Daniel 026: World Governments on the Horizon (Part 3)

Daniel 026: World Governments on the Horizon (Part 3)
Daniel 7:26-28 • Dr. Andy Woods • June 18, 2017 • Daniel


Andy Woods

World Governments on the Horizon, Part 3

6-18-17      Daniel 7:26-28           Lesson 26

Good morning everybody; happy Father’s Day.  In fact, if you’ve ever had a father in your life raise your hand.  [Laughter]  Some people didn’t raise their hand, I think there was only one virgin birth, last time I checked.  Of course, fatherhood is very important and it’s interesting to me that Paul referred to Timothy as his son in the faith.  [1 Timothy 1:2, “To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.”] So there’s biological fatherhood, fatherhood in the home and there’s also apparently spiritual fatherhood as we get the privilege of being mentored by people and mentoring others.  So we sort of like to open it up and make it a celebration today for all of the above, so thank you for allowing God to use you in that area.

If we could take our Bibles and open them to the book of Daniel, Daniel 7:26.   You say, Andy what are you going to give yourself for Father’s Day?  Here’s the present I’m going to give myself—I’m going to finish Daniel 7 today.   [Someone says Amen]   So therefore I’m skipping my introduction which takes three-quarters of the sermon time anyway.  So if you want the introduction just go back into the archives and listen to last week and all the weeks really.

Daniel 7:26.  The title of our message this morning is World Governments On the Horizon, Part 3.  Daniel, in his mid-60’s was touched by the Spirit of God and he was shown a vision of world events that essentially started from his day and goes all the way to the second coming.  And as we have seen part of that vision involves seeing things that probably he didn’t want to see.  In fact, we’re told at the conclusion of this chapter, as we’ll get to it today, God willing, that he was troubled by what he saw.  And part of his anxiety, part of his emotional fear, irritability, whatever word you want to use to describe this vision that he saw related to the final form of government that would exist on the earth prior to the return of Jesus Christ, which is the empire of the antichrist.  Daniel sees that part of the vision in great detail and he actually asks the angel for more interpretation concerning it.  And so many, many details have been given, as we have been studying, about this    new world order, this world government of the future, this creation of man that will exist on the earth just before the return of Jesus Christ at the end of this seven  year tribulation period.  This is what Daniel is seeing and this is what is being interpreted for him.

And I for one am so thrilled that the vision doesn’t just stop with the empire of the antichrist.  It ends with the reign of Jesus Christ on the earth, which is going to be a lot longer (eternity) and a lot better.  It will be a reign which doesn’t bring humanity into slavery the way the antichrist’s will but into its full liberation into what God originally intended for the human race prior to the fall in the Garden of Eden.

And if you’re traveling through life without this perspective and without this point of view think how difficult life is for such a person.  They don’t have the lens of hope for the future; the only thing they can see is their own circumstances which can be good one day and bad the next.  They don’t see their struggles that they’re in as lights and momentary, as Paul explains to the Corinthians, but they see them as perpetual and dragging on and on and on and on because they don’t have the light of the Word of God.  This is why people get very desperate when things don’t go well.  This is why the alcohol abuse rate is what it is, the substance abuse rate is what it is, the suicide rate is what it is.  People, to a large extent, run out of hope.  And when you become a student of the prophetic Word you realize that life in the here and now, in the nasty now and now, can get very difficult.  But at the same time it’s just a moment, it’s just mist as James tells us that appears for a little while and then it’s gone.  And you only begin to have that perspective by studying passages like the one that we are in here.

Notice if you will verse 26, what happens after the empire of the antichrist runs its course.  Verse 26, it says, “But the court will sit for judgment, and his dominion” that would be the dominion of the antichrist, “his dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever.”  Evil seems like it’s getting the upper hand; evil seems like it’s getting its way.  Evil seems to be dominating, in fact evil during this time period is so strong that the antichrist, called the little horn is literally described as wearing down the saints.  And yet how refreshing it is to note that God has everything under a tight leash.  Judgment is coming!  Payday someday!  If you didn’t have the light of God’s Word and you see injustice around you it’s tempting to think that these people are getting away with something but through the lens of the prophetic Scripture you discover that people aren’t getting away with anything.  They’re just self-deceived into thinking they’re getting away with something when in reality they’re not.

It talks very clearly here in verse 26 about the little horn being destroyed.  Daniel, of course, is not the only prophet that brings this to our attention.  Paul, the apostle, in 2 Thessalonians 2:8 says, “Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming.”  Revelation 19:20 says, “And the beast was seized, 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” that’s the antichrist and his assistant “were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone.”  Daniel 9:27, towards the end of the verse, says, “…even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”

How important it is to understand that the antichrist, the epitome of evil itself, the one that causes so much trouble upon the earth, is himself aggressively dealt with by Jesus Christ, not Jesus Christ the Lamb, but Jesus Christ the Lion.  The reality of the situation is you’re going to meet Jesus either one of two ways: you’re going to meet Him as  your Savior or you’re going to meet Him as your judge.  The meeting time or point in time is not something that’s negotiable; the only question is how would you rather meet Him?  Would you rather meet Him as  your Savior now, bowing your knee to Him, or would you rather meet Him in stiffened pride against Him through violent judgment.  The antichrist has decided for the latter and he gets violently and aggressively over-thrown by Jesus Christ at the end of this tribulation period.

I don’t know if you caught this in verse 26; did you see this word “destroyed forever”?  At the very of the verse it says, “annihilated and destroyed forever.”  The bottom line is the wrath of God for the unbeliever is something that never ends.  Revelation 20:10 says this: “And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet” parenthesis, who had been thrown into the like of fire a thousand years earlier, “where the beast and the false prophet are also;” they’re still in there a thousand years later, they didn’t disappear, they didn’t get annihilated, “and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”

Revelation 14:11 puts it this way, “And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”

One of the things that I find very disturbing today is the number of so-called conservative evangelical scholars becoming soft on the doctrine of eternal retribution.  If you want my personal opinion on it, which really doesn’t matter because who cares what I think, I’ve never been comfortable with the idea of eternal retribution.  As a young Christian I spent a certain amount of time trying to engage in linguistic gimmicks trying to get the doctrine to disappear.  The reality of the situation is you can’t explain the doctrine away any more than you could explain away the Atlantic Ocean, or the Pacific Ocean, or the sun and the moon and the stars.  God really never asked my opinion about whether I’m comfortable with it; He’s telling me there’s something to be afraid of.  There is an eternal ramification or consequence associated with rejecting Jesus Christ.

One of the things that you will do if you tamper with the doctrine of eternal retribution is  you will throw immediately a wet blanket over evangelism and missions work.  The urgency is removed.  What’s the incentive to translate the Bible and get it out to people in other dialects?  What’s the incentive to invest your life to go to another culture to share Jesus Christ.  What’s the incentive to reach out to your friends and your family members and your loved ones and  your co-workers if hell is not really hell, if it’s really something bad that can happen to you which really isn’t that bad.

The reality of the situation is we need to be conversant with the other side of the good news.  If a person has never received the good news of Jesus Christ the only thing that awaits in their future is bad news.  We talk about being saved all of the time—being saved from what exactly?  The eternal ramification and consequences of my sin and sins vented upon me by a Holy God and His wrath for all eternity.  That’s why I’m saved; that’s what I’m saved from.  This is why we call the gospel the “good news.”  This is why the vision is so open here and transparent concerning the eternal retribution that the antichrist will experience.

Evil will rise; evil will have its day in the sun, evil will have its heyday but the Bible is very clear that it’s short lived.  And incurring the wrath of a Holy God throughout all eternity is such an awful consequence to experience and it’s so not worth the weight in terms of the scales of balance for a few moments of rebellion and disobedience and unbelief against the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ.  How critical it is for a person to answer correctly or to have the right information for what I would say is life’s most important question.

What is the most important question, given what I have said, that a person can ever ask in this life?  It’s the question asked by the Philippians jailor in Acts 16:30, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved.”  Can you think of a more important question than that?  I can’t because how that question is answered; how that information is explained has an eternal consequence and ramification.  And of course the answer is so simple.  Paul and Silas answering that inquiry, “They said, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.’”  [Acts 16:31]  Trusting in what Jesus has done for a person saves a soul.  But what if they don’t trust?  What if they die in unbelief?  As the author of Hebrews says, “It is indeed a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”   [Hebrews 10:31]   And these are the types of things that we’re seeing here in these verses.

As we continue on in verse 27 we read these words:  “‘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.’”  Notice this first clause here, verse 27, “Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven,” I believe that what this is speaking of here is the millennial kingdom, the thousand year reign of Jesus Christ.  Revelation 11:15 points to this as the high point of the human race and the outworking of God’s purposes.  It says, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”

I believe that this is the theme of the Book of Revelation.  I believe that is the theme of the Book of Daniel.  I believe that this is the theme, really of the entire world, that this world that we’re in under Satan’s domain, under Satan’s territory, is living on borrowed time.  The reality of the situation is Satan is soon to be dethroned and replaced by the glorious kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.  It’s what Nebuchadnezzar saw in Daniel 2 as this stone cut without human hands, destroying the ten toes or the ten region kingdom of the antichrist’s in an instant.  And this stone growing and growing and growing until it filled the whole earth.  It’s what human history is pointed towards.  That’s why Jesus stepped out of eternity into time to pay the penalty for our sins that we could never pay and to rise from the dead, so that we, by simply trusting in what He has done can be a citizen or a member of this coming kingdom.

If my count is accurate I see this in Daniel 7, it’s kingdom number six.  You say well how do you get six kingdoms here?  Well, first there was Babylon, as we’ve studied.  Babylon would be followed by Medo-Persia, I’ve got the dates for each of those kingdoms, and will come Greece, Greece would be followed by Rome.  [Babylon (7:4) 605-539 BC, Media-Persia (7:5) 539-331 BC, Greece (7:6) 331-63 BC, Rome I (7:7a) 63 BC – 70 AD, Rome II (7:7b-8) Tribulation, Kingdom (7:9-14) After 2nd Coming.]  Rome, of course, is the empire that crucified our Lord.  And then Daniel in his vision begins to see things that go beyond ancient Rome, things that have never happened, things that cannot be correlated with past history.  He sees a final empire covering the entire planet, a ten-region, a ten king confederacy reigning, wearing down the saints, and then finally being instantaneously overthrown.  He’s seeing the empire of the antichrist, an empire that’s being constructed now, as I speak, sometimes called The New World Order, a one-world system of economics, politics and religion that excludes God, the same type of system that Nimrod was building in Shinar all the way back in Genesis 11 at the tower of Babel that God disrupted.

Some way, somehow in the allowance of God, in the sovereignty of God, in the providence of God, Nimrod’s dream will become a reality; the kingdom that Satan was seeking to build all the way back in Genesis 11 will reach its fulfillment.  This is what Daniel is seeing here at the end of that time period. That would be kingdom number five, to be replaced by the kingdom that we’re focused on here, the reigning kingdom of Jesus Christ.  In an instant that kingdom that I’ve described as the new world order is overthrown and replaced by Christ’s kingdom.

Well, what’s going to happen during this kingdom of Christ?  A lot of things.  One of the things that’s going to happen is you, as a resurrected person at the rapture, returning with Jesus Christ at the end of the tribulation period, are going to be ruling and reigning with Jesus Christ under His delegated authority.  Revelation 5:10 indicates this when it says, “You have made them to be a kingdom of priests and to our God and they will reign upon the earth.”  That’s your destiny as a Christian.

Here’s a heavenly program to be sure for seven years following the rapture but that’s not where the bulk of our time is spent; it’s ruling and reigning with Christ on the earth.  Not because He needs us but because He wants to use us under delegated authority.  And let me tell you something; what is Jesus doing in your life right now?  Why are you in the struggle that you’re in?  Why are you in the problem that you are in?  Why did this job layoff happen?  And this relationship dissolve?  And this health scare take over?  It’s training ground.  What the Lord is doing right now in your life, what He’s doing right now in my life is training  you and preparing you for the kingdom rule and authority that you will wield in this coming kingdom.

This is Paul’s frustration with the Corinthians who couldn’t get along with each other.  I’m glad that doesn’t happen today in churches.  Paul says, “Do you now know that we will judge the angels?  How much more the matters of this life””  [1 Corinthians 6:3]  Paul reasons from the greater to the lesser as he is trying to navigate the Corinthians through their little problems that they think are so big.  Do you not understand your destiny?  Do you not understand your authority?  Do you not understand your future?  Can’t you work out your minor differences given the fact that you are going to reign under the delegated authority of Jesus Christ on planet earth?   You’re living, Paul says to the Corinthians, outside of who you are, outside of your calling.

And beyond that God is going to be absolutely 100% faithful to the nation of Israel during this thousand year kingdom.  In fact, that’s one of its purposes, this kingdom, where God is going to literally physically fulfill everything that He ever promised to the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob beginning with the Abrahamic Covenant, Genesis 15, and flushing it out throughout the Old Testament and New Testament in what’s called the Land Covenant, the Davidic Covenant and the New Covenant.  Every iota of that covenant language is true and literal and the thousand year kingdom is this time period when these prophecies that God has never forgotten about, because God can’t lie, will become an absolute 100% reality on planet earth.  This is the very thing that Daniel is seeing.

We continue on in verse 27 and he says the kingdom at that time will be given to who? The saints of the most High.  [“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.” Daniel 7:27]   He wants us to understand that it’s not just His kingdom, it is that, but it’s our as well, by way of ownership, because we are going to be sharing in the rule of Christ as He allows it, under His delegated authority.  Luke 19 says one man is given five cities, one man is given ten cities, well, wait a minute, I thought it was all supposed to be fair.  Why doesn’t God parcel out everything equally?  Become some saints cooperate with Christ, in this training ground called life, and some don’t.  Some walk with God through the valleys of life and the difficulties of life and what happens is their faith in God grows through the experience; their character develops.  Other people, when they’re put in any type of problem they shut God off, they accuse God of being unloving, and they refuse to grow in the midst of valleys and adversities.

Let me just make you aware of something; it’s a trite expression but it bears repetition: your trials are going to do one of two things to you—they’re going to make you bitter or they’re going to make you better.  Why not allow adversity in your life, that you never asked for and you don’t really have a lot of control over anyway, be seen as a tool of the Holy Spirit to mold and shape you in preparation for your future role rather than shutting God off, becoming angry at God, closing God off, becoming prayer-less and not growing through the process?  It’s a completely different way of looking at adversities—better or bitter?  What’s it doing in  your life, these adversities that you’re in, that I’m in, that we’re all in.  And Daniel wants us to understand that this kingdom is going to be given, consequently to the saints.

He goes on here in verse 27 and he begins to talk about the length of the kingdom.  “His kingdom” it says there in verse 27, “will be” what? “an everlasting kingdom,” a kingdom without end.  And you say well, wait a minute, is the kingdom a thousand years or does it last forever?  And the answer is yes.  Yes it lasts for a thousand years but the earth is dissolved at the end of the thousand year kingdom, Revelation 21:1 talks about it; 2 Peter 3:7 talks about it; 2 Peter 3:10 talks about it, the earth is going to be destroyed by fire.  The Bible is very clear on this.  [Revelation 21:1, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.”  2 Peter 3:7, “But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.”  2 Peter 3:10, “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.”]

You say well, Andy, you don’t believe in global warming do you?  I believe what the Bible says, that this earth is going to be destroyed by fire.  You say well, you don’t believe in the Big Bang Theory do you?  Yes I do, I just believe the Big Bang is at the end rather than the beginning.  You know, the poor evolutionists who never looks at the Bible has got the whole thing backwards.  They think it’s at the beginning and everything is cooling off or whatever it’s doing and the reality of the situation is this earth is going to be destroyed by fire and replaced with the new heavens and new earth, Revelation 21 and 22, and we will reign with Christ for how long?  Forever and ever.  Daniel is seeing an eternal kingdom that’s on the horizon. And if this kingdom that is coming, that you as a Christian are a citizen of, is true, and it is true, would that not shape or change the way you live now?  Why live for the fleeting and passing pleasures of this world when you could be living for something that will last.

2 Corinthians 4:18 puts it this way:  “while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”  What are do you looking at?  What were you looking at this last week, this weekend, this morning?  The stock market, the 401K plan which might be a 201K plan by now, the economy, interest rates, the price of gold, the new house, the new car, the immaculate lawn, whatever it is, is the very thing that’s seen, that we focus on, and yet the Bible says don’t focus on that, it’s a mirage. Everything that glitters is not gold; it’s going to be replaced by something far better.

It’s like the movie Titanic, when the ship is going down there’s a scene there where they’re playing instruments, they’re rearranging the deck chairs, and you look at that and you say how foolish that is, the ship is going down, get yourself off, get other people off.  And yet I would submit to you that most of our lives are spent like those people playing the musical instruments and rearranging the deck chairs as the ship is sinking because we are so invested in things that really aren’t going to matter when it burns.  The reality of the situation, folks, is there’s only two things that’s going to make it from this life into the next: the first is the Word of God, the prophet Isaiah tells us that “The grass withers, the flower fades, yet the Word of God stands forever.”  [Isaiah 40:8]

What kind of relationship do you have with this Book?  I mean, is this a Book that sits on your coffee table and is a nice household ornament, a decoration, something you use to hold down your office papers?  Or is this Book something that feeds your soul on a daily basis?  Is this Book something that you give honor to and acquiescence to one time a week or are  you, as Jesus taught, living by the Word of God.  “Man shall not live by bread alone,” Jesus says, “but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”  [Matthew 4:4]

How important is the Bible to you relative to the sports page, The Drudge Report, that one hurts because I like The Drudge Report, the internet, social media, casual conversation, bestselling authors.  I mean, how important is this book relative to those things?  And then beyond this book the only thing that’s going to last is the souls of people.  Why is that?  Because the Book of Ecclesiastes tells us that God has set eternity into the hearts of men.  [Ecclesiastes 3:11, “He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.”]  People may not matter to us, people to a large extent can be an irritation to us but people matter to God.  The guy that’s living under a bridge that hasn’t shaved or bathed in two or three months, with alcohol all over his breath matters to God.  He doesn’t matter to society, he doesn’t matter to most of Christianity, but he matters to God because God has set eternity into the heart of that individual that bears God’s image.

These kids, we saw them on the video, coming in here Monday through Friday, which was sort of a great tribulation in and of itself, [laughter] these kids matter to God.  That’s why we can get down on the carpet, get down on the floor, play games with them, sing songs at their level, get them engaged, because kids matter, people matter, the unborn matter, the elderly matter, the rich and powerful matter, those that are poor and live in anonymity matter.  And how are you invested into those two things?

You know, today everybody is talking about safe investments.  I only know of two: the Word of God and the souls of people, because this life is but for a mist of a vapor and then it quickly disappears and as Daniel is seeing in this vision is to be replaced by a new kingdom that will last forever, which is just on the horizon.  Are you familiar with the great missionary, Jim Elliot, a graduate of Wheaton College, a man who you can see the age of his death [1927-1956], I don’t even think he made it to age 30, risked his own life to travel to Ecuador to try to reach out with the gospel to the Aucas Indians.   And we look at the life of Jim Elliot and we look at perhaps what he could have been in life, what he could have done if he didn’t devote himself so exclusively to the cause of missions, and we kind of look at that and say what a waste;  I mean, he was martyred, if you know the story, by the very people that he was trying to reach with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

And many times we ask ourselves as we expend ourselves in eternal things, does it really matter?  Does dedicating a week taking off from work, as we heard, to volunteer for vacation Bible school, does that really matter?  In 1949, October 28th, probably about seven, six years prior to his martyrdom Jim Elliot, in his journal, made the following entry; it’s a famous statement,  you’ve probably heard it before; many people believe that he was paraphrasing a great English non-conformist preacher named Phillip Henry who lived somewhere between 1631-1696 but this is what Elliot said in his own phraseology: “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”

Have you ever thought about that?  Let me read that again, “He is no fool” because the world system with its focus on temporal things thinks we’re foolish to invest ourselves the way we do in the Word of God and in people.   You could be doing something else, you could be getting ahead, but Elliot says, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”  You know, as I get older in the Lord I go back to the Bible first but I go back to statements like this that remind me of what my priorities really ought to be.  How foolish it is to become a pastor, a preacher, a teacher of the Word of God, to invest yourself in seminary training and education, don’t you know what you could have done by now?  Don’t you know what you could have been?  Don’t you know what you could have accomplished?   And yet to hold onto this life as if it’s going to last forever, according to Elliot’s statement, is foolishness.

The reality of the situation is we can’t keep anything; I can’t keep my gold, I can’t keep my bank account, I can’t keep my money, I can’t even keep my house or the new car I just bought that I get so upset when it’s scratched.  I can’t keep that because it’s all going to burn, all of it is incinerated.  So you know what folks, I can’t even keep my health; diet and exercise, what does that do (I’m in favor of that by the way, you couldn’t tell by looking at me) but what does that really do?  That postpones the inevitable, that’s all that does.  Maybe that’ll give you another five, ten years, if you’re lucky.  You can’t even keep your own health.  You can’t keep your looks.  You can’t keep your treasure. Have you looked in the mirror lately?  I just got my hair cut yesterday and I looked down at the ground after she’d cut my hair and I saw this gray hair on the ground.  And you say well, you’re lucky, at least you have hair to cut.  But honestly, when I see a bunch of gray hair on the ground my instinct is well, that obviously isn’t my hair, that obviously belongs to the person that was in here before getting their hair cut.  It’s a shocking thing to break out your high school yearbook and compare it to your modern driver’s license picture.

You’re dying, I’m dying; your health is ebbing away, you can’t keep your health, you can’t keep your body, you can’t keep your looks, you can’t keep your money, you can’t keep anything.  So why not take the moment of time that you have and invest it into something that you can keep, that will survive the fire?  The Word of God and the souls of people.  “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”

You know, when I was younger my parents would take me to a restaurant and it was a fairly upscale sort of restaurant and what the fellow would do there, one of the workers, he would take a giant block of ice and he would chisel something out of the block of ice and he could chisel an Easter egg basket if it was Easter, something related to Christmas, like a Christmas tree if it was Christmas time.  And it was interesting to watch this man work because if your table was close enough you could see this man laboring and perspiring.  I mean, this guy was working and even as a child I remember the frustration that I felt watching this man labor and watching this man work because I knew what was going to happen, the sun, the heat as the days progressed, as the afternoon came into full bloom was going to take everything this man was laboring for and was going to melt it down to nothing and all his perspiration was of no avail.

That is what this life is like; we’re just like that man chiseling out of that block of ice.  We may be creating something that in our eyes is beautiful, maybe it’s beautiful to other people, but the reality of the situation is regardless of how hard we work and how much effort is spent building or creating whatever it is we’re creating, the sun, s-u-n is right there giving the heat that’s destroying everything we’re laboring for.  And we’re just like that man with the block of ice as we invest our time, effort and energy into things that, beloved, are just not going to make it, nor do they matter.  That’s why I go back over and over again to this statement by Jim Elliot.

So what then is coming as a result?  “…and all dominions will serve and obey Him.”   You’ll notice the word “everlasting” and then what it begins to talk about is the universal submission and obedience to Jesus Christ.  How long is the empire of the antichrist going to last?  We saw last week that it’s going to last a time, times and a half time which as we explained last time is really three and a half  years.  All of the efforts of the devil to bring back the tower of Babel in a reincarnated state, all of the effort that the devil has spent in human history to rebuild a one-world government that was disrupted by God on the plains of Shinar, all of the thousands of years of human history that Satan has been moving the chess pieces around to get this one-world government in place, you mean the whole thing is going to last just three and a half years?  What a rip-off!

Compare that to the word “forever,” His judgment is forever. Compare that to the word “everlasting,” the kingdom of Jesus Christ is everlasting.  Why live for the devil and his kingdom when they get a heyday of three and a half years?  Why not live for something that transcends what we see?  Why not start living for the things that are unseen that last forever involving when Jesus Christ rules and reigns the universal service and submission to Jesus Christ?  This is Zechariah 14:16-18; it’s a description of people in the millennial reign of Jesus Christ who will hate Christ’s guts.  Why is that?  Because some people that enter the millennial reign of Christ will be survivors of the tribulation period who will enter in their mortal bodies.  They will pass through what is called the sheep and the goat judgment as described in Matthew 25:31-46, and they will enter the kingdom in their mortal bodies and they will have children to repopulate the earth.  And their children will have children, and their children will have children, and what just got passed down through the bloodline?  The sin nature.

Not you, as a member of Christ’s church because you’re resurrected at the beginning of the tribulation period before the tribulation even starts; you’re returning with Jesus Christ seven years later to rule and reign in your resurrected body without even the desire for sin.  Won’t that be nice!

But not so others, and there will arise a generation of people that will not want to travel to Jerusalem on the Feast of Booths to worship the King.  And Jesus says okay,  you want to play that way, then you’re not going to get any moisture for your crops.  And there are people that will hate Christ’s guts because of the existence of the sin nature itself, yet even they will be in full submission, grudgingly, full compliance to Jesus Christ.  This is what is being described here, this universal service and submission, some voluntarily, some involuntarily.

You know, there’s a Scripture, there’s a prophecy in the book of Philippians and it says, “every tongue will confess Jesus Christ is Lord.”  [Philippians 2:11, “and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”]  Have you ever wondered about that?  I mean, not everybody on planet earth is saved, how can “every tongue” confess Jesus Christ is Lord?  Because some do it voluntarily, others in the eons of hell itself do it under the judgment of God and the wrath of God, grudgingly and involuntarily.  But the fact of the matter is, whether it’s by free will or whether by coercion “every tongue” will confess Jesus Christ as Lord.

This is what’s happening in the millennial kingdom.  And if Jesus is reigning over the whole earth during this time how can we trust Him not to abuse His authority?  Well, there’s an answer to that, He’s the only human being that has ever been born into this world without the existence of a sin nature: graft, greed, corruption, are not even a temptation for Him.  This is why man in his governmental experiments always fails because no matter what kind of government you get the government is still run by human beings that have a sin nature.  And eventually the power goes to their head and it will be abused.  Not so in the millennial kingdom.  Perfect submission and service to Jesus Christ governed by a man without a sin nature and to be honest with you folks, that’s the only new world order I want to be a part of.  That’s the only new world order that’s going to work.  And this is what God is showing humanity through these things.  It’s a system of government identical to what was established in the Garden of Eden where God the Father governed over a man, the first Adam, and he governed the world on God’s behalf.  Adam did this with his wife Eve, Genesis 1:26-28 indicates that they, plural, had authority.

[Genesis 1:26-28, “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’  [27] God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. [28] God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”’]

The whole system is going to be brought back to life; this in essence is what was lost with the fall of man. God the Father is going to govern, not the first Adam, the last Adam.  Who would the last Adam be?  Jesus.  And He will govern creation for a thousand years; it’s the only system of government that will ever work.  And by the way, who is the Eve that’s with Christ, using this analogy, governing with Him.  That would be you, wouldn’t it, as the what of Christ?  The bride of Christ, the church of Christ.  The whole structure is brought back to life; it’s how God intended the world to be. Satan has no influence during this time period as he is bound for a thousand years.  God deals very directly with rebellion during this time period; God allows it to go on for a thousand years before this earth is dissolved and replaced by a new earth to show humanity once and for all the only government you can trust, the only government that will work is the government that I Myself, God the Father through God the Son, will establish.

Do we think about this when we make choices?  As you were making choices last week were you thinking about this?  As you make choices this week are we thinking about this?  Prophecy matters; your view on these things dictates, controls, influences, to a very large extent the choices that we make on a daily basis.

Verse 28, we might make it, I didn’t say we will, I said we might.  At this point the revelation ended.  “As for me, Daniel, my thoughts were greatly alarming me and my face grew pale, but I kept the matter to myself.”  Daniel, as best I can tell, is traumatized by what he sees.  His trauma, if you go back to verse 15, is apparent because he says, “As for me, Daniel, my spirit was distressed within me, and the visions in my mind kept alarming me.”  Why is Daniel troubled by what he sees?  Because he sees the kingdom that’s on the horizon but he also sees the suffering of his people, the nation of Israel, prior to the establishment of the kingdom.  He sees that in verse 19, he sees that in verse 21, he sees it in verse 25 as the little horn is wearing down the saints.

And who is Daniel exactly?  He is a man that has a heart for the people of God.  Even though these things wouldn’t happen until long after Daniel left the scene Daniel is so in solidarity with his own people that he’s traumatized by the future that’s coming.  Are you like that with God’s people?  When other people suffer do you suffer?  When other people are elated or joyful are you joyful?  The Bible says we ought to be that way with fellow Christians because we’re part of the what?  Body of Christ.  1 Corinthians 12:26 says, “if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it,” because we’re part of the same body.

A lot of times I cut my fingernails a little too short and I start to get my index finger an ingrown fingernail and you look at that and you say man, that’s just a little thing; what is that, 1% of my whole body.  But when that finger is hurting my whole body is miserable.  I mean, this little thing here affects every part of my body; it affects my emotions, it affects my sleep, it affects my emotional state, you mean this little thing here?  And that is because this finger is part of a larger body; you damage one part of the body it affects everything else.  That is what God has put us in here in the body of Christ.  That’s what should have been our response as Richard was reading the prayer list; we ought to have been in pain for people, hurting for people, sympathy for people, empathy for people, praying for people because we’re all connected by way of the Holy Spirit.  And when somebody is promoted, when somebody is exalted, when God decides to use somebody I should not become jealous or envious, I should rejoice because we’re all part of the same body.

I think that’s the sort of attitude and spirit that Daniel exemplifies as he sees the suffering of the nation of Israel down through the ages, even though it won’t directly affect Daniel.  If anybody suffers, Daniel, I suffer.  If you suffer I suffer because I am a Jew.  That’s why Daniel, at the end of chapter 8, verse 7 will be similarly traumatized by a brand new vision of suffering that we will begin to talk about next time.  And I am so grateful that the chapter ends this way for this simple reason: to Daniel prophecy was more than academic thought.  It was more to him than a system of theology.  It was more to him than a chart.  It was more to him than a journal article.  It was more to him than something that he had to prove correct.

Now am I in favor of charts?  Am I in favor of defending a correct interpretation of prophecy?  Am I in favor of journal articles?  You probably can’t find someone more in favor of those things than myself.  But if that’s all it is you just missed the Spirit of God; it’s more than a system or a theology or a polemic or a defense.  It is designed not to just touch the intellect, which is important, but to touch the heart.  It ought to have such an impact on us that it should control the decisions and the choices that I make in the nasty now and now.  That’s why I love how this ends here.

This is the point of prophecy.  2 Peter 3:11 says this, “Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,” this knowledge of the future should change your life now, Peter says.  1 John 3:2-2 says, “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. [3] And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”

Titus 2:13 says, “looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.”  You’ll notice how the revelation of Jesus Christ is called “the blessed” what? “hope.”  That’s what gives you optimism in this life, endurance, encouragement.  And one of the things that I fear in a Bible-centered academic doctrinally oriented church like ours, I fear that at times our studies of the Word of God go no deeper than the intellect itself.  I’m in favor of the intellect because you can’t reach the heart without reaching the mind.  But at some point knowledge has to translate into wisdom or else knowledge has no value to it.  Knowledge is just the acquisition of information; wisdom is where it starts to shape decisions and choices that we’re making right now.  May God help us to understand this.  May God help us not to become so cerebral with Bible prophecy that we miss the point of why the Spirit of God gave it.  May God rescue us from that!  Daniel wasn’t just touching the mind here; it’s very obvious that he was touched in the heart, the historical setting, the vision, the interpretation of the vision, the personal impact on Daniel.

If you’re here today and you don’t know Christ personally I’ve got something to tell you.  The high point of your existence, assuming you’re even here to experience will be the empire of the antichrist.  This world is as good as it gets for you.  And if you’re here today and you know Christ personally I’ve got something else to tell you.  As bad as this life can be, this is as bad as it gets for you.  The only issue is what side of the ledger to you want to be on, and what puts  you on one side of the ledger or the other is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ which is entered into, not as a result of human performance, not as a result of human works, but faith alone in Christ alone… end of story!  Jesus stepped out of eternity into time, He lived a life in our place that we could never live.  He died for our sins and paid a penalty that we could never pay.  He vindicated who He was through His bodily resurrection from the dead.  He left the earth and His final words on the cross were “It is finished!”  Nothing else to add.

So what do we do?  Nothing other than receive what He has done as a gift, by faith.  Have you done that?  It’s something you can do right now even as I’m speaking, in the privacy of your own heart and mind as the Spirit of God places you under conviction.  It’s life’s most important question.  It’s life’s most important decision.  Faith is another way of saying reliance, confidence, dependence upon.  As the Spirit convicts you the best you know how, without raising a hand, walking an aisle, joining a church, giving money, respond in the privacy of  your own heart by way of trust in what Jesus has done.  If it’s something that you’ve already done then on the authority of the Word of God you’ve just altered your eternal destiny.  If it’s something you’re doing right now on the authority of the Word of God you’ve altered your eternal destiny.  If it’s something you need more information on why would you leave today without getting some clarification, because there isn’t a more important decision to make.  The Bible is very clear today is the day of salvation.  If you need more information I’m available after the service to talk.  Shall we pray.

Father, we’re grateful for Daniel 7, we’re grateful for the field of Bible prophecy  and what it does for us in terms of our perspective.  Make us people, Lord, of an eternal heavenly perspective this week as we walk with You and live for Your priorities.  We’ll be careful to give You all the praise and the glory.  We ask these things in Jesus name.  And God’s people said… Amen.