February 16, 2012

Apocalypse Prophecy XIX - Visions: The Ancient of Days & A Judas Goat

The Ancient of Days & Slaying of The Fourth Beast (7:9–12)

We see God’s court and the sentence of judgment upon the Little Horn and his empire is succinct and exact. The Little Horn/Antichrist is blaspheming the God of heaven, but the Sovereign Lord is shown sitting upon his throne, coolly preparing to drop the hammer of justice on this despicable and wicked being. This grandiose vision unfolds [insert majestic theme music here] and the Ancient of Days takes his seat upon the throne like a Judge entering the courtroom of eternity. He is snow white to symbolize moral purity. Hair is white like wool to signify His timeless age from all of eternity pre-time and post hence. Angels also appear as witnesses. In perfect justice and righteousness He passes judgment from a throne flaming with fire with its wheels ablaze. The fire is a medium of judgment and purifying. There is a river of fire also being poured out upon the wicked, especially on the Little Horn.  The reference to “books being open” seems to indicate God’s omniscience of the deeds, words, and thoughts of every person who has ever lived. They account of the wicked deeds of the Antichrist and his godless empire, for when the books are opened, the beast is judged. When the records were consulted, it was found that the beast deserved judgment. Since God’s kingdom immediately follows, this must occur at the end of time. Therefore it has not happened yet. This episode cannot have been a record of a past event from our vantage point in time.

Attention is now turned back to the Little Horn. The judgment that befalls this wretched thing indicates total and absolute destruction. The kingdom is obliterated by God, “the beast is slain.” The Little Horn’s / Antichrist’s judgment in fire should be seen in light of Revelation 19:20 and the lake of fire. Regardless of what Rob Bell did or did not say in his book Love Wins, this passage clearly shows punishment of the wicked after death in perpetuity.

The three former beasts have their authority taken away but are allowed to continue to exist “for a period of time.” Their supremacy had ended, but influence lived on in the next empire just like Hellenism survived the takeover by the Roman Empire. Regardless, the fourth empire will be destroyed and replaced by the Kingdom of God.

The Kingdom of God (7:13–14)

Four kingdoms were symbolized by the beasts which were only the kingdoms of men. Now comes the Kingdom of God.  One “like a son of man” descends into the throne room surrounded by the clouds. The well-known “One like a son of man” means that this person was like human but something much more. He is given dominion and it is everlasting.  It is the coronation of the “son of man” by the Ancient of Days.

So who is this “Son of man?”  Who do you suppose it is?

It is none other than Jesus Christ. He is identified in veiled or couched terms.

The fact that clouds accompany the son of man as he descends alludes to deity in the Old Testament.
The son of man is not only king but God. But His exact identity will not be revealed until the perfect time ordained by God. Veiled…why? Until that time ordained, the Son of Man’s time will not have come. We see it come in John 12.

John 12:23 “And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.”

Mark 14:61-62 “But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” “I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Did Jesus claim deity? Yes…right here in Mark’s passage. ..enough of the nonsense that Jesus never claimed to be God. Anyone that understands the Old Testament knows what Jesus said here is referring to Daniel 7.

The Son is presented to the Ancient of Days so that he might receive his Father’s gift, namely, a universal kingdom that included us as believers.

The Interpretation of the Vision (7:15–27)

At first, Daniel doesn’t understand the importance of what he had seen although he recognized that it portrayed the violent overthrow of governments and chaos in the world. Daniel wanted to know when they would take place. He also wanted to know what or who the Little Horn was. So Daniel approached one of the angels standing there.

The angelic being explained that the four beasts that came out of the sea were “four kingdoms that will rise from the earth.” The “sea” was symbolic of the earth. After the four empires run their course the saints of holy ones of the Most High will receive the Kingdom of God and possess it forever. Daniel then receives an explanation of the four beasts but is specifically interested in the identity of the fourth beast since this creature was vastly unlike the others in terms of its power. He also wants an explanation of the horns on the fourth beast’s head. He wanted to know about the first ten but more emphatically the “other horn / Little Horn” with the eyes and arrogant mouth that grew up later. The horn became greater than the others but especially because of the eyes and mouth it stands out. The eyes suggested something more...like greater intelligence and of course its mouth uttered blasphemous boasts that frightened Daniel. To a believers mind, to malign God is insane. I should note that we see this almost daily from non-believers in modern times. Not just blaspheming but mocking God outright. I makes one wonder just how much wrath is being stored up against these people in God's "book"?

The horn waged war against the saints and defeating them. The fact that the Little Horn would successfully persecute believers is startling.  No wonder Daniel was acutely concerned. The saints cannot stand against Satan and his malevolent agent here for some reason. This persecution will continue until the Ancient of Days comes judges this abomination on behalf of the saints.  The angelic being then interprets the meaning of the fourth beast, the ten horns, the Little Horn, and the enigmatic final kingdom. He explains that the fourth beast to rise out of the sea/earth. It will be different in terms of power and duration of its rule. All resistance against it will be flattened.

It is most probable that this empire is some form of the Roman Empire as previously mentioned, whether it is the old empire or a new confederation is unknown. The ten horns are interpreted to be “ten kings” who will emanate from the fourth kingdom (probably some form or incarnation of Rome). Christ’s return kills and puts an end to the rule of these horns. The ten kings must reign at the end of the present age. They will rule concurrently as a single empire since all exist together as stated in Rev 17:12–13. Some form of the Roman Empire or a new incarnation of it will give rise to ten kings/kingdoms. The Little Horn will be ruler of the last days. He is the man of lawlessness, the Antichrist or the “beast” and he will come after the 10 Kingdoms. He will either arise from the 10 or from elsewhere. The language is not entirely clear.

Judas Goat

This man of lawlessness will be greater in power, intelligence, and arrogance. He will lead people astray. In the last days he will rule with a confederation of nations (kings). Three will resist his power and they will be subjugated by force; the other nations will then submit to him. They appear to remain separate nations but will come under this monster’s control and influence.

The nature of the blasphemous words this Antichrist utters are not stated. Blasphemy against God is bad enough. It is at this point we see things really turn dark and sinister. This fiend will eventually demand the worship owed to God (Rev 13:8, 12). He will tyrannize, oppress or wear away through attrition… the saints of God. In its context the implication is that this will be genocidal wiping-out of God’s people. It will be nightmarish and nearly too horrible to contemplate. The odds are that the rights of God’s people will be removed and wholesale and industrialized persecution and torment will take place (a la: The Holocaust but worse).

Economic sanctions will be in effect to force compliance or rejection of God’s people. Denying religious freedoms is often the tact of totalitarian regimes such as those in Communism and Fascism. These often start as more passive and “friendly” forms of government as Federations, Unions and things like Socialism. Whatever is coming is going to be vastly worse and more intense than anything that has ever come before in history. Hitler, Stalin, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong II, Nero, Caligula. It is probable that this monster will be worse than all these madmen combined because his sole impetus and drive will be none other than Satan himself. Religious freedom will be non-existent. This episode in history will be a wholesale slaughter.

Why? First off, we believers will oppose him which will not sit well with him and secondly, he will be piloted by Satan, who hates God’s people.

I am a literalist when it comes to this period so the horror will last “for a time, times and half a time” or three and one half-years. Hebrew equivalents of this phrase are approximately 1,290 days of or 1,335 days both equate to about three and one-half years. Revelation 13:5 says that the beast (the same as the Antichrist) will have power for forty-two months, which is three and half years. Revelation 11:2 states that Jerusalem will be trampled for forty-two months, which is the time of the persecution of the Antichrist which is…you guessed it…three and half years. A period of three and one-half years is referred to in Dan 9:27, where a covenant is broken in the middle of the seventieth “seven” (or week).

This is either Pre-Tribulation or Pre Wrath  rapture or harpazo, the ἁρπαγησόμεθα of 1 Thessalonians 4:17…take your pick.

I believe the seven times in Daniel 4:16 are generally interpreted as seven years. The “sevens” referred to in chapter 9 to be sevens of years. Religious activities are stopped at the midpoint of the final “seven” (seven years), which would make the time of trial three and one-half years.

According to a futurist viewpoint, this persecution of the saints will continue for three and a half years, which is exactly half of Antichrist’s seven-year career. The second half of the Antichrist’s regime is called the “Great Tribulation” in Revelation 7:14. Judgments described in Revelation 14–19 will then befall the earth. The Antichrist’s inevitable doom now commence. His judgment will occur at the end of the three and one-half year tribulation period when Jesus Christ returns from Heaven with his angels. God’s judgment will be leveled and pronounce the sentence of destruction upon Antichrist. This malevolent tyrant’s power will be taken away and  destroyed forever. The Antichrist’s destruction is emphasized in an unusually powerful manner in the original Aramaic text…even for the Old Testament it is strong language. God will spare no wrath putting an end to him.

The Kingdom of God (7:27)

The fourth empire will come to an end and the Kingdom of God will fill the Earth. No more war. Peace and prosperity will envelope the world. Sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints. The “saints” are clearly identified here as people not angels and they are the followers of the “son of man” .

Scripture is clear that the One who will rule the kingdom of God and receive worship from all the inhabitants of the earth is Jesus Christ or the son of man.

Daniel 7 ends rather amusingly. “This is the end of the matter”. The thoughts that trouble Daniel though are not amusing as can be understood. He is deeply troubled him and his face turned pale. It is probable that Daniel is suffering or stricken with physical shock.

I believe I probably would’ve reacted the same way.

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