Tom: You’re listening to Search the Scriptures Daily, a program in which we encourage everyone who desires to know God’s truth to look to God’s Word for all that is essential for salvation and living one’s life in a way that is pleasing to Him. Currently in this, the feature article of our program, we’re discussing Dave Hunt’s book, When Will Jesus Come? Compelling Evidence for the Soon Return of Christ.
Now, Dave, last week we mentioned that there is a certain prophecy in the Bible that if Christ’s contemporaries, from the rabbis to the disciples to, well, even John the Baptist—if they would have understood this prophecy, they would have understood the mission of Jesus. Yet they all missed it. Now, can you give us some background and tell us what that’s all about?
Dave: Well, of course, as probably many, if not most, of our listeners know, King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream, a vision. He saw this image and so forth, and he called his counselors, soothsayers, sorcerers, astrologers and what not in. He wanted an interpretation of the dream. And they said, “Okay, give us the dream and we’ll give you the interpretation.”
He says, “You scoundrels,” you know, “I know what you’re up to. If you can’t tell me the dream, then how can I trust your interpretation of it? I want to know what was my dream, because I’ve forgotten it.”
And they complained, “Never has a king ever asked such a thing of any of his advisers.”
“Okay, off with your heads! I’m going to take your heads off,” you know, and he sent out his assassins to do it. And that included all of the advisers, and Daniel happened to be one of them. And when the word became known to Daniel, he said, “Wait a minute, why is the king so hasty in this? What’s his problem? Oh, he can’t remember his dream? Well, let me go in and talk to him.” And…
Tom: Dave, just a little aside: this is a lesson for Jungian dream therapists, don’t you think?
Dave: I don’t think so, because they can’t tell you what the dream was.
Tom: But anybody thinking of going to one may read this passage. I’m sorry, go ahead.
Dave: Yeah, better not waste your time. So Daniel goes in and he says, “Well, king, what’s your problem? You can’t remember this dream? Well, there is a God who reveals secrets to his servants, and I’ll ask Him, and He’ll reveal the dream.”
So Daniel reveals the dream to the king, and he gives him all of the details, and that is one of the amazing prophecies in the Bible. It gives you the four kingdoms: “Thou, O king, art the head of gold…” The Babylonian, then the Medo-Persian, and the Grecian, and then the Roman. And the Roman kingdom is depicted by two legs of a statue, because it was broken, divided into two in 1030 when Constantine, who was the emperor, moved his headquarters to the East—what is now known as Istanbul, but he called it Constantinople, which it remained for centuries. And he left the popes in charge in Rome. In fact, they claimed later that he had given them their regalia. This is where all of this fancy stuff that the Catholic Church has, that the popes parade in, and their hat and everything. They claim that he had given that to them. And they did not claim that they had received their authority from Peter as Peter’s successor until centuries later, okay? And they put out a document called The Donation of Constantine, which even Catholics today acknowledge was a fraud.
Tom: Mm-hmm, forgery.
Dave: Yeah, it didn’t exist. So that was where they claimed to get their power, from Constantine. So you had this kingdom divided into two right there.
Then in 1050 AD when—I think it’s Pope…oh my goodness, I can’t remember the pope’s name, but he excommunicated Michael Cerularius, the patriarch of the East, because there were many papas…
Tom: Many popes.
Dave: …many patriarchs in Jerusalem, Antioch, and here and there. But because the Roman Empire had its headquarters in Rome (so you see how all of this relates to the Roman Empire), the bishop of Rome began to assert authority over all of the other bishops. So you see, he was getting his authority from Rome, from his location, not from Christ. They objected, but finally, they all kind of caved in. After all, this is the headquarters of the Roman Empire, but not in the East. The bishop (or patriarch, they called them in the East) of Constantinople said, “No, we’re not coming under your authority.”
So the pope—now he begins to be called the “pope”—begins to be called the “chief bishop.” He takes over, you know, from all the rest of them. They all follow his orders. He excommunicated the patriarch of Constantinople, Michael Cerularius. That brought about the split. In the religious part of the Roman empire between Roman Catholicism in the West and Eastern Orthodoxy in the East, Greek Orthodoxy, Russian Orthodoxy, and so forth.
So now Daniel is telling him about this vision. Amazing, the fourth empire and then the feet and the toes, the fourth empire…see, the fourth empire never was succeeded by another empire. The Babylonians were succeeded by the Medes and the Persians, Medes and the Persians succeeded by the Grecian, the Grecian empire succeeded by the Romans…no successor to the Roman empire. And you can read all the history you want, and secular writers, they always had the dream of a revival of the Roman empire, the secular governments, the kings and so forth. So this kingdom, which was split, will not be succeeded by another kingdom, it will be transformed, and you get this from the ten toes. The ten toes represent ten kings. It’s taking a long time to get to this, Tom, but a little background is helpful, I think.
Tom: Sure. I know—I’m sure this is fascinating to many of our listeners who have never heard this before.
Dave: So the ten toes represent ten kings. So when you come to Daniel:2:44, it says, “In the days of those kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom that will never be removed.” And it talks about a stone cut out without hands that smites this image on the feet, on the base, and smashes it, smashes the image. It turns to powder and blows away. And this stone cut out without hands, which is Christ and His kingdom, becomes a great mountain that fills the whole earth. So we have Christ taking over.
Very interesting, Tom. I mean, the Bible is fascinating, it’s fantastic. I love the Bible. But you understand that the Second Coming of Christ, we’re not talking about the Rapture at this point. Although this book is about the Rapture, the Second Coming of Christ cannot occur until the Antichrist has his kingdom established on this earth. Because a major purpose of the Second Coming, as 2 Thessalonians 2:8-9, around there, says: “He will destroy the Antichrist with the brightness of His coming.”
So the major purpose of the Second Coming is to destroy the Antichrist, so obviously you can’t have a Second Coming until the Antichrist has his kingdom. And that’s what this statue is about in these ten toes.
So now, the revived Roman empire, prophecy writers and speakers for centuries have suggested that it would just be a revival of Western Europe. In my opinion, no, it wouldn’t be ten nations. They get kind of excited when you had eight, and then go into nine, and so forth. Well, what do we have? Fifteen or twenty now, I don’t know. They are adding more Eastern European nations, becoming part of the European union. I think it’s obviously a worldwide empire, and it will be under ten heads.
But without going into those details, Tom, this is the verse, as you mentioned, if the disciples had known that verse—when will the kingdom be set up? When there are ten kings or ten heads over the world. Well, you know, the world has been divided into ten regions by the […] many years ago, and for computer purposes, banking purposes, and so forth. But there were not ten kings ruling under Caesar in the days of Christ. So they should not have expected His kingdom to be established, and even John the Baptist was confused. You remember in Luke 7 he sent two disciples to Jesus asking, and I wonder why he phrased the question: “Art thou He that should come, or look we for another?” So there was a person, someone (that’s the Messiah) who was prophesied to come. “Well, are You the One that was prophesied?” Well, John the Baptist, and the Pharisees and the disciples, go back and see what those prophecies said. “He that should come?” Well, somebody said someone was coming. Yeah, these were the prophets of Israel that foretold this. Well then, what did they say? Remember, the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, they’re all upset because Jesus got crucified. Wait a minute! The prophet said the Messiah would be crucified and rise again the third day, and so forth.
So anyway, a lot of talk here, Tom, to point out this prophecy, but it was a very straightforward prophecy. In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be removed. Well, those kings were not ruling then, and the disciples should have known that; John the Baptist should have known that. They should have known from the scriptures that the Messiah would come, be rejected, be crucified. He would come as the Lamb of God to bear away the sins of the world. At the Second Coming, He will come as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and He will smash this image, He will smash Antichrist’s kingdom.
So this is what’s an amazing prophecy, which we mentioned last week, that there are so many amazing prophecies in Daniel, that Daniel has been attacked probably like no other book in the Bible. Because if you are going to admit that what it says—you are going to admit when it was written, and we know when it was written, you are going to admit what it says—you will have to believe in God! That’s how clear the proof is from the prophecies.
Tom: Dave, there’s another aspect of Daniel here that I think should convict all of our hearts. For example, when he understood these prophecies and they were going to take place, in which, you know, he knew because God had given him the information…
Dave: Now you are moving on to chapter 9 now in Daniel. That’s when he understood, finally. I think we read that last week.
Tom: Right, but what we didn’t talk about last week was what he did. He didn’t say, “Oh, here’s a promise from God, I’m just going to claim it. I’m going to stand on the promise,” and then he went around being positive about it.
Dave: Right, saddled his mule and got out of…
Listen, Tom, you were raised in the Catholic Church. I was raised in the evangelical—not only evangelical, but they believed in prophecy. They talked about Israel back in her land when it looked impossible. Now, I’m old enough to remember that, and I couldn’t tell you how many guys came with a chart—boy, all done in colors, you know—“From Eternity to Eternity,” some of them were called, and began with back in pre-universe days. God alone is there, and then He creates the universe, creates the angels, creates man, and took you all the way through. Well, Daniel didn’t write up a chart and say…what would he have done? Well, it says, Jeremiah 25, I think verse 22, somewhere around there, he says, “You are going to be captives for 70 years.”
And what you’re pointing out is Daniel didn’t say, “Hey, guys, it’s just about up. Pack your bags, get ready to go.”
Tom: “Sell your homes.”
Dave: Yeah, and he prayed—and I guess we can’t do it on this program, Tom, unless you want to, but what a prayer! What a prayer he prayed, so urgent. And one of the things that Daniel points out in this prayer, he doesn’t say, “Lord, just because You said it,” or, you know, “You love Your people; do it for Israel’s sake.” He says, “For Your great namesake, Lord. This is because of Your grace and Your goodness.”
So he is praying, as you point out, Tom, he’s praying for the accomplishment of a prophecy that he just understood. Now, there is more to it, and…
Tom: Dave, why would he pray…and a lot of people think this way today. You know, we don’t want to mock anybody here, but there is such a movement here, people with great enthusiasm—“I’m standing on the Word of God, I’m claiming the promise,” you know. “I’m binding Satan, I’m doing this, I’m doing that.” But somehow that loses the heart of God there. It then becomes, whether they’re aware of it or not, a kind of a works thing.
“Now, God’s only going to move if I can conjure up enough faith and really stand on it.”
Not that we’re not to stand fast; we are to do that, but…
Dave: Well, there are a number of elements, Tom: his repentance; he’s repenting for himself. And I don’t know that Daniel had anything to repent of, but he’s repenting on behalf of his people. They don’t deserve to be restored. So first of all, he is repenting for them. Then also, Jeremiah said seventy years: “After seventy years you’re going to be brought back.” So when do we count those seventy years?
And I would suggest, anyone out there, you want to…I did a detailed study on this. This is where Daniel’s prayer comes in. The temple had been started, and then it had been abandoned because there were enemies. You go back and read Nehemiah and Ezra, and so forth, and they sent a letter to the king, and they said, “This is a city that has caused much trouble for kings in the past. Now you can’t let them rebuild it,” and so forth, and they’ve got a temple there, and all the work was stopped, and you… Well, I give you the details of it that I studied out very carefully, how that Daniel's prayer comes just when it is needed to restart the construction of the temple. And I believe that God used that to complete the temple on the right time for the seventy-year desolation of Jerusalem. And anyone that wants to get that study, we will send it to you free. Just call a number that Gary will give you, or e-mail us and just tell them what you want, and we’ll be happy to send it to you.
Tom: Dave, one other aspect of this—let me start reading a little bit of the prayer, okay. Daniel begins: “And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes…”
Dave: Boy, he is really serious about this.
Tom: Exactly. “…and I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments; We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments: Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.”
Now, Dave, that’s just four verses out of, you know, it goes on. I read from v. 3 through v. 6, so somebody can read the rest. But, you know, we have people going around today saying, “What we need is national repentance for the sins of this.” They’re confessing how we treated the Indians, how we treated—you know, as though this is going to trigger something by using this. Now, what’s the difference?
Dave: The big difference is that Daniel is praying according to a promise, and he’s praying for the fulfillment, but he’s realizing the people of God ought to recognize the true God, and we ought to confess our sins. If we are going to go back to the land when God tells us we will, we’ve got to be in touch with Him. We’ve got to be obedient to His Word.
Now, Tom, as you were reading that, I can tell you the thought going through my mind. Everything that Daniel says about Israel at that time is even more applicable today about Israel. Most of them don’t believe anything. Even the rabbis who would claim to be Orthodox, and so forth, they don’t believe this prophecy. They don’t recognize the prophecies. They need to repent! How far have they gotten from God? Wow! Many of them are New Agers. Tom, you remember when we were over there, and standing at that kibbutz at the base of the Golan, and the leader tells us he’s an atheist. And I said, “You don’t believe in God?”
“No, of course not,” he claimed. Remember, 90 percent of the kibbutzim were atheistic. Well, they were Communistic, and I said, “You don’t believe that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob gave this land to your forebears?” You remember this?
Dave: And he says, “No, we don’t believe that.”
“Well,” I said, “what better claim do you have to it than the Arabs?” So the point I’m trying to make is Israel is so far from God today. Thirty percent claim to be atheists; the rest of them don’t really believe. Well, there are some believers, Tom, and thankfully, some in the military. They need to pray this prayer. If Israel would pray this prayer, God would intervene.
Tom: And, of course, not just to some methodology or some technique. They have to believe it, they have to desire to know Him and what He wants, what He desires.
Dave: Exactly. They’ve got to really repent and get back to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who called them as His chosen people and said they were to be holy.
Tom, it’s a tragedy, and we Christians are to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. And we know there will never be real peace until the Prince of Peace, that is, the Messiah himself, returns, rescues them in the midst of Armageddon. But still, I pray that more Jews, more Israelis would come to know Christ. And there is great movement over there among Israelis. I know a number of them, in the armed forces, for example, who are genuine Christians. And I won’t start identifying them because they have to be cautious about that. On the other hand, there are officers, Christian officers in the IDF, Israeli Defense Forces, who have Bible studies together, and that is known. Well, this is an amazing, amazing book, Daniel, and amazing prophecies. I’m sorry we didn’t get very far.