Category Archives: prophecy

Finishing Up the New Testament

Golden JerusalemIn our last post, we began examining the New Testament with the first four-book collection, the gospels. Let’s finish with the last three major divisions in the New Testament: History, Letters, and Prophecy.

2. History

As the sole book of this genre, Acts contains some history of the early Christians and explains how the disciples preached Christ “in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Comparing Luke 1:1-4 with Acts 1:1, we find Luke also authored this book, so it picks right up where the gospel of Luke left off. We learn how the Holy Spirit worked with men to spread the gospel to the whole world.

3. Letters

From Paul’s letter to the Romans to Jude’s twenty-five-verse letter, the letters (or epistles) comprise a series of personal writings to churches and individuals. Within the letters are some finer divisions. You can divide them into two groups: Paul’s letters (Romans through Philemon) and Other letters (Hebrews through Jude). You can further divide Paul’s letters into two groups: Letters to churches (Romans through 2 Thessalonians) and Letters to individuals (1 Timothy – Philemon).

Paul wrote four of the letters while in prison in Rome: Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon.

Writing LettersEach letter is unique. Some deal with problems among brethren. Some deal with how to handle persecution. Some focus on the gospel message: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16). There is something to learn about the Christian life in each one.

Remember as you read these letters that you’re reading someone else’s mail. Some of the letters seem to address questions which were posed to the author, but we don’t have a written copy of the questions! So we end up guessing sometimes as to what was the original intent of certain portions of the letters.

Hebrews is the only letter which does not have an author’s name attached. The early Christians almost unanimously regarded it as scripture, so we regard it as such.

4. Prophecy

Perhaps one of the most misunderstood yet most compelling books is the last book Revelation. Written in apocalyptic language, it is highly symbolic. The apostle John wrote the book from the island of Patmos (Revelation 1:9) addressed to the seven churches of Asia (1:4). Terrible events unfold in the story: bloodshed, plagues, horrific battles, and finally the Lamb of God crushes the dragon. The great picture of heavenly Jerusalem at the end may signify heaven or the kingdom of Christ both present and future. The admonition is “be faithful until death” (2:10) because God has great blessings in store “to him who overcomes” (2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21).

To summarize the books of the New Testament, it’s easy to remember five groupings, similar to the Old Testament: Gospels, History, Letters of Paul, Letters by Other Writers, and Prophecy. In this New Testament, we find the life and teachings of Jesus, snapshots of the Holy Spirit’s work in the early church, and the writings of Jesus’ chosen earthly representatives (apostles and prophets).

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If “Speaking” Is Limited to Context… (1 Cor. 14:33b-25)

Silence is GoldenYesterday we noticed the Corinthian Christians engaged themselves in these specific activities in the context of their general assemblies: hymns, lessons, revelations, tongues, and interpretations (1 Cor. 14:26). But it’s important to notice that Paul couched all of these activities in the context of exercising spiritual gifts–specifically the gifts of prophecy and tongue speaking.

We noticed from other scriptures that Paul does not forbid women from speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, even though he specifically uses a hymn as one of his examples in this chapter. What is different between this person bringing a hymn to the service (the rest keeping silent–14:29-30) and the whole congregation speaking a hymn to one another (Eph. 5:19)? It must be because of this specific context of Holy Spirit revelation in this section. This would have been a hymn quite literally and supernaturally “laid on his heart.”

One of the major points Paul states in this paragraph is in verse 32: “the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.” In other words, just because you have a word from the Holy Spirit does not mean you have to share it! You, man, control your mouth, and you can control your body to sit silently and wait your turn. And you, woman, can control your mouth to not speak from the Spirit at all.

One of the spiritual gifts was that of discerning or distinguishing between spirits (1 Cor. 12:10). In this way, some would pass judgment or weigh what the speaking prophet was saying (14:29). Consider the difficulty in understanding verse 35:

If there is anything they [the women] desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.

Continuing to read this passage in the specific context of the exercising of spiritual gifts, it could have been that this asking of questions was a technique used to test the spirits.

The Silence ButtonAnother possibility was that there were some wives of the prophets who wished to help guide their husbands’ gift by asking questions.

It seems reasonable to me to continue to understand this verse in the context of the exercising of spiritual gifts, however it is specifically applied. Just as 1 Corinthians 11 applies to the women who prophesy or pray (I believe she would be the one actually speaking the prayer or prophecy, not merely participating in a group in which some were praying or prophesying), so chapter 14 applies to women who wish to take some part in the speaking of tongues or prophesying in the assembly of the saints. Paul forbids them from taking part in this venue.

The big question is are there applications for us today? Many godly women believe they should apply this to any kind of leading in the general assembly of the saints. For instance, they do not think it proper to ask questions any time the whole church is gathered together. Some of the churches in Birmingham I know believe it’s wrong for a woman to answer a man’s question or read a Bible passage out loud during these assemblies.

These are intensely personal questions, and I admire the women who take a stand and walk in their faith on these things. Personally, I don’t think 1 Corinthians 14 limits a woman from speaking aloud to the whole group in the assembly, as long as she continues to walk by the general life principle of 1 Timothy 2:11-12:

Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.

I am interested to hear your thoughts. I understand this is a tough and heavily-contested passage, so feel free to raise questions or add comments to mine.

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Evolution of Thought in Progress (1 Cor. 11-14)

Evolution of Thought
Evolution of Thought

I confess my understanding of 1 Corinthians 11-14 is constantly evolving. Although it seems there is always something new to chew on, I also feel a great sense of familiarity with the old things I’ve studied over the years, and that keeps me grounded (I hope). My challenge is to not let my previous filters obscure new (and possibly more correct) understandings of the text.

May I share one of my recent discoveries?

In the past I tended to divorce chapter 11:2-16 (discussion on the head covering) with 11:17-33 (discussion on the Lord’s Supper) because of the obvious topic-starter in 11:17: “But in the following instructions I do not comment you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse.” I also tended to see a clean break between chapter 11 and chapters 12-14 because of how chapter 12 begins: “Now concerning spiritual gifts…”

But I now see a continuity of subject and thought running from 11:2 all the way to the end of chapter 14. Here are five connections I see:

1. It begins and ends with male / female roles. 1 Cor. 11:2-16 deals with the order of headship in creation (“the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God”). Paul instructs the woman to pray or prophesy with her head covered and the man to uncover his head. At the end of the section in 1 Cor. 14:34-35 Paul instructs the women to “keep silent in the churches,” thus dealing again with the issue of headship.

2. The Head Covering and Lord’s Supper discussions are connected at the beginning by “Now I commend you because…” (11:2) and “But in the following instructions I do not commend you because…” (11:17).

3. The Head Covering and Spiritual Gifts discussions are connected at the end by “If anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have not such practice, nor do the churches of God (11:16) and As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the churches (14:33-34).

Studying4. The Lord’s Supper discussion is connected with the Spiritual Gifts discussion by the phrases “when you come together as a church” (11:18), “when you come together to eat” (11:33), “If, therefore, the whole church comes together” (14:23), “when you come together” (14:26).

5. The whole section has to do with submitting to one another. Women wear a sign on their heads to show their submission to the men when praying or prophesying. Brethren submit to one another by waiting for each other to eat the Supper together. Tongue-speakers submit to the congregation by keeping silent when there is no interpreter. Prophets submit to one another by keeping silent when there is another speaking. Women submit to the men by keeping silent in the assembly.

I now see a continuity and connectivity among all four chapters (11-14). I still have great difficulty in applying 11:2-16 to the assembly, though, because it seems to conflict with 14:34-35. How can a woman wear a covering while praying or prophesying and at the same time keep silent in the assembly? I still cannot resolve this in my mind because I read the “praying or prophesying” as something the woman is actually, physically doing–not simply that someone is praying or prophesying so all women should cover their heads. I read it as if she were leading in the process.

But perhaps I’m reading it wrongly?

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Love Never Fails (1 Cor. 13:8-13)

Love Never Ends

I’ve had a tendency to take “Love never fails” (NASB) out of context. I’ve applied it to life. If you love someone, you won’t fail her. Love always endures. Love works hard and never quits.

While those things may be true, this text is not about the endurance of the one who loves; it’s about the longevity of love in comparison to the rest of the spiritual gifts.

Read the ESV text:

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1 Cor. 13:8-13)

Loving FamilyRemember we are in the middle of a three-chapter discussion concerning spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12:1). The Corinthians obviously held speaking in tongues to be the ultimate gift, but Paul says they should desire the gift of prophecy even more. In this passage, though, love trumps all those spiritual gifts.

Love is ultimate because…

  1. It is a key ingredient to the Christian faith (1 Cor. 13:1-3). If you can speak in tongues and prophesy, that’s wonderful, but those gifts are useless to you if you have not love.
  2. It reflects a Christ-like character (1 Cor. 13:4-7).
  3. It will last into eternity, long after the gifts of prophecy and tongue-speaking fail (1 Cor. 13:8-13).

While this earth lasts, we will always have a need for communicating in other languages, but just as God confounded the languages at the Tower of Babel, so I believe He will one day remove that barrier to human interaction. We see a foretaste of this on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2.

Until its fulfillment, prophecy stands, but one day Christ will return and fulfill all things and there will be no need for a word from the Lord any more because we will be with Him!

Love will still stand firm while the spiritual gifts pass away.

Love never fails = Love never ends.

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Love Is More Important… (1 Cor. 13:1-3)

Clanging CymbalsCertain keys to the universe manifest themselves, scattered among the Scriptures. They are not hidden, yet we often do not see them. God hovers near to all of us; if we would but grope for Him in our darkness, we would find Him (Acts 17:26-28).

As I read 1 Cor. 13:1-3 this morning, a great key to Scripture and to God’s heart showed itself to me. God lays this foundation, a strong base from which all other principles spring, in that He is love, we are His children, and we are called to love one another in the same way He loves us.

How important is love? you ask.

Because the Corinthian brethren placed greater import on speaking in tongues than on treating their brethren properly, Paul here gave three quick comparisons to illustrate a principle they had so greatly missed. Often, we retain the same guilt.

1. Love is more important than speaking in tongues.

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

Much to-do has been made of the tongues “of angels,” but I think, perhaps, Paul used hyperbole to show just how amazing love is. It’s greater even than if you could speak in the angels’ languages!

2. Love is more important than supernatural knowledge and faith.

If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

The second greatest gift in the minds of the Corinthians (and Paul ranks it first in 1 Cor. 14:1) was the gift of prophecy. Yet the deepest knowledge in the world does not outrank love. The absence of love renders the prophet pathetic. Amazingly, Paul here ranks love above faith! I believe here he writes of faith in the sense of strong belief and not in its fullest sense (belief + trust + submission), because love takes center stage in that kind of full faith.

3. Love is more important than dying for Christ.

And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

Burned at the StakeNo gift can earn salvation. You have nothing God needs, nothing He doesn’t already own, except perhaps your heart. We often get this reversed. We keep our hearts for ourselves and work to give up everything else like monks and ascetics have done through the ages. Perhaps we feel fasting gains salvation points. Surely all the time and money we spend on our brethren, neighbors, and the poor will gain access into the Kingdom of Heaven. And the highest proof of genuine faith would be going to our death for Christ! He couldn’t turn away His martyrs, could He? We marvel at the suicidal Muslims who blow themselves up on buses, ram airplanes into skyscrapers, and drive bomb-loaded vans into crowded buildings. We condemn their actions but wonder at their faith! They believe their bodies are the ultimate sacrifice their god requires to gain absolute entrance into their eternal future abode. Paul says no, God requires love above sacrifice!

Speaking in tongues, prophesying, knowledge, faith, giving, martyrdom…these are excellent attributes and activities, but none trumps love! Love remains foundational and essential. Without love everything else crumbles into ruin and darkness. But with love, all else becomes beautiful, purposeful, wonderful!

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Zechariah’s Eight Visions

Red HorseIf you want to do a little light reading tonight, just grab your Bible and flip to Zechariah. Which Zechariah? you ask. Oh, that’s true–there are at least twenty-seven different Zechariah’s in the Bible. I’m talking about the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo, the one who wrote the 14-chapter book right after Haggai. Yes. Good. Glad you have him pegged.

I want to remind you of Zechariah’s eight visions real quick–just to refresh your memory. Those of you who are studying Revelation may see some similar language and images between these two books.

1. The Earth Patrol (Zechariah 1:7-17)

Zechariah saw a red horse with red, sorrel, and white horses behind him. They patrolled the earth and found all to be at peace. The angel of the Lord wondered, How long will You have no compassion for Jerusalem and the cities of Judah?”

2. The Four Horns and Four Craftsmen (Zechariah 1:18-21)

Four horns scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem. Four craftsmen (blacksmiths?) came to terrify and throw down the four horns.

3. Measuring Jerusalem (Zechariah 2:1-13)

A man with a measuring line went out to measure Jerusalem to see how wide and long it was. At the time, Jerusalem was uninhabited, and the walls were torn down. God gave His word here that it would be rebuilt and reinhabited. “For thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘After glory He has sent Me against the nations which plunder you, for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye.’”

4. Joshua Clothed (Zechariah 3:1-10)

Satan stood to accuse Joshua, the high priest, but the Lord removed Joshua’s filthy garments and clothed him with clean ones. “See, I have taken your iniquity away from you and will clothe you with festal robes.”

God promised to send His servant the Branch, and He would set a stone before Joshua which would have seven eyes. “Behold, I will engrave an inscription on it, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.”

5. The Golden Lampstand and Two Olive Trees (Zechariah 4:1-14)

Two Olive TreesWhat is this lampstand with seven lamps and the two olive trees on either side?

“This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel saying, ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD of hosts.”

“What are these two olive trees on the right of the lampstand and on its left?”

“These are the two anointed ones who are standing by the Lord of the whole earth.”

6. The Flying Scroll (Zechariah 5:1-4)

The scroll flew. It bore a curse against every thief on one side and, on the other, against everyone who swore falsely (the scroll bore writing on both front and back). It would fly in the windows of the evildoers at night and burn their houses down.

7. The Lead Basket (Zechariah 5:5-11)

A woman named Wickedness sat inside the lead basket. They threw her down in the middle of the ephah and shut a lead weight over the top. Two women with wings like a stork flew off with her to Shinar to build a temple for her there.

8. The Four Chariots (Zechariah 6:1-15)

  • Red horses pulled the first chariot.
  • Black horses pulled the second.
  • White horses pulled the third.
  • Dappled horses pulled the fourth.
White Horse Chariot
White Horse Chariot

“These are the four spirits of heaven, going forth after standing before the Lord of all the earth.” They go north and south to patrol the earth.

Again, God gave another prophecy of the Branch. “He will build the temple of the LORD. Yes, it is He who will build the temple of the LORD, and He who will bear the honor and sit and rule on His throne. Thus, He will be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace will be between the two offices.”

Be sure to let me know if you have any questions :-)

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Who Were the Major Prophets? Isaiah

Outside Jerusalem
Outside Jerusalem

The Prophets have been a mystery to me for most of my life. Over the past few years I have learned a lot more about them, and it has been a beautiful unfolding! Their main message is always: “Repent!”

The Major Prophets (Isaiah through Daniel in our contemporary Bibles) represents the most prolific of the prophetic writers. They wrote the biggest books, in other words. Four men wrote five books (hint: Lamentations is not a prophet).

Isaiah prophesied at the end of the northern kingdom of Israel. When Sennacherib of Assyria vanquished Hoshea, the last of the northern Israelite kings, Hezekiah held the throne in the southern kingdom of Judah. Isaiah lived in Jerusalem and brought God’s word to the people of Judah. Sennacherib’s army marched as far as Jerusalem and lay siege to the holy city, but God delivered His people: “the angel of the LORD went out and struck 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians; and when men arose early in the morning, behold, all of these were dead. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and returned home and lived at Nineveh” (Isaiah 37:36-37). Judah remained a kingdom in the land of Palestine for another 125 years or so.

The first 39 chapters of Isaiah focus on the sins of God’s people and the nations around them. God promised to deal with all their unfaithfulness, pride, and violence. The last 27 chapters focus on a victory God would bring in a mysterious, mighty way.

Several prophecies center on the fall of Israel (Isaiah 9:8-21; 28:1-13). Several focus on the rise of Babylon (which was not yet a world power) (Isaiah 13:1-16). Interestingly enough, Isaiah also prophesied of the fall of Babylon to the Medes and Persians (Isaiah 13:17-22), which would happen over 200 years in the future! There are prophecies of the remnant which would return to the Promised Land after Babylonian captivity (Isaiah 14:1-23), even calling King Cyrus by name as the one who would send the people back (Isaiah 44:28; 45:1-7)!

Jerusalem Left; Mt. of Olives Right
Jerusalem Left; Mt. of Olives Right

But the most amazing prophecies in Isaiah’s book concern the coming Messiah and an awesome future kingdom, which would be established about 700 years in the future! Here is a small taste:

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
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 to uphold it with justice and righteousness
From then on and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:6-7)

Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold;
My chosen one in whom My soul delights.
I have put My Spirit upon Him;
He will bring forth justice to the nations. (Isaiah 42:1-4; Matthew 12:18-21)

The whole of Isaiah 53 foreshadows the cross.

Concerning salvation:

Now the LORD saw, and it was displeasing in His sight that there was no justice.
And He saw that there was no man,
And was astonished that there was no on to intercede;
Then His own arm brought salvation to Him,
And His righteousness upheld Him.
A Redeemer will come to Zion… (Isaiah 59:15-16, 20)

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
Because the LORD has anointed me
To bring good news to the afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to captives
And freedom to prisoners;
To proclaim the favorable year of the LORD
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn. (Isaiah 61:1-2; Luke 4:17-21)

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Time, Times, and Half a Time

Significant Seven
Significant Seven

The fourth beast of Daniel 7 interested Daniel but not as much as the little horn which grew out of the beast’s head. That little horn was full of itself. It boasted great things. It subdued three of the other ten horns (kings – Daniel 7:24), so it must have some power. It was different from the other kings. “He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time” (Daniel 7:25).

The fourth beast represents the Roman Empire. We understand from Daniel 2:40-44 this kingdom would be most powerful, but it would become divided. In its later years, Rome would be split into many sections. Apparently, some king (different from the others) would come along who would destroy three of the other kings. It seems this king would set himself up as a god. He would take it upon himself to make changes in times and law, the things to which only God has a right. He would assume too much authority. He would make war with the Most High and with His followers (saints – sanctified ones).

But the saints would only be in his grasp for a limited period of time (time, times, and half a time).

Compare Daniel’s fourth beast with John’s beast in Revelation 13:1-10. It came from the sea and was “like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion.” John’s beast had ten horns and seven heads. It spoke arrogant words and blasphemies. “There was given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him.” And John’s beast was given “authority to act for forty-two months.”

Notice that 42 months = the 1260 days of Revelation 12:6. And THAT was equal to “a time and times and half a time” in Revelation 12:14. If you do the math, 42 months = three and a half years. So a time (1 year), times (2 years), and half a time corresponds to three and a half years.

This is not necessarily talking about literal years. Three and a half is exactly half of SEVEN. Seven is a full, complete number. Remember God drove Nebuchadnezzar away from mankind to eat grass like cattle until seven times had passed over him (Daniel 4:32)? When seven times passed over, his time was complete. There is the significance in the number seven. So there is significance in halving the number seven. If the beast would only reign for three and a half years, it would not get to do everything it wanted to do. God would cut it off in the MIDDLE of its power. God would bring it down before it conquered the saints of the Holy One. And that is a great promise of prophecy!

I encourage you to revel in the beauty of God’s revelation – but don’t read more into it than is really there.

God bless,
Nathan

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The Fourth Beast

Bronze Claws
Bronze Claws

We gave a summary of the four beasts. We looked at the first three beasts. Now for the fourth and most important beast.

If you read Daniel 7:7, 19 you will find the following facts concerning the fourth beast:

  1. It was dreadful, terrifying, and exceedingly strong
  2. It had large iron teeth
  3. It destroyed the other three beasts
  4. It was different from the other three beasts
  5. It had ten horns
  6. It had claws of bronze

In Daniel 7:8, 20-22 you will discover another horn grew on the beast:

  1. It uprooted three of the ten horns
  2. It had eyes like a man
  3. It had a mouth which uttered great boasts
  4. It was larger in appearance than the other horns
  5. It waged war with the saints and overpowered them until the Ancient of Days passed judgment in favor of the saints

You may have noticed the four beasts of Daniel 7 correspond exactly to the four sections of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream statue in Daniel 2. They represent the same kingdoms. The legs of the statue were made of iron, so the fourth beast had teeth of iron. It would a strong (not necessarily graceful) kingdom.

We’ll look at further interpretation of this fourth beast and the little horn tomorrow, if the Lord permits. You can read Daniel 7:23-27 for the angel’s explanation.

God bless,
Nathan

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The First Three Beasts

Lion with Eagle Wings
Lion with Eagle Wings

In Daniel 7 Daniel saw four beasts which came up out of the great sea. We noticed yesterday these represented four kingdoms. Here are what I believe the first three beast represented:

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.” (Daniel 7:4)

This represented the Babylonian empire. Lions show strength. Eagles show speed. Put them together and you have a picture of great power. However, the wings of the eagle were plucked. I believe all this may have to do with the story in Daniel 4 in which Nebuchadnezzar was humiliated for a period of time.

“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!’” (Daniel 7:5)

This represented the Medo-Persian empire. Those who know history understand the Medes were not nearly as powerful as the Persians, but they were allied for a period of time. It was very much a divided kingdom. Remember back in Daniel 5:28 the last word on Belshazzar’s wall was “UPHARSIN,” which meant his kingdom would be divided and given over to the Medes and the Persians. The bear was raised up on one side to represent it’s divided nature – the Persians were higher than the Medes. Perhaps the three ribs represent three nations the new world power defeated to gain its prominence.

“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.” (Daniel 7:6)

This represented the Greek empire. If one set of wings represented swiftness, this beast was exceedingly swift! Alexander the Great would conquer the whole known world in a matter of just a few years. If you remember history, upon Alexander’s death bed his generals asked him who would become the next appointed ruler, seeing as he had no heir. Alexander, reportedly, said, “It will go to the strongest.” Sure enough, after his death, all his generals fought it out, and four of them succeeded in capturing great pieces of his kingdom. So the Greek empire was drawn and quartered.

We’ll discuss the fourth beast tomorrow, Lord willing.

God bless,
Nathan

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