I’m going to invite you to turn to Daniel 7 where we’ll be today. Some of you, if you’ve been in our series together, you know what we’re about to hit up today. If you’re just joining us, welcome to Alpine Bible Church. I want you know that you have picked Eschatology Sunday to be here with us where I’m going to tell you the exact time Jesus is going to return to this earth and it will be whenever he pleases. That is the answer of my prediction there.
Eschatology, it’s interesting to study and I find a difficult subject to dialogue over because people get heated over this maybe faster than any subject I can think of in Christianity. I feel like when you’re in Christian circles for long enough, someone just wants to suggest, “Let’s do a Bible study on Revelations,” and then you just want to say, “It’s Revelation, please, not Revelations.” And then you get into all these crazy things on eschatological beliefs that people hold to. I like it when people pull up the trump card. They’ll say things like, well when you don’t agree with one another, they say things like, “Well, I take the Bible literal,” and implying that you don’t do that and therefore, you must be mistaken.
When it comes to the nature of studying eschatology, Revelation, apocalyptic literature which what we’re looking at today, by very nature of that type of literary genre, it demands that you don’t start off taking it literal because it’s symbolic. And symbolic mean it applies to something in the world but symbolism is not intended to be taken literal from the get go. I think I’ve said this to you before. I seriously doubt anyone here expects to see the great Whore of Babylon floating on the back of a dragon across the sky. When you say you take those things literal, it’s really a matter of to what degree and first trying to understand the symbolism.
So I want you to know, we look at this eschatology this morning starting with Daniel 7. I’ll give you some of the things on what I think particularly what it means and why in the world it should even matter to us. But I feel like for the church, one of the best things that we could do in studying this is really approach it with good interpretation long before we ever look at application and that means when the Bible is first written, it was intended to mean something to the audience there and then before it was intended to mean something to us today. It was first written to them but through this time, listen, it still makes application to our lives. And so when we talk about the idea of eschatology, I think it’s far more important for us to begin with the idea of what it means there and then before we dive into all that.
So let me give you a little bit of a backdrop in leading into where we are in Daniel and then I want to dive into this text this morning in Daniel 7. In the story of Daniel, you remember the first six chapters of this book, this book is 12 chapters long, the first six chapters are narrative and the last six chapters are prophetic. They’re apocalyptic by nature and so because of that, Daniel was categorized as a prophetic book. And so the book breaks down nicely. We see Daniel taken as a young man into captivity. He spends 70 years in captivity, grows into a much older man in captivity, and the Lord still works in his life, communicated with him in those six chapters. We see from Daniel as a young teenager, probably middle school age, all the way into his 80s, God still ministering to the people through Daniel. And you see it just unfold in six short chapters.
And then you come to this chapter 7 and Daniel still seeking God’s faith because his people are in captivity and God, as he’s shown through Daniel in six chapters, how he was right there and he was working out his plan. He looks prophetically into the future to let God’s people know that he is going to continue to work, that God’s not finished with them yet and he desires to work within them. Now when you consider the context of this passage, I think Psalm 137, if you want a Psalm that grabs the attitude and the approach of the people in Babylonian captivity, Psalm 137.
I’m not going to read the whole Psalm, just consider this opening verse. This, I think, shares Daniel’s heart and where he is in all of this and it says, “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down and wept when we remembered Zion.” This is the place of God’s people. Jerusalem was this representation of the greater work of what God is doing with his people in Israel. And so this attitude as they think about being in Babylon, their heart is still broken for what they know, where God has led them, or what God has called them to. And so in the context of this story, Daniel’s soul is looking for a future and really, I think your soul is looking for shalom, a place to rest, a place of peace.
I think the idea of peace is important just to talk about for a moment. But when we think about peace in our lives, we really mean make your kids be quiet, everyone go away, let me sit in a dark room, just rock back and forth. I need peace. But when God talks about peace, his idea of peace is much bigger than your temporal unsatisfactory idea than one we work for a couple minutes. So God’s idea of peace is this total restoration of what was lost. If you read in Romans 8, it tells us all creation is groaning. And so we’re looking for this peace that doesn’t just restore our soul in the moment but is this everlasting peace not just for ourselves but for all of creation, which is what brings us to our apocalyptic literature because it’s this idea of looking into the future. We get this word apocalyptic from apocalypsis which is the word for, in English, revelation.
And so apocalyptic literature, I’ve already told you, it employs symbolic and figurative language to describe a future divine intervention and this is where people can sometimes just go bananas on all kinds of interpretations. Really, I want to lay out a few of those and seeing some pictures as we go through these chapters together and how people come to different answers through what is represented in this apocalyptic literature and why it’s not always easy. But if you have ever read apocalyptic literature, you’re like what in the water is going on here? I do not have the master’s degree to figure this out.
I want you to know that in approaching this, you’re in good company because when you read these chapters of Daniel, the last six chapters of this book, Daniel continues to say that. And if anyone should know exactly what all of this means, it should be Daniel. But you see in these chapters that Daniel is even asking questions like, “What are you talking about?” And then after God gives an explanation, he’s like, “Okay, but what are you talking about?” So like for example, in Daniel 7:28, this is what he says in the chapter we’re looking at today, “At this point, the revelation ended. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts were greatly alarming me and my face grew pale, but I kept the matter to myself.”
So he’s like, “Ah, I can’t figure this out. This is difficult.” In Daniel 8:27, listen to this, “Then I, Daniel, was exhausted and sick for days. Then I got up again and carried on the king’s business; but I was astounded at the vision and there was no one to explain it.” And that’s after God explained it to him. And so when you look at this form of literature, it is somewhat difficult to wrestle with and a lot of the symbolic language that’s used takes itself out of the Old Testament. So if you’re looking at for instance Revelation, a lot of the symbolic language used there takes itself out of the Old Testament. So to really understand Revelation, you need to have a good grasp of the Old Testament, especially the prophetic portions of the Old Testament.
And not all of Revelation comes from the Old Testament. Some of it is directly out of the history at the time. For example, you read Revelation and starting chapter 4 and chapter 5, it talks about the 24 elders before the throne room of God and what in the world does 24 elders mean. And people have speculated, this is some of the conclusions they’ve come up with is well, there’s 12 tribes of Israel, there’s 12 apostles, therefore 24 must be the combination of both of those. I don’t think that that’s accurate.
I think what’s happening if you read that story is these 24 elders were before the throne of God casting their crowns before him saying, “We’re not Lord. You’re Lord. You’re worthy,” bowing before him in his throne room. And I think that throne room represents the heavenly temple of God, God’s dwelling place. This is his throne from where he rules. The earthly temple was a picture of the heavenly temple and the 24 elders, if you study it historically, it took 24 priests to carry on the function within the temple during the time that John was writing Revelation.
And so I think what John is doing is representing God’s people in that picture as holistically in the 24 elders that are before the throne and the lamb, which is symbolic of the temple in which God dwells in. And so you need to not only have an understanding of a little bit of history and good commentary, but you also got to practice some patience in working through it. And so a good commentary will help through some of that stuff but Revelation, apocalyptic literature, the book of Daniel, it’s not always easy to work through but good news, we’re going to do it today.
Now that I’ve said that it’s not necessarily easy and through all these adverse things and even Daniel is like, “What in the world is going on?” Maybe you ask the question, why shall I study this passage of scripture if it’s so hard, especially for people like Daniel? What am I going to do? What am I going to get out of this and why is this important to me? Well, I think especially when it comes to Daniel 7, we should be answering this question because Daniel 7 is quoted almost five dozen times in the New Testament a most of the time, it’s quoted. It’s quoted by Jesus. And so Jesus, alluding to his ministry and what he’s carrying out looks to Daniel 7 as a primary basis for our understanding of exactly who he is.
And so when you can wrestle with this passage and walk away with some thoughts as to what’s being talked about in the section, I think this chapter especially will create some color in the way that you read scripture that will just bring it to life in your study and understanding. In addition to that, when you, for example, turn to the book of Revelation, the book begins and ends with these thoughts. It says in Revelation 1, “Blessed are you if you hear its words.” And at the end of the book, Revelation 22:7, “Blessed are you if you heed its words.” And so there’s something about the understanding of scripture in which there are blessings especially as it relates to the apocalyptic literature.
Now when it comes to the idea of Revelation, I want to tell you, out of all the things that you can study theologically, apocalyptic literature and predicting the future is not necessarily the best hill to die on. I think there’s some big picture ideas that are important but there are some particulars where you just need to provide some flexibility and what I mean is as a church, theologically, God’s people, there are things historically that we stand for and there are hills to die on. The deity of Christ, announcing of scripture, the trinity, who is God, what is salvation. Those are pillars of Christianity. And when it comes to will you give your life for that, for your faith in that, at the end of the day, I want to say yes. And I hope when the time comes that I’ll prove faithful or if the time comes, I’m faithful to it.
When it comes to apocalyptic literature, I think it’s worth just saying when you read the New Testament, people didn’t get the first coming of Jesus right. And I don’t want to be so arrogant as to say this morning I’ve got everything figured out as it relates to the second coming. I know there are Bible teachers that will stand up and tell you everything specific about the New Testament and how it relates to everything going on today and who specifically the Antichrist is and how everything was designed as it relates to specific nations and Jesus is coming tomorrow and they give you exact dates. I’m going to tell you that is not me.
I would way rather walk in interpretation in a time in which it was written and give an idea of what I think it is and provide some flexibility just to keep learning and growing in this area, because I don’t think I necessarily have all of it figured out. And I think that’s a much better approach to this topic than just dogmatically slamming down the pedal and moving forward without listening to scholars that have spent several hours and really lifetime in trying to figure out what these things mean and even being honest with them. They’re not always as dogmatic. It could be knowing how much time they spent in studying these things.
Now all of that being said, I’m going to dive into Daniel 7. Now remember when I told you in this book breaks down that Daniel 7 really aligns itself with Daniel 2. And chapter 2 and 7 become a gateway to explain the rest of this book. So if you were here for Daniel 2, remember we talked about the golden image and the rock coming and crushing it and that image, or not a golden image, but the image, the statue had four different layers to it representing four kingdoms. And so when you get to Daniel 7, he plays on that thought again of that representation taking place here. And so he’s saying to Daniel, this is how I see things transpiring and this is how I’m going to work my plan on history. It works with opposing nations to God. It works while people may be contrary to the Lord, God is still able to move his plan forward and he demonstrates that by declaring what the future will hold.
And so Daniel 7, I want to pick up in verse 2. It says this, “Daniel said, ‘I was looking in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea.'” So the four winds represent four corners, I think, like a compass. The ends of the earth is represented here. And so these winds of heaven and they’re stirring up the great sea. To people in his time, the sea was considered a place of chaos. When God created in Genesis 1, he tells us that he creates the earth and there’s this sea and it is chaotic. And so the idea of water when it’s mentioned in the Old Testament especially is this thought of chaotic description of uncertainty.
And then from that sea comes four great beasts were coming up from the sea different from one another. It tells us a little later in Daniel that these four beasts represent four kingdoms. It happens in verse 17. Interesting thing about these beasts as we start to read in this section of the scripture is that these beasts are hybrid beasts. They have two separate types of animals that are mixed together in them. When you study Old Testament law, Leviticus 11, Deuteronomy 14, by Israel’s law, they would’ve been considered unclean animals because the nature of these beasts are representing something that’s contrary to God’s desire, God’s plan of his holiness. These beasts are described as unclean characters.
And so when it begins to describe this beast, it does it similar to Daniel 2 in the statue in four different types. And so it says in verse 4, “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 is a representation of Babylonian kingdom. It was the first kingdom listed on the statue of Daniel 2. The Babylonian kingdom, you can go back archaeologically and see they had winged lions throughout the kingdom and then the representation of their animal.
But when they described these animals here, it’s characteristic to the type of empire in which they had. The lion was the king of the land and the eagle was the king of the air, and Babylon was the world power that controlled it all. And so you see this is symbolically representative, and they weren’t just talking about a man. People often question what this could be as it relates to the kingdom but if you remember in Daniel 4, most people assume that that’s just where it comes from. That King Nebuchadnezzar lost his mind, went out to the fields like a wild animal, he ate from the fields, and then God gave him his mind back. He stood back up upright as a man. So people think that that’s probably what it alludes to.
And then when it gets to verse 5, “And behold, another beast, a second one resembling a bear. And it was raised up on one side with three ribs in its mouth between its teeth and thus they said to it, ‘Arise, devour much meat.'” When he talks about the bear, if you think about the empires that followed leading up to Jesus, the next one was the Persian empires, I’ve said it to you. But the truth is it’s not just completely the Persian empire. That was the dominant empire. The Medes and the Persians combined together to create this empire.
And so when you look at this bear, it’s saying this bear is standing up but it’s sort of kiltered where one side is a little bigger than the other and when the Medes and Persians came together, the Persian empire demonstrated to be more powerful. And when they went conquering this world, there were three major battles that they completed in order to conquer this Babylonian Empire and I said that’s what’s represented by the ribs within its mouth.
And then, “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.” After the Persian Empire, came the Greeks. Alexander the Great conquered the known world. I think by the age of 32, historically, it’s said that he had conquered the known world and this has not been proven but they say when Alexander conquered the known world that his response was to immediately start crying because there was nowhere left to conquer.
And so like a leopard, the speed of a leopard, Alexander the Great went throughout the known world conquering the world and he died at a young age. History, I think, says he went into some kind of drunken stupor and died. And then he had four generals who are under him and his kingdom was divided into four parts, which is what’s represented here by the four heads. After the Greek Empire, when you look at these empires, it’s like the Persians come in and swallowed up the Babylonian Empire and the Greeks come in and swallowed up the Persian Empire.
And then you get this last empire that’s the scariest of all in its description. It says, “After this I kept looking in the night visions and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrifying.” That said scary. So dreadful and terrifying is more biblically correct. “And extremely strong and it had large iron teeth. It devoured and crushed and trampled down the remainder with its feet.” I think it’s describing some of you in the morning before your morning coffee. “And it was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had 10 horns. While I was contemplating the horns, behold, another horn, a little one came up among them. And three of the first horns were pulled out by the roots before it and behold, this horn possessed eyes like the eyes of human and a mouth uttering great boasts.”
Now what does that mean? I don’t know. I quit. No, just … Okay. What is this talking about? Well, this is in reference to the Roman Empire which it has 10 horns. And from that comes a little horn, and some people will talk about this more in the future. I’m not going to get to this today. But this little horn is representation of the anti-Christ. The rest of Daniel keeps going back to these thoughts and that’s why I’m going hold off on the specifics of that as we look into the future.
But it talks about these 10 horns and people have speculated as to what in the world these 10 horns represent and this little horn I just told you is the anti-Christ. But I’ll give you the gamut of what 10 horns could possibly be. Some have suggested in Rome, if you study the Caesars that rule Rome, that there were 10 real Caesars that ruled Rome. There’s actually 12 but two of them only ruled for just a couple of months. So there’s 10 legitimate Caesars that ruled Rome. And so when it talks about these 10 horns coming out of Rome, that’s what it’s symbolizing.
Others have said well, the number 10 is just a number of completeness. So it’s showing that from Rome, there will be this type of ruling that will take place until the time of completeness comes. So it’s not really necessarily saying 10 kings as much as just saying a completeness of rulers. Others have suggested that if you study the Roman Empire, once the Roman Empire starts to come to an end that these areas of Rome where divided into 10 provinces, states, or regions. And from that, if you study historically, about 453, I think it is, or maybe 483 AD, you see these 10 regions and one guy comes and actually conquers three of them. And so they’re saying that that might be symbolic of what’s taking place here.
But in all of that, what is recognizing for us, if I just think of major picture for a moment, God is saying to Daniel, “I’m not finished with you yet. I want you to take a look into the future with me, and this is how I’m going to work things out.” And so he paints this picture taking place that these kingdoms that will rise and these rulers that will lead and up to this fourth kingdom that will look most dreadful in all. And even when you study, the Rome as it’s broken out historically, you see God’s people under massive persecution during certain periods of the Roman Empire starting with Nero, who was responsible for crucifying Peter and Paul or crucifying Peter and beheading Paul and lighting Christians on fire. And Domitian, Diocletian. Diocletian’s on the record is saying he wants to destroy every book on the Bible and wipe Christianity off the map.
And so you see this dreadful empire that is born. In fact, when John writes the Book of Revelations, I believed he’s writing in exile because he is a follower of Christ. And he writes apocalyptically so that people can’t decipher the message but only God’s followers will understand what the symbolism represents. And so you see the idea of this beast carrying itself out. And so if you look at this, your mind might get a little helpless as to the state of how things are going. And so from here, this is where God says in Daniel 7:9, “I kept looking until thrones were set up. And the ancient of days took his seat. His vesture was like white snow and the hair of his head like pure wool and his throne was ablaze with flames. Its wheels were a burning fire.”
So he’s giving us this description of God. He refers to him as the ancient of days. When he talks about him being white as snow and his hair like wool, it’s showing holiness and wisdom. The idea of white is one of purity, representing holiness, and the idea of wool for his hair is actually representing of wisdom. In fact, when you read Ecclesiastes 12, I think it’s verse 9 to verse 13, it uses the word wise twice at the end of the book of Ecclesiastes and that word wise actually means gray hair. That’s literally how it’s translated and into English, we make it wise because we understand what it’s saying.
But the picture of God here in these passages is one who is holy, one who’s pure, one who is wise. And it talks about around his throne are flames which, again, represents holiness but also carries this idea of judgment. And wheels were burning, and the idea of a wheel is the circumference of his judgment and so because it’s circular, it’s saying it has no end. That God, in his authority, reaches to the ends in his judgment and power according to this fire at work. And then in verse 10, “A river of fire was flowing and coming out from before him.” And this river is a representation of life. “And so this judgment is coming out from him and thousands upon thousands were attending him and myriads upon myriads were attending before him. The court sat and the books were opened.”
Now it says something interesting there. I don’t have it on the screen, but verse 11, it then goes back to this little horn. In verse 11 and 12, it talks about this little horn again and this little horn is speaking blasphemy, and Daniel is looking at him like, “You have better shut your mouth, boy. What are you doing saying against God?” And so this little horn is just declaring blasphemy against God and Daniel is wondering how this is all going to play out. I think the play out really starts for the little horn when the Daniel gets his explanation in verse 23. But he’s watching this little horn as it relates to this what in the world is this guy talking when God is demonstrating his authority here.
And then he goes a little further and starts to give this other explanation or this addition to that explanation. It says, “I keep looking in the night visions. And behold with the clouds of heaven, one like a son of man.” I need you to hold on to that word. If you were here for the Mark series, you might be familiar with it. But he sees one like the son of man who is coming. And he came up to the ancient of days, and was presented before him. And to him, talking about the son of man, was given dominion, glory, and the kingdom that all the peoples, nations, and men of every language might serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away, and his kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.
So when it talks about the son of man, it gives this idea of one, him being a man but also having characteristics of God, everlasting dominion, people bowing before his authority. And in fact, Isaiah 42:8, it tells us that God will not give his glory to any other but himself. And so you see this idea of deity being proclaimed in verse 14, but you also see this idea of humanity being discussed in verse 13 as it relates to the son of man. Ancient of days, son of man.
When Jesus arrives in the gospels, angel Gabriel announced his birth on Luke 1:32. Listen to this. “He will be great. He’ll be called the son of the most high and the Lord will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever and of his kingdom, there will be no end.” Daniel 7, Jesus proclaimed this, Mark 1:15, saying, “The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel.” Mark 2, Jesus said this, “The son of man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Jesus went on saying in the same chapter, “The son of man is lord even of the Sabbath.”
In Matthew 28:18, “All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me.” Jesus made that declaration. Just before Jesus was crucified before the high priest, the high priest asked Jesus, “Are you the Messiah, the son of the blessed one?” And Jesus responded, “I am. And you will see the son of man seated at the right hand of power and coming with the clouds of heaven.” And then it says tearing his clothes, the high priest said, “What further need do we have of witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy. How does it seem to you?” And they all condemned him to be deserving of death and some began to spit on him and to blindfold him and to beat him with their fist and to say to him prophesy, and the officers received him with slaps in the face.
When Jesus describes himself to the high priest, he uses Daniel 7 and then he talks about coming in the clouds, which is the authorities of heaven with him. That’s the demonstration of all heaven’s authorities coming with the king. So Jesus is calling himself lord of lords. And when you open up in the Book of Revelation 1, this is how it starts in verse 7, “Behold, he is coming with the clouds. Every eye will see him, even those who pierced him. All the tribes of the earth will mourn over him. So it is to be. Amen. I am the alpha and omega, says the lord God, who is, who was, and who is to come.” So Jesus, in chapter 7, he calls himself the Lord God, the beginning and the end, demonstrating himself to be the same that’s described in Daniel 7.
Now, you look at the story and you see Jesus referred to plainly here, you can see, as the son of man. How do you deal with the ancient of days? Remember in Daniel 2, I said to you the prophecy that Nebuchadnezzar received, I should say. It was in 2. There’s writing on the wall, and I used that time to theologically show you how God the Father does not have a physical body. In fact, there’s no scripture to support that God the Father has a physical body. When you look in 1 Timothy 6:16, it tells us no one has seen God, no one will ever see God.
In John 4:24, “God is spirit.” In Luke 24:39, I think it is, a spirit has no flesh and bones. That Jesus, a part of the triune God, became flesh. That happens in John 1:14, and starts to tell us that Jesus became flesh and he expatiates or explains the Father. Colossians 2:9, John 14, Jesus said in the beginning of that chapter, “He who has seen me has seen the Father,” meaning if you want to know what God the father is like characteristically, just look at Jesus. Jesus demonstrates him. So the Godhead does not have physical form or physical body until Jesus becomes flesh.
Now anthropomorphically, God is described as having characteristics in physical form and is not just at some points you might see like we saw on Daniel, “God has a hand,” it said as he wrote on the wall. But other times, God is described as a bear. Even in Revelation, God is described as an eagle. God is described as a mountain. And so anthropomorphically, it’s trying to give us characteristics of which we could think about God, relate to God or understand God. And so when it talks about the ancient of days, I think the same thing is happening here. But here’s one of the interesting thing. When you get to Revelation 1 which I just read from and then you look in verse 13. Let me see if I put it. I put it up here, good. Look at this.
If you remember the description of the ancient of days, Daniel 7, and you read Revelation 1:13, “In the middle of the lamp stand, I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching the feet and girded across his chest with a golden sash. His head and his hair were white like white wool, like snow, and his eyes like a flame of fire. His feet were like burnished bronze when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters.” So remember the rushing of the river that came from the ancient of days. And so what you see here is the same characteristics described with the ancient of days on Revelation 7 are the same characteristics given to Jesus in … Excuse me, in Daniel 7 is given to Jesus in Revelation 1:13.
Now you get all that theologically lay off. Let me give you some explanation. If your head is spinning right now, I want to slow down. And I don’t want to give us some so whats as it relates to this. You see these kingdoms and then you see Jesus coming, and if you remember the first story that we read about the statues. It tells us that these four kingdoms represented the statue and at the bottom, there were 10 toes made of clay which represents the same as the 10 horns on Daniel 7. And this stone comes and it crushes the feet of the statue, and the statue is toppled into dust.
And you read in Daniel 7 and you see four kingdoms, and then all of a sudden the ancient of days. The ancient of days gives this explanation and the little horn runs its mouth, and then the son of man comes in. But the question really then becomes all these kingdoms have ruled and then after the Roman kingdom or after the Roman kingdom, Jesus shows up. Where is that kingdom? Where is that ruling? Where is that peace? When Jesus came, why hasn’t all of it been taken care of? Why do we still sit with kingdoms that blasphemy God? How does that look?
In 2 Peter 3, they asked the same question. Verse 4, they ask the same question. Where is thy God? You guys say that Jesus is coming to establish his kingdom, but where is it? And in verse 8, they start to give an answer to that. I want you to just think about this for a minute. I won’t have time to go through this today because I’m unsure. But in verse 23 of Daniel 7, you can go read this a little bit later. This starts talking about this beast running his mouth and I think it’s talking about this beast running his mouth after Jesus has already come to introduce his kingdom but not having fully established the kingdom.
And what you’ll read as you go on from chapter 7 and starting in verse 25, you see this declaration being made. And then all of a sudden, in verse 27, it says this, “Then the sovereignty, the dominion, and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the highest one. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey him.” So I think what it’s saying is there will be judgment brought against this little horn and then after all that has taken place, God will ultimately give his kingdom over to his people.
Well, I think 2 Peter 3 is getting to where is the promise of his coming, that’s what they asked. Where is this kingdom of which he promised to come? And in verse 8, he starts off this way. It says, “Well, one day is a thousand years to the lord and a thousand years is one day to God.” Meaning God doesn’t function on your timeline. But then it goes on and says this, “To God, time is not really what’s important but the Lord is not slow about his promise as you might count it slowness, but is patient towards you, not wishing for any to perish but all come to repentance.”
And so when Jesus’ ministry started, this is what I think has happened. In Daniel 7, “The son of man came and he declared his kingdom.” And I introduced those passages to you starting Mark 1:15, Jesus said, “The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand.” So Jesus declared it. But then he also said if you’re going to pray, pray in this way, our father which art in heaven. He goes on and say thy kingdom come, thy will be done. So he tells us to pray for the coming of that kingdom. In fact, at the end of Revelation, the thought is come Lord Jesus.
So what is this? What is this? If God’s kingdom has come, where is this kingdom? I think Jesus came and he spiritually set us free and I think he’s ruling and reigning in heaven right now. In fact, Acts 7, when Stephen, the first martyr, gives us a glimpse into heaven, you see Jesus standing before the throne there. A demonstration that he’s there ruling and reigning, but the fullness of his kingdom has not come. Why? Because with the fullness of his kingdom comes his wrath against everything that opposes it.
And so what Peter is saying is that God has delayed the fullness of its arrival. Why? Not willing for any to perish, for all come to repentance. So what does this become for us? An act of his grace. An opportunity for you and for me to declare this gospel of this king that sets us free in this world that we may all come to know him. What this statement is saying is don’t delay. You’re created for this king. You’re created to belong. And Jesus is extending his hand of grace for your opportunity to know him, and to rest in his grace and find security in his throne. When we look in Psalm 137, they weep on the rivers of Babylon thinking about Zion and Daniel looking to the future. He wants to owe that peace.
And what they’re saying in the story is that peace is that grace, that opportunity, it’s still be extended to you and to I. That the king has come to deliver his kingdom and ultimately, he will return with his authority. And some of you may have come to hear this special word that reminds us of when exactly that’s going to take place, and we might reference in our lives as this little word called Armageddon. You ever heard of that? Armageddon, right? When you think of Armageddon, you think destruction and pandemonium and chaos and crazy. But I really want us to understand what is exactly being communicated by this word Armageddon. It comes in, excuse me, Revelation 16. If you look in verse 14 for just a moment, there’s this teaching of this word called Armageddon.
And I’m going to remind you when I taught about the statue in chapter 2, we went to Revelation 17 and I walked you through to 17 to 21 very quickly, but I walked you through chapter 17 and 21. And I told you that chapter 17 and 21 is a tale of two cities. Chapter 17 is Babylon, where I don’t think it’s necessary that Babylon has to be resurrected. People teach that which is not necessary. But Babylon becomes a representation of a world dominant empire. So chapter 17, you see this what’s called the whore of Babylon or the harlot of Babylon. She’s decked out in gold. She’s attracting the world to her. And in verse 18, you see this funeral dirge of her death.
And then you see God coming in 19 as a warrior with a robe that is dipped in blood and a tattoo down the side of his leg, this is king of kings and lord of lords, and a sword comes out of his mouth. It is crazy Jesus. And then in 19:20-21, then you see this new Jerusalem coming out for God’s people, and all of that unfolding. I think the culmination of all those events described really happens here with the start of Armageddon. What is Armageddon? Well, Armageddon literally is Har-Megiddo. All it really means is not … When I say what’s Armageddon guys? And you’re like, “Destruction and the chaos. It’s WWE. Whatever, professional …” Whatever, whatever.
Anyway, so but Armageddon literally means Har-Megiddo, which is the hill in front of a valley. Megiddo is a particular valley and har is hill. And so when we talked about Armageddon, it’s talking about a battle from this mountain overlooking this valley. But when you study Megiddo, Megiddo has a very specific historical significance to people. Megiddo was a part of an ancient trade route and if you could control that area of the world, it was thought that you could control the world. In fact, some scholars have said more battles had been fought in this valley than anywhere else in history. More blood has been shed for this region of the world than anywhere else.
And so when you look at this area on the map, you would see the Megiddo, Megiddo actually brings in Europe, Asia, and Africa. The way to the valley sets itself, it finds itself in between these mountain ranges or these hills that are very difficult to pass through. And so you need to go through this valley area in order to get to anywhere from Africa into Europe or into Asia. And so when you think about Megiddo, if you wanted to control the world, this was a region in which you wanted to dominate. So whoever had the power of Megiddo, had the power of the world.
In fact, Solomon, the richest king in Israel’s history, it says this about him in 1 Kings 9. You want to know how he got his wealth? Well, God gave him his wealth but this is the way it worked, “King Solomon levied to build the house of the Lord with his own house, the Millo, the wall of Jerusalem, then Hazor, Megiddo and Gezer.” So Solomon controls that trade route. He controls the city before Megiddo and the city after Megiddo, but he wants to make sure that he is in control within this area. And that commerce and that control of that region of the world allowed him to grow with the power in which he possessed. It was the magnitude of Israel’s strength.
And so when we talk about Megiddo, what this represents is control of the world. And so when it talks about Armageddon, maybe in a very specific sense, it could mean all the powers of the world assemble on this one valley and fight. But I want to tell you, and they’re going to fight against God. But I’m going to just tell you, if you find yourself in a place where people were like, “Hey, we’re all jumping on the plane with some guns. We’re going to fight God in a valley called Megiddo.” I’m going to tell you, don’t participate. It’s not going to go out well with you, okay? But at the very least, what this symbolizes is there is a power and a battle taking place for control.
I think it very much has to do with the soul of humanity. Armageddon could represent in a sense you and I. God’s desires, king of kings and lord of lords versus this prostitute of Babylon offering us the gold of society that will ultimately not satisfy. One of the most interesting things I think about this valley, when you literally stand on Har-Megiddo, the hill that overlooks Megiddo, if you were just to turn around and look behind you, you would see another hill. On that hill is a little city. They call that city Nazareth. As a little boy, Jesus stood on the hill that overlooked Megiddo thinking as a son of man, he came to serve to give his life. And one day, he would return with his authority to declare it over the worlds.
When you think about the kingdom of God, you ask the question, where is it? I think Jesus is ruling and reigning right now but I think physically, he will return but he’s delayed. His delay is what Peter said, “Not willing any to perish but all come to repentance.” God’s delay is for you and I to see the significance of who he really is. To read a passage like Daniel and as Daniel read these passages, it says he was sick, he was pale, he thought about how drastic these things were but at the same time, how incredibly hopeful it becomes for God’s people. While the world rages against God, God continues to give his grace.
So for us this morning, this becomes the place for us to look at this seriously, to realize the significance of every day of our lives for the king who will ultimately come declare this over the world. And to think the battle of Armageddon, honestly, it’s happening every day over the souls of people. Maybe even yours. If by an act of faith, you trust in Christ, knowing that the son of man came to this world to give his life that you may call him my Lord and my God, your savior and your king.