Prophetic Empires & Prayers of Repentance

Today’s selected reading both continues in and concludes the Old Testament prophetic book of Daniel which is a book that not only describes certain historical events which took place during the days of the Babylonian and Persian empires, but also contains a tremendous amount of prophetic language. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters eight through twelve of this Old Testament book. “I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time. 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. And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve Him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed” (Daniel 7:9-15). I DANIEL WAS GRIEVED IN MY SPIRIT IN THE MIDST OF MY BODY, AND THE VISIONS OF MY HEAD TROUBLED ME. I CAME NEAR UNTO ONE OF THEM THAT STOOD BY, AND ASKED HIM THE TRUTH OF ALL THIS. SO HE TOLD ME, AND MADE ME KNOW THE INTERPRETATION OF THE THINGS! “These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever. Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet; and of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows. I BEHELD, AND THE SAME HORN MADE WAR WITH THE SAINTS, AND PREVAILED AGAINST THEM; UNTIL THE ANCIENT OF DAYS CAME, AND JUDGMENT WAS GIVEN TO THE SAINTS OF THE MOST HIGH; AND THE TIME CAME THAT THE SAINTS POSSESSED THE KINGDOM”

            “Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon the earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. 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. 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. But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him. Hitherto is the end of the matter. As for me Daniel, my cogitations much troubled me, and my countenance changed in me: but I kept the matter in my heart” (Daniel 7:23-28).

            IN THE FIRST YEAR OF KING BELSHAZZAR (DANIEL 7). IN THE THIRD YEAR OF KING BELSHAZZAR (DANIEL 8). “The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia. And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king. Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power” [And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practice, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand. And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true: wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days. And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king’s business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it”  

            IN THE FIRST YEAR OF DARIUS THE SON OF AHASUERUS, OF THE SEED OF THE MEDES, WHICH WAS MADE KING OVER THE REALM OF THE CHALDEANS! IN THE FIRST YEAR OF HIS REIGN I DANIEL UNDERSTOOD BY THE BOOKS THE NUMBER OF THE YEARS WHEREOF THE WORD OF THE LORD CAME TO JEREMIAH THE PROPHET, THAT HE WOULD ACCOMPLISH SEVENTY YEARS IN THE DESOLATIONS OF JERUSALEM! AND I SET MY FACE UNTO THE LORD GOD, TO SEEK BY PRAYER AND SUPPLICATIONS, WITH FASTING, AND SACKCLOTH, AND ASHES: AND I PRAYED UNTO THE LORD MY GOD, AND MADE MY CONFESSION!

            A PRAYER OF CONFESSION AND REPENTANCE! “And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God; Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understanding the matter, and consider the vision. 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. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seventy weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for him: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate”

            IN THE THIRD YEAR OF CYRUS KING OF PERSIA A THING WAS REVEALED UNTO DANIEL, WHOSE NAME WAS CALLED BELTESHAZZAR; AND THE THING WAS TRUE, BUT THE TIME APPOINTED WAS LONG: AND HE UNDERSTOOD THE THING, AND HAD UNDERSTANDING OF THE VISION! IN THOSE DAYS I DANIEL WAS MOURNING THREE FULL WEEKS. I ATE NO PLEASANT BREAD, NEITHER CAME FLESH NOR WINE IN MY MOUTH, NEITHER DID I ANNOINT MYSELF AT ALL, TILL THREE WHOLE WEEKS WERE FULFILLED. AnD IN THE FOUR AND TWENTIETH DAY OF THE FIRST MONTH, AS I WAS BY THE SIDE OF THE GREAT RIVER, WHICH IS HIDDEKEL; THEN I LIFTED UP MINE EYES, AND LOOKED, AND BEHOLD A CERTAIN MAN CLOTHED IN LINEN, WHOSE LOINS WERE GIRDED WITH FINE GOLD OF UPHAZ: HIS BODY ALSO WAS LIKE THE BERYL, AND HIS FACE AS THE APPEARANCE OF LIGHTNING, AND HIS EYES AS LAMPS OF FIRE, AND HIS ARMS AND HIS FEET LIKE IN COLOUR TO POLISHED BRASS, AND THE VOICE OF HIS WORDS LIKE THE VOICE OF A MULTITUDE!

            ALSO I IN THE FIRST YEAR OF DARIUS THE MEDE, EVEN I, STOOD TO CONFIRM AND TO STRENGTHEN HIM! AND NOW I WILL SHEW THEE THE TRUTH!

            “And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all. But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things. Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain. And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over. HE shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Mob, and the chief of the children of Ammon. He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape. But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps. But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away man. And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him”

            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. 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! 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. 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.

            When you come to this particular portion of the prophetic book of Daniel you will find the historical and biographical portion of the book drawing to a close, and drawing to a close during the reign of Darius the Mede. What you find when reading the words in these chapters is the prophetic section of the book which is comprised and made up of a series of visions which Daniel the one greatly beloved of the LORD would see and receive during the reigns of Belshazzar king of Babylon, as well as during the reigns of Cyrus king of Persia, and Darius the Mede. It is within these chapters we encounter and come face to face witave h visions which Daniel himself would receive from the LORD, which is a stark contrast from what would be found in the opening five chapters of the book, for what you find in chapters two, four and five is revelation given unto heathen kings concerning that which the LORD was going to do, and that which the LORD had already done. In the second chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Daniel we find Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon dreaming a dream of a great image and statute, which Daniel would reveal to him would be a single composite and image of different empires and kingdoms that would emerge upon the earth. Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian empire would be the head of gold, while the Medes and the Persians would be the arms and belly of silver. The thighs of brass would represent the kingdom of Greece, while the legs of iron would represent the Roman Empire. It would be in this dream the LORD of hosts would reveal unto Nebuchadnezzar—not only that there would be earthly kingdoms and empires that would be established in the earth, but also that there would be a heavenly kingdom that would strike these earthly kingdoms, completely shatter the statue and image, and cause all the material to become chaff which would driven away with the wind. The stone which struck the statue would then become a great kingdom that would rule and reign over and upon the earth according to the divine authority, power, strength and might of the holy God of eternity.

            In the fourth chapter we find Nebuchadnezzar having another dream—a second dream during the night—with the one notable exception that this dream would not concern kingdoms and empires, but would concern one single king, and one single throne. The second dream Nebuchadnezzar would dream have was a dream that would not pertain to kingdoms and empires, but would relate directly to him. This second dream would deal specifically with the pride and arrogance within his heart, and was designed to serve as a warning unto him to turn from his wickedness and his iniquity before the LORD, and even Daniel would provide this powerful warning to the king. Unfortunately, twelve months later Nebuchadnezzar was walking in the palace and began speaking great and boastful words before the LORD of hosts concerning his great might, his great majesty, and his great strength. It would be in that moment a voice would speak from heaven which would set in motion his being deposed of his kingdom and the throne, and being driven into the open field where he would have his dwelling among the beasts of the field until the appointed time and seasons passed over him. It would be once those appointed times and seasons passed over him he would lift his eyes up toward heaven, his understanding would be restored unto him, and he would bless the God of heaven who alone is sovereign and supreme. This second dream Nebuchadnezzar had would be a powerful dream—not only concerning the LORD’s ability to humble the pride and arrogance of kings, but also the LORD’s ability to execute His judgment, His time and His seasons over and upon his life. It would be at the appointed time determined by the LORD God of heaven and earth Nebuchadnezzar would have his understanding restored to him, and would bless the sovereign and supreme God of heaven and earth. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this reality, for in order to understand the prophetic book of Daniel you must understand the sovereignty and supremacy of the living God, as well as His dominion and authority over times and seasons. It is the LORD alone who appoints and ordains, and there is absolutely no kingdom, no empire, no throne, no king, nor anything in heaven, nor on earth that can alter that which He has appointed and ordained.

            This reality of appointed times and seasons is also found in the fifth chapter of this prophetic book, as what you read is Belshazzar the son of Nebuchadnezzar holding a great banquet in his palace—a banquet in which the sacred and holy vessels of the Temple of the LORD would be brought forth from the treasure house of his father. Belshazzar and all those which were present at that banquet would proceed to drink wine out of the sacred vessels of the living God, and while doing so would praise the gods of wood, stone, iron, brass, silver and gold. It would be in the midst of this abominable act of treating that which was sacred and holy as common a hand would appear in the midst of the palace over against the lampstand, and would write a powerful message upon the wall. Unable to read or understand the words which were written on the wall Belshazzar called for all the magicians and astrologers and wise men of Chaldea to interpret the writing on the wall, but none were able to do so. It would be at the behest of the queen Daniel would be called into the midst of that banquet that he might not only reveal the meaning of the writing on the wall, but also issue a stinging denunciation concerning Belshazzar. It is truly something worth noting and considering to read the words found in the fifth chapter and to discover how Daniel would step into the midst of that banquet—a banquet where the pride and arrogance of man would be paraded, a banquet where that which was sacred would be treated as common, and false idols of this world would be praised and worshipped. Daniel would not only issue a powerful and stinging denunciation concerning the king of Babylon, but he would also declare unto him the writing on the wall—an interpretation that would not only reveal that the days of Belshazzar were numbered, and not only that he had been weighed on the scales and found wanting, but also that the kingdom would be rent from him and given into the hands of the Medes and Persians. Although Belshazzar wouldn’t receive a dream as his father did, he would indeed bear witness to handwriting on the wall—handwriting that cast and pronounced judgment and wrath upon Babylon, and upon that kingdom which was among men. Unto Nebuchadnezzar the LORD would reveal kingdoms and empires that would emerge on to the scene in the world, and it would be during the days of his son Belshazzar that the handwriting would appear on the wall which would serve as the proverbial nail in the coffin of the Babylonian empire as the same night the handwriting appeared Belshazzar would be slain, and the kingdom would be taken by Darius the Mede who would begin ruling and reigning over it.

            When you come to the second half of the prophetic book of Daniel you will notice the language and narrative takes on an entirely different tone. It is when and as you come to these latter chapters that you will find the LORD beginning to reveal unto Daniel mysteries concerning kingdoms, nations and empires—and not just kingdoms and empires, but also concerning the Last Days. As you come to the latter portion of this prophetic book you will be immediately confronted with the LORD speaking unto Daniel concerning that which must and that which will take place within and upon the earth through visions and dreams which would appear and manifest themselves unto him. What makes this even more intriguing is when you consider the fact that these visions and revelations would begin taking place during the first year of the reign of Belshazzar king of Babylon. It would be during the first year of this king of Babylon that Daniel himself would have a dream that would not only concern the Last Days, but would also concern the days which were immediately before him in the coming generations. If you want to truly understand the words and language which are found within the prophetic book of Daniel you must recognize that what was shown unto him not only bore reference to events which would take place in the generations following the days of the Babylonian Empire, but it would also bear reference to that which would take place in the latter days and in the end times. In fact, I would dare say that you cannot truly understand the prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus the Christ in the New Testament without and apart from understanding that which is written and recorded in this particular book. You cannot understand the words and language that are found within the prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus the Christ without first approaching and coming near to it through the language of the prophetic found in the Old Testament—specifically and especially the prophetic book of Daniel. I would dare say that the prophetic book of Daniel is the key that helps unlock the divine mystery which surrounds the prophetic book of the Revelation, for much of the language that you will find in the book of Daniel you will also find in the book of the Revelation. What’s more, is there are those who believe that the scroll which the apostle John ate which tasted as sweet as honey in his mouth but made his stomach turn sour was the prophetic book of Daniel.

            As I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found within the prophetic book of Daniel, I can’t help but be drawn to the tremendous and awesome reality that at the very heart and foundation of this book is the sovereignty of the one true and living God. You cannot read this prophetic book without encountering and coming face to face with the sovereignty of the eternal God—not only sovereign over the kingdoms and empires that emerge upon the face of the earth, and not only sovereign over thrones and the kings who sit upon them, but also sovereign over the lives of His holy saints who live and dwell within and among the nations, the kingdoms and the empires of the world. In fact, that which we find in the third and sixth chapters help provide a much needed backdrop for what is written in the second half of this book—particularly and especially concerning that little horn which would rise up in the earth and would utter great and blasphemous things before and against the God of heaven. In the third chapter of this prophetic book we find Nebuchadnezzar not only erecting a image made of gold, but we also find him demanding that whenever the inhabitants and people in the province of Babylon hear the sound of music they were to fall down and bow themselves before this image and worship it. Anyone who refused to bow down before and worship this golden image would be thrown alive into the fiery furnace, and there would be none to save or deliver them out of the hand and wrath of the king—or so the king of Babylon and his governors and rulers thought. What is truly inspiring and amazing is when you consider the fact that there were three within the province of Babylon who dared defy the decree and command of the king, and who refused to bow down and worship this image made of gold. There were three who not only refused to bow down and worship the image made of gold in deed and action, but even when standing before the king himself and facing the impending fiery furnace they refused to bow down before this image of gold in word as well. They believed that the LORD was able to deliver them out of the hand of the king, and from the fiery furnace, but even if the LORD didn’t deliver them, they would not bow down, nor would they worship the image made of gold.

            While it is true that there were three in the midst of the third chapter who refused to obey the decree of the king and bow down and worship this image made of gold, there would be one spoken of in the sixth chapter who would refuse to obey the decree of the king concerning prayer. Despite the fact that the king had been manipulated and coerced by his presidents and governors and rulers in the midst of the land to issue a decree that would put the life of Daniel at risk, there was still an assault on the prayer of the saints. As much as there was an assault on the worship of the saints in the days of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon as spoken of in the third chapter, so also would there be an assault on the prayer of the saints in the days of Darius the Mede. Scripture provides no clue, nor any indication whether or not there were others who refused to bow down before this image of gold, but we know there were at least three who refused to bow down and worship that image made of gold. We don’t know if there were others who refused to follow and obey the decree of Darius the Mede concerning prayer and not praying to anyone but him for thirty days, but we do know there was at least one who refused to obey the decree of the king and cease praying. We know that Daniel opened the windows of his house toward Jerusalem and prayed before and unto the God of heaven three times a day—this despite the decree and edict of the king. It’s necessary for us to pay close attention to the assault on prayer during the days of Darius the Mede, and there was an assault on the worship of the saints during the days of Nebuchadnezzar. Although Scripture doesn’t necessarily reveal the spirit of the antichrist at work in either of these chapters we can and will see both the spirit of the antichrist, as well as the actual person of the antichrist mentioned and spoken of in the second half of this prophetic book. In fact, I am convinced that before we explore the second half of this prophetic book we need to consider the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the second epistle which was written unto the Thessalonians, as well as the words which the apostle John wrote and recorded in the thirteenth chapter of the prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus the Christ. Consider if you will the following words which are found in both of these chapters, in order to get an even truer and greater sense of this man that will rise up and emerge in the last days—a man who others within and throughout history already have given and shown glimpses of:

            “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be reveald in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the LORD shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: even him whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (1 Thessalonians 2:1-12).

            “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast 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: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wonderd after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any man have an ear, let him hear. He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and faith of the saints” (Revelation 13:1-10).

            “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. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. 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. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six” Revelation 13:11-18).

            There is not a doubt in my mind that when you read the words which are found within these chapters you get a great and powerful picture of that one who in the last days is going to rise up in the midst of the earth creating havoc among men. I am convinced that it is necessary to consider the words which are found within these two passages of Scripture, for when you read the prophetic book of Daniel you will encounter the awesome and incredible reality that it is a book that deals in great length and measure with appointed times and seasons, as well as the rise and fall of kingdoms and empires. You cannot read the words which are found in this prophetic book and not come face to face with this concept of kingdoms and empires as early as the second chapter, for through a dream the eternal God spoke unto Nebuchadnezzar concerning that which would take place in the coming days and generations. Upon reading the words found in the second chapter you will find that Nebuchadnezzar and the kingdom and empire of Babylon was but the head of the statue, and that there were other parts to the image he saw in his dream. The kingdom and empire of Babylon would indeed be that first kingdom and that first empire, however, there would be other kingdoms and empires which would emerge in the midst of the earth—each succeeding that which went before it, and essentially absorbing that which it conquered. The kingdom and empire of Babylon was not only conquered by the Medes and the Persians, but it was completely and utterly absorbed by it, and then expanded to become the great and powerful Medo-Persian Empire. It’s worth noting that it was absolutely necessary for the emergence and rise of the Medo-Persian Empire, for it would be during the days of Cyrus king of Persia that a decree would be issued that would not only permit the house of Israel and the Jewish people to return unto their own land, but also to rebuild the sacred and holy Temple which the Babylonians had destroyed. It would be through this kingdom and this empire that would emerge upon the face of the earth the door to the resurrection of the house of Israel would swing wide open, as the graves of the house of Israel would be opened, and as they would not only return unto their own land, but they would also be restored within that land. Moreover, you will read in the final verses of the first chapter concerning Daniel that he remained within and upon the earth until the days of Cyrus king of Persia, and would indeed witness and behold that great and glorious return of the people of God unto their own land.

            The more I read and consider the words which are found in the prophetic book of Daniel the more I encounter the awesome and incredible reality that it is the LORD alone who controls the appointment and destiny of kingdoms and empires within and upon the face of the earth. Though Darius the Mede might very well have thought and believed that it was by his great strength, by his great power, and by his great might that he took the kingdom of Babylon out of the hands of Belshazzar, and brought about the emergence of the kingdom of the Medes and the Persians, it was the LORD alone who had ordained and appointed the rise of the Medo-Persian Empire in the midst of the earth. What’s more, is that I do not believe for one moment that Darius the Mede knew anything about, nor was he at all aware of what took place in the palace of Belshazzar on the night that he and the soldiers and men who were with him entered into the city of Babylon and conquered and took it. Babylon—this great city and kingdom that would lay siege to the city of Jerusalem for nearly two years before and until the wall was broken up and they were able to every man march straight up in the midst of the city—would itself experience its own demise and it’s own fall to a foreign enemy and adversary. History seems to reveal and indicate the awesome and incredible reality that Belshazzar and Babylon were caught off guard when Darius the Mede and all those who were with him not only entered into the city, but also conquered, subdued and took complete and utter control of it. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this awesome and incredible reality, for it’s worth noting that what Nebuchadnezzar would see in a dream upon his bed, and what Daniel would reveal unto him in the midst of his palace would actually be seen and witnessed by his son who would experience the destruction, the demise and the fall of Babylon as Darius the Mede would enter into the midst of the city and completely and utterly conquer and subdue it. It would be Darius the Mede and his conquering the kingdom of Babylon that would not only lead to the rise and emergence of the Medo-Persian Empire in the midst of the earth, but also the beginning of the return and restoration of the people of God unto their own land which the Babylonians and Chaldeans had carried them out of as captives and exiles.

            What so intrigues me about the words which are found within the latter chapters of the prophetic book of Daniel is that it is a section that describes a series of visions which Daniel received during his days serving in the midst of the kingdom and empire of the Babylonians, as well as during the days of the kingdom and empire of the Medes and Persians. In fact, within these chapters we find that these visions and dreams Daniel received would begin during the first year of the reign of Belshazzar king of Babylon, and would continue all the way through unto the time and days of Cyrus the king of Persia. It would be during the days and reign of Belshazzar king of Babylon, during the days of Darius the Mede, and during the days of Cyrus king of Persia Daniel would receive these visions and revelations from the LORD—not only concerning that which would unfold during the coming days, but also that which was ordained and appointed in the latter days and end of times. There in the midst of the captivity and exile of the house of Israel Daniel would not only serve foreign and heathen kings in the midst of the kingdoms and empires that would emerge upon the earth, but he would also be given great revelation, vision and insight into world events that would take place according to the divine appointment of the living God. It would be in the first and opening chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis we first find the mention of times and seasons, and how the eternal God who created the heavens and the earth is also the author of the times and seasons which take place in the midst of and upon the earth. How absolutely remarkable and astounding it is to think about and consider the awesome reality that the living and eternal God is not only the author of the nations, kingdoms and empires which emerge upon the face of the earth, but He is also the author of the times and seasons which move and unfold within and upon the earth. It is the LORD alone who controls absolutely everything that takes place and unfolds upon the face of the earth, and man can never and should never take any credit for anything they have accomplished in the midst of the earth. It is the LORD alone who appoints the rise and the emergence of nations, kingdoms and empires, and it is the LORD alone who bestows authority, dominion and power within and upon them. In fact, if there is one thing the prophetic book of Daniel reveals, it’s that it is the LORD alone who knows and sees the end from the beginning, and it is the LORD alone who authors, ordains and appoints the rise and emergence of kingdoms and empires in the midst of the earth.

            As I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in the prophetic book of Daniel I can’t help but be drawn into the awesome and tremendous reality that the LORD would reveal unto Daniel visions and revelations concerning events that would unfold in the coming days, and He would do so in images, symbols, figures and the like. When the LORD revealed unto Daniel that which would unfold in the coming days, He didn’t immediately reveal unto him everything concerning that which would take place and unfold, for there would need to be this diligent searching on the part of Daniel—this searching for understanding, for knowledge and discernment concerning what he had just been shown. What’s more, is that upon reading these chapters you will find that when the LORD spoke to Daniel, He didn’t merely speak unto him through dreams and visions, but also with encounters with angelic beings such as Gabriel who would speak unto him and reveal the mysteries and meaning behind what he was being shown. What I so absolutely love about that which is found in these chapters is that the LORD of hosts entrusted Daniel with these visions and revelations concerning that which would take place in the days to come, and would essentially lay out a blueprint concerning the rise of kingdoms and empires in the midst of the earth. I can’t help but wonder if there were others from the time of Daniel all the way through the time of Christ—and even during the days and time of the early Church—who would read and consider the words which the LORD had spoken unto Daniel who was greatly beloved of the LORD. The LORD would essentially speak unto Daniel concerning the rise of the next kingdoms and empires of the earth—namely the kingdom of the Medes and Persians, and the kingdom of the Grecians. Were there those men and women—whether those who were present in the midst of the land of the Chaldeans and the Persians, or those who were present within the land of Israel—who would read the words of Daniel and understand the times and seasons which had been appointed by the LORD. It is true that in the final chapter of the prophetic book of Daniel we find the LORD instructing Daniel to seal up the book, however, there is a part of me that can’t help but wonder if there were those who would read the prophetic book of Daniel and would seek to study it as we do in this generation, and as we have done in previous generations.

            It would be unto Daniel—this one who was greatly beloved of the LORD—whom the living and eternal God would reveal the divine mysteries concerning appointed times and seasons, as well as concerning kingdoms and empires. It would be unto Daniel whom the LORD would also speak unto concerning kings and rulers who would emerge within and upon the face of the earth—those kings who would unleash havoc and a reign of terror upon the face of the earth. We know from the prophetic book of Isaiah that the prophetic word concerning the king of Babylon also contained a dual meaning that would speak unto and concerning Lucifer who is also known as Satan and the devil. While the prophet Isaiah would take up a lamentation concerning the king of Babylon, he would also speak something even greater concerning one who was unseen, and one who was behind that earthly king whom Isaiah would prophesy concerning. What’s more, is that when you come to the prophetic book of Ezekiel you will find that Ezekiel would take up a lamentation concerning the king of Tyrus, however, beyond that prophetic word released concerning Tyrus king of Persia, there would also be a prophetic declaration concerning Lucifer who was the morning star, and who was the anointed cherub. You cannot read these two chapters without encountering and coming face to face with the awesome and incredible reality that they were essentially a dual prophesy which would indeed speak to and reference an earthly king which would rule and reign upon the earth, but they would also speak to and refer to an unseen ruler—one who ruled and reigned in the darkness and shadows. The reason this is important to realize and recognize is that when you read the words which were written and recorded in this prophetic book of Daniel you will find that he would indeed write about certain rulers who would emerge upon the earth such as Antiochus Epiphanes, but even greater and even deeper than that he would write concerning that final ruler who would unleash a reign of terror and havoc upon the face of the earth. Daniel would indeed see the emergence of kings and rulers upon the face of the earth as well and as much as he would see the emergence of kingdoms and empires upon the face of the earth.

            The words which are found in the prophetic book of Daniel do something more than simply describe the rise and emergence of kingdoms and empires, as well as kings and rulers, for it also provides a great revelation concerning the saints of God themselves, and the kingdom of God which would exist within eternity and would manifest itself in the midst of the earth. I cannot help but find within these final chapters—not only a powerful picture of kingdoms and empires that would emerge within and upon the earth, but also the presence of the saints in the midst of those kingdoms and empires, and how these kingdoms and empires would directly impact and affect the saints. What’s more, is that as you read the words which are found within these chapters you will find that there would even be those who would be given authority and dominion and power to make war with and against the saints—a reality which the apostle John would see when he witnessed and beheld the beast emerging out of the sea. It would be the vision John the beloved apostle of Christ would see that would also contain a powerful vision and declaration of the affliction and oppression of the saints by that beast which would emerge from the midst of the sea, and which would be given the great seat, the great authority, and the great power of the dragon. Once the dragon would be cast out of heaven upon the earth he would seek to make war against the seed of the woman, and that war would be unleashed against and upon them through that one who would be raised up in the midst of the earth. With this in mind, I invite you to consider certain words and passages which are found within these final chapters concerning the presence of the saints in the midst of these nations, kingdoms and empires, as well as during the days of these kings and rulers:

            “…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 a man, and a mouth speaking great things. I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time. 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. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed” (Daniel 7:9-14).

            If you begin reading with and from the seventeenth verse of the seventh chapter you will find Daniel being given the interpretation and meaning of that vision which he had seen as because he was grieved in his spirit in the midst of his body, and because the visions of his head troubled him, he sought to inquire of the truth concerning that which had been revealed unto him. It would be that which we begin reading with and from the seventeenth verse of this chapter that Daniel begins to be shown and begin to understand the meaning and mystery behind the vision which he had seen. How absolutely incredible and astounding it is to think about and consider this awesome and incredible reality that Daniel would indeed see a wonderful and powerful vision that was too great for him, and which greatly troubled him, and upon seeking the truth of that which was shown unto him, he would also inquire as to the meaning behind that which he had just seen. Consider if you will the following words which are found in this specific chapter beginning to read with and from the seventeenth verse:

            “These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever. Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet; and of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before twhom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows. I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High: and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. 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. 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. 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. But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him. Hitherto is the end of the matter. As for me Daniel, my cogitations much troubled me, and my countenance changed in me: but I kept the matter in my heart” (Daniel 7:17-28).

            What I find to be so absolutely astounding concerning the words which are found within this prophetic book of Daniel is the tremendous vision and revelation Daniel was given concerning the events which would unfold within and upon the earth in the days which were to come. Daniel would indeed see the emergence and rise of kingdoms and empires, and Daniel would indeed see the emergence of kings and rulers in the midst of the earth, but there was something else Daniel would see—namely, the saints of God in the midst of the earth, an eternal kingdom which would be set up and established in the midst of the earth, and the dominion of heaven being manifested within and upon the earth. Regardless of the kingdoms and empires Daniel would see emerge within and upon the face of the earth he would also see a greater kingdom and a great dominion that would be manifested within and upon the earth—that which would completely and utterly destroy and shatter the kingdoms and empires of men. We cannot read the words which are found within the prophetic book of Daniel and not encounter and come face to face with the tremendous reality that as surely and as great as these visions concerning earthly kingdoms and earthly empires were, there would be one kingdom and one empire that would rise up in the midst of them all, and which would completely conquer and subdue these earthly and natural kingdoms. In all reality, this is precisely what Nebuchadnezzar saw in the dream which he dreamed upon his bed, for he would see a stone hewn out of a mountain which would strike the great image at its base, thus causing the entire statute and image to collapse upon itself, and the gold, the silver, the brass, the iron and the clay to all be mixed together as chaff, which the wind would blow away. Moreover, that stone which had struck the statue and caused it to come crashing down and be consumed by the wind would itself become a great and powerful kingdom that would be established in the midst of the earth. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this awesome and incredible reality, for to do so would be to miss out on the contrast between earthly kingdoms which would be set up and established in the midst of the earth, and that heavenly and eternal kingdom which would completely conquer and subdue these earthly and natural kingdoms. With this in mind, consider if you will the words which are found in the eighth chapter beginning to read with and from the nineteenth verse:

            “…And he said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be. The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia. And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes if the first king. Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power. And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practice, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy man: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand. And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true: wherefore shut thou up the vision: for it shall be for many days. And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king’s business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it” (Daniel 8:19-27).

            It is truly something remarkable to think about and consider the awesome truth concerning these nations and kingdoms which would emerge upon the face of the earth, as well as the kings and rulers which would emerge in the midst of them, for what we find within these chapters is a powerful picture of kingdoms and empires which would not only exercise dominion and authority given them by the LORD upon the earth, and not only would kings and rulers exercise dominion and authority given unto them upon the earth, but they would also seek to make war with and against the saints of God, and would also seek to make war against the Ancient of Days and against the Prince of princes. There would be within these kingdoms and empires, as well as within rulers that would emerge within and upon the earth a proud boasting which would take place in the midst of the earth against the Holy One and Ancient of Days, as well as against the King of kings and Prince of princes. We cannot read the words which are found within these chapters and not encounter and come face to face with the awesome and wonderful reality that within the days of kingdoms and empires there would be a great patience and endurance of the saints that would be necessary. You cannot truly understand that which is found within these chapters without recognizing and encounter the awesome and tremendous truth concerning the saints of God, and how there is a great and awesome need from the saints of God to patiently endure and remain faithful in the midst of the kingdoms and empires that would emerge upon the earth. What’s more, is that there would be kings and rulers who would vehemently oppose the saints of God and would seek to make war against them. As we read these words we must understand and recognize the great and tremendous responsibility that is placed upon our shoulders as we have been called to patiently endure in the midst of affliction, in the midst of oppression, in the midst of persecution, and the like. It would be during the days of the Roman Empire—specifically during the days of Nero—that the saints and Christians would be persecuted in great measure by the Romans, as a great war would be made with and against them. There would be a time during the Roman Empire when the saints of God and those who were followers of the Way would be greatly persecuted by Rome in the midst of the earth, as they would be systematically pursued that they might be eradicated from the midst of the earth. The discussion of the words and language which is found within these chapters cannot truly take place without and apart from recognizing the ultimate authority, the ultimate dominion, the ultimate kingdom, and the ultimate throne that sits above and reigns over it all.

            As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in the ninth chapter of this prophetic book, for in the first year of Darius the Mede—in the first year of this transition of power from the kingdom of Babylon to the kingdom of the Medes and Persians you will find Daniel understanding by the books the number of the years, which had been spoken of by Jeremiah the prophet concerning the accomplishing of seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. It would be this understanding that would come unto Daniel as he read the words of the prophet Jeremiah. If you read the words found in the ninth chapter you will not only find the dynamic of a new king and a new kingdom exercising dominion upon the earth, and not only will you find Daniel understanding through the words of the prophet Jeremiah concerning the seventy years which had been appointed for the desolations of Jerusalem, but you will also find Daniel entering into a very unique and powerful place of prayer, fasting, repentance and intercession on behalf of his people. The ninth chapter contains a tremendous amount of language that is found in Daniel’s prayer of intercession and repentance for and on behalf of his people, as he was not only acutely aware of their transgression and iniquity before the LORD, but also the awesome and wonderful narrative that surrounds the appointment of seventy years for the desolation of Jerusalem. This discussion about the appointment of times and seasons would not only describe the appointment of times and seasons for kingdoms and empires, but there would also be times and seasons which would pertain to the house of Israel and the Jewish people. There is within this prophetic book a powerful narrative surrounding the times and seasons of kingdoms and empires which would emerge upon the earth, as well as the times and seasons which were appointed for the Jewish people in their captivity and exile—and not only in their captivity and exile, but also even after they were returned and restored unto their own land. What’s more, is that within the prophetic book of Daniel you almost get the sense that the times and seasons of the house of Israel and the Jewish people are intrinsically linked and connected to that which takes place in the earth, and you cannot truly understand world events and history without and apart from understanding the narrative and history of the Jewish people. With all of this in mind, I leave you with Daniel’s prayer of intercession and repentance before the LORD his God, which he would pray in the first year of Darius the Mede—perhaps even a prayer and words which he would pray three times a day when he would open the windows of his house toward Jerusalem and prayed unto the LORD his God:

And I set my face unto the LORD God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes: and I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O LORD, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments; we have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments: neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to tall the people of the land. O LORD, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee. O LORD, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee. To the LORD our God belong mercies and forgivenessness, though we have rebelled against him; neither have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him. And he hath confirmed his words, which he spake against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil: for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem. As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth. Therefore hath the LORD watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the LORD our God is righteous in all His works which He doeth: for we obeyed not his voice. And now, O LORD our God, that hast brought thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and hast gotten thee renown, as at this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly. O LORD, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us. Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the LORD’s sake, O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousness, but for thy great mercies. O LORD, hear; O LORD, forgive; O LORD, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: For thy city and thy people are called by thy name” (Daniel 9:4-19).

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