Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 1 * BOOK 81
THE FOUR GREAT EMPIRES INTERPRETED – 1
Okay, good to see everybody in this afternoon. My, we’ve got the room about full today. We appreciate so many of you that are in for the first time. For those of you joining us out in television, we always like to thank you over and over for your prayers, your letters, as well as your financial help. And we appreciate that so many of you pass it on to others and give them our time of broadcasting and so forth. We just praise the Lord for every part of it.
Well, we’re a Bible study, and we’re going to come right in and take up where we left off in our last taping. Since this is the first program of these four this afternoon, we’re going to go right back to Daniel chapter 7. You’ll remember that verse 14 was where we kicked off and spent two, three, or four programs on the Kingdom.
And the reason I do that is that so many church people across the whole spectrum of denominations know nothing of this thousand year glorious Heaven-on-earth Kingdom. They just don’t know what it’s all about. So that’s what we did the last several programs. So now we’re going to continue on, after hitting verse 14 for a kick-off verse, and pick up verse-by-verse in Daniel chapter 7 again.
“And there was given him (Now remember, this was all part of a vision that Daniel had, and in that vision he saw all this.) And there was given him (that is God the Son) dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, (That’s why we kicked off and had all those references on this coming earthly Kingdom. Not only would it be a Kingdom,–) that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom…”
Now remember I stopped and asked—what does a Kingdom involve? A King, a people, and a land—that’s three prerequisites for having a Kingdom—and He’s going to have it all. It will be:
“…an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” All right, now we’ll go on from there and drop down into verse 15, where now Daniel has come away from this vision experience. He says:
“I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me.” You know what I think he had? He had a migraine! He had a headache after all of these revelations.
Now I always have to repeat and repeat and repeat—don’t just read this as some kind of a myth or a legend, because all through Israel’s history the supernatural was commonplace. So for someone like Daniel to have these visions one right after the other is not just a figment of someone’s imagination. They were real. This was how God was dealing with His Covenant People.
All right, after seeing these visions of not only the coming world empires (we’re going to come back to them in verse 17), but also of this glorious throne room experience where he saw God the Son standing before God the Father with the admonition that He would one day be King of Kings and Lord of Lords. All right, verse 16:
“I came near unto one of them that stood by, (And that has to be an angel.) and asked him (this angel) the truth of all this. So he told me, and made me know (or understand) the interpretation of the things.” Verse 17, and here we come to a recap, again, of his vision that he experienced up there in verses 3, 4, 5, 6, and so forth.
“These great beasts,…” Now always remember that when either the Book of Revelation or the Book of Daniel or even Ezekiel, when they speak of these beasts, they’re speaking of empires. And, of course, the beast of all beasts will be the anti-Christ and his rule over those final seven years. So don’t picture some humongous, horrible looking animal. Even though it is depicting wild animals, yet it’s an empire. It’s a government.
“These great (empires depicted as) beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth.” Who will be heading up these four Gentile empires? Now just for a second, turn back to the first part of the chapter, still in chapter 7; and we’ll just hit them briefly. Daniel 7 back to verse 4:
“The first was like a lion, (see, a carnivorous killing animal) and had eagle’s wings:…” Well, an eagle is pretty good at ripping flesh. Then you come down to verse 5. The next empire after Babylon, which was the Mede and Persian, and it, too, is pictured as a carnivorous beast.
“And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, (And you can see it’s carnivorous, because what does it have in its mouth?) and it had three ribs in the mouth of it…” See, it’s a meat-eating animal. All right, then you come down a little further to verse 6.
“After this (After the Mede and Persian Empire passed away, what overtook it?) I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard,…”
The Greek empire. Alexander the Great was pictured as a leopard. Well, the reason Alexander the Great is always pictured as something that moves fast and quick is because his conquests were so rapid. He was able to shave off hundreds of miles by taking daring detours and so forth. He was almost reckless, and yet his recklessness always paid off. So, there will be several references, even now today, to the speed of Alexander’s conquests. All right, here’s he likened to–
“…a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl;…” Depicting the four generals that would take over his empire, and we’ll be looking at that in a little bit. And then verse 7, here comes the fourth empire, which was in the first go-around, the Roman Empire.
“After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful, and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse (It was different.) from all the beasts that were before it; (And then you come to the Revived Roman Empire at the end of the age with–) and it had ten horns.”
So, here we have the four Empires that were Gentile in nature. Nebuchadnezzar’s dream—now let’s just go back, because everybody needs review. Come back to Daniel chapter 2, and we’ll see that in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream; which, of course, Daniel interpreted, you have the same four empires. But here they’re depicted as a beautiful metal-composed statue or an image of a man. And you can just picture this out there in that Middle Eastern sun. Down in verse 31 of chapter 2, the same four empires but described differently. Verse 31, Daniel is interpreting. He says:
“Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image (or likeness of a man). This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was frightening. (I think because of its shimmering beauty. Now here it is.) 32. The image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, (Now, can you picture that in a bright sunlit day—that gold and silver?) his belly and his thighs of brass,”
My, just image how that would shimmer in that noonday Middle Eastern sun. Then as he went on down through the torso:
“His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.” All right, now those are the four Gentile empires beginning with Nebuchadnezzar in about 606 B.C. Now come back to Luke 21, because this is the way I like to teach.
This is the way I prefer to do it. It is not to just stay in one chapter, which sometimes I have to, but in this case I can jump you all the way up to Luke chapter 21 and tie it together. Luke 21 and we’ll drop in at verse 20. This is during Christ’s earthly ministry. So, if you have a red-letter edition, it’s in red. The Lord is speaking. He’s speaking prophetically. Now, He’s not talking about the Tribulation and Armageddon, but rather He’s talking about the A.D. 70 destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans.
“And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, (Roman armies) then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.” Now, file that word desolation in your computer, because I’m going to be using it periodically through the afternoon. Seven times the Book of Daniel speaks of desolation. So mark this one down.
“Then (Now remember who is speaking, and who He is speaking to. This is Jesus in His earthly ministry telling this to His people Israel.) Then let them who are in Judea flee to the mountains; and let them who are in the midst (that is of Jerusalem) of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereunto. 22. For these be days of vengeance,…” Now again, file that word. Just put it up in your computer. We’re going to talk about it a little later this afternoon.
“For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written (back in the Old Testament prophecies) may be fulfilled. 23. But woe unto them that are with child, (That is when this big invasion of Jerusalem takes place.) and to them that are nursing, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land (of Israel), and wrath upon this people (the Jew).” Now verse 24 and here’s why we know it is not Armageddon; it’s not Tribulation; but rather it is A.D. 70. Here’s the kicker.
“And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations:…” That’s not going to happen at the end of the seven years of Tribulation. At the end of the seven years, the remnant of Israel will come into the Kingdom. But this group of Jews is going to be either killed or dispersed into all the nations. Here’s the part I want you to remember.
“…and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until (And what kind of a word is that? Time word. There’s coming a day when it will be no more, when the Prince of Peace will finally come and Jerusalem will finally be the City of Peace, and Christ will rule and reign. But until then, the Gentiles are going to control Jerusalem.) until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”
So here we have—from the onset of Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian Empire, through the Medes and Persians, through the Greek, through the Roman. Then after the Roman Empire dissipated and fell away, up came the Muslim world. See, Mohammedan came out about A.D. 610. All right, from A.D. 610 until after World War I, when the British General Allenby defeated the Muslims who were occupying Palestine at that time, then it became a British mandate.
And of those of you who know anything about the War of Independence that Israel had to fight, the British army was present. They were the ones that kept everything subdued trying to keep peace and tranquility. And in their trying to do that, of course, they tried to help the Arabs win that war and did everything they could to see the Jews defeated. But you see, even Great Britain forgot one key player in world affairs. The God of Glory! And the God of Glory saw to it that the Covenant People won that War of Independence, and here they are in the news every day.
And again, I shared it with my seminars on the road. If ever you have any reason to doubt Scripture, there is one living proof. The Jew! He’s in the homeland. He’s where he belongs. I don’t care how much people fret about it, they are exactly where God wants them to be. Because never forget, the whole scenario for the Second Coming is Jerusalem. And He cannot come to a Jerusalem that’s under Muslim control. He’s going to come to a Jerusalem that is occupied by His Covenant People. Never lose sight of that.
In fact, someone just asked me if I would draw a map on the board before we get through with all this of what the Promised Land is. I don’t think I’ve ever actually drawn the map. I’ve described it. But you see, the Promised Land—from the day that it was deeded to Abraham, repeated to Moses, repeated to Joshua, and repeated through the Prophets—is all the way from the Nile River—I think I will. I think I’ll put it on the board.
Okay, here we have the Mediterranean Sea. Down here is the Nile River. And then up here, of course, you have Turkey. Now this is just a caricature. This isn’t a map. Okay, out of Turkey comes the Euphrates River all the way down to the Persian Gulf. Then from the Persian Gulf it’ll go all the way down to the Red Sea and back up to the Nile River. Now here, of course, is the Sea of Galilee, the Jordan River, the Dead Sea, and here’s Jerusalem. Up here’s Damascus. Over here is Baghdad. Well, actually, it’d be more like down there. But anyway, that whole Middle East will be Israel’s homeland in the Kingdom.
Well, let’s put Baghdad more like down here. Because I remember when we were up here in the Golan Heights last fall, (those of you that were with us, you remember) we saw an arrow pointing to Baghdad. How far was it, Mom? Three hundred miles. See, the Middle East is, yeah, it’s large; but on the other hand, it’s pretty compact. But that’s Israel’s homeland. They have never had more than just this little neck of land like today, a little bit up here during the time of Solomon and David. But they have never had all of that. But they will, because God has promised it.
Now, I know a lot of people won’t like that. But I’m getting in the habit of doing things that people don’t like. I’m getting used to it. So anyway, the times of the Gentiles are those heavy boots of Gentile armies that have been on the streets of Jerusalem since 606 B.C. Now, even since 1948 when they declared their independence, they’re still under the political thumb, especially of America. They can’t do anything without America giving the final okay.
Now while I’m on this, and I think I’ve got time enough. Come ahead, if you will, to Romans chapter 11. As a rule, I go from Romans 11 to Luke 21; but today I’ll go from Luke 21 to Romans 11. We have another time situation and another filling of things that God has ordained. Only it’s the very opposite of what you see in Luke. In Luke we have the Iniquity of the Gentiles coming to the full. And when they finally reach the full mark, just like the Canaanites did after the promises made to Abraham—I hope you all remember that.
You know, when God first called Abraham out and promised him the Nation, He told him that it would be 430 years before his offspring would be able to come in and enjoy the land of Canaan. Well, why wait 430 years? It was going to take that long for the Canaanites to fill their cup of iniquity. Now, if you have any doubts about how wicked and immoral the Canaanite people were at the time of Israel’s occupying, you go back and read Leviticus 18. I will never read it in public. I can’t, because it is so explicit in the immoral behavior of the Canaanite people. They had reached the full mark.
And that’s why God was absolutely just and righteous in telling the Jews to do what with the Canaanites? Oh, we don’t even like to say it. Well, what did He tell them? Don’t spare a one of them. Men, women, children, babies—obliterate them. Well, Israel didn’t have the heart. They couldn’t do it. So, they left too many Canaanites, and what happened? Exactly what God knew would happen. The Jews embraced the Canaanite, idolatrous religion. And it was their downfall. So, God had to indeed deal with the Jew for embracing the Canaanite, idolatrous worship.
But all right, we’re going to have the same thing now. The world is filling its cup of iniquity. And if you don’t know that it’s being filled, you’re not in the news. You’ve got your head in the sand. I mean, it’s awful. And the more we travel and the more we hear, the more we understand how awful the behavior of the people of the world is becoming.
But here we have the opposite of that. And that’s in Romans 11 verse 25, where Paul has been laying out so clearly, that after the Gentile church age has come to the full, God will return to dealing with His people Israel. He’s not through with Israel. Now, we know that even most of Christendom, let alone the rest of the world—now always stop and think.
You know, I’m saying that more and more, aren’t I? Stop and think. How much of the world is under what we would call biblical, or Christian, influence? The Orient? Huh-uh. The Middle East? Huh-uh. Europe? Huh-uh. South America? Huh-uh. So what’s left? America. We’re the only part of the world. Now, I know there are a lot of Christians in China as a result of the underground Church. But by-and-large, the whole world outside of our United States of America has almost nothing to do with biblical Christianity.
All right, their wickedness is to them not all that unusual, because they’ve been doing it for centuries. But even for them it’s getting worse and worse and worse. All right, but now here in our beloved America we’re seeing a turning away from the Word of God. We’re seeing a direct opposition to our Christian message. They hate us whether we want to admit it or not. But on the other hand, God is filling His cup, which is the Body of Christ. So, as every person that gets saved becomes a member of the Body of Christ, we’re filling our vessel as the world is filling theirs.
All right, now I like to depict these two as coming up through the last 2,000 years almost side-by-side. Now look what this one is.
“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, (This is another thing that had never been revealed before but is now revealed to the Apostle Paul. And the word secret is the other word for mystery.) this secret, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; (this mystery is–) that blindness (spiritual blindness) in part (for a period of time) is happened to Israel, (The Jewish People—and that blindness is going to continue—and what’s the next word?) until (Until what? The Body of Christ is full. Now, it doesn’t say that in so many words. But it says–) the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.”
Now let me qualify why I know that’s the Body of Christ. Come back with me to Acts 15, and this is after that Jerusalem counsel. Paul and Barnabas have been debating with Peter and John and the rest of the Twelve in the Jerusalem church that they were commissioned to go to the Gentiles and the Twelve were commissioned to stay with Israel. Paul and Barnabas, by God’s help and by the Holy Spirit’s work, won the argument. All right, now James who was moderating that meeting in Jerusalem—come to verse 13 of Acts 15.
“And after they had held their peace,…” Well, what does that mean? Hey, it had been a riotous day. They had been arguing. You know, and I always point out—you know, not to be deriding the Jewish people. I love them. But on the other hand, I get a kick out of the way they do things, and one of them is when they argue. My, when they argue, there are no punches pulled. They go at it tooth-and-nail. Well, the word indicates that. So after they had spent the whole day arguing and everything, they finally “held their peace.” They finally quieted down.
“…James (the moderator comes up and he says–) answered, saying, Men and brethren, listen unto me: 14. Simeon (that’s Peter) hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, (That’s a reference to the house of Cornelius.) to take out of them (Now watch your language. To take out of whom? The Gentiles.) to take out of the Gentiles a people for his name.”
“And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, 16. After this (See? After God has called out the Body of Christ, and it’s full and complete.) I will return, (which is a reference to the final seven years and His second coming) and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down;…”
But what I want you to see is that this fullness of the Gentiles is the calling out of the Body of Christ. Whereas Luke, when he refers to the times of the Gentiles, is referring to the Gentile world under the headship of these empires that Daniel has been seeing in his prophecy.
All right, now then, for just a moment or two left, let’s come back to Daniel chapter 7; where he is reviewing, once again, these four great Gentile empires—first listed by Nebuchadnezzar as the head of gold, the chest of silver, the belly of brass, the legs of iron. Then Daniel saw them as a lion, as a bear, as a leopard, and as something beyond description. All right, now for the two minutes we have left, verse 18.
“But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.” Now what’s that a reference to? Well, the earthly, millennial Kingdom over which Christ is going to rule and reign.
So right here between verse 17 and verse 18, we leap all the way up from the time of Daniel around 500 and some B.C. to the end time—which we feel we’re getting closer and closer to, with the soon appearance of that man of sin, the son of perdition, the prince that shall come and all these other names, but best known as the anti-Christ. And he’s coming. Don’t you think for a minute he’s not. The whole world is getting ready for him, and that’s what we’re referring to here in verse 18. It is after the time of these four empires.
I hope I’ve been making it clear for the last several tapings. I hope you realize that all four of these empires are now in the news every day. Iran was ancient Persia of the Medes and the Persians. Iraq was ancient Baghdad, or Babylon, over which Nebuchadnezzar ruled. Then you’ve got Syria, which is in the news now every day. And Syria was a part of Alexander the Great’s Empire, which we’ll see further on this afternoon. Then the Roman Empire, good heavens, you’d have to have your head in the sand not to realize that the European Union is in the headlines everyday. And they are, of course, the Revived Roman Empire which is setting the stage for the Second Coming of Christ. So, here we have the saints that will take the Kingdom as a result of Christ’s Second Coming, and they “will possess it for ever and ever.”
Now, I haven’t got time in 25 seconds, but I think I referred to it several tapings back. There are two favorite hymns by American church people that have a reference to this verse wrongly, and we’ll pick that up in another program.