What Time is it: Part 4: The Beasts
What Time is it? Part 4: The Beasts
What Time is it? Part Four: The Beasts from Refreshing Hope Ministries on Vimeo.
This is part 4 of our series on end time beliefs. In this section, I want to cover the prophetic beasts of Daniel and Revelation. I grew up on a farm as the youngest of thirteen children, and I was a step-child. The step-family side of the relationship was very poor and I didn’t grow up with toys, so during the summer I played a lot with insects, frogs, birds, lizards and squirrels. Whatever I could manage to trap.
My toy soldiers were ants. You can take a spoon full of ants from one mound and drop them into another and start an all out war. On one of my adventures I discovered sand doodles, which I much later learned was an “Antlion Larva.” Under our tobacco barns would be small circles in the sand. These ferocious critters would dig a cone shaped sand trap and wait for an ant to fall into it. If the ant tried to climb out, the antlion would throw sand at them and cave in the walls. Ants rarely escaped.
Soon I had a jar full of them. The thing is, each time that I dug them out, they would burrow themselves back into the sand and hide. You could uncover them and they would soon dig right back into the ground.
I believe that the Lord has shown me that this is what we are dealing with in the church. When satan is uncovered and exposed he immediately burrows back into the sand. Soon he is forgotten about though he is living right amongst us. That is where he works best, hidden in our midst.
(Luke 13:10–17 NKJV) “Now He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up. But when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him and said to her, “Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.” And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.
But the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath; and he said to the crowd, “There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day.”
The Lord then answered him and said, “Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it? So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound—think of it—for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?” And when He said these things, all His adversaries were put to shame; and all the multitude rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by Him.”
In this story, satan was right in the synagogue with them and the religious people even supported him against Jesus! He hides right in our midst. When Jesus cast out evil spirits the people said “What new teaching is this?” 2,000 years later it is still the same.
For anyone that has seen the “Left Behind” series, that has become a common teaching of end time events, at least in the Southern United States where I grew up.
It goes something like this:
1. Jesus will come secretly and snatch all the true Christians away in the rapture of the church.
2. There will then be seven years of great tribulation and terror for those that are left behind like never before on the earth.
3. One sinister man will arise -The Anti Christ- an evil master mind who will take over the world.
4. The temple in Jerusalem will be rebuilt, then 3 1/2 years into the great tribulation, the anti-christ will enter that temple and claim to be God.
5. The nations of the earth will surround and attack Israel at Armageddon. Then suddenly Jesus will return and destroy the attacking armies.
This teaches that:
- The church of Jesus Christ will escape the tribulation.
- Those who miss the rapture will have a second chance to be saved.
Sadly, I have come to believe that most of this is a fairy tale, a delusion, while the enemy is sneaking up on us completely unsuspected. He is already among us and many of the events that the church is waiting on to happen, already have in history and they have been buried in the sand.
People rewrite history to suit them. Even though the holocaust of WWII was only 70 years ago, there are already people teaching that it never happened. If you don’t like history, just rewrite it. There is a Chinese proverb that goes like this:
”A lie told a million times becomes the truth."
I have lived this. When I got saved and started attending church, they taught me the “Left Behind” view of the end times and then I began teaching it myself. I can teach it very well because I memorized it, which made what the Lord showed me later all the more shocking. I found that I was merely repeating what I had heard from someone else, not what the Bible contains. Once again I had to unlearn the traditions of men that are being taught in place of the Bible.
Anytime that we cannot learn what we are being told to believe from the Bible, we need to stop and examine it closer. The pharisees condemned Jesus for not “washing His hands” properly before eating when it was not in the scriptures at all, but was merely the traditions of men. They expected Jesus to obey their traditions as if it was the word of God. When He did not, they rejected Him and kept their traditions.
Some of the things that I believed growing up, you could never learn from reading the Bible, someone else would have had to tell you. It was just a tradition being passed down by generation. A lie told a million times becomes the truth. All Scripture is to be taken literally unless there is a good reason for it to be interpreted figuratively, and then we use the literal word as a guideline.
Now much of the end time events are based on the beasts in Daniel chapter 7, the beast in Revelation 13, and the statue in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel chapter 2, so I want to try and cover those. I suggest that you read those chapters for yourself. If I include them here, the message would go on for hours so I am going to concentrate on highlights with the assumption that you read the chapters yourself.
Here is a summarized version of the chapters:
In Daniel chapter 2 Nebuchadnezzar had a dream beginning in verse 32 of a statue with a head of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. Then a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces.
In Daniel chapter 7, Daniel had a vision in the night and saw 4 beasts come up out of the sea. The first was like a lion with eagles wings. The second was a bear with 3 ribs in its mouth. The third was a leopard with 4 wings and 4 heads. The fourth was indescribable, it was dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong and it had huge iron teeth and ten horns. A small horn then came up and uprooted three of the ten leaving it with 7 horns.
In Revelation chapter 13 verse 1 John wrote: “Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name.” Again we have the beast rising out of the sea with 10 horns. This is the fourth beast that Daniel saw around 250 years earlier but with added detail. It appears again in Revelation chapter 17 verse 3.
Daniel interpreted the dream of the statue himself so we have clear guidelines to follow: In Daniel 2:38 he told Nebuchadnezzar “You are this head of gold. But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth. And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron.”
So the statue clearly represents 4 coming kingdoms on the earth.
Daniel asked an angel about his vision of the beasts and they interpreted it to him in Daniel chapter 7 verse 15: “I, Daniel, was grieved in my spirit within my body, and the visions of my head troubled me. I came near to one of those who stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of these things: “Those great beasts, which are four, are four kings which arise out of the earth.”
So again, the 4 beasts are 4 kings with kingdoms that would come on the earth. The statue would have 10 toes on its feet, the last beast would have 10 horns on its head. They are the same but each provides certain details. An important note is that all of these kingdoms ruled over Jerusalem consecutively, meaning that each replaced the previous one with no gaps. Just as the head of the statue is not separated from the shoulders, nor the shoulders from the legs, nor the legs from the toes. One kingdom was conquered by the next kingdom that took its place. Remember that for it will be important later.
Much of the Bible is centered around Jerusalem and the land that we will be talking about is called “the middle east” in modern times.
Babylon: The statues gold head, and the first beast: 605-539 BC
Daniel interpreted Nebuchadnezzar's dream himself and said that Nebuchadnezzar / Babylon was the head of gold. It is also the first beast that Daniel saw that was like a lion with wings. In modern times, the country is known as Iraq with the ancient city of Babylon being near what is Bagdad today.
Nebuchadnezzar had conquered Judah and carried away its people. Daniel was one of the exiles taken to Babylon. The city of Babylon was the capital of the babylonian empire and it was magnificent. The enclosed city covered a perfect 225 square miles, 15 miles wide and 15 miles deep. It was surrounded by a wall 350 feet high and 87 feet thick. The wall was wide enough to drive 6 chariots side by side and contained 250 watch towers.
There were 25 streets, each 150 feet wide, that evenly divided the city into squares running from right to left, and another 25 running from top to bottom. It was surrounded by a moat or ditch said to be equal to the wall in size. The Euphrates river ran through the center of Babylon through spiked gates that went down into the river bed. There were 150 gates made of solid brass. The city was filled with gardens and had an abundance of everything. The hanging gardens of Babylon were considered one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world.
Sieging the city of Babylon was considered impossible. They grew all the food they needed in gardens and even had many vineyards for wine. That combined with the river passing through the center of the city made it very difficult to starve them out. None of the other kingdoms reached the majesty of Babylon and taking the city looked impossible, but God had prophesied through Isaiah 150 years earlier that a man named Cyrus would come and do it.
(Isaiah 44:26–45:1 NKJV) “Who confirms the word of His servant, And performs the counsel of His messengers; Who says to Jerusalem, “You shall be inhabited,’ To the cities of Judah, ‘You shall be built,’ And I will raise up her waste places; Who says to the deep, “Be dry! And I will dry up your rivers’; Who says of Cyrus, “He is My shepherd, And he shall perform all My pleasure, Saying to Jerusalem, ‘You shall be built,” And to the temple, “Your foundation shall be laid.” ’“Thus says the LORD to His anointed, To Cyrus, whose right hand I have held— To subdue nations before him And loose the armor of kings, To open before him the double doors, So that the gates will not be shut”
This is an amazing prophecy for Isaiah lived during the reign of Hezekiah and Jerusalem had not been conquered yet, but Isaiah prophesied that Cyrus would rebuild it. In October of 539 B.C. During a great celebration and in the middle of the night, while Belshazzar was drinking wine from the golden cups that his father had taken from the temple of Solomon, the fingers of a man’s hand appeared and wrote on the wall in Daniel 5:5. Daniel interpreted it as MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN, and the last lines were “Your kingdom has been divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.”
While this party was going on, Cyrus quietly diverted the Euphrates river upstream by digging ditches to channel it into a marsh. He had men waiting at the river gates on both sides of the city and when the water level dropped enough, they entered the city. This would not have been possible, but the city guards had left the river gates open just as Isaiah had prophesied “to open before him the double doors, so the gates will not be shut.”
Cyrus’ men headed straight for the king’s palace. The first fight was with the royal guards inside the palace. They evaded the entire Babylonian army, killed king Belshazzar, and took over the city with hardly a fight. This gave rise to the next kingdom, the Medo-Persian empire.
Medo-Persia: The statues silver chest, the second beast: 539-331 BC
The metals in the statue and the status of the beasts decline in each stage. The head was gold, then the chest and arms of silver. Silver is inferior to gold. The first beast was a lion, the second a bear. The bear is inferior to the lion. The second kingdom would not reach the magnificence and wealth of Babylon.
The second kingdom was composed of two nationalities, the Medes and the Persians. In modern times, the country is known as Iran. Daniel tells us in chapter 8 verse 20 that the ram was the Medo-Persian empire and that the goat that came later would be the kingdom of Greece so we don’t have to wonder who they are, the Bible plainly tells us.
The bear was raised up on one side. The ram in Daniel chapter 8 is the same nation as the bear having one horn that came up last, higher than the other. This was fulfilled by the Persian side of the kingdom which came up last but grew much stronger and became the controlling influence of the nation. The 3 ribs in the bears mouth probably represent the 3 provinces of Babylon, Lydia, and Egypt which it completely conquered.
During his reign, King Cyrus gave the command to rebuild the temple at Jerusalem that Babylon had destroyed just as Isaiah had prophesied 150 years earlier. That is recorded in Ezra chapter 1.
The second kingdom lasted 207 years from 538 B.C when it overthrew Babylon, until the battle of Arbela when it was defeated by Alexander the Great of the coming kingdom of Greece.
Daniel tells us in chapter 8 verse 20 that the ram was the Medo-Persian empire and that the goat was the coming kingdom of Greece. The goat came across the whole land without touching the ground and smashed into the ram and trampled him. So the kingdom of Medo-Persia would be replaced by the kingdom of Greece. Also the third beast that Daniel saw was a leopard with 4 wings. Leopards are fast to begin with, and this one had wings.
Alexander the Great was one of the most successful military commanders of all time. He was undefeated in battle. By the time of his death, he had conquered most of the world known to the ancient Greeks, all in a span of about 13 years.
The Battle of Arbela took place on October 1, 331 B.C. and was the largest battle fought in Alexander the Great's campaign to conquer the Persian Empire. The Persians had assembled perhaps the largest army ever gathered, about 200,000 men taken from all over the Empire to meet Alexander's 47,000 men. Darius III the king of Persia made an offer of peace to Alexander where he would give him 30,000 gold talents, half of his kingdom, and his daughter's hand in marriage. Alexander refused.
Darius, the king of the Persia expected a night attack and kept his troops on guard all night long, so they were exhausted when Alexander attacked the next morning. Alexander charged and broke through the Persian line. Darius, who was right in his path turned and fled causing mass panic to break out among his troops. The Persians soon turned and fled with Alexander’s army chasing them. Alexander reportedly lost 500 men in the battle, and the Persians over 50,000. That was the end of the Medo-Persian empire.
There is much more to talk about in the coming kingdoms so I am going to wind this down and resume next week.Read more at: www.refreshinghope.org