Friday, August 28, 2009

Daniel And The Animals That Told The Future

Let me lead you through the curious dream of the prophet Daniel, to show you a little of our future.

Daniel 8, verses 1-4, and 20. The last emperor of Babylon is reigning. Soon Medo-Persia will be replacing Belshazzar and company, as recorded in the famous "handwriting on the wall" story of chapter five. But before Belshazzar's demise, the God of history intervenes via a vision to His prophet. Daniel sees a two-horned ram, with uneven horns. It is pushing north, south, and west. No one is able to stop him. Since he is not pushing east, we assume the ram is an eastern power. But no need to speculate any further, for Gabriel, Daniel's guide in most of his visions, tell us that the ram with two horns is the uneven amalgamation known in history as Medo-Persia. The "two-ness" of the ram's horns matches with the uneven sides of the bear of chapter seven and the two arms of the statue. Three visions, but one message.

Verses 5-7, 21. Next comes a goat. From the west. It is flying. Goats don't fly, and neither do leopards. But a flying leopard represents this same nation in chapter seven. Medo-Persia, eastern, pushed west, in the great march of Xerxes. But this nation is western, pushing east, and covering the whole known earth! What a perfect description of the rise of Greece and its first major push by Alexander the Great, represented here by one horn. But all of this too is not guesswork, for Gabriel tells us that the goat is Greece and that the horn is the "first" or primary king of that emerging empire, whom we know to be Alexander, the one who some say wept because he had conquered the earth so quickly that there were no more challenges.

There is a confrontation between ram and goat and the eventual victory of Greece, which now rules the world several hundred years before Jesus' visit. But you say, why is world history suddenly so important? Is it not true that Bible scholars depend on history sometimes when defending their interpretations of Scripture, and come to the wrong conclusions? Yes, but this is very different! Here, the Holy Spirit Himself, via an angel and a prophet, are the historians. They are giving the interpretations and deliberately pointing us to historical settings. We are compelled by Heaven to look closely at Greece and the politics that follow. When you look long enough you will see the answer to the question of the disciples in Matthew 24, regarding the end of all things, and the sign of that end.

Verse 8, 22. The goat in the vision grows. Greece expands. But the goat's horn is broken. Alexander dies. Greece does not die, only the horn, the leader. In place of the one horn grow four horns. In place of the one leader there are four leaders with four separate territories. Gabriel points us to more history. He says that four kingdoms will arise from the Greek Empire. Did it happen? Most definitely! The generals of Alexander fought for many years over his legacy and who would rule what. The conflicts that ensued have been dubbed the "successor wars."

When the dust settled there were indeed four regions vying for power. One was Greece itself, tied to Macedonia. We might call this area roughly "the Balkans" today. Another was Egypt. Then there was Asia Minor, or Turkey. By far the largest and therefore the most difficult to control was the eastern portion of the empire. Today that portion is called Iraq, Iran, Syria, Palestine, and even more territory to the east .

Are you following? Look where the Book of Daniel has gone in just a short time. All the kingdoms of the world from Daniel's day to the end of time. Then just Medo-Persia and Greece. Then just Greece. But we must narrow further to find the one we seek. And Daniel's vision does just that.

Verses 9-12, 23-25. The heart of Daniel's message here and in other chapters is the defining of another horn on the goat, the territory of the Grecian Empire after Alexander, represented by four horns now, thus four parts. Now Daniel sees a fifth horn. It is small at first. Thus the term "little horn" has been applied to the person represented. He was small at the beginning. "Vile", says the angel in chapter 11. Despised. Rejected from royalty. But he does not stay small. Over time, over the ages, he grows to become a fantastically significant world power. In this tiny fragment of a verse hidden away in your "old" Testament is a secret that is larger than you can imagine. It is the secret of the antichrist. is a website I put together a few months back to get the word out to believers that they need to pray for North Korea. Just about every day I'm writing a blog featuring some news, a book, or a story of North Korea. There's a live news feed on the site, lists of resources, picture essays, and ways to respond to the overwhelming need in North Korea. Let's love Chosun together!

And who am I? A man found of God over 50 years ago, called to the ministry, serving the Lord as needed in my world. Married, member of a local church in the Chicago area, with full time work in public education. Who are you? Would love to fellowship with believers who respond on my site.

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