For any student investigating the person of The Antichrist and the end times, this treatise is a crucial source of many details concerning him; his character, his actions, his deceit and how they relate to the end of this age.
The Book of Daniel is about time, people, geography, nations, amazing events, and the end of this historical age.
Certainly the Man of Sin — the Son of Perdition — and his actions portrays a central role in the revelations, visions, and dreams recorded in the book of Daniel.
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Daniel Chapter 2 It All Begins with a Dream and an Image
This dream is the prelude of all the visions to follow. The exciting prophecies and visions that were revealed to Daniel began with the dream of Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Babylonian Empire and conqueror of Israel. It is interesting to note that this initial revelation was given to a Gentile pagan. The fact that this dream was from God is seen in the evidence that only Daniel, by God's revelation, could tell Nebuchadnezzar what he dreamed and then give the interpretation. Daniel, himself, bore testimony that this whole matter was from God and gave the purpose of God's giving the dream: "But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days." So here is the story of this amazing event.
In verse 1, Nebuchadnezzar has his troubling dream. He is not able to recall the dream and summons his psychics to tell him what he dreamed and give their interpretation. However, all that they could do was to complain of the impossibility of his command. On hearing this reply, the king's anger raged and a sentence of death was given for all "magicians," including Daniel and his three fellow countrymen. Daniel and his companions prayed unto God to reveal the knowledge of this thing. God answered their prayer, and Daniel was able to tell the king both the dream and its interpretation.
The dream is told in verses 32 through 35. It was of a great image with the following description: a head of gold, the breasts and arms of silver, the belly and thighs of brass, the legs of iron, and the feet of iron and part clay. Then a stone "cut out without hands," struck the image at its feet and shattered it into fine pieces. The pieces were as chaff, and the wind carried them away. That stone then became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. The great image was described as "terrible" with an excellent brightness. Its vision caused much distress to Nebuchadnezzar.
In verses 37–45, Daniel gives the interpretation of the dream. Each element of the image is representative of an empire. What makes each of these empires a standout is the fact that they were (or would be) world powers. Each in their day ruled the then known world. Accordingly, they all would rule over the promised land of Abraham as given in God's Covenant with him (Genesis 15:18). As each empire arose, its kingdoms expanded in ever-greater geographic territory. The first empire mentioned, Babylon, conquered the nation of Israel, and it has never fully recovered from the consequence of that loss. Thus, it was that each of these empires in their turn dominated the land of Judea. The succession of these kingdoms reaches a climax in the last days of this age, "The Day of The Lord."
§ First Empire: The Head of Fine Gold.
This empire is identified with Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian empire. Nebuchadnezzar is definitively called the head of gold (verse 38).
§ Second Empire: The Breast and Arms of Silver.
Historically, in both biblical and secular sources, this is representative of the Medo-Persian Empire. The two arms are expressive of the union of two nations, Medes and Persians, into one empire. This empire is stated to be inferior to the Babylonian Empire. The inferiority is not in the territorial expanse of that empire but in its quality.
§ Third Empire: The Belly and Thighs of Brass.
Again, historically this is recognized as the Grecian Empire. Daniel states that this empire shall rule over all the earth (verse 39). This word "earth" (Hebrew [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) is the same as found in Genesis 1:1. The statement is puzzling, because the Greek Empire did not encompass the entire earth (globally), and later the Roman Empire covered far more of the world than it formerly had. In what way are we to understand this phrase, "all the earth"? Two figures of speech may explain this phrase. First is the hyperbole, which is "a conscious exaggeration of fact in order to emphasize or to gain effect." In this case, it would be used to exaggerate the size of this empire in order to make it impressive as to how large it was to be. The second possible figure of speech is the synecdoche. This figure is used in such a manner where "the whole is substituted for the part or the part is substituted for the whole." Thus the phrase "all the earth" (the whole) has been substituted for the part of the earth. This also is used to emphasize the size of area. However, a third reasonable meaning of the phrase is to take it literally; that is, for Daniel and his contemporaries, this empire would encompass the whole world as they then knew it. Thus to those who first heard this prophecy, it was probably understood as meaning the limit of the then known world. In any case, God has inspired the usage of this word (earth) as applied to a certain limited geographical area of the world. If this prophecy speaks of "all the earth," being applied to a small portion of the earth (in this case with Judea at the heart and neighboring regions thereabout), then may we also conclude that other prophecies may not be limited in the same way? (i.e., will the Antichrist literally be worshipped globally — universally all the earth, the world?) This same global limitation applies to Nebuchadnezzar in verse 38; whereas, he did not literally rule over all "wheresoever the children of men dwell."
§ Fourth Empire: Two Legs of Iron.
This is clearly the Roman Empire. There are several pictured unique features about this empire, the first of which is that it became divided. This empire was as strong as iron, in that it breaks into pieces and bruises. It subdues all. In 375 AD, the Roman Empire split into two branches, the Eastern and Western. Also, in the early fourth century, the unholy union of the "Christian" religion and the state came into being. Emperor Constantine brought together the Roman government and the ecumenical Christian churches. Many loosely knitted churches eventually became solidified into what was called the "catholic" or universal church. Eventually, a political and geographical division of the Roman Empire split occurred, and with it came the same division within the Catholic Church. There were now two emperors and two supreme archbishops: one in the East and one in the West. This resulted in the establishment of the Roman Catholic Church and the Greek Orthodox Church. The rivalries between the two went so far that in 1054 each pope excommunicated the other. From these two divisions, both political and religious, we have the two legs of the one empire.
Until this point, the divisions of the "great image" are history to us. These things have come to pass so that we have the luxury of hindsight in viewing these four empires. Now there is a span of time from the two legs of iron till the coming of the feet and ten toes made of iron and clay — the Ten Nation Federation Empire. The word became is not used in Daniel, but the implication is there; that is, the Iron Empire developing into a Ten Nation Federation Empire. The continuity of the metal, iron, and the evolving of the legs into feet and toes strongly suggests this.
§ Ten Nation Federation Empire: The Feet and Toes, Part of Potters' Clay and Part of Iron.
Let us review what Daniel wrote of this alliance:
"The kingdom shall be divided; 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. And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay" (verses 41–43).
In Daniel chapter 7, more is spoken about the ten nations, which relate to the ten toes. Since all this is still in our future, we can only speculate on the details of these ten nations. The geographical location of these nations can be generalized as consisting of the same area of, at the very least, the last empire, but, most likely, it is the common geographic area of all four of the empires. The mixture of the two differing materials is significant, showing a mixture of peoples that will not solidify together. If we think of "Christian" or even European groups allying with Muslim people, we can see how they will not cleave, assimilate, to one another. This is a problem we see today. Another item to note is the phrase "the seed of men." Other similar phrases of "seed of men" have been used in the Bible as a contrast to God's people (Psalm 53:2). Being partly strong and partly broken shows strength and weakness in the various ten nations.
§ The Final Kingdom: The Stone Cut Without Hands.
The conclusion of the dream is the appearance of a stone cut from a mountain without hands. This stone struck the feet of the image, completely collapsing and shattering it into fine pieces (actually the literal idea is to grind to dust), never again to exist. Daniel said that no place was found for these pieces. Here is a powerful suggestion of the battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:14, 16). This stone that broke the image then became a great mountain filling the whole earth (the expression "mountain" is often used metaphorically in scriptures as signifying a government or kingdom). In the days of these final kings, God shall set up His kingdom, which shall break all these kingdoms and consume them. This climaxing kingdom, made by God alone, shall not be given into the hands of other people; it will stand forever under His sovereign guiding hand. Many Old and New Testament prophecies reveal more details of this event and this kingdom.
§ In Summary.
It should be kept in mind that the great image is a representation of all these empires as a whole. The image manifests some unity, which all the empires have in common. Remember, there are not four or five images but four or five components of the one image. What is to be analyzed is the common element that unifies or bonds together these empires to a whole as they progress one to another. The common element is not the nationality of the people of the various kingdoms, nor does it appear that it is their religion, unless all forms of paganism are considered as one grouping (the Babylonians believed in polytheism and pantheism while the Greeks and Romans had their system of belief in mythology and human philosophy.) The forms of government also varied. It is difficult to see any exact correlation or commonality between these empires except one. The one certain element they all had in common was that they ruled the land granted by God to Abraham and his seed (Genesis 15:18). All four empires occupied an area of the future Ten Nation Federation. The Babylonian Empire was the smallest, and from within its geographical boundaries comes this final stage of the image, the feet and toes.
This concludes Daniel chapter 2 and Nebuchadnezzar's dream of the image. I am of the firm persuasion that all other prophecies given in Daniel as well as many prophecies contained in the Gospels, the Epistles, and the book of Revelation have reference to this first great vision of prophecy. Our goal is to try to come to a reasonable understanding of the Man of Sin: who he is, from where he originates, and his coming power and kingdom on earth. If we can achieve this, we may intelligently have our attention focused on the signs and events occurring in the world.
The stage is now set for the revelations of the Antichrist and his ruling empire.
The Land and Nebuchadnezzar's Image
When we consider the image of Nebuchadnezzar's dream, we see an image of a man composed of different materials — the head of gold, the breast and arms of silver, the belly and thighs of brass, the legs of iron, and finally the feet and toes part iron and part clay. The description of the image given to Daniel reveals that each division is marked by the various materials representing a different world empire. The one feature that captures our attention is how each part of the image contributes to a unification of the whole. Finally, we reflect upon the rock made without hands — cut from a mountain that destroys the image and sets up the ultimate kingdom.
As has been mentioned in the previous chapter, this image causes us to wonder what it is that these empires or kingdoms all hold in common. What made them a part of the whole? I reiterate, the key is that they each ruled the "Promised Land" given to Abraham from God. It will be noticed that Assyria is not included anywhere in the book of Daniel. No nation before the Babylonian Empire is mentioned. There is a theory that supports this — the Assyrians never fully conquered or ruled over Judah, the Jews. Israel (the northern nation) fell in 721 BC to the Assyrians; however the southern nation, Judah, survived approximately another 120 years until its judgment from God caused its fall to the Babylonians.
The return of Christ to earth is followed by the battle of Armageddon. The forces that shall come to do battle against Christ will be of the Antichrist and his multination empire. Jesus will summarily destroy his army, and the land will no longer be trodden under foot by the Gentiles. The several thousand years (over twenty-six hundred years so far) of "the time of the Gentiles'" and their forceful presence in the land of Abraham will come to a permanent end.
In 1948, the Jews established their own nation, but the borders were far from what was lost in the days of Nebuchadnezzar. In 1966, the city of Jerusalem was unified in the Six-Day War. But still, the nation of Israel is not sovereign over all the land initially lost. For example, it is not free to do as it pleases with the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Conflicts, bloody fighting, heated challenges, and terrorism have raged. Added to this are the treaties, accords, and compromises that have been made. When the Man of Sin, the Antichrist, comes, the covenant he makes with Israel will be a peace treaty involving the land and all those disputing over it. The inheritance of Israel, the land, is at the core of the prophecies, and we should be watching the struggle over it.
Daniel Chapter 7 Visions and Prophecies Given to Daniel
In this chapter, we have the first of a series of prophecies and visions given directly to Daniel. Daniel's vision in this chapter occurred forty-eight years after Nebuchadnezzar's dream. Verse 1 gives the exact time of the vision — the first year of Belshazzar's reign. The Babylonian Empire has fallen, and the Medo-Persian Empire now rules. What Daniel saw was one vision having two significant scenes.
§ We begin with the first scene, verses 2–8, the beasts.
Daniel saw turmoil strive upon "the great sea" with the four winds breaking forth upon it. This great sea could be the Mediterranean Sea. If this is true, we see an ongoing correlation of the Mediterranean area with these nations in the prophecies. However, the term sea is also used to represent mankind as a whole; this is probably the meaning here. In verses 3–7, four great beasts arise from the sea. Here is Daniel's record of them.
The lion with eagle's wings standing erect as a man that is given a man's heart.
The bear raised on one side with three ribs in his mouth and told to eat much flesh.
The leopard with four wings and four heads.
The dreadful, terrible, strong beast with great iron teeth. It was diverse from the other three and had ten horns.
In examining each of these beasts, little is said of the first three. It becomes clear by the context of this chapter that these beasts represent the same series of empires as seen in the great image of chapter 2.
§ The lion is the Babylonian Empire corresponding to the golden head of the image.
§ The bear corresponds with the breast and arms of silver of the great image, the Medo-Persian Empire. It is speculated that the rising to one side of the bear is a demonstration of the emergence of the Persian half of this empire asserting itself above the Medes. It is also believed that the three ribs in the mouth of the beast signify the fact that the Persians conquered the kingdoms of Lydia, Babylon, and Egypt, which are thought to have formed an alliance. It was told to arise and devour much flesh.
§ The leopard is the Greek Empire, the belly and thighs of brass of the image. It is presumed that the four wings of the leopard signify swiftness, which adds to the fact that a leopard is naturally gifted with great speed and agility. This is very reflective of the amazing speed with which Alexander the Great conquered the world. The main forte of his army was its agility and rapid movement. The Persians had a huge army of perhaps one million, but it could take months to position itself for battle. The four heads are very important and are revealed in greater detail in chapter 8. So for now, we pass over these heads.
Excerpted from "The Antichrist Revealed In Daniel"
Copyright © 2017 William Bekgaard.
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Table of Contents
Introduction: The Antichrist and His Empire, vii,
Chart of Daniel's prophecies and John's revelation, ix,
Chapter 1: Daniel Chapter 2 — It All Begins with a Dream and an Image, 1,
Chapter 2: The Land and Nebuchadnezzar's Image, 9,
Chapter 3: Daniel Chapter 7 — Visions and Prophecies Given to Daniel, 11,
Chapter 4: Daniel Chapter 8 — The Second Series of Visions, 19,
Chapter 5: Daniel Chapter 8 — The Interpretation, 23,
Chapter 6: Antiochus Epiphanes, 31,
Chapter 7: Daniel Chapter 9 — Verses 1-24: The Seventy Years and the Seventy Weeks, 39,
Chapter 8: Daniel Chapter 9 — Verse 25: The Sixty-Nine Weeks — The King and the Prince, 45,
Chapter 9: Daniel Chapter 9 — Verse 26: The Prince that Shall Come, 49,
Chapter 10: Daniel Chapter 9 — The Seven-Year Covenant, 55,
Chapter 11: Daniel Chapter 10 — A Prelude to Daniel's Final Vision, 63,
Chapter 12: Daniel Chapter 11 — Verses 1-24, 36-45: Antiochus and the Antichrist, 65,
Chapter 13: Daniel Chapter 12 — At the End, a Time of Trouble, 73,
Chapter 14: Conclusion and Summary of the Man of Sin — the Antichrist in the Prophecies of Daniel, 81,