To understand what’s going on in Revelation, we first have to examine what happened to get us there.
1 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. 2 Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. 3 And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another. 4 The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, 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. 5 And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it 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. 6 After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it. 7 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. 8 I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things. Daniel 7:1-8 (KJV)
This is one of the first grand visions of the coming times. This concerned the coming kingdoms that would rule the earth, or at least most of the known world that Daniel knew of.
The first beast is Babylon, the kingdom Daniel is currently a hostage in. This is the Griffon, the lion with Eagle’s wings. The second beast is a bear, the Medo-Persian empire. This is the empire that defeated Assyria and Babylon, assuming the might of the Babylonians into its own ranks – hence the three ribs in its mouth.
The Leopard with four heads represents the Greeks (more specifically, Alexander the Great and his army from Macedonia, which took over all of Greece – and then eyed the rest of the world, which it proceeded to conquer, reaching as far as India and Babylon). The four heads represent his four generals who attempted to fight one another to control Alexander’s Empire. While the Empire fragmented, Cassius, Ptolemy, Seleuces and Lysimachus fought one another…
…only to be met and utterly defeated by the most brutal and violent armies, the Romans, pictured as a monstrous beast with ten heads.
These are the four great kingdoms of the world.
What happened to Rome?
Believe it or not, nothing. Rome simply lost its focus, and the empire was transformed into a religious system. Rome is still there. It’s worth noting that most of the governments of the world still utilyze the Roman formulas, with a Senate or a Parliment, which roughly focus the same.
When the Parliment or Senate becomes dominated by its leader, president or king, that person becomes a Caesar of that country. None yet since about 450 AD have assumed the role of an August, a Caesar who rules large territories. Does Great Britain really have a Caesar? not in many years. Does America?
I’ll let you answer that question.
Anyway, i’m sure all the Roman history buffs will disagree with me on the above, but hey… you tell me… what happened to the Roman Empire? It just seemed to deflate, like a souffle’ taken too soon from an oven.
Rome experienced a change when Caesar Constantine became the Papal Nuncio, the head of not only the empire, but the Catholic church as well. He was worshipped and put into that position by the groveling church leaders, who were already corrupt and abusing their positions, by assuming control over terrirtories of churches, something not instructed in the Bible.
This basically was a transfer of power from the secular government to the religious government. Constantine himself assumed control of both. Thus, whoever took over the seat of the Roman Catholic Church assumed Constantine’s throne.
23 Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. 24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. 25 And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. Daniel 7:23-25 (KJV)
The Roman empire is different because the other governments and armies were only military and secular governments – but the Roman government because a religious system, moving its fingers not only into the daily life of its people but even more invasively into the religious life.
The Bible speaks of the little horn, whom most of the interpreters agree can only be one person – the Antichrist.
Daniels first vision shows him the first real glimpse we have of the most evil man in all of history. And no, he’s not going to look like Sam Neal and be protected by a host of ravens that seem to be accompanied by an unseen choir chanting in Latin.
Well, I don’t know that for sure, but I highly doubt that.
Notice in Daniels vision, time seems to be compressed. He sees the fourth kingdom, and the Antichrist almost seems to be the fourth Caesar, from the way he sees it. This is known as time compression, and the most common way to describe it is to speak of mountains. You look at a range of mountains, and the peaks seem right behind each other. yet in reality, there often is valleys in between those mountains, and peaks which look right behind each other actually could be miles apart. Daniel saw his visions roughly 4 centuries before Christ, so to look at today would be like looking forward 2,400 years or so. It’s similar to when we look backwards in time through the Bible, and there seems to be only a short time between Jospeh going into captivity and his reuniting with his family – in reality, it was 20 years. Time compression.
Or between Adam and Noah. Yet in reality, we’re talking centuries. We assume from 7 chapters of Genesis that it was just a few years. And that’s when we have dates and times given to us!
no dates or times were given to Daniel in the first vision.
1 In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me, even unto me Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first. 2 And I saw in a vision; and it came to pass, when I saw, that I was at Shushan in the palace, which is in the province of Elam; and I saw in a vision, and I was by the river of Ulai. 3 Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns: and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last. 4 I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward; so that no beasts might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will, and became great. 5 And as I was considering, behold, an he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes. 6 And he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and ran unto him in the fury of his power. 7 And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler against him, and smote the ram, and brake his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him: and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand. 8 Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven. 9 And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land. 10 And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them. 11 Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down. 12 And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered. 13 Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? 14 And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed. Daniel 8:1-14 (KJV)
This is Daniel’s second vision, given two years later. It confirms the first vision, but gives more detail, including the directions of the kingdoms and the military battles. Again giving information, it describes how the Antichrist will cause the offerings in the Temple to cease.
Lesson in Bible interpretation: If the Antichrist has to make the offerings in the Temple cease, what does this require?
Answer: A Temple in Jerusalem, and the resuming of the daily offerings.
Do we have those right now? No. So what does that mean? The Temple, which is in construction right now (as a “training mockup” – good way to hide it in plain site) Will sometime soon be completed, and moved to the Temple Mount. And the sacrifices have to be resumed. That’s what the Bible teaches.
From the time the Antichrist gets involved with the temple until the cleansing of the Temple is… 6.3 years. The actual stopping of the offerings is thought to be at the midpoint of the Tribulation.
14 Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days. Daniel 10:14 (KJV)
This verse refutes those who naively think that Daniel is referring to the wars that happened in their own time. this specifies “in the latter days…” in other words, the time before the end of the world. And… we are almost in that time.
1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. 2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. 4 But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. 5 Then I Daniel looked, and, behold, there stood other two, the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river. 6 And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? 7 And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished. 8 And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? 9 And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. 10 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand. 11 And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. 12 Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days. 13 But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days. Daniel 12:1-13 (KJV)
And from this we come to understand that the Great Tribulation shall be seven years, divided into two parts of 3 1/2 years each.
i’m not minimizing this – I’m just saying this: The Great Tribulation is close. VERY close. Scary close. There are probably Angels right now sweeping the floors of the many mansions spoken of in the book of John, getting the rooms ready, changing the linen, getting the little thin Andes’ mints to place on our pillows.
Okay, I don’t know if all that is literal or not, but hey… it’s going to be GREAT. None of us will be sorry we got Raptured.
And I want the magnitude of this to truly sink into you. BILLIONS of people are going to suffer and die. Between the second and third vials, EVERY LIVING THING in the streams, lakes, waters and oceans are going to DIE. Millions of human beings will die of thirst. Millions will die in famine. BILLIONS will die from war, from divine plagues, and from demonic attack. By the first vial judgment, over half of the population of the earth will be killed. If it’s six billion people alive after the Rapture, then three billion will die from wart and from the 200 million horsemen ALONE.
Think about that.