Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 3 * BOOK 81
THE FOUR GREAT EMPIRES INTERPRETED – 3
Okay, good to have you all back from the break. We’ll go into program three this afternoon. My, they’re going fast today, aren’t they? Okay, again, for those of you out in television, I haven’t mentioned it today, but we’re just an informal Bible study. That’s why I will not wear a suit and tie. I want people to be able to enjoy a cup of coffee, because this is just like a home Bible study, only quite a bit larger. And now since we’re reaching so many, it’s really getting large. But again, we always appreciate hearing from you and that you are praying for us out in TV.
All right, let’s go right back where we left off in Daniel chapter 7. We’ll repeat the verse that we closed with, might not have gotten all of it.
“And he (speaking now of this anti-Christ that’s coming) he shall speak great words against the most High, (In other words, he’s going to be blasphemous.) and shall wear out the saints (That is the Jews of his day. He’s going to be constantly on them in persecution and killing them off.) and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: (Now, I want you to catch that word. That’s part of his operation—it is to change things.) and they shall be given into his hand until (See, there’s a time word again. If you become a student of Scripture, you can tell exactly what it’s talking about. It’ll be–) until a time and times and the dividing of time (or three-and-a-half-years).”
In other words, just like Daniel chapter 9 is going to point out when we get there—at the middle of the seven years, exactly the middle of seven years, he will come from, I think, his headquarters in Europe. And he’ll go into that rebuilt Temple up there on the Temple Mount as result of the seven year treaty made back in Revelation, and he will turn against the Jews in particular. But he will also bring on despotic rule to the whole world.
All right, so it’ll be for three-and-a-half years. The first three-and-a-half and the second three-and-a-half. All right, verse 26:
“But the judgment shall sit, (In other words, what God has declared.) and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.” That’ll be at the Second Coming of Christ when He will utterly defeat and destroy this man anti-Christ and whatever he’s been able to hold together.
Now you’ve got to remember that the scenario on planet Earth is going to be beyond human description. It’s going to be death and destruction. I’ve showed the verses over and over from Jeremiah and some of the other prophets of the total death and destruction that will happen on planet Earth in those last three-and-a-half years. All right, now verse 27:
“And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting…”
In other words, that’s what Christ will bring in at His Second Coming. That remnant of Israel that we saw escaping in Matthew 24 will come back up now, every last Jew a believer. They will now be a nation of men, women, boys, and girls—all believers—and they will begin to repopulate the Nation of Israel. And they will enjoy that whole Middle East as we drew it on the board in the first program this afternoon. That’s Israel’s future. Two thirds are going to be lost, but one third will come into the earthly Kingdom.
Now, you see, that’s a fact of Scripture that I’ve been emphasizing all over the country. We just came back from Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee and had a fabulous time. And this is what I’m emphasizing—that God has never had more than the small remnant of the human race. Never has He had the multitudes. Only eight were on the ark.
Then you come up into Israel’s history. My, Elijah, you’ve heard me repeat it over and over. He thought he was the only one. That’s how bad it was. But God still had seven thousand scattered throughout the nation. But out of seven million that’s only like one out of a thousand. That’s not many.
And then you come to Isaiah at the time that he was prophesying the coming doom of the Babylonian invasion. How did Isaiah put it? Had it not been for the very small remnant of the righteous. Well, what’s a very small remnant? Not much! And that’s all that was left in Israel in Isaiah’s day.
And then, of course, in came the Babylonian invasion and took the whole nation out to Babylon. But did it change their spiritual life? No. They didn’t even have an interest in going back to the Holy Land when Cyrus came along and gave them permission. Out of those millions of Jews that went out to Babylon, only, I think, forty-four thousand came back under Ezra. That’s just a remnant.
Then you get up to the Lord’s earthly ministry, and He puts it so graphically. You all know the verses, “Broad is the way, and wide is the gate that leadeth to destruction, and many there be that go therein.”
And then the other side of the coin is, “Narrow is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth to life eternal, and few there be that find it.” So, that’s been a fact of Scripture.
Well, even here, you see, God doesn’t get the whole of Israel. He gets one third. Two thirds have rejected; and, of course had lost their life as a result of it. But one third, which would be that typical population number of Israel up though her history, about five million. They will come in and begin to repopulate the Promised Land. All right, now back to verse 28 in Daniel 7.
“Hitherto is the end of the matter….” In other words, this pretty much settled it—that after these four empires have run their course, they come back a second time around getting ready for the final seven years and the rule of the anti-Christ. That triggers the Second Coming and the setting up of God’s earthly Kingdom.
“Hitherto is the end of the matter. As for me Daniel, my cogitations (or my thoughts) much troubled me, and my countenance changed in me: but I kept the matter in my heart.”
Now I have to think in my own mind, poor old Daniel. He’s now, I put it here in my margin, 87 years old. How old was he when he left? Fourteen. So he’s been out there in that foreign, pagan territory all those years. What would that be, about 73 years? What do you suppose was the longing of that man’s heart? The King and the Kingdom. Certainly! Now that they had run the course of the seventy years that had been promised, surely, now God would bring in the Kingdom. But I think he’s getting the drift. It’s not going to happen, Daniel. It’s way out in the future.
All right, so keep all that in mind. He’s just as human as we are, and, oh, how he was longing that these end-time events could get past and bring in the Kingdom. Now you drop into chapter 8, and all of a sudden, as I’ve said so often when I teach Paul, the prophet shifts gears. I think you understand what I mean by that.
All of a sudden it’s a different scenario. Primarily because up until now, with the exception of the first chapter or two, this was written in the language of the Babylonians and the Chaldeans. But now it comes back to Hebrew. Because now, you see, the Holy Spirit understands that it’s primarily dealing with Israel rather than with those Gentile empires of chapters 2 through 7. So now we come back to the Hebrew, and Daniel is now 87 years of age.
“In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me, even unto me Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first. (In other words, still more visions.) 2. And I saw in a vision; and it came to pass, when I saw, that I was at Shushan in the palace, which is in the province of Elam; and I saw in a vision, and I was by the river Ulai.”
In other words, he’s no longer in Babylon. He’s up in the capital of the Medes and the Persians, which is north and east of present day Baghdad. So he’s now part and parcel of the next empire. Miraculously. Unbelievable how this dear man Daniel was able to be such a major player throughout the Babylonian Empire, then goes right on into the Mede and the Persian and becomes the top man in the government over there as well.
“Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there stood before the river a ram (Now we deal with the species we call sheep in this goat’s case, so it was a sheep ram.) which had two horns: and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, (In other words, it wasn’t like we normally would like to see on the perfect animal. But remember, this is a symbolic thing. All right, one horn was higher than the other.) and the higher came up last.”
Now in these succeeding verses—this is why the scornful and those who hate to admit the inspiration of Scripture claim that this was all written after the fact. But Daniel is predicting it to the very last detail long before it happens. And that is the rise of the Mede and Persian Empire confronted by Alexander the Great. Now that’s what all these succeeding verses are dealing with. So I’m not going to take lot of time with it, because most of you are probably not as interested in history as I am. But, you know, this is biblical history. This is what you read in a college history book and Daniel wrote it before it happened. See, that’s the miracle of Scripture.
All right, so now he sees the ram, which was indicative of the Medes and the Persians, a combination of two nations.
“I saw the ram (the Mede and Persian Empire) pushing westward,…” Now always stop and think. Why didn’t they go east? Why did they go west? Why didn’t they go toward the Orient? Why didn’t they head over toward China and Afghanistan and India?
Well, you see, in God’s divine purposes, which direction did the Gospel go? West. That’s why we’ve been so blessed in our western nations, because the Word of God did not go east; it went west. God did all of His workings over the last thousands of years through that move westward rather than eastward.
So when you go home tonight and you take a hot shower and you sit in front of a big plasma TV and you eat a T-bone steak, you know what you have to thank God for? That the Medes and the Persians didn’t go east, they went west! It’s that simple. Because you see, we’ve been so blessed, and you know where it started. Now, I didn’t intend to do this. I may even have to look a minute. Come back with me to Genesis. I think it’s chapter 9.
Now this is why I love Scripture. How God knows the end from the beginning because He’s in control of it. He created it. But way back here in Genesis chapter 9 verse 27, we have the three sons of Noah: Ham, Shem, and Japheth.
“God shall enlarge Japheth,…” Now who followed Japheth? Well, the Caucasian races. Japheth from the Middle East went up north into the Caucasians, then they migrated over into Europe. So Japheth is the progenitor of what we would call the Caucasian races. Shem was the progenitor of the Middle Eastern races. All right, so verse 27 again.
“God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem;…” Now, I don’t know how many of you remember how I taught that when we were back in Genesis. But you know how I look at that? The Caucasian people are going to be given the wherewithal, the energy and the ambition, to increase and enjoy technology. Just stop and think. The whole industrial revolution, where did it start? Not China. Not India. Europe and North America. All right, from the industrial revolution we jump across over to America and you’ve got the agricultural revolution—the tremendous increase in agricultural production and what have you. And you have the increase in manufacturing. Well, that was all part of the western civilizations. Not the Far East.
In fact, I tell Iris every once in a while—when I look at the news and how these third world people are still plowing with the old water buffalo, still plowing with a stick many times. Well, they’ve got the same brain capacity that our Mid-western farmers had. What made the difference? Well, I can only put one word on it. God.
Because I can remember as a kid when my Dad, who was farming in the 1920’s and the 1930’s—when those farmers would get together, what would they talk about? How they could plow more in less time. How they could produce more with less work. The Far East still doesn’t look at it that way. Why? Because God has singularly blessed the western culture.
But, now here’s the next one. This will make you smile. Even though Japheth is going to be given the wherewithal to have all the energy and do all the doing, who is going to finance it? The Jew—and he’s going to dwell in the tents of Shem. And I’ll stand on that until the day I die, because that’s just the way God ordained it.
You cannot do anything without money. Nothing. You have to go and borrow it, because nobody starts out with it. And where did everybody have to go? To the Jewish bankers. I think Genesis just says it all—that Japheth will be enlarged. They’re the ones that are going to set technology on edge, but they’re going to do it with Jewish bankers. And I think I can back it up with history and economics and everything else, that that’s exactly the way God intended.
All right, now I can take another one. When Paul was beginning his missionary journeys and he had gotten to the west end of Turkey to the Aegean Sea, he had intended to U-turn and go back along the northern shores of the Black Sea and then back into Asia. What happened? The Holy Spirit stopped him. He had a vision that night of a man over in Macedonia in Greece. And what did the vision say? “Come over and help us.”
And Paul didn’t argue. Instead of U-turning back to the east, he took a ship across the Aegean, went up to Philippi, and Christianity took hold in Europe. So, as we sit here enjoying all of our western culture and our blessings, it all began by God’s design.
All right, back again to where I was. Daniel 8 and verse 4, this is simple history. That’s all it is—by God’s foretelling it before it happened through the prophet Daniel.
“I saw the ram (the Mede and Persian Empire) pushing westward and northward, and southward; (Not east—west, south, and north. In other words, around the Mediterranean Sea and up over toward the Caucasians.) so that no beasts might stand before him, (In other words, no empire could stand before this Mede and Persian host.) neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will, and became great.”
In other words, the Medes and Persians, under Artaxerxes and later on under King Cyrus, had absolute power and reign over the then-known world. All right, verse 5:
“And as I was considering, (When he saw the ram pushing to the west with its armies, all of a sudden something else came up in his vision, and it’s a goat.) behold, an he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes.” Singular or plural? Singular. One. Well, who is this? Alexander the Great. Alexander the Great was the next major player on the stage of history.
Now there’s an inkling in here. Oh, I know what I wanted to look at. “And he touched not the ground.” Now what does that speak of? You can run so fast that it’s almost as if you’re not even touching the ground. That was the swiftness of Alexander’s conquests. He moved his army so much faster than anybody could ever dream possible. It was a supernatural thing.
You pick this up two or three times in the Scriptures, the speed of Alexander’s moving of his armies. All right, and “he had a notable horn between his eyes,” which is indicated by the singular Alexander the Great.
“And he came to the ram who had two horns, (In other words, Alexander the Great’s armies confront the Medes and the Persians coming from the east. All right–) And he came to the ram who had two horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and ran unto him in the fury of his power.” In other words, Alexander the Great just overwhelmed the Mede and Persians.) 7. And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler against him,…” In other words, he had anger. He had nothing on his mind but to destroy the enemy.
“…and smote the ram, and broke his two horns: (In other words, he just utterly destroyed the governmental power of the Mede and Persian Empire.) and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him: and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand.” In other words, Alexander the Great utterly defeated the Medes and Persians.
“Therefore the he goat (Alexander the Great) waxed very great: and when he was strong, (In other words, he kept getting stronger as he conquered more and more nations.) the great horn was broken;…” Now, how many of you know the story of Alexander the Great? Well, he was the master of dissipation.
He literally destroyed his own body with his riotous living—and not only with alcohol, but with women and everything else. So by the time he was thirty three, Alexander the Great had conquered the then-known world and cried, they tell us, literally cried that there were no more nations to conquer. He had conquered them all. That’s when God took his life.
Now then, Alexander the Great had now formed the Greek Empire, usurping the Mede and the Persian and taking up more from where he’d left in Greece and Egypt and Palestine and all of that. Then his empire was divided by four of his generals, and that’s where we constantly get this picture of four when it’s associated with Alexander the Great. You remember way back in chapter 7, Daniel saw this animal with four wings and so forth. All right, so he waxed great, but he was broken. In other words, he dies. And in his place came four notable ones and they’re going to divide the empire into four distinct areas.
Now as soon as you get to verse 9, we leap all the way from 300 B.C. to the end of the age and the anti-Christ. Now that’s the way Scripture does things. So you might want to make note of it in your Bible, that here in verse 9 we now leave off with history back in 300 B.C. and we jump all the way up to that which, we think, is near future. I think we’re getting so close. Of course, I said that ten years ago. But you want to remember, ten years in God’s eyes is not even a split-second and a hundred years isn’t much.
But you see, the reason I keep thinking more and more that we’re close, and I’m not stretching the envelope, is that when these prophets, Isaiah and Jeremiah especially, when they were warning Israel of this coming Babylonian invasion because of their wickedness (I hope I get back to that before the afternoon is over.); that because of their horrendous idolatry they’re going to be overrun by these Gentile Empires, how long was it until it happened? Well, a hundred years. It sounds like it was going to be next month, because Isaiah says you’re going to have foreign languages in your midst. From what? Occupying troops.
But it wasn’t next month. It was a hundred years before it happened. But we can use the same analogy today. All of these end-time things that I can point out and stand here by the hour, when did they really begin? The last part of the 1800’s. Technology – when did you get the invention of the steam engine and the telephone and the telegraph? The late 1800’s. Then at the turn of the century you have the airplane. Then you come to the technology of World War I and World War II and it’s just a downhill flow.
All right, you can take it in every category. When did people start getting a knowledge of prophecy? The early or the late 1800’s and the early 1900’s. Up until then it was never even mentioned. But then all of a sudden guys began to understand. The New Age movement—when did the New Age Movement begin? The 1890’s. And after the turn of the century, it, too, is on a downhill swing. So, all these things that are now coming to a head for our end-time scenario have been around a hundred years. That’s why I feel that we are appropriate in thinking that the Lord will be coming, yet, even in my lifetime as old as I am.
All right, so back to chapter 8. I’ve only got a minute left. Verse 9:
“And out of one of them (out of one of these four generals out of which the Greek Empire was divided) out of one of them came forth a little horn,…” Now that’s a title for the anti-Christ, but in this case it’s going to be the forerunner of the anti-Christ, or what I would call the prototype. Everything that this “little horn” is going to accomplish back in antiquity you’re going to see replayed by the man anti-Christ.
I haven’t really got enough time left to take that any further. But we’ll come back to it in our next program. Verse 9 and out of one of these Greek quarters of the Greek Empire, comes a guy by the name of Antiochus Epiphanes, who’ll be a Syrian. He is one of the four generals that take over the Greek Empire that was established by Alexander the Great. He will be a perfect prototype for the true anti-Christ.