Our Day in Bible Prophecy

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1 Our Day in Bible Prophecy Joe Maniscalco PPPA W elcome to Prophecies of Hope, an exciting study of Daniel and the Revelation. Have you ever felt Bible prophecy is too difficult and confusing to understand? Have strange looking beasts, angels declaring messages of doom, and time prophecies left you wondering when they will be fulfilled? Can we really understand Revelation? The Bible gives two reasons why we are absolutely certain we can understand. First, the title of Revelation means it is a revealing (Revelation 1:1). God didn t name the book The Hiding or The Confusing. He gave the Revelation to unveil His glorious plans for mankind and to unmask Satan s evil strategies to frustrate this. Second, Daniel and the Revelation are two books God specifically tells us to read. Jesus said, Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand) (Matthew 24:15). Jesus deliberately instructs us to read and understand Daniel. God also pronounces a blessing upon those who read, understand, and obey the words found in Revelation. (Revelation 1:3). God s Word is clear We can understand prophecy! But to do so we need to learn the very first rule of correct interpretation Knowing this first, no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20, 21). We are not to create private interpretations. This is why Prophecies of Hope will not tell you what to believe. You will form your own beliefs through personal Bible study, prayer, and the Spirit s leading. These lessons will provide you with the Bible s own tools of interpretation so that you can understand what the prophetic symbols mean. Our first lesson is an example of how the Bible interprets its own prophecies. Once you know this prophecy you will have the master key to unlock all the other prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation. It predicts over 2,500 years of history and reveals the near future. Before you begin, take a moment to pray and ask God to bless your study. Then read Daniel chapter 2 for the story. Next, read the questions below with your Bible to fill in the missing words in the texts. These lessons use the New King James Bible and you will find it convenient to have either a New King James or King James Bible. 1. To whom did God give a troubling dream? Daniel 2:1 3. Now in the second year of Nebuchadnezzar s reign, had dreams; and his spirit was so troubled that his sleep left him. 1

2 In the middle of a dark night in 603 B.C. God gives Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, a supernatural dream that startles him from his sleep. Three years earlier, Nebuchadnezzar had attacked Jerusalem and carried Daniel and his friends to Babylon to serve as his counselors. He now consults his wise men and Daniel in an effort to find the dream s mysterious meaning. 2. Who gave Daniel the ability to interpret the king s dream? Daniel 2:26 28 But there is a in heaven who reveals secrets. Daniel tells the king it is useless to depend on astrologers, magicians, channelers, or education to provide real solutions to life s dilemmas. This is also true for us. Only God can successfully lead our lives to find lasting hope and happiness, because He alone understands the secrets of the future. 3. What time of earth s history does the dream reveal? Daniel 2:28, 29 God has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the days. As for you, O king, thoughts came to your mind while on your bed, about what would come to pass this [or KJV: hereafter]. The dream covers the time period after this to the latter days, or everything that happens after 603 B.C. down to the last days. God gave the king a detailed outline of world events from his own time down to the last days of earth s history. This remarkable prophecy, covering more than 2,500 years, is the master key to unlock the meaning to all the other prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation. Once you learn it, you will understand the mysteries of prophecy, where we live in time, and how to prepare for what is coming. 4. What are three reasons God gives prophecy? Daniel 2:29 30 As for you, O king, thoughts came to your mind while on your bed, about what would to pass after this; and He who reveals secrets has made known to you what will be. But as for me, this secret has not been revealed to me because I have more wisdom than anyone living, but for our who make known the interpretation to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your. God gives prophecy for three reasons. The first is to predict the future: what would come to pass. The second reason is for the sakes of those who understand prophecy to protect them from what is coming. Knowledge of this dream saved Daniel s life. In a similar manner, knowledge of the future allows us to make decisions that save us from the devil s deceptions and prepare us for Jesus return. The third reason for prophecy is to convert us by revealing the thoughts of our hearts. Prophecy brings to light our hidden motives and draws us closer to Jesus so He can take us safely into the future. 5. What did the king see in his dream? Daniel 2: This image s head was of fine, its chest and arms of, its belly and thighs of, its legs of, its feet partly of and partly of. This is no ordinary statue, but then, God had no ordinary purpose in mind when He showed it to Nebuchadnezzar. 6. What was to become of this great image? Daniel 2:34, 35. You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and them in pieces.... And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and the whole earth. Nebuchadnezzar must be awestruck as he realizes Daniel has just repeated his dream in vivid detail. But what does it mean? 7. Does the Bible interpret the king s dream? Daniel 2:36. This is the dream. Now we will tell the of it before the king. God revealed to Daniel the meaning of this dream. (Daniel 2:19) In the next ten verses, Daniel gives God s inspired interpretation. This illustrates an important rule for correct understanding always read the immediate context. We don t need 2

3 to guess at interpretations when the Bible explains itself. 8. What does the head of gold represent? Daniel 2:37, 38. are this head of gold. No doubt Nebuchadnezzar was pleased to learn this head of gold (Daniel 2:38) represented him and his kingdom of Babylon. He had poured massive amounts of gold into adorning his capital city. Babylon reigned from B.C. 9. What do the silver and brass represent? Daniel 2:39. But after you shall arise another inferior to yours; then another, a third of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth. Now we see what the image is about. It describes the kingdoms that would rule from Babylon s day down to the latter days (verse 28). With the Bible s interpretation that these metals represent kingdoms, we need to look to history for their fulfillment. Secular and Bible history tell us that Babylon was conquered by the Media-Persians (famous for their love of silver) in 538 B.C. (See Daniel 5:26-31) In 331 B.C., the Persian Empire fell to the Greeks (famous for their advanced weaponry made from bronze). 10. What did the statue s iron legs represent? Daniel 2:40. And the fourth shall be as strong as iron. The fourth metal symbolizes the fourth kingdom. The Iron Kingdom of Rome (the Romans used iron swords and shields, and iron nails to crucify Jesus). Rome came to power in 168 b.c. and was the unquestioned ruler until a.d What did God predict would happen to Rome? Daniel 2: Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter s clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be. God correctly predicted Rome would not be overthrown by another single kingdom like the others, but it would divide into ten separate nations in Western Europe. Though some of these resulting kingdoms would be strong and others weak, they were to remain separate, resisting all efforts to reunite them. Ancestors to seven of these nations still exist today. In a future study we will learn how the three extinct nations provide an important clue to identify the beast power of Revelation. 12. What attempt to unify the nations of Europe is mentioned? Daniel 2:43. As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the of men; but they will not adhere to one another. The prophecy predicted 2,500 years in advance that these nations would seek to form a peaceful coexistence by mingling their seed through royal intermarriage. This was remarkably fulfilled by the start of World War I when virtually all the royalty of Europe were cousins, if not brother and sister. Yet the prophecy also predicted this would not succeed: but they will not adhere to one another. All efforts to bring Europe under a single ruler by Napoleon, Hitler, and others have failed because prophecy predicted it! 13. What happens in the days of these kings? Daniel 2:44. And in the days of these kings the of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed. The Bible symbolizes Jesus as the rock or stone that crushes the image. (See 1 Corinthians 10:4) Daniel says this will be fulfilled when Jesus returns to overthrow the kingdoms of this world and take his place as the King of kings. The next kingdom to come is God s kingdom. We live in the time when Europe is divided and this prophecy is to be fulfilled. When nations can t unify and find lasting peace, God s Word tells us to take heart. Jesus is soon to return as the King of kings! Over 2,500 years in advance, God precisely outlined the rise of four kingdoms, Rome s division, and attempts to unify Western Europe. He was correct on all points and we can be certain that He is correct about the future. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure (verse 45). 14. How can we be ready for God s coming kingdom? Revelation 3:20, 21. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My, as I also 3

4 overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. When we allow Jesus to come into our heart to be our Savior and Lord we become heirs to His throne. Yes, we still live on this planet, but our true citizenship is in God s kingdom. When Jesus returns He will take us to heaven where there will be no more sin or suffering, and where we will enjoy eternal life as God originally intended. 15. Do you want to be ready when Jesus returns to enter into His kingdom? Your Answer: Looking Ahead Have you ever wondered what the mark of the beast is about? In our next study we will learn what issues are involved in the coming mark of the beast. You can read Daniel 3 and Revelation 13 to prepare for this exciting lesson. Babylon ( BC) Media-Persia ( BC) Greece ( BC) Rome (168 BC-476 AD) Divided Nations (476 AD to Present) Return of Jesus Gary Gibbs 01 PH 4 P.O. Box 4000 Silver Spring, MD 20914

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