In one of the most famous portions of the whole Bible, I have quoted this text from Jesus’ own lips regarding the conditions on earth at the end of this age:
• False prophets will mislead many.
• Lawlessness is increased.
• Most people’s love will grow cold.
• The one who endures to the end will be saved.
Jesus was predicting a world in turmoil and conflict, hating each other, at the end of this present age. Because of lawlessness increasing, MOST people’s love toward God will grow cold and die… Only the believer who “endures” to the end will be saved.
When I see on the news the tragic report about the deaths and suffering in the Colorado movie theatre I can only say that this must be a sign of lawlessness increasing.
The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines lawless as
“not regulated by or based on law; not restrained or controlled by law.”
Certainly what happened to those 70 victims in Colorado was lawlessness.
Of course the scoffers and doubters and the wisdom of this age says that we have always had mass killings and terror. “What is the big deal?”
Well, the big deal is that we now have Greece just default as a nation and is bankrupt. Syria is embroiled in a civil war. Egypt has recently had an overthrow of government and is pursuing a weak form of democracy – a prototype of “iron and clay” government that doesn’t mix.
Sadly the church is “asleep at the wheel” when it comes to understanding prophetic Scriptures. In case you have not read through the books of Daniel, Revelation or Isaiah much, you won’t get my point; for in Daniel 11 we read of a battle “at the end of this age” between the King of the North (Syria) and the King of the South (Egypt).
The Man of Lawlessness
The apostle Paul agreed with Jesus’ take on the end of this age when, in his words, he told of a future “man of lawlessness” that would appear on the world stage and try and turn all devotion and worship over to himself!
Let no one in any way deceive you, for it [the coming of our Lord] will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God… 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. (2 Thess 2:3-4,8)
This stunningly and accurately aggress with the prophet Isaiah when, in writing about the coming future Millennial age on this earth, he prophesied of a “wicked one” who would be slain by the breath of Jesus’ mouth just before the animal kingdom reverts back to the way it was in the garden of Eden:
But with righteousness He will judge the poor, And decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked.
Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, And faithfulness the belt about His waist.
And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the young goat, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them. (Isa. 11: 4-6)
Lawlessness will increase until Jesus comes to take the throne here on earth for the last time. A “Dark Knight Is Arising” that will one day, Judas-like, receive all that Satan can give him and try to rule the world.
And the dragon gave him [the beast] his power and his throne and great authority… And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast; they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?” (Rev 13:2-4)
Yet we are not helpless victims of this “lawlessness” or the “man of lawlessness” but we can be active in praying for our cities to become like “Cities of Refuge” in the Old Testament (Numbers 35, Joshua 20) – a safe haven from the blood avenger!
After that Dark Night, called in the Bible a “great Tribulation”, a morning is coming without clouds (2 Sam 23:4) that will usher in the triumphant Day of the Lord and His Millennial Kingdom.
The Lord Jesus Christ has not yet finished His work on behalf of man. He will come again one day (and perhaps very soon) to set up a glorious kingdom, in which the consequences of sin shall have no place at all. It is a kingdom in which there shall be no pain and no disease, in which “the inhabitant shall no more say, I am sick” (Isaiah xxxiii. 24)… Where is the Christian heart that does not long for this state of things to begin? Well may we take up the last prayer in the Book of Revelation, and often cry, “Come quickly, Lord Jesus.” (J. C. Ryle)
“What the skeleton is to the body, Daniel is to prophecy. All other prophecies in the Old and New Testaments add flesh to Daniel’s bones.” (Kay Arthur)
The book of Daniel has many incredible prophecies in its 12 short chapters. Some of the more familiar stories we know quite well from our Sunday school classes or Sunday morning pulpits — like Daniel in the lion’s den or the three boys thrown into the fiery furnace or the hand of God literally writing on the wall. But did you know that the longest continuous prophecy in the Bible is found in the 11th and 12th chapter of Daniel? This is what I want to turn to in a few moments.
These awesome stories of deliverance from lions and a fiery furnace were meant to inspire and bolster the Church’s faith in an all – powerful, sovereign God, BUT, I believe, they were written primarily for the End-Times Church. That night of nights is soon to descend on this earth and the church will go through similar trails then under a different kind of King Nebuchadnezzar, namely, “the Antichrist”. In truth, much of Daniel describes the Antichrist and his works and his ultimate destruction.
And Now A Word From An Angel
Now I [Gabriel] have come to give you an understanding of what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision pertains to the days yet future.” Dan. 10:14
As you study this awesome book, please recognize one incredible fact about Daniel: for five chapters (Chs. 8-12) the text is mostly a direct quote of the angel Gabriel!! Gabriel is either directly telling Daniel the truth of the latter days or he is appearing to him in a vision. Gabriel spoke to only two other human beings: Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist and Mary, the mother of Jesus, and both of those were very short conversations by comparison!
This one fact alone separates this book from almost every other book in the Bible!
In Dan. 10:21, Gabriel tells Daniel that he will unfold the Last Days of this present age by reading out of “the Book of Truth” (NIV). It is staggering to come to understand that there is in heaven a “writing of truth” (NASB) that Gabriel, “who stands in the presence of God” (Lk 1:19), could read and that book has specific details about the coming kings and rulers, their children, and so on, 100’s, even 1000’s of years before it will ever happen.
Here is that scene in context:
Then he [Gabriel] said, “Do you understand why I came to you? But I shall now return to fight against the prince of Persia; so I am going forth, and behold, the prince of Greece is about to come. However, I will tell you what is inscribed in the writing of truth… In the first year of Darius the Mede, I arose to be an encouragement and a protection for him. And now I will tell you the truth. Behold, three more kings are going to arise in Persia. Then a fourth will gain far more riches than all of them; as soon as he becomes strong through his riches, he will arouse the whole empire against the realm of Greece. (Daniel 10:20 – 11:2)
With stunning accuracy Gabriel tells Daniel in 533 BC of “three more kings” that will reign over Persia during the next 100 years and that a fourth is coming who will exceed them all!
Secular history has provided us with their names:
The “three kings” here referred to were Cambyses, Smerdis, and Darius Hystaspis. As this communication was made in the third year of Cyrus (Daniel 10:1) these would be the next in order; and by the fourth is undoubtedly meant Xerxes. (Albert Barnes)
Xerxes (519-465 BC) was the king that God would use to turn the power base from the hands of the Persian to the Greeks, which is fully shown in the ram (Persia) and the goat (Greece) fighting in Dan. 8. If you read Daniel carefully you will see that the later chapters “open up” the truths already given in previous chapters.
In Daniel 8 we are introduced to a shaggy goat, with a large, conspicuous horn, that strikes at his enemies and utterly destroys them. We are specifically told that the goat represents the kingdom of Greece that trampled down the kingdom of Medo-Persia, the ram with two horns.
Once again secular history has provided us with the facts of Biblical prophecy:
“The expedition of Xerxes against Greece brings to the foreground the world-historical conflict between Persia and Greece, which led to the destruction of the Persian kingdom by Alexander the Great. Four years were spent in gathering his army out of all parts of his vast empire, amounting to two millions six hundred and forty-one thousand men.” (Albert Barnes)
“A mighty king will arise” – Alexander the Great (356–323 BC)
“And a mighty king will arise, and he will rule with great authority and do as he pleases. But as soon as he has arisen, his kingdom will be broken up and parceled out toward the four points of the compass, though not to his own descendants, nor according to his authority which he wielded, for his sovereignty will be uprooted and given to others besides them. (Dan 11:3-4)
Verses 3-4 of chapter 11 provide one of the most accurate prophecies in the entire Bible. So much in fact that modern “scholars” have been forced to say that Daniel was written by multiple authors during a time span of many centuries. “How can any man write history 200 years in advance”, they ask incredulously.
This “multiple author theory” however directly contradicts Jesus, who told the disciples to read the prophecies of Daniel:
“Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand).” (Mtt 24:15)
Look carefully at the text of 11:3-4 and you will see what really happened:
“But as soon as he has arisen, his kingdom will be broken up” — Alexander died at the early age of 33, at the height of his power.
“though not to his own descendants” — He died with no successors. Alexander did have at least one child but the boy was murdered before adulthood.
“his kingdom will be broken up and parceled out toward the four points of the compass” — His kingdom was indeed given to “the four points of the compass” and was broken up into four kingdoms, north south east and west.
History knows these kings as Seleucus, Lysimachus, Ptolemy, and Cassander (358-297 BC). These four kings correspond to the “four horns” that grew up out of the one large, conspicuous horn from the goat of Daniel 8 and the four-headed swift leopard of Daniel 7.
At this point we overlap once again with the prophetic symbolism of the “large statue” of Daniel 2. We have traveled down the statue from the head of Gold – Babylon (605 BC), to the chest and arms of Silver – Medo-Persia (539 BC), and are now at the belly and thighs of Bronze – Greece (333 BC). In a short span of time we will reach the legs of Iron – Rome (168 BC) and then, in the near future, the feet and toes of iron and clay — Antichrist’s 10 nation federation.
Almighty God is ”Jerusalem-centric”
I leave you with two last quotes as you continue “be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed”, a workman unto God!
“Holy Scripture handles external history only so far as it is connected with God’s people, Israel”. (Jerome)
“When the Gentile Kingdoms do not concern themselves with Israel, the Scriptures makes not mention of them.” (B.W. Newton)
As kingdoms of this world interact with God’s people, Israel and with His city, Jerusalem, they will come in and out of the Biblical account. Almighty God is ”Jerusalem-centric” and I encourage you to be the same.
“Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion in the far north, the city of the great King.(Ps 48:2)
We profess to be strangers and pilgrims, seeking after a country of our own, yet we settle down in the most un-stranger-like fashion, exactly as if we were quite at home and meant to stay as long as we could.
I don’t wonder apostolic miracles have died. Apostolic living certainly has. Satan is so much more in earnest than we are – he buys up the opportunity while we are wondering how much it will cost.”
Amy Carmichael (1867-1951) Protestant Christian missionary from Northern Ireland who served in India for 55 years without a furlough.