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Revelations Biggest Surprise Essay, Research Paper

IT IS WRITTEN’S

Revelation’s Biggest

Surprise

A budding industry today is Space Tourism, that expects we’ll be able to book ourselves on space vacations within the next 10-20 years—if we can pay the price. If you’re interested in space travel, interested in finding out “What’s out there” beyond our earth, but you don’t have the cash to invest, how about an eternity-long vacation that’s offered to you free? God’s ultimate reward for the redeemed is far more exciting than any journey in the cramped quarters of some man-made space shuttle!

Christ offers us the ultimate space journey. We’ll travel with Him through the starry heavens. But first must come to pass the words of Revelation 11:15 – “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord.” Throughout the ages, earthly kingdoms have arisen to challenge the kingdom of God. There has been a battle for the throne, a battle brought into sharp focus in the Old Testament Book of Daniel. Scripture contains two books of end-time prophecy: Daniel and Revelation. Unlocking Daniel’s symbols makes Revelation’s prophecies clear. And Jesus’ statement in Matthew 24:15 directs us to understand “Daniel the prophet . . . whoever reads, let him understand.”

One of the most fascinating Bible chapters is Daniel 2. A king dreamed of world events that spanned 2,500 years. Those events have come to pass with such precision that only the hand of God could have been involved. It’s a prophecy that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is in control of history. It is a prophecy that’s been almost totally fulfilled . . . almost, but not quite. Daniel 2:1 says: “In the second year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; and his spirit was so troubled that his sleep left him.”

This was the king who ruled the great Babylonian Empire 500 years before Christ, the king who built the luxurious Hanging Gardens—one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Nebuchadnezzar had a dream which seemed of great significance, but when he awoke, he could not remember what he had dreamt. So he called his wise men—who claimed to see into the future—and asked them to tell what he had dreamt. When they admitted that they could not, Nebuchadnezzar condemned them to death.

Now young Daniel, though a prisoner of war in Babylon, was counted among the “wise men” for his gifted intelligence and understanding. When the king’s captain came to execute Daniel, he asked for time to pray for God to reveal the dream—and God did! Then Daniel, taking no credit to himself, went before Nebuchadnezzar and told the king that no mortal man could reveal the dream. “But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has revealed . . . what will be in the latter days.” Daniel 2:28. The king’s dream focused on end-times, the close of earth’s history. The dream starts with Nebuchadnezzar and marches through history to the current day.

So Daniel told the king what he had dreamed: “You, O king, were watching: and behold, a great image. . . This image’s head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.” Daniel 2:31-35.

The King was excited! “Yes, that’s it! That’s it!” he cried. “That’s exactly what I saw! But Daniel, what does it mean?” What does it mean not only to Nebuchadnezzar but to you and me? Daniel continued: “You, O King, . . . are this head of GOLD.” Daniel 2:37-38. The Babylonian Empire of Nebuchadnezzar (which made more lavish use of gold than any kingdom since) was secure as the dominant world power from 605 B.C. to 539 B.C., but he was to be overthrown by a kingdom repre-sented in Daniel 2:32 as “the breast and arms of SILVER.” Just a few pages ahead in your Bible, Daniel 5:28, the next world ruling power is named: the joint empire of the Medes and the Persians. Again, a fitting symbol: the two arms joined at the chest to show two kingdoms—Medes and Persians. They ruled the world for two centuries, from 538 B.C. to 331 B.C., but they too were overthrown by a third kingdom.

This third kingdom, depicted in verse 32 as the “belly and thighs of BRONZE,” was the Greek Empire of Alexander the Great. And what did Alexander’s men wear into battle? Bronze— bronze breastplates, bronze helmets, bronze shields, bronze swords. Once again, God chose a fitting symbol to describe the kingdom that would rule the world from 331 B.C. to 169 B.C.

But history doesn’t end with this third kingdom. Greece did not rule the world forever, for there was a fourth metal after the gold of Babylon, the silver of the Medes and Persians, the bronze of Greece. The next kingdom is represented by IRON. Daniel 2:40 says, “The fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron.” The iron monarchy of Rome was the last world kingdom, which in 168 B.C. overthrew the Greeks.

Just as legs form the longest part of the body, Rome had the longest reign of any other of the world powers. For more than 500 years, half a millennium, Rome was invincible. But what did the Bible predict would happen next? Daniel 2:41-43 says, “Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom.”

History confirms that this seemingly unconquerable Roman Empire crumbled for two rea-sons— from within and from without. From within—wealth poured into Rome through taxes col-lected from all over the world and the simple Roman life was replaced with luxury and pomp. The political world brewed with corruption, crime infiltrated the streets, the work ethic was lost, sexual immorality was rampant. And as the mighty Roman Empire weakened from within, Rome was attacked from without and divided into ten smaller kingdoms.

Where are we living today? Right down in the toenails of history! Every part of this prophecy has come to pass except one. Listen—Daniel told the king in verses 34 & 44: “You watched while a STONE was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. . . . The God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed. . . . It shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.” That Rock cut out without hands symbolizes Jesus Christ, who will come to establish His kingdom.

Why is it important that you know about the dream of an ancient king? Simply this: Nebuchadnezzar’s dream portrayed history before it was lived, and once you realize the Bible can be trusted with the past, you’ll know without a doubt it can be trusted to predict those things still to come. Today we have hope, for tomorrow is in the hands of the God who guides history—and who loves us!

. . .

The Lord of History has the last word . . .

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill stated: “Any man must have a blind soul who cannot see that some great purpose and design is being worked out here below.” So inescapably did Daniel’s prophetic portrayal correspond to its historical fulfillment that the great English historian Edward Gibbon, though not a Christian or Bible believer himself, wittingly or unwittingly used Scriptural language in his monumental History of the Decline and Fall of the

Roman Empire when he wrote: “The images of gold, or silver, or brass, that might serve to

represent the nations and their kings, were successively broken by the IRON monarchy of Rome.” History has followed this prophecy like a blue-print and will continue to do so. The political workings of this planet are not random. God has been guiding, controlling, and overruling all along. History has played itself out. Only one kingdom is left to be established. Soon Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Rock of Ages, the One who paid such a remarkable visit to this planet 2000 years ago, is going to pay us another visit. And He’s going to make quite an entrance the second time. The heavens will rumble with a great shout as trumpets blast and angels sing. Then Christ and the angelic host will swoop down in a cloud of glory to gather His faithful ones!

……………………

God through the prophet Daniel foretold the

breakup of the Roman Empire into ten toes of

the Image, representing the ten kingdoms into

which Rome was divided when barbarian tribes

carved up the empire. They are:

Anglo-Saxons: England

Alamanni: Germany

Burgundians: Switzerland

Franks: France

Lombards: Italy

Suevi: Portugal

Visigoths: Spain

Heruli

Vandals

Ostrogoths

The last three have no modern names, for they

originally took over parts of the Empire but were

eventually destroyed—“plucked up by the roots”

as Daniel 7:8, 20, & 24 foretold.

………………………

Daniel 2:41-43—Ten toes, ten kingdoms,

and just as IRON and CLAY won’t mix together,

so the ten kingdoms will not be joined. No mat-ter

how many battles are fought, no matter how

many Hitlers or Napoleons or Charlemagnes seek

to conquer, the world will never be united under

one ruler again.

Quick Quiz

Our heavenly Father has so much He longs to teach us! Think of each seminar session as one in a series

of steps leading upward—a series of “lessons from heaven.” May we learn our lessons well, so we in turn

can teach others. God’s Word, the Bible—our Textbook for this seminar—offers Learning Unlimited!

#3 – Revelation’s Biggest Surprise

1. Daniel took NO credit or glory to himself when he told the king, “But as for me, this secret

is not revealed to _________ for any wisdom that _________ have more than any living.”

To check your answer, see Daniel 2:30.

2. Instead, Daniel’s first words to the king directed that monarch’s thoughts to divinity

when he said: “There is a _________ in _________________ that revealeth

____________________ .”

To check your answer, see Daniel 2:28.

3. Just as the gospel hymn praises God by singing “He’s got the whole world . . . in His

hands,” so Scripture asserts the Supreme Rulership of God by saying, “He

_________________ kings, and _______________ _____ kings. . . . The most High

________________ in the kingdom of __________ , and giveth it to whomsoever He will.”

To check your answer, see Daniel 2:21 and 4:17 (compare Psalms 75:6-7).

4. Is predictive prophecy just for past events of Old Testament times, or does it extend into

our own day and age even into the future? Daniel told King Nebuchadnezzar that God

would reveal “what shall be in the _________________ days,” and John the Revelator

was told to “Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the

things which _______________ be ____________________________ .”

To check your answer, see Daniel 2:28, 45 & Revelation 1:19.

5. The “Blueprint of History” delivered by God in a dream seems dependable, for it has already

been fulfilled in all particulars for 2500 years, but can we trust it for the remainder of earth’s history?

God says: “The dream is __________________ , and the interpretation thereof ______________ .”

To check your answer, see Daniel 2:45.

Your Name: __________________________________________

Revelation of Hope Companion Resources

Revelation’s Star Wars:

The Battle Behind the Throne

IT IS WRITTEN’S

Angels! Angels have become phenomenally prominent the last few years. Angels have made it

to prime time. They star in a CBS hit called “Touched by an Angel.” They appear in feature films and

are the subject of best-selling books. All through the book of Revelation angels are prominent,

appearing in almost every chapter. But right now I want to focus on an angelic conflict outlined in

Revelation that overshadows anything we human beings can imagine, an epic battle that’s been going

on for centuries. This battle is supremely important because it’s really a battle about who God is. It’s

a battle about human destiny—and we’re all involved, whether we realize it or not.

War in Heaven: It seems impossible to believe, but Revelation 12:7-9 tells us, “War broke

out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels

fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great

dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world;

he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”

War in heaven! It seems like a contradiction in terms. This brings up other perplexing questions,

like “Why was there war in heaven? What was the dragon doing in heaven in the first place? What

was Satan doing there? Where did he come from?”

A Pre-history of Satan: Fortunately there are some good clues. Scripture gives us hints of how

that conflict developed. In fact, we can learn what Satan was like before the world was created and

where he came from. Ezekiel once communicated a message from God about the king of Tyre. But in

the prophecy we see that God is also talking about someone else. The exalted king represents a

different, angelic creature. “Thus says the Lord God: You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and

perfect in beauty. . . . You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; you were on the

holy mountain of God; you walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. You were perfect in your

ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you.” Ezekiel 28:12-15.

Here is described “the anointed cherub who covers.” This was an angel anointed for a special task.

In the Jewish temple, the covering cherubs stood over the mercy seat, the throne of God. This angel had

a special place near God’s throne. He was “the seal of perfection, full of wisdom, perfect in beauty.”

But something happened to this angel. “Iniquity was found” in him. He allowed sin to enter his life.

How? Ezekiel 28:17 explains: “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your

wisdom for the sake of your splendor.” This angel got wrapped up in his own splendor and beauty.

There’s nothing wrong with appreciating your own talents and abilities and feeling good about yourself.

So how did this angel move from healthy self-esteem to “iniquity?” How was his wisdom corrupted?

Isaiah 14:12-14 tells us—and also tells us the angel’s name: “How you are fallen from heaven,

O Lucifer, son of the morning! . . . For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will

exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest

sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’”

Lucifer became an angel with an attitude. Being near God’s throne wasn’t enough. He wanted

a higher position. He wanted “the kingdom and the power and the glory” of God Himself!

Love Is the Answer: John tells us that “God is love.” 1 John 4:8. Love was all around

Lucifer. But Lucifer turned away from that and finally saw God as a rival! His twisted mind

pictured God as the enemy. This rebellious angel wondered: Why should God have all the

power and authority? Lucifer thought he could do just as good a job at running things.

Now heaven was a place where jealousy and slander and malice had never existed. Angels had

never heard a lie (which was invented by Lucifer, John 8:44) and couldn’t cope with falsehood. It never

occurred to them to question God’s wisdom and love. And suddenly this brilliant Lucifer, this cherub so

near the throne of God, starts making remarks. He wonders why God has to have all the glory, why

every created being has to obey Him. Maybe there’s an alternative, a better way to run the universe.

Lucifer, who seemed so reasonable, so wise, questioned God’s authority and persuaded many other

angels to join his rebellion—enough to go to battle over who should run the universe. A great battle

ensued—a cosmic conflict. There was war in heaven, and Lucifer (now called Satan) was cast out of

heaven with all his followers. Why didn’t God just nip evil in the bud—destroy it before it had a chance

to spread and cause so much suffering? If God had executed Lucifer, just zapped him in an instant, all the

other angels would reason: “Poor Lucifer! He tried to tell us God is a tyrant—and look what’s happened

to him! It seems Lucifer was right. It seems that his charges are true.” God chose a wiser course: He’d

allow sin to exist for a period of time, and when it had been fully demonstrated that God’s way brings joy



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