Daniel 022: The Limits of Evil

Dr. Andy Woods | May 14, 2017 | Daniel 7:7b-14 | Daniel

Andy Woods

The Limits of Evil

5-14-17     Daniel 7:7b-14        Lesson 22

Happy Mother’s Day everybody.   If you have a mother could you raise your hand for me.  See, motherhood is pretty important, isn’t it.  At this time we’re going dismiss our children for Jr. church and let me call your attention to the Book of Daniel, chapter 7 and verse 7.  The title of our message this morning is The Limits of Evil.  Sorry I don’t have a special Mother’s Day sermon for you today; it’s kind of hard to tie into Daniel 7 Mother’s Day, but we do want to commemorate Mother’s Day as a special day and I hope the mothers feel blessed and special today.  And as Ed mentioned even those that haven’t been able to have children, it’s Mother’s Day for you also because you can be the mother of spiritual children.  You know, Paul talks, does he not, about how Timothy is his what?  Son in the faith, so Mother’s Day I think we need to sort of broaden the category—physical daughters, spiritual daughters.  Mothers, of course, play a role physically and spiritually in the outworking of God’s purposes.

Daniel chapter 7 and verse 7, Daniel the prophet, of course, is a prophet that God raised up at a very special and strategic time in the history of the nation of Israel.  The nation of Israel during this time period is in a time of captivity, in a time of deportation and a time of bondage.  They find themselves outside of their land which they had been in for 800 years, 350 miles to the east of Israel in a place that we would call today modern day Iraq, or Babylon, Babylonia as it’s used in the Bible.  And God has taken His people and put them into this time of discipline which is to last about 70 years.  And you can think how upset they would be, being away from their comfort zone, away from their familiar surroundings, being away from what they knew.

And consequently God raises up Daniel to prophetically explain this time period.  He explains this time period in terms of prophecy.  He explains this time period also as we look at Daniel’s life regarding how to live for God on Satan’s turf.   And no doubt many of you are struggling with that, you find yourselves in places where your Christian worldview is no longer in the majority.  You know, even here in the United States it’s become largely that way.  How do we live for God under professors, under politicians, under bosses that really don’t get where  you’re coming from.  The Book of Daniel is a light for us in that sense, it functions as a light shining in a dark place.

Daniel 2-7, as we’ve tried to argue, is structured in a very interesting way; the information at the beginning of chapter 2, you get it again as you’re moving out of chapter 7.  The information in chapter 3 is repeated in chapter 6, just like the themes in chapter 4 are repeated in chapter 5.  And we find ourselves in chapter 7 and you say wait a minute, I’ve heard this before and you would be right; you’ve heard the same themes expressed in chapter 2.  It’s a time period that God gave to Daniel called the times of the Gentiles.  It’s a period of time when the nation of Israel is going to be trampled down by various pagan powers.  Daniel is given this time period because this is the time period that started with the Babylonian captivity and Daniel’s prophecies tell us that this time period is going to continue right on into the second advent of Jesus Christ.

So don’t expect the kingdom of God, as Daniel is given this vision, don’t expect the kingdom of God to materialize until after this time period is over.  This is instructive to us prophetically because we are still living in this very time period.  In fact, the greatest empire of terror that Daniel saw is still yet future on our horizon, the empire of the antichrist.  And this is where we start to get information about it, in chapter 7, really verses 7-14.  And that’s why I’ve entitled this message The Limits of Evil.  Sometimes we have a tendency to focus so aggressively on the dark side, on evil, on things that are wrong that we have a tendency to think that evil just will go on and on and on and on forever.

The reality of the situation, and I think this is one of the great distinctives of the Christian worldview is evil is finite.  Evil is bound.  There was a time period when evil didn’t even exit.  Did you know that?   You can read about that in Genesis 1 and 2.  There will be a time period when evil will not exist anymore and you can read about that in Revelation 21 and 22.  What’s normal is Genesis 1    and 2 and Revelation 21 and 22; that’s normal.  That’s how God created things.  What’s happening in the interim is abnormal.  And when we live like this, with this belief that there was a time in which evil didn’t exist and there will be a time in which evil will not exist, what does that give us in the present?  It gives us… it starts with an “h”— hope, that as bad as this world can get (and it can get very bad, and if I’m understanding my Bible correctly it’s going to get worse) but as bad as things can get that evil that expresses itself in this world will not last forever.  In fact, God has it all on a very short leash, because some of you recently have gone through very difficult times, job layoffs, difficulties within your family, deaths in the family, and it’s so tempting in the midst of those difficulties to become so discouraged because you think that what you see in front of you in terms    of heartaches and frustrations and setbacks is just going to go on and on and on and on and on.

And  yet the Bible says that’s not true.  The limitations of evil… there was a time in which evil didn’t exist and there will be a time in which evil will be no more.  You know, people that believe in reincarnation, that you just keep getting recycled back into life over and over again, have no real hope in the sense that the world that they’re living in just goes on and on and on and on and on and on.  The evolutionist has no real hope either because things over billions of years went from the goo to the zoo to you and they’re going to just keep on going on and on this way through this terrible process of the survival of the fittest and the weak being dominated by the strong.

And many people today are captured or captivated by a worldview which doesn’t describe evil.  And how different it is for the child of God to come to the pages of God’s Word, like Daniel 7, where we learn that evil gets a day in the sun but it’s very limited.  And how difficult it is to live life with hope, with optimism, without understanding these prophetic Scriptures.

A lot of pastors won’t preach prophecy; they won’t teach prophecy on the grounds that it’s too hard to understand, it causes too many divisions.  I for one am a big proponent of teaching prophecy because only by studying prophecy can you get a glimpse of  the limitations of evil and only by understanding the limitations of evil can you understand or begin to have hope in the present.

So with that spirit, with that attitude, we turn to Daniel 7.  We saw last week the historical setting of the book, verse 1, which indicated that Daniel saw these visions in 553 B.C.  That’s very important because Daniel is seeing these visions before they transpire.  In other words, these visions are describing events about historical circumstances narrated in advance.  Daniel is seeing history before it unfolds.  Daniel is in his mid-60’s at the time he receives this vision in chapter 7.  Chapter 7 and 8, the Babylonian Empire is in power.  A  man named Belshazzar, the last reigning king of Babylonia is in power.  And Daniel is essentially seeing the same thing that’s described in chapter 2, the other end of this chiastic structure, that Nebuchadnezzar saw.

Nebuchadnezzar saw this same period of time in the form of a dazzling attractive statue.  Daniel, of course, is seeing the exact same period of time through the revelation of four disgusting grotesque beasts.  It’s the same period of time but it’s history narrated from a different point of view.  Nebuchadnezzar sees it through man’s point of view; it’s a happy time because Nebuchadnezzar is one of the oppressors.  Daniel sees the exact same period of time from the divine point of view, the oppression that God’s people are going to go through during this difficult time.  And Daniel himself, as we will see at the end of this chapter, is troubled by what he sees, and yet he is reminded in this vision that yes, evil has its day; yes, evil does seem to get the upper hand but it’s on a very tight leash; God is going to bring history to a conclusion and restart the universe just as He intended back in Genesis 1 and 2.  And this time evil itself will be allowed no entrance.

The vision is given in verses 2-14, Daniel sees four beasts coming up out of the sea.  As we have studied the first beast is like a lion which represents the Babylonian Empire which is the first of the four empires to trample the nation down.  And then Daniel keeps looking and he sees the second beast, a bear, which represents the Persian empire which overthrew the Babylonian empire (in Daniel’s own lifetime) and Daniel sees that second empire trampling down the nation of Israel.

Then he sees a third beast in this vision, a leopard; the leopard (as we have studied) represents the Grecian Empire which would come to power long after Daniel left the scene.  That’s why the date is very significant back in chapter 7 and verse 1.  Daniel is seeing things before they transpire and he sees Greece overthrowing the Persian empire, and then he continues to look in this vision and he sees yet another empire, that would be the Roman empire, this ferocious beast, terrible beats overthrowing the Grecian Empire.  Keep in mind that Daniel is seeing these things, by the time you get to Rome, about five centuries in advance.

And then Daniel continues to look and he sees an empire beyond Rome that is  yet future, that is yet distant, even from our time period in the year 2017.  Notice what he says here in the second part of Daniel chapter 7 and verse 7.  He continues to describe Rome but he goes beyond Rome and He says it was different from all the beasts that were before it and it had ten horns.   [Daniel 7:7, “After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast—terrifying and fright­ening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns.”]

Many times the Holy Spirit will take events and the Holy Spirit will present those events in a back to back fashion but it will not, the Spirit will not reveal the time period between those events.  And you know this to be the case because this is on all your Christmas cards every year, Isaiah 9:6-7, which says, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;” now is that the first coming or the second coming of Christ?  That’s the first coming.  But then the next clause says, “And the government will rest on His shoulders;” verse  7 says “There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forever more….”

Now are those latter prophecies about the first coming of Christ or the second coming of Christ?  The second coming.  Well, what happened to the 2,000 years or more right there in the middle of verse 6; the Holy Spirit didn’t tell you about that, did He.  It’s the period of time that we call a gap, a prophetic gap.  You say what is God doing in these gaps?  He’s doing a lot and this is where we have to go into the New Testament and study God’s program for the church and reinsert His program for the church through the hindsight of history; history is 20/20 they tell us, right there in the middle of verse 6.

But you see, the Holy Spirit just jumped right on over 2000 years or more of history without explaining it to us and we wouldn’t know anything about it if we didn’t have the pages of the New Testament to consult.  And you see, that is what is happening here in Daniel 7, right in the middle of the verse, as Daniel is being given a description of ancient Rome he flashes forward to an empire that is coming, that is yet future even from our perspective, a revived Rome, an empire of the antichrist, an empire that will even be worse and more diabolical than Rome itself.  Rome was pretty bad, it was under Rome, of course, that our Lord Jesus Christ was crucified  And Daniel sees in these prophecies something worse on the horizon.

This chart here might help, it’s sort of like looking at two mountains in the distance. When you look at two mountains in the distance you see the larger mountain raised a little bit above the mountain that’s closer to you and all you can see are the two mountain peaks.  What you cannot see is the valley between the mountain peaks.  That’s what Daniel is seeing here.

This is why the Old Testament prophets, without the light of the New Testament, themselves,          1 Peter 1:10-11 tells us they were frustrated with their own prophecies.  I mean, put yourself in Isaiah’s shoes.  Isaiah gets one prophecy about a suffering Messiah; he gets another prophecy about a ruling and reigning Messiah and he’s saying to the Holy Spirit which is it?  Daniel, as we’re going to study in this book was frustrated with his own prophecies, he wanted to under­stand, yet at specific points in this book he is told to go his way; it’s not meant to be understood until a distant generation.  And we are the generation with a full canon of Scripture that can go back and put the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together in a way that Isaiah could not do; in a way that Ezekiel could not do, in a way that Daniel could not do because they did not see what was happening in that valley the way we can through the light of Paul’s letters and the New Testament.

So Daniel sees this distant vision of this horrific empire, it’s what Nebuchadnezzar saw back in Daniel 2.  Daniel saw it as a ferocious disgusting beast.  Nebuchadnezzar saw it as feet with ten toes which was a mixture of iron and clay.  And in fact, the ten toes in Daniel 2 correlate with the ten horns on this final beast that seems to be described there in the second part of Daniel 7:7.

What did Daniel see as he looked at this distant empire?  He saw that it was different from all the other beasts and he saw that it had ten horns.  The ten horns are going to be explained and defined for us later on in this chapter, but the ten horns would represent a ten king or a ten region confederacy that will cover the entire earth.  Daniel chapter 7 and verse 23 is very clear that this coming empire of the antichrist will cover all of planet earth. [Daniel 7:23, “Thus he said: ‘The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth, which will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it.’”]

It will be an imitation, if you will, a duplicate of God’s millennial kingdom which will replace the antichrist’s kingdom and this is what Daniel is seeing.  This becomes very instructive for us because this empire that I’m describing now, the empire of the antichrist, is still future from our point of view.   And we can see, can we not, how the world stage is being set up for the coming of this… for lack of a better expression, new world order.

It’s interesting today that politicians can’t even get through speeches without talking about the world, world politics, globalism, act  locally think globally.  I am reminded of the former Secretary of State, John Kerry, when he was dismissing a graduating class and he essentially said in his speech very recently to this graduating class, “you are graduating into a borderless world.”  In other words, in the mind of the elites, in the mind of the John Kerry’s and the movers and shakers the whole thing has already been set up; the only people that haven’t figured it out yet are Mr. and Mrs. America and most of the church hasn’t figured it out because most pastors would rather have their hind teeth pulled than say anything about God’s prophetic word, for fear that it’s going to scare people, for fear that it’s going to alienate people, for fear that it’s going to divide their church.

The reality of the situation is God has called us to teach these things because only understanding the progress of evil and its demise gives us, number 1, realism in the present world, and number 2, optimism in the midst of it.  How can you be optimistic about the future given the trajectory of the world without understanding the insight God has given us in prophecy where He reveals the end from the beginning and the beginning from the end.

It’s interesting that when you go into the book of Revelation, chapter 13 and verse 2 John, in the first century, A.D. is seeing the same thing that Daniel saw back in the 6th century B.C.  But notice the order is changed in John’s vision.  Revelation 13:2, it says, “And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority.”  Interesting how John in the first century, on the island of Patmos, sees the same thing; he sees a beast, a leopard, a bear and a lion but when Daniel saw the same thing in Daniel 7 Daniel saw the same animals but the order is the opposite, isn’t it.

[Daniel 7:4-6, “The first was like a lion and had the wings of an eagle. I kept looking until its wings were plucked, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man; a human mind also was given to it. [5] And behold, another beast, a second one, resembling a bear. And it was raised up on one side, and three ribs were in its mouth between its teeth; and thus they said to it, ‘Arise, devour much meat!’ [6] After this I kept looking, and behold, another one, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird; the beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it. [7] After this I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong; and it had large iron teeth. It devoured and crushed and trampled down the remainder with its feet; and it was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns.”

Daniel saw a lion first, then a bear, then a leopard, and then a beast.  John sees a beast and a leopard, a bear and a lion.  Why the difference in order?  Because when Daniel had his vision the first empire on his horizon was Babylon; the second empire on his horizon would be Medo-Persia.  The third empire on his horizon would be Greece.  The fourth empire on his horizon would be Rome and then finally a revived Rome, a new world order, and then the kingdom of God would come.  John, in the first century, is not looking forward but he’s looking backward.  So the first empire on John’s horizon chronologically would be Rome.  That was the empire that was in place when John wrote the book of Revelation.  The next empire that would be in place from his horizon chronologically would be the leopard, or Greece.  The third empire that would be in place would be the bear or Persia as he’s not looking forward but backward.  And the last empire that would be in place would be the lion or Babylon.

So both men, John and Daniel, are seeing the same period of time, seeing the same empires but from different chronological angles, just like Nebuchadnezzar saw this same period of time but to him he saw it from a different angle.  It appeared as a giant statue.  Daniel saw it as four ferocious disgusting beasts.  Isn’t it interesting the information that could be unearthed and revealed by simply paying attention to some of these prophetic facts.

But then Daniel continues to watch and he sees something called “the Ancient of Days.”  He sees in verses 9-12 the Father, God the Father, acting as judge at the end of the times of the Gentiles.  Daniel sees this whole period of time ultimately coming to an end.

[Daniel 7:9, I kept looking until thrones were set up, and the Ancient of Days took His seat; His vesture was like white snow and the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne was ablaze with flames, its wheels were a burning fire.  [10] “A river of fire was flowing and coming out from before Him; thousands upon thousands were attending Him, and myriads upon myriads were standing before Him; the court sat, and the books were opened.  [11] Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking; I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire. [12] As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time.”]

See, Daniel was not just given a glimpse of how bad things were going to be; they were going to get bad, and as your pastor I’m telling you based on the prophetic word things will continue to get bad until the kingdom of God comes.  But Daniel was also given hope, he was shown that evil is on a leash, evil is finite, evil is limited and whatever bad things can happen in the world they’re very short lived from the divine viewpoint. They will be replaced by the kingdom of God.  And so Daniel sees “the Ancient of Days”, that would be God the Father, acting as judge at the end of the times of the Gentiles.

Did you know that this life ends in judgment.  There is no escape from that.  Many people have this idea that we just kind of get recycled and we come back as a whatever and you just go through life in another form, being recycled from one existence to the next.  That basically comes from Eastern Mysticism.  May I tell you here beloved, that that is not what the Bible teaches at all.  It teaches that this life ends in judgment.  Acts 17:31 says this, “because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”   This life ends in judgment and that’s why it’s so important to understand where you, as a human being, are going to spend eternity.

Even the child of God faces a judgment of a sort.  Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:10 says, “For we must” in other words, it’s not optional, “all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”  Even your life as a Christian, although nothing can take away from your salvation, is going to go through an evaluation, not to determine heaven or hell but determine the rewards that you will receive above and beyond salvation itself.

What am I trying to get at?  I’m trying to get at the fact that God is watching; God is looking.  What is happening now is going to be evaluated; there is… we might put it this way, payday someday.  And this is what Daniel sees, both for the believer in terms of rewards and also the unbeliever.

But notice this Ancient of Days,  this father, we have his description, verses 9-10, his destruction of the fourth beast, verse 11, and his judgment on the other beasts, verse 12.  Notice if  you will chapter 7 and verses 9-10, “I kept looking” actually even before we get to verses 9-10, I think I may have skipped a verse, didn’t I?  I think  I skipped verse 8.  Verse 8 says, “While I was contemplating the horns, behold, another horn, a little one, came up among them, and three of the first horns were pulled out by the roots before it; and behold, this horn possessed eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth uttering great boasts.”

Before Daniel sees this Ancient of Days bringing judgment at the end of the times of the Gentiles he sees this empire of the antichrist, these ten horns, these ten kings, or ten regions which will control all of planet earth and he sees amongst them a different horn, a little horn.  This is a reference to the coming antichrist.  And somehow this man, the antichrist will come forward, three of the ten horns will rebel against him; seven will submit to his authority.  We get more of this description later on in Daniel 7.  And it goes on and it describes this antichrist, this little horn possessing eyes; he’s a human being.

A lot of people in… well, I believe in the spirit of the antichrist.  Well, so do I but the reality says yes, there is a spirit of the antichrist but that’s not to take away from the fact that there is a literal, real human being called the antichrist on the horizon.  That’s why I think so many people in the world today, you look at them and you say they would be a fantastic antichrist.  We’ve had a couple of recent Presidents here in the United States that almost look like they were auditioning for the role or the job.  Satan is not omniscient; he does not know when the church will be removed because you see, Paul says when the church is removed the restrainer is gone.  Once the restrainer is gone then the antichrist will come to power. Satan, being a created being, does not know when this is going to happen.   So he has always had somebody waiting in the wings, somebody ready to grasp power once the restraint is gone.

Yes, there is a spirit of the antichrist in the world but that is not to take away from the fact that there is a literal human being called the antichrist on the horizon.  Paul calls him the lawless one.  One of my favorite Bible teachers like to call this coming antichrist Mr. Big Mouth because when you study the prophecies of the coming antichrist what you will discover is that there is always an emphasis placed on what this man says.  You see it there in verse 8, having “a mouth uttering great boasts.”  [Daniel 7:8]

Revelation 13:5, describing this antichrist says, “There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him.”  There is such an emphasis on what the antichrist says.  I think of so many dictators that have been able to wow the masses through their oratorical pizazz and their oratorical skills. Even looking back on those old German tapes of what happened in Nazi Germany, how Adolf Hitler was able to enthrall people based on what he said.  How when Fidel Castro came to power in Cuba, how there are actual testimonies of Cuban women that fell in love with Castro’s communist revolution simply based on Castro’s oratorical skill.

And you say well, we could never allow someone to come to power in this country, could we?  With no resume at all, just totally based on what they say?  That can’t happen.  Let me ask you a question.  Who was, exactly, Bill Clinton before 1992 I think it was when he came to power.  No one even knew who he was.  You blink and the next thing this man is the leader of the free world.  I could say the same thing about Barak Obama, what exactly was his resume?  What were his accomplishments?  Now I realize he was a community organizer but I don’t even know what that means… community organizer?  He is elected and comes to power because of what people like in terms of his vocabulary and what he says.  I can’t tell you how many people I ran into during that time period that voted for him on this excuse: he sounded Presidential.

So we are living in a time period where God is showing us that these prophecies could very easily happen, people come to power all the time, not so much based on who they are, their character, or their accomplishments, or the way they appear, or how they sound.  And this is what Daniel is seeing here with this prophecy of the antichrist uttering great boasts.  But fortunately the prophecies of the antichrist are followed by the prophecies of the Ancient of Days and as I mentioned before indicate that the antichrist does have his day in the sun but it’s rapidly brought to an end.  We have the description of the Ancient of Days, the destruction of the beast, and then his judgment on the other beasts.

Notice, if  you will, verses 9-10, “I kept looking until thrones were set up, and the Ancient of Days took His seat; His vesture was like white snow and the hair of His head like pure wool.  His throne was ablaze with flames, its wheels were a burning fire.”  Verse 10, “A river of fire was flowing and coming out from before Him; thousands upon thousands were attending Him, and myriads upon myriads were standing before Him; the court sat, and the books were opened.”  A description of God the Father bringing an end to the empire of the antichrist.

There’s so many interesting things to talk about here in these verses.  Notice it doesn’t say in verse 9 throne; it says “thrones.”  You would think it would say “throne” given the fact that this is a description of the kingdom which is on the horizon.  God’s kingdom, it’s very interesting it doesn’t say “throne” singular, it says “thrones” plural.  Revelation 20:4 says the same thing, “Then I saw thrones,” plural, “and they” plural “that sat on them, and judgment was given to them….”  Down in chapter  7 and I believe it’s about verse 27, this is where we learn that the kingdom is going to be handed over to the saints.  [Daniel 7:27, “Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.”]

Why am I bringing this up?  I’m bringing this up for this simple fact: as a Christian, as one of God’s people, you need to understand something, that you are destined for authority.  You may not feel like it, you may not want the authority, you may not feel like  you deserve the authority, (and you don’t), but the reality is part of the grace package to you is God is going to give you a throne which you will exercise a governing role in the millennial kingdom.  This explains Paul’s frustration with the Corinthians who were suing each other.  Can you imagine that?  And discrediting the gospel in front of pagan judges.  Paul says, “Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the matters of this life?”  1 Corinthians 6:3.

You’re destined for authority, you’re destined for a throne, Paul says why don’t you act like it.  Why don’t you grow up and start living according to your identity in Jesus Christ?  Revelation 5:10 says, “You have made them” that’s us, the church, “to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will” what? “reign” that’s having authority “upon the earth.’”  What kind of authority are you going to wield?  That depends largely on the choices  you’re making now as a Christian.  You’re destined for the kingdom, you’re destined for authority; is it going to be ten cities to reign over or five?  The issue is God is preparing you now for that role through the trial that He has you in.  He’s preparing you now for that role based on the service project that you’re now involved in.  God is using this time period to prepare us for the authority that we will wield in this coming kingdom.  It certainly is a different way, is it not, of looking at the future.

Look at the end of verse 9, it says, “its wheels are a burning fire.”  [Daniel 7:9, “I kept looking until thrones were set up, And the Ancient of Days took His seat; His vesture was like white snow and the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne was ablaze with flames, Its wheels were a burning fire.”]

Did you know that God’s throne has wheels?  You say where does it teach that elsewhere?  Well, jot down Ezekiel 1:15-22 and Ezekiel makes another reference to the throne of God having wheels.  [Ezekiel 1:15-22, “Now as I looked at the living beings, behold, there was one wheel on the earth beside the living beings, for each of the four of them. [16] The appearance of the wheels and their workmanship was like sparkling beryl, and all four of them had the same form, their appearance and workmanship being as if one wheel were within another. [17] Whenever they moved, they moved in any of their four directions without turning as they moved. [18] As for their rims they were lofty and awesome, and the rims of all four of them were full of eyes round about. [19] Whenever the living beings moved, the wheels moved with them. And whenever the living beings rose from the earth, the wheels rose also. [20] Wherever the spirit was about to go, they would go in that direction. And the wheels rose close beside them; for the spirit of the living beings was in the wheels. [21] Whenever those went, these went; and whenever those stood still, these stood still. And whenever those rose from the earth, the wheels rose close beside them; for the spirit of the living beings was in the wheels. [22] Now over the heads of the living beings there was something like an expanse, like the awesome gleam of crystal, spread out over their heads”]

Do you know what’s so interesting about this is Ezekiel and Daniel were the only prophets that mention wheels on God’s throne and they are the only prophets that we have who received their visions outside of the land of Israel, 350 miles to the east.  These are our two exilic prophets, prophets who prophesied during the exile, they are the only two prophets that I know of that it indicates that God’s throne has wheels.  Why is that significant?  Because where God’s people go God’s throne goes.  The church is not a building, it’s the people of God, is it not?  So guess what?  Wherever you go who else goes?  God goes, His throne just wheels around depending on where His people are.  See, you might be in some circumstance in your health, some circumstance in your life, some circumstance in your finances, some circumstances in your employment where you think that somehow you are outside of the scope of God, the reign of God, the authority of God, the wheels on the throne indicate that where you go the throne goes.

This is why the book of Hebrews, chapter 13 and verse 5, God says I will never leave you nor will I forsake you.  [Hebrews 13:5, “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, ‘I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,’”]

You can’t get beyond, as a child of God, the reach and the grip of God.  Even in your sin itself God follows.  This is why Paul, to the Corinthians, when they were, for lack of a better expression, shacking up with Gentile pagan prostitutes, he says don’t you realize that when you do that you’re bringing the Holy Spirit with you into that.  If God follows me wherever I go that gives me hope in my present circumstances but it also tells me to be on my best behavior.  Whatever I am doing God is involved in.  As I’m preaching right now God is involved; if I drive home today and get in an argument with my wife on Mother’s Day which wouldn’t be a good thing to do, God gets involved with that.  Hope and holiness is what this idea of wheels on God’s throne represents.

You go down to verse 10 and it says, “… myriads upon myriads were standing before Him;” “Thousands upon thousands were attending Him,” this is a description of the innumerable angels.   [Daniel 7:10, “A river of fire was flowing And coming out from before Him; Thousands upon thousands were attending Him, And myriads upon myriads were standing before Him; The court sat, And the books were opened.”]

Revelation 5:11 says, “Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands,” how many angels are there?  I can’t number them.  This is why in the Bible the angels are called what?  Stars, they are analogized to stars.  Isn’t it interesting that throughout history man in his foolishness thought he could number the stars.  And yet with modern day scientific technology and innovations and the Hubble telescope what we have discovered is that we are just a mere spec in this universe.  The reality of the situation is there are so many stars out there they can’t be numbered.  This is why God calls the angels, many times, stars, just like the stars of heaven itself can’t be numbered, neither can the angels.

He goes on in verse 10, at the end of verse 10 and he says something very important, He says in this judgment “the books were opened.”  Now I read that and I say it should say “book” but it says “books.”  And when you cross reference that with the Book of Revelation, chapter 20 and verse 12, another description of the final judgment  it says this: “And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books” plural “were opened; and another book” singular “was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.”

You say well, what’s the bottom line?  Here’s the bottom line: if  your name is not in “the book” then you’re judged by the what? “the books.”  Well, how do you get your name in “the book”?  It’s called the book of life because I believe it’s a record of everyone who has trusted in Christ.  If you have trusted in Christ your name shows up in a singular book, the Lamb’s Book of Life, meaning that you and your sins are covered by the blood of the Lamb.  But woe to the person whose name is not found in that book because what are they left with?  The books, which is a record of their deeds.

I for one today rejoice, remember what Jesus said?  He said don’t rejoice in the fact that the demons submit to you; rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.  I for one today am rejoicing that I’m in “the book,” because you know what folks, I don’t know if I want to be judged by what’s in the books because throughout my life I’ve done some things that maybe good in the eyes of man but also I’ve done a lot of bad things and that’s the only thing I’m left with.  That’s the only criteria to be applied to me if my name is not in the book.

How do you get in the book?   You trust in what God has done in your place through the provision of Jesus Christ.  If that has never happened the only thing you’re left with is a horrific evaluation; an evaluation not only to determine your destiny in the Lake of Fire but the degree of torment that a person experiences in that Lake of Fire for all eternity, and that’s what “the books” (plural) are in reference to.  Fascinating description of this Ancient of Days, now we see how the Ancient of Days overthrows the boastful little horn, the antichrist.

Look at  you will at verse 11, “Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking; I kept looking until the beast” that would be the antichrist with this little horn “was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire.”  This is the second reference we’ve run into in these short verses to Mr. Big Mouth, the oratory, the words, coming from the antichrist’s mouth.

Do you know God keeps a record of words?  Matthew 12:34, Jesus said, “You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.”  Why does God keep a record of words?  Because words are a revelation of what’s inside of somebody, in their heart, in their character.  Read the Book of James, chapter 3, you’ll see this very clearly.  What comes out of someone’s mouth is indicative of what’s happening in their heart.

Can I ask you a question?  If praise for God coming out of your mouth?  Is thankfulness and gratitude coming out of your mouth?  Then praise the Lord, that’s what’s in your heart.  But is gossip, derision, venom, anger, judgmentalness, anxiety, are those things constantly pouring out of your mouth?  Then that’s a window, and a warning of what is happening in your heart.  And Jesus says, “But I tell you that every,” not some, “every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.”  [Matthew 12:36]  I am so glad I am not going to be in that judgment.  I am so glad that my name is in the book of life where I’m not evaluated by the books and the words that I have spoken throughout the course of my existence.  Some of those words were holy, some of them were quite depraved.  And thus I rejoice, as Jesus told me to, that my name is in “the book”, not that the demons are in submission to me but that my name is in “the book” and I’m not evaluated by what’s in the books.

He continues on here in verse 11 and it says that this beast is going to be thrown into a place of “burning fire.”  Revelation 19:20 says, “…the beast was slain, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two [“were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone”], that’s the beast or the little horn or the anti-Christ and his henchmen if I can put it that way, the false prophet who we don’t know about from Daniel but we learn about from the book of Revelation, both of them re the first entrants or occupants into the lake of fire.

The devil is not immediately thrown into the lake of fire we learn from Revelation 20; he is placed in an area called the abyss throughout the thousand year kingdom because God has one final purpose for Satan, to stir up a rebellion to test what’s in men’s hearts at the end of the millennial kingdom.  Notice how God keeps the devil around long enough to fulfill God’s purposes and then once Satan’s purposes have lived their purpose God quickly does away with Satan himself.  Revelation 20:10 says, “And the devil who deceived them” this is after the thousand years, “was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet” they were thrown in a thousand years earlier, “where the beast and the false prophet are [also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.]”  Do you see that?  Not where the beast and the false prophet used to be, they’re still in there a thousand years later.

Why is that significant? Because there’s a lot of people telling you today that hell isn’t forever.  It’s called the doctrine of annihilationism, and in fact when… not if but when the Jehovah’s Witnesses come to your door and you get into this subject they will try to convince you of annihilation, that you don’t simply go into an eternal hell, but you explode and you disappear.  And how sad it is to see members of the Evangelical Theological Society, Clark Pinnock being one, moving into a Jehovah’s Witness doctrine of annihilationism.  Emotionally I would love to believe in annihilationism.  The issue, though, is not what my emotions say, it’s what does the Bible teach.  I am not at liberty to rewrite the Bible, regardless of how comfortable or uncomfortable  a particular doctrine makes me feel.  The devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are; a thousand years later they’re still in there.

You say well, pastor, you’re just trying to scare us.  Listen, there’s something to be scared of.  If we didn’t have this doctrine of eternal retribution, which is a reality in the Scripture, we would have no incentive to share the gospel with the lost.  What’s the point of translating the Bible into some foreign dialect and learning the cultures and customs of another nation to get the gospel to people if there isn’t something to be feared?  Something to be afraid of?  At some point we need to start talking about the other side of the good news or else the good news really isn’t what?  Good news.

Notice how the Scripture predicts the rise of the antichrist and then it also predicts his demise, the limitations on evil, the fact that evil has limits on it.  This is the description of the stone that Nebuchadnezzar saw, cut without human hands, that shatters the ten toes, the ten kingdom confederacy of the antichrist and then it grows and grows and grows until it fills the whole earth.

But notice verse 12, the Ancient of Days it not just sitting in judgment on the antichrist, he’s sitting in judgment on the empire orchestrated by the antichrist and in the process he says something very interesting in verse 1.  “As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time.”  As each empire comes to an end it really doesn’t come to an end, it continues into the next empire.

So Medo-Persia conquered Babylon and in the process they swallowed up the Babylonian culture.  We have studied how the Persians did not annihilate and destroy everything that they found in Babylon. What does that mean?  It means when the Persians came to power the spirit of Babylon continued to live in Persia.  See that?  Then Greece conquered Medo-Persia and in the process swallowed up the Medo-Persian culture, which had swallowed up the Babylonian culture.  And then Rome would come to power and would conquer Greece and swallow up the Grecian culture which had swallowed up the Medo-Persian culture which had swallowed up the Babylonian culture.  So even though Rome was in power Greece, Persia, and Babylon continued to live.

This is why any historian will tell you that Rome conquered Greece politically but Greece conquered Rome culturally.  Why is it that in Rome that the Greek gods and goddesses continued on?  Why is it that in Rome that the Greek language continued on?  Because of what is being said here in chapter, verse 12, “As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time.”  This is why John, in the first century, and he looks back on the whole thing, sees all four beasts.  He says,  “And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority.”  John sees the final empire of the antichrist and he says it’s an amalgamation and it’s a combination of all of them, Babylon, Greece, Persia and Rome because even though those empires were conquered politically they continued to live culturally.

And then we come to the very end of this vision, verses 13-14 and we have a description now of the Son of Man.  Notice, if you will, Daniel 7:13, Daniel writes, “I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven and One like a Son of Man was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him.”  Now we have this figure called the “Son of Man” being presented to the Ancient of Days at the end time judgment when these empires are brought to an end, which is a description of God the Son, Jesus Christ, being presented to God the Father.  I believe that what you’re seeing there in verse 13 is a description of two members of the Trinity.

Verse 14 goes on and it says, “And He” that’s the son of man, “was given dominion, glory and a” what? “kingdom, that all the people, nations and men of every language might serve Him.  His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.”  What does Daniel see at the end of this parade of horribles?  He sees a manifestation of the kingdom of God on the earth.  He sees that kingdom being orchestrated by the Son of Man.  Who is the Son of Man?  It’s the title that Jesus claims for Himself; doesn’t He, many times in the Gospels.

You know, there are people today that will tell you that Jesus never claimed to be God?  In Mark 14:61-64 it says this: But He kept silent and did not answer. Again the high priest was questioning Him, and saying to Him, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” in other words, are you He?  [62] “And Jesus said, “I am; and you shall see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING WITH THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN.”’  He just quoted the Bible there to His Jewish accusers.  Do you know what He’s quoting?  Daniel 7, right what we’re studying.  Let me tell you something folks, they knew exactly what He said. Because Mark 14:63, it says this, “Tearing his clothes, the high priest said, ‘What further need do we have of witnesses? [64] You have heard the blasphemy; how does it seem to you?’ And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death.”

Jesus there just committed the sin of blasphemy in their minds because He took a Messianic title and applied it to Himself.  This idea that Jesus never claimed to be God, never claimed to be the Messiah, I wonder what Bible people are reading when they say things like that.  If they’re reading the Bible at all?

And what Daniel sees is the manifestation of the kingdom of God; it’s what God always wanted to do, to rule through a man, Adam, and that man and woman would govern creation for God.  But that plan was thwarted in Genesis 3 and now God’s great plan comes to its fruition where He finally, God the Father, rules through a man, God the Son, the last Adam, Jesus Christ who along with His wife… who would His wife be?  The church, that’s why we said earlier that you, as the bride of Christ, are destined for a throne, just like Adam and Eve governed the world for God on God the Father’s behalf, God the Son and His bride that is now His wife, which would be you, which would be me, Jesus Christ will rule and reign this world under His delegated authority for a thousand years.  This is where human history is headed.

This is what we’re to be praying for.  Didn’t Jesus teach us to pray, Matthew 16:10, “Thy kingdom” what? “come,” are you praying for this time period in history?  I’m praying for it because it’s the only time in history where evil will be done away with.  Until that time evil has the upper hand.

You’ll notice that this kingdom which is coming is going to subdue all peoples, nations and men of every language.  In other words, it’s going to be worldwide.  It’ll be the real deal compared to the antichrist’s cheap imitation.  The antichrist today is setting up his new world order which will be short-lived and it will be replaced by the ultimate new world order, the kingdom of God, which quite frankly is the only new world order I want to be a part of.

You say well, is this kingdom literal?  Let me ask you a question: all the other empires in this vision, were they literal?  Was Babylon a literal empire that governed for a literal period of time over a literal land with an actual capital?  Absolutely.  Same with Persia, same with Greece, same with Rome, same with the empire of the antichrist which is yet future.  So why wouldn’t God’s kingdom be the same way?  Why wouldn’t it be over a literal period of time, a thousand years, having its capital where?  Jerusalem.  Isaiah  2:2-3, Zechariah 14:16-18, and over an actual piece of real estate that will be the center piece of that worldwide kingdom, the land of Israel, an area from the River of Egypt all the way to the Euphrates.

[Isaiah 2:2-3, “Now it will come about that In the last days The mountain of the house of the LORD Will be established as the chief of the mountains, And will be raised above the hills; And all the nations will stream to it.  [3] And many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; That He may teach us concerning His ways And that we may walk in His paths.” For the law will go forth from Zion And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.”  Zechariah 14:16-18, “Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths.  [17] And it will be that whichever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, there will be no rain on them.  [18] If the family of Egypt does not go up or enter, then no rain will fall on them; it will be the plague with which the LORD smites the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths.”]

You say well, it says here that it’s going to last forever.  I thought you just told us that it’s going to last a thousand years.  So is it a thousand years or forever?  And the answer is yes, because the thousand  year kingdom will be done away with and replaced by the eternal state.  Revelation 21:22.  [Revelation 21:22, “I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.”]  In other words, the Son’s kingdom will be done away with and replaced by the Father’s kingdom which will know no end.  That’s where evil is completely done away with; nothing wicked or impure can even enter, you see.  There’s reason to be hopeful and optimistic in the midst of despair and the empire of the antichrist today being set up right before our very eyes.

One other fast thing: don’t waste your time, beloved, trying to set up the kingdom of God today.  I can’t tell you how many Christian leaders are out there trying to set up God’s kingdom.  One of the most popular, Rick Warren, he says he’ll do whatever it takes to establish God’s kingdom on the earth.

Think about this for a minute.  If the next kingdom on the horizon is the antichrist’s kingdom, and the focus of your Christian life is trying to set up the kingdom of God on the earth, who actually are you working for?  The antichrist, without even realizing it.  All of these Christian leaders talk about we’re going to bring in the kingdom, we’re doing kingdom work, we’re going to set up the kingdom of God, they are actually unwittingly setting up the wrong kingdom.  That’s why this subject of the kingdom is such a big deal because it tells you what your priority should be in the present.  I’m not setting up a kingdom, Jesus is going to do that at the end of the antichrist’s reign.  What I’m trying to do is win citizens for that coming kingdom.  I’m trying to reach and I’m trying to teach; I’m not trying to bring in kingdom conditions.  The church is never tasked with that responsibility.

I like what Hal Lindsay says, “The last days of the church on the earth may be largely wasted seeking to accomplish a task that only the LORD Himself can and will do directly.” [The Road to Holocaust,  269]  Amen to that.  All of our human efforts will not bring the kingdom of God to this earth; that has a particular time frame and a time schedule that we are to pray for.

Here’s what we can do: preach the gospel.  Hold out Jesus Christ as the crucified and risen Savior.  Invite people to trust in that provision so that they can be citizens of the kingdom when it comes on God’s timing and arrives.  Big question: where is your citizenship today?  Stock market?  Retirement account?  I got news for you, your 401K is probably about a 201K now.  Hope for the world to get better?

The reality of the situation, folks, is we’re dying.  I’m dying, you’re dying.  The world is falling apart at the seams.  The United States of America that I grew up with is gone.  I don’t want to face it but it’s a reality.  My hope is not in bolstering the United States of America.   It’s too late in the game.  Yes, be politically active.  Yes, vote.  Yes, try to hold back the hand of evil in way limited way you can.  But the bottom line is this is a downward trajectory.  The new world order is on the horizon.  Rather than be hopeless and despairing recognize two things: number 1, the new world order will be limited, it will be replaced by the eternal kingdom of God.  And number 2, recognize that you can reach out and pull people out as a drowning person being saved by presenting to them the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is Jesus Christ entered our world, paid the penalty for our sins, past, present and future. He rose bodily from the dead.  In so doing He proved exactly who He was and by a simple act of faith or trust in what He has done, not what we do for ourselves, you’re saved. If that’s never happened to you, as the Holy Spirit places you under conviction, our exhortation to you is to trust in Jesus Christ.  That’s your only hope; that’s the only hope for this planet; it’s the only hope for this world.  And as you do so your citizenship changes in a nanosecond from the failing systems of man to the glorious inheritance and the coming kingdom of Christ which is on the horizon.

If  you’ve never trusted in Christ you can trust in Christ right now as I’m speaking.  You don’t have to raise a hand to do it, walk an aisle to do it, join a church to do it, give money to do it, it’s a matter of privacy between you and the Lord where you trust in His provision alone as the Spirit places you under conviction.  If it’s something that you need more information on I’m available after the service to talk.

Shall we pray?  Father, we are grateful for this passage, a difficult passage to look at on a festive day like Mother’s Day but we’re grateful for the reminder that it gives us of the limitations of evil, the finitudes of evil, and where our real hope for the future ultimately should lie.  We thank You for this.  I pray You will continue to give us this mind and insight as we move through this prophetic book.  We ask all of these things in Jesus’ name, and God’s people said… Amen.