remember that just as soon as the Anti-christ signs that seven-year treaty with the nation of Israel, this seven-year Tribulation period is going to tick off, month by month, and day by day. And it will end exactly at the end of the seven years. Now someone asked the question at break, "Well, what will the Anti-christ offer the nation of Israel, that they will sign the seven-year treaty?" Well, what is Israel most hungry for tonight? Peace. They want peace with their neighbors. They want to be accepted into the family of nations of the world. And they have to maintain their defense structure. They have to keep their people taxed to death just to keep their enemies at bay. So if this man comes in, and I think he'll come out of the European Community with the power of N.A.T.O. behind him. And I think he'll come in and offer the nation of Israel absolute protection and a sovereignty that no one can approach. He'll say, "I guarantee your borders. You can dismantle you armed forces. I'll protect you." And Israel is going to fall for that, hook, line and sinker. And on top of that, he's going to give them permission to have their Temple worship. And he's going to guarantee them freedom in that.
And so they're going to have no qualms about signing this seven-year treaty. Because like I said a few lessons ago, they'll almost think he's the Christ, if they don't indeed. But as we see Jesus unfold the events of the Tribulation, remember this: even though we are seeing the beginnings of it; we are seeing the great increase in earthquakes; we're already seeing the potential of famine; and we are seeing famine in some places. Yet it's nothing compared to what it will be when these seven years begin to unfold. So he says:
"And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet."
Now it's amazing. I feel sorry for the world political leaders. They actually thought that once Russian communism fell apart, that peace was in our hands. There was no more fear of nuclear holocaust. And what have we got? We have more turmoil now, than when the Russian Bear was alive and well. When they begin looking at the problems that are facing our government overseas, it's mind boggling. And so it's going to be an explosion of discontent. There's going to be an explosion of ethnic violence. Hatred that has been lying dormant for years. Kept under the thumb, maybe of totalitarian governments, such as communism was. But look at the dismantled nation of Russia, tonight. Look at all those ethnic groups, as they're coming to light. They hate one another. So this isn't hard to believe. Even though the Anti-christ is going to guarantee peace for Israel, the world all around them is going to be under constant conflict of wars and then verse 7:
"For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences,..."
And I honestly believe that AIDS is the beginning of it. I don't think that they're going to find a cure for it. I think that AIDS is just going to keep everyone's attention. But I don't think it's going to really explode, until they get into the Tribulation, because we are not going to be here! But I think AIDS is just going to explode when the Tribulation begins. And that's only speculation. I can't prove it, other than that there will be a pestilence of some sort. Earthquakes, not in the generally expected places, but where? In diverse places. In other words, where they're not normally accustomed to being. And we're already seeing that. You read the paper as much as I do. The tremendous increase in earthquakes around the planet since 1970. I think it's increased, the last I read, 2,200 percent, compared to just 20 years ago. But we're still not there. But as soon as this seven years begin, then this all begins to crescendo. And here Jesus sort of puts the frosting on the cake:
"All these are the (what?) beginning of sorrows."
I imagine the word "sorrows" is translated a little differently in the newer translations. But I'm betting that some of them use the word, "travail." The better translation of this word, "sorrows" is "travail," because the analogy Jesus uses is the birth pains of a mother approaching delivery. The earth is being prepared for a delivery. So this is why the term is used. This is all the beginning of travail. All of you who have been involved in childbirth, either as mothers in the core of it all, or as fathers as onlookers, know that our wives and our moms, when those first signs of approaching birth occur, were not having severe pains. They were uncomfortable, but they weren't all that severe. I'll never forget when our little ones were expected, Iris would say, "Well, I'm beginning to feel it." And then a few hours later, here would come another pang and she, being a nurse, would know exactly when to go. So I never had to sit in the hospital and wait very long. But nevertheless, when you approach delivery, we all know that the birth pains increase in intensity and in their frequency.
So as you come through this seven years, this is exactly what Jesus likens it to. That the events of this wrath and vexation are going to be relatively light, and maybe far apart. But as you move on through that seven years, they're going to increase in their intensity. So that by the time you get out toward the end, it's just going to be unbelievable! And that's why the last three and a half years, Jesus will refer to as the time of great Tribulation. Because it's approaching the delivery. Now then, why did He use the analogy of a delivery? Because the world, the earth, is going to be delivered from the curse. That's the whole idea of this seven years of Tribulation. Satan is going to be paid off. Do you remember several weeks ago when we talked about the scroll in Revelation Chapter 5? The whole picture of Scripture is that Satan is holding the mortgage of the planet. He's the god of this world tonight.
The curse has been plaguing us since Genesis Chapter 3. But the Tribulation is going to pay off that mortgage. The result of that Tribulation will be the delivery of the planet from the curse. And then you have the Kingdom come in, and you'll have it revert back like it was in the Garden of Eden. Do you see that? So the earth has to go through its pangs of delivery. Now verse 9. Remember that He's talking to the twelve, so He is directing most of this primarily to the nation of Israel. And He says to the Jew, in so many words:
"Then shall they (that is, the powers that be. The rest of the world) deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake."
Now a lot of people have asked me, "Why have the Jews been so persecuted? Why have they been so hated?" Even today, when the United Nations brings up a resolution concerning Israel, what's the vote? Several hundred to one or maybe two. The whole world just jumps on them. As soon as anything happens in Israel, it's front page news. Yet, that same thing could happen anywhere else in the world and the media doesn't even pay attention. Why? It isn't because of who Israel, is or what Israel is, except that they are God's Covenant people. And Satan knows that. And he attacks them constantly, because of their position in God's overall program. That's why the Jew is so hated. That's why he's so persecuted, because way back there in Genesis, what did God promise Abraham? A nation of people in a geographical area in which He would be their King.
Now here comes the very crescendo that the world's hated in this seven years. Keep your hand in Matthew. Let me take you back to Jeremiah Chapter 30. Because I say that the Tribulation is primarily, but not exclusively, the time that God is going to be pouring out His wrath and vexation on His Covenant people. Why? Because of their rebellion. Because of their unbelief. Because of everything that they have done contrary to God's word, and God's will. And He is going to purify them in order to prepare them for the Kingdom which is just around the corner. Alright, verse 6, to pick up a little more of the flow.
"Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness (why? For fear. For pressure. The tortures)? Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of (who's trouble?) Jacob's trouble (see that? It is the time of Jacob's trouble); but he shall be saved out of it."
Now, on your way to the New Testament, stop at Zachariah again. That's that next to the last book in the Old Testament. Zachariah Chapter 13 and verse 8 and 9:
"And it shall come to pass, that in all the land (that is, the land of Israel), saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein (there's your remnant aspect that is taught all through Scripture). And I will bring the third part through the fire (what fire? The fire of Tribulation. Testing, see), and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they (what will be the result?) shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is (remember back in Daniel, He called them "Thy people" because He didn't own them. But here He says, what?) my people:..."
Do you see the difference? Now they are responding in belief and He can call them once again, "They are my people." Come back to Matthew 24, and let's find the place where you can see that even Jesus said it's going to be the worst time in all human history. And it's still ahead of us. Matthew 24. Now verse 10:
In other words, during this seven years (we're still in the first 3 1/2 until we get to verse fifteen). So in that opening 3 1/2 years, they've got their Temple worship, and the Anti-christ has guaranteed them freedom of worship. Protecting their border, he thinks. We may see in our next taping that he doesn't succeed.
"...shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another."
"And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many (who is at the head of all false prophets? Satan. So it's going to be a time of tremendous Satanic influence). And because iniquity (immorality, gross murders and all that destroys a society.) shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold (we have to be careful with verse 13), But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved."
That's not salvation we're talking about. We're talking about physical survival. We're not talking about saved from Hell, or saved for Heaven. He's talking about these that will survive these awful events of the Tribulation. And they shall be saved. Keep your hand in Matthew 24. We'll come right back. Now let's go to Isaiah 24, verses 5 and 6:
"The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate (because of all the things that are happening to the planet): therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned (and I have to feel that it's probably going to be a nuclear holocaust in those closing days of the Tribulation), and (what's left?) few men left."
There are going to be survivors. Not many, but there are going to be survivors of that seven years of holocaust. Alright, come back with me to Matthew 24 verse 14. Jesus, remember, is speaking. There hasn't been one word yet understood, except by Himself, about the death, burial and resurrection. Even the twelve have no comprehension that He's going to die on a Cross. So be careful how you take that next verse because everybody that I've heard preach on it has totally taken it out of its context and twisted it all out of shape. And look what it says in light of what I have just said. Jesus has alone revealed that He would go to the Cross. No one understands that. And yet they've been preaching a Gospel for three years. Now look what He says in verse 14:
"And this gospel of the kingdom..."
This Gospel of the Kingdom. Not the Gospel of Grace. We preach today the Gospel of Grace that you must believe for your salvation, that Jesus died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead. Jesus Himself revealed that to the Apostle Paul, and Paul alone, in I Corinthians 15:1-4, Romans 10:9-10 and many other places in Paul's writing. But Jesus and the twelve preached the Gospel of the Kingdom which is believing for salvation that Jesus was the Messiah, repentance and baptism. This is found in Matthew 3:2, Matthew 4:17, Matthew 16:16, Acts 2:38 and many other Scriptures in the four Gospels and the Book of Acts through at least Chapter 15. So this gospel of the Kingdom:
"...shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."
Isn't that plain? But you have to know which Gospel. Paul tells us in Galatians 2:7-9 that there were two Gospels, one that he (Paul) preached to the Gentiles (uncircumcision) by revelation from Jesus Christ. And the other that John the Baptist, Jesus, Peter and the 12 preached to the Jews or Nation of Israel (circumcision). So as you study, notice who is speaking and who is being spoken to.
Come back for a few pages in Matthew to Chapter 9. Now in just a few lessons, we're going to be coming into Matthew and we're going to study it verse by verse, and chapter by chapter. But until then, just take one look here quickly in Matthew Chapter 9 verse 35. And you have to believe The Book, not me:
"And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom..."
Now the Gospel always meant good news. So what was the good news of the Kingdom? Well, what did John the Baptist always begin with? "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." That was the good news. The King is here and he's ready to set up the kingdom. Now in association with the Gospel of the Kingdom, look what also what went with it:
"...healing every sickness and every disease among the people."
The two went hand in hand. You take away healing, and you take away the Gospel of the Kingdom. You take away the Gospel of the Kingdom and you take away healing and miracles and so forth. Because the two are synonymous. That's why Jesus performed all those miracles, because He was announcing the Kingdom was at hand. So now let's come back to Matthew 24:
"And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations: and then shall the end come."
Now let's come back to our timeline, when the Gospel of Grace is ended and the Body of Christ has to be taken out. The parenthesis has now been closed, even though it has been an undetermined amount of time. When it is ended, the Church has to be taken out, because this is the time of Jacob's trouble. I told someone the other night, I could stand here and teach you for an hour of all the scriptural proofs that you and I, and all the other believers, will not go into the Tribulation. The number one reason is that you cannot mix God's dealing with the nation of Israel, on Covenant ground, with the Church. Law and Grace simply will not mix. And you cannot take the Church into Covenant ground. You are going violently against the Scriptures when you do. So in order for God to come back and deal with Israel during the time of Jacob's trouble. Still on the basis of Old Testament Covenant, the Church has to be out of the way. I can show you, like I said. I could give you verses for the next hour, but let's go on. Verse 15, Jesus approaches the midpoint of the Tribulation. Look what He says:
"When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel..."
And that's why I spent so much time in Daniel Chapter 9. Do you remember what he said back there in verse 27? That the prince (Anti-christ) is going to make that seven-year treaty. And in the middle of the seven years, he's going to cause the sacrifice and the oblation to stop, and for the abomination defiling it. Now look what Jesus says. He puts his stamp of approval on that prophecy. And He says:
"When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place,..."
I think Anti-christ going to come from his position in Western Europe, Rome or Brussels, or wherever it is. And he's going to come down to Jerusalem and go into the Temple that has been rebuilt, and has been used for the past 3 1/2 years or at least part of that time. And he's going to suddenly turn on the Jew. He's going to defile the Temple, probably by offering a hog, even as Antiochus did back in 300 B.C. And that's the abomination that Daniel spoke of, and that's what Jesus is speaking of. Now Jesus says, "When you see this happen," and He's talking to the twelve. So what do you think the twelve thought in their own minds? That this was going to happen in their lifetime. They had no idea that it was going to be postponed and put way out into the future. But it's still going to happen. So what we have to feel now is that, when He spoke to the twelve, He was leaping the ages, but He was still speaking to the Nation of Israel and not to the Gentile nations. This is Israel's ground. This is Jewish ground. So He says, "When you see that:"
"...spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place (whoso readeth, let him understand:),"
Now come on down to verse 21. Jesus is unveiling this last 3 1/2 years of Daniel's 70th week.
"For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be."
Do you see what He's saying? Any horrible event that you can think of in history is nothing compared to what this last 3 1/2 years is going to be. The holocaust of Hitler's Germany is awful, but it's going to be nothing compared to this last three and a half years.
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