Teaching series from Daniel

Nebuchadnezzar's Nightmare

Daniel 2:1-44

Teaching t13921

Well, as I told you a couple of weeks ago, we’re going to be studying some awesome prophecy in the book of Daniel. In fact, I said that Daniel contains the greatest collection of predictive prophecies in the history of the human race. I also said that if these prophecies are legit, if you really hear them out, the only logical conclusion is to bow to the ground before the God of the universe. And maybe in your heart of heart, you’re like, ‘Yeah right; I’ll believe it when I see it.’ Well, tonight is the first of five installments to back up that claim. Five teachings? That’s right I said there’s going to be five teachings.

Why five teachings?

  1. Daniel gives us five visions. There’s a series of five visions and dreams over the course of his life. In the first one of these he’s only a teenager; the final four he’s in his seventies and his eighties, so this is his life’s work, these five pictures of the future. And so it’s going to take some time to go through those.
  2. Because Biblical prophecy is correlated, meaning there’s some here, there’s some here, there’s some here, there’s some here. The whole thing is not in any one place anywhere in the Bible. It’s part of what’s confusing about it. It’s spread out and they interlock; they fit in with one another in ways that make sense but it takes some wisdom, it takes some time to put the pieces together and so we’re going to have to show how these prophecies and visions relate to one another and this is why people get into trouble when they take one prophecy out of context and they ignore the rest of it. You’ve got to study not just the context of the passage but how does this fit into the Bible’s whole scope of its teaching on Bible prophecy. In fact, Daniel, is the heart of Bible prophecy and if, you hang with us for the next five weeks what you’re going to get is a scaffolding that you will be able to fit in and understand the rest of the prophecies in the Bible by fitting them into this backbone that we get in the book of Daniel, so it will be worth our time.
  3. There is a lot of information here. We’re talking seven chapters, 210 verses that we’re going to have to cover. You simply can’t go through all of that in one night; I knew a guy who tried once; it wasn’t good; his head exploded. I’m serious; you don’t want that to happen. I don’t want to do that to you. We are just going to take our time here, five weeks. We’re going to be moving pretty fast: historical references, the passages at hand, plus outside passages that we’re going to have to bring in for explaining symbols. It’s going to be worth it, though; okay?

So here’s what I’m asking, give me five weeks!

I know, maybe, you’ve got exams in there, but whatever. This is the end of the world we’re talking about here; okay? Or maybe three weeks, okay? And if you like the first three then I’ll throw in the final two for free, okay? Seriously, come back and study these passages with us; I think, you’ll see a spark that’ll hopefully make you want more, but there’s a lot to cover. So let’s start reading Daniel 2. It’s the vision we skipped to cover the rest of the narratives because we wanted to cover them all together.

The Statue

Daniel 2, let’s read,

‘One night during the second year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar had such disturbing dreams that he couldn’t sleep.

They didn’t count the year that the king came to power; this would have been more like the third year of his reign. The way we would count it and so this would be right. Daniel was in school for three years training for that Babylonian government job so this is right as soon as he gets out of school basically as it seems like is when Nebuchadnezzar’s nightmare happens. 603 BC to 602 BC. 

‘He called in his magicians and enchanters and sorcerers, astrologers and he demanded that they tell him what he had dreamed.’

Yeah, kings would keep a staff of holy people: interpreters of the stars, people who knew magic, people in touch with the gods. And he said, ‘I need to know the meaning of this dream; this is so disturbing.’ The astrologers answered the King in Aramaic and by the way, like the next five chapters in Daniel are in Aramaic before it switches back to Hebrew for the rest of the Old Testament, pretty much. He says,

‘Long live the King. Tell us the dream and we’ll tell you what it means.’

Yes, oh, King; that’s what we’re, we’re here for; that’s what you pay us the big bucks for,

‘But the King said to the astrologers, ‘I’m serious about this. If you don’t tell me what my dream was and what it means you’ll be torn limb from limb and your houses will be turned into heaps of rubble.

That’s what Nebuchadnezzar did when he got angry. He tore you into four parts and tore your house down. And then,

‘They said again, ‘Please your majesty. Tell us the dream and we’ll tell you what it means.’ The king replied, ‘I know what you’re doing! You’re stalling for time because you know I am serious when I say if you don’t tell me the dream, you’re doomed...The astrologers replied to the King, ‘No one on earth can tell the King his dream! And no King however great or powerful has ever asked of such a thing of any magician.’

This is totally unprecedented; this is not in our contract.

‘No one except the gods can tell your dream and they do not live here among people.’

Isn’t that what he’s paying the big bucks for, because they’re in touch with the gods? Well if your astrologists can’t read the stars then what good are they? So he decides on some budget cuts.

He was furious and he ordered that all of the wise men of Babylon be executed

Which now includes Daniel, he just graduated. He wasn’t here for this.

And because of the king’s decree, men were sent to find and kill Daniel and his friends. When Arioch, the commander of the king’s guard, came to kill them, Daniel handled the situation with wisdom and discretion.’ He went at once to see the King and requested more time to tell the King what the dream meant. ‘Then Daniel went home and told his three [buddies], Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah [or Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that we studied in Daniel 3], he told them what had happened and he urged them to ask the God of heaven to show them his mercy by telling them the secret.’

So he calls together a secret session and he calls together the three most spiritual guys he knows which might have been the only spiritual guys he knew, and they pray,

‘So they would not be executed along with the other wise men of Babylon.’

So, they’re desperate; sometimes it’s pretty easy to pray when you’re desperate and that’s what they are and they pray all night and

‘That night the secret was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven. [And] He said, ‘Praise the name of God forever and ever, for he has all wisdom and power. He controls the course of world events; he removes kings and sets up other kings.’

Mark that sentence well. That’s exactly what this dream is about; that Nebuchadnezzar had this sovereignty of God; God removing this King, putting this King in its place as it all marks toward the end of human history. God

‘gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars. He reveals deep and mysterious things and knows what lies hidden in darkness, though he is surrounded by light. I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors, for you have given me wisdom and strength.’

He couldn’t be more grateful; he prays this awesome prayer to God. Well,  

‘Arioch quickly took Daniel to the king and said, ‘I have found one of the captives from Judah who will tell the king the meaning of his dream!’ The king said to Daniel (also known as Beltshazzar), ‘Is this true? Can you tell me what my dream was and what it means?’ [And] Daniel replied, ‘There are no wise men, enchanters, magicians, or fortune-tellers who can reveal the king’s secret. But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and he has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in the future.’

Or literally what will happen in the end of the days.

‘Now I will tell you your dream and the visions you saw as you lie on your bed. [As] Your Majesty was lying there, your mind turned to things to come. He who reveals secrets has shown you what is going to happen.’

And so God is not just going to tell Nebuchadnezzar what his dream was and what it means, he’s going to tell him what he was thinking that night as he went to bed, what his mind had drifted to. God reveals the secrets of the heart and maybe as we’re studying this passage tonight, God might be speaking to you and telling you exactly what you were thinking as you were lying there, what your mind was turning to, those things you worry about that you never tell anyone else about; God speaks to those in his word at times and that’s what he does here with Nebuchadnezzar. And he knew that Nebuchadnezzar was a proud man; he was wondering, ‘Am I the greatest king who has ever lived? How will I be able to keep this going?’ And Daniel says humbly, ‘It is not because I am wiser than anyone else that I know the secret of your dream, but because God wants you to understand what was in your heart.’ God says I saw what was in your heart Nebuchadnezzar and if you really want to know, I will show you the greatest king who will ever live and the greatest and final kingdom there will ever be.

‘In your vision, Your Majesty, you saw standing before you a huge, shining statue of a man. It was a frightening sight’

So here, we’ve got this statue He says,

‘The head of the statue was made of fine gold. Its chest and arms were silver, its belly and thighs were bronze’

Yeah, this guy did not skip leg day with his buns of bronze,

‘its legs were iron, and [then] its feet were a combination of iron and baked clay. [And] As you watched, a rock was cut from a mountain, but not by human hands. [And the rock came off hurtling through the atmosphere and boom] It struck the feet of iron and clay, smashing them to bits. The whole statue was crushed [it just crumbled down on top of that rock] small pieces of iron, clay, bronze, silver, and gold. [And] Then the wind blew them away without a trace, like chaff on a threshing floor. But the rock that knocked the statue down became a great mountain that covered the whole earth.

That’s all there was. What does it mean; ah there it is again boom.

‘That was the dream. Now we will tell the king what it means. Your Majesty, you are the greatest of kings. The God of heaven has given you sovereignty, power, strength, and honor. He has made you the ruler over all the inhabited world and has put even the wild animals and birds under your control. You are the head of gold.’

Truly one of the great things about bible prophecy is that it doesn’t speak in cryptic terms and just expect us to figure them out. So many times, if you just keep reading, it will tell you what the symbols mean and so the head of gold is Nebuchadnezzar and the kingdom of Babylon ruler over the inhabited world really the greatest ruler the world had seen until that time a real emperor king of kings and then there’s something that Neb might not have liked too much. He said,

‘But after your kingdom comes to an end, [Nebuchadnezzar] another kingdom, inferior to yours, will rise to take your place.’

As they, as they, always do, another empire comes along; we build our empires and then they fall and another one takes over and that falls too. This is Medo-Persian Empire; how do we know that this is the empire? Well for one if we keep reading the book of Daniel he tells us, Daniel 8. If we correlate this vision the visions correlate with one another and Daniel 8 he gives a different picture. It’s not a statue with different body parts; it’s two beasts battling one another. It’s this ram with two horns against this single shaggy male goat. And the goat destroys the ram and it says the two horned ram represent the kings of Media and Persia and so it tells us who is next to come along us and who they’ll be conquered by and so we can correlate with Daniel 8.

We also know from history or even just from reading the book of Daniel that the Medes and the Persians were really one empire, sometimes called the Achaemenid Empire. These took over in 539 BC and they really ruled until the 330s BC, about 200 years they ruled. Why is it inferior, in what way?  Well it’s inferior in the sense that the monarch was not as powerful. Remember we read about the Medes and the Persians and how the king of the Medes and the Persians couldn’t take down a law that he had set up; he didn’t have that kind of power. It was a constitutional monarchy and so in that sense it was inferior. As far as the emperor’s status, of how much power that he had, and so a second empire: the Medes and the Persians, they’re going to come along to Babylon and the monarch will have less power and they’ll be inferior and they will rule the world just like Babylon did, at least a lot of the world. Third, he says 

‘After that kingdom has fallen, a third kingdom represented by bronze will rise to rule the world.’

And we know that this empire is the Greek empire. How do we know? If you keep reading Daniel 8, you’ll see in chapter 8:21, the shaggy male goat represents the king of Greece. That’s the goat that beat the ram that stood for the Medo-Persian empire and so we can read it in Daniel 8 or we can also look at history and we can see that in 331 a guy named Alexander the Great came along and conquered essentially the known world in about 10 years, unbelievable speed and power. We’ll talk more about these in the weeks to come. But they conquered and they ruled over Israel.

And finally, what are these legs of iron?

that will be a fourth kingdom is as strong as iron and as much as iron crushes and shatters all things so like iron that breaks in pieces it will crush and break in all these pieces,

Very violent imagery here. What is the kingdom of iron? That came after Greece. You probably know. It’s Rome, Ancient Rome. How do we know that this is Rome? Well for one, we can look at history and we can see that Rome is the kingdom that came along after Greece; Rome had taken down the remains of the Greek empire by the mid 100s BC; they took over Israel in 63 BC. Rome was the empire in charge that was ruling over Israel when Jesus Christ was born. It was Roman governor Pontius Pilate that signed the order to have Jesus Christ crucified and so it was the kingdom in power over Israel at that time and just the violent powerful language is a really good description of Rome. Look at this: strong, crushing, shattering, breaking, crushing, breaking pieces all over the place. The Roman military was unlike anything the world had ever seen, so powerful and in fact as Plutarch a first century historian put it,

“With iron, not gold, Rome buys her freedom”

Plutarch, Parallel Lives, Life of Camillus, XXIX, 2

And that was so true. The powerful military might of Rome crushed the world and ruled it with an iron fist.

And so there you have the predictions of Daniel 2; he predicted first the fall of Babylon, the rise of the Medo-Persian Empire, he predicted the fall of that and the rise of the Greek empire, he predicted the fall of the Greeks and the rise of the Roman empire after that. And if that was all he predicted here I would be fully satisfied because that’s incredible and I’ve never seen anything like this in any other religion or prophecy of the world and if you ever find anything like it please come and tell me because I’ve been studying this subject for a long time and I’ve never found anything at this level.

And so this is incredible but there’s more.

After the iron legs, things get a little funky. What are the feet and the toes there are, it goes from iron legs to feet that are iron mixed with clay. What is it?

The Feet and the Toes

‘the feet and the toes you saw were a combination of iron baked clay showing that this kingdom will be divided.’

And so instead of this unity, the iron legs have a sense of unity and power to them, this is a divided kingdom. It has, like iron mixed with clay, it will have some of the strengths of iron, so it’s strong in some ways as the legs, but in other ways it's not as strong so its weaker. Its divided; its different. Some parts of it will be as strong as iron, other parts as weak as clay;

‘this mixture of iron and clay also shows that they’ll try to strengthen themselves by forming alliances with each other through intermarriage

And so whatever these, these feet represent its going to be nations intermarrying with one another trying to form alliances through intermarriage

‘but they will not hold together just as iron and clay do not mix.’

What are the feet and the toes?

What I'm arguing here is that these are related to Rome but different, a different subsequent empire that comes after the empire of ancient Rome. Why do I think this?

I’ll give you 5 reasons:

  1. They’re made of different materials. At every point in the statue so far, this has represented a different kingdom.
  2. They’re symbolized by different body parts which every point of the statue so far has symbolized a different kingdom.
  3. They have inferior military power so they’re different from the legs. Instead of going around crushing everything and breaking everything into pieces, they’re kind of strong but not quite as strong and not quite as cohesive as the legs. You need a certain cohesion and unity of command if your military is going to be at peak power.
  4. There are key historical differences between how it describes the feet and toes and what Ancient Rome was like. For example it goes on in the next verse in Daniel 2 to say, ‘During the reigns of those kings [whoever those are] the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed or conquered. It will crush all these kingdoms into nothingness, and it will stand forever.’

Well that’s not how ancient Rome came to an end; it looks like these final feet, these feet and toes look like these go right up to the end of human history as we know it and so we see there’s a different end to these. When the Roman Empire fell, God did not crush it and set up an eternal kingdom that will never end, especially if you study the rest of the Old Testament material on the Kingdom of God. And it’s not something humans set up; it is something that God sends the Savior, King Messiah, to set up. He will rule the world himself something no human ruler has ever been fit to do. He will set up justice and righteousness and fairness and will eradicate evil and none of that has happened yet. No, that can’t be Ancient Rome because Ancient Rome did not end with the kingdom of God being ushered in and all of the other kingdoms being crushed. It's also bout a different government than Ancient Rome; did you notice that? It said that in the days of those kings (what's pictured in the feet and toes is like an alliance, a coalition of sovereign rulers trying to work together), kings plural. And in a single instance a bunch of kings are brought to an end. With Rome it was not a bunch of different nations or states with their kings trying to work together. You had this Caesar who was overall; it was very unified. So it’s has to be different; it's has to be something different that comes after Ancient Rome.

5. A final point here is that if you correlate with Daniel 7 you’ll see that it confirms our suspicions here that Rome goes right up to the end of the world. This last kingdom goes right to the end of the world and also has a different government. This last kingdom ends when Christ comes back. According to Daniel 7 it says, ‘Messiah was given authority, honor and sovereignty over all the nations to rule his eternal; it will never end.’ And also Daniel 7 confirms the last kingdom has a confederation of kings banding together. It’s got this picture of this horrific beast with 10 horns sticking out of his head. And it says its ten horns are 10 kings that will rule that empire. How many toes on two feet, 10. So Daniel 2, our guy had 10 toes and Daniel 7, 10 horns which are 10 kings. Those are the kings who are ruling when God sets up his kingdom and he puts all human empires to a final end. In other words, Daniel got the first four kingdoms right; he got Babylon exactly right, the Medes and Persians exactly right, Greece exactly right, Rome exactly right and then he predicted the kingdom and it just didn’t happen. Are we satisfied? I mean four out of five is pretty good. Is it good enough for biblical prophecy? I would say definitely not. I wouldn’t say he predicted a kingdom that didn’t happen; I would say that he predicted a kingdom that didn’t happen YET. So, if four of these kingdoms are past, then one is still future. A kingdom that will come about at the end of history, right before God sets up his final kingdom.

Bible Prophecy Gaps

You’ve got to understand a little something about Bible prophecy before we go any further and that’s the concept of gaps. What happens in Bible prophecy is that you have the prophets and they get a vision. He sees this statue and he’s just describing what he sees or he sees as a sequence of events describing what happens in chronological order and the events the prophet describes pretty much always occur in chronological order. It's a sequence but sometimes what the prophet doesn’t know is that between this thing and that thing, there was a gap. There was a long period of time. It doesn’t say how much time has passed between this thing and this thing and this thing, it just says this and then this and then this and then this.

For example, we might be able to relate to this; you’re looking up at Orion's Belt and you can see these 3 stars here, they look like they’re three stars right in a row. In fact the middle ones a little brighter, maybe that one’s a little bit closer. The two on the end though are 915 and 817 light years away from earth. Where’s the one in the middle? It’s 1340 light years away. Now from this perspective you can’t see the depth, the distances from us; you can just see where they are in relation to each other. If you could kind of wheel around to the side, you’d be able to see a big difference in the stars of Orion's Belt; it’d look a lot different.

Or let's say you’re hiking a mountain and you’re looking up at the mountain and you're like whoa, okay I got three peaks here and then I’ll be at the top; I should be there pretty soon and I’m almost there.

What the hiker doesn’t know is that if you could swing around to the side, is that between the early events and the later events there’s a long valley you have to hike through, there’s a big gap. Instead of thinking ‘sweet I'm almost there’ you're thinking ‘man I wish I brought more Clif bars.’ And this is the position the prophet’s in. He describes mountain one, two, and three and what he doesn’t know is, ‘oh man here’s a big gap between one and two or between two and three.’ That’s what's happening here.

We’re going to see a gap, a prophetic gap, a big one, in every one of these five visions that we’re going to study in the book of Daniel. Typically the way it works, it will jump from wherever it is to the end of the world. That's almost always what the gap is, from what just happened to the end of the world. God fills us in on information about how the world will end while he gives other information along the way. And so you need to be ready for an occasional gap. You need to watch for that when you’re interpreting bible prophecy. The burden of proof should be why there’s a gap. We can't just go sticking in gaps willy nilly.

In this case we’ve actually have pretty strong evidence, a pretty strong case that can be made for a future Rome 2. We’ll call it at the end of history. We’ll call it Rome 2 because the iron legs are Rome. The next thing it has a lot of Rome in it but it’s got some other stuff.

Why did God do it this way? Because God wants you to know that if he got events one, two, three, and four correct, you know that five and six are coming. If he predicted Babylon Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome then you can be sure Rome 2 is coming along and the Kingdom of God shortly to follow after. That's why he does it this way. He mixes fulfilled and unfulfilled prophecy together (of course for Daniel none of it was fulfilled when he got this vision). For us we got a little hindsight benefit here but it's still not done being fulfilled yet.

Who is Rome 2?

So who's Rome 2? That’s the last thing we need to figure out here. Related to but different from Rome. It's almost like somebody took Rome and blew it into a bunch of pieces and then got some glue and tried to piece it all back together in such a way that it was similar but different to the old thing.

Here’s maybe a way to think about it- Where could we look in the world to find the people, languages, and cultures that used to make up the ancient Roman Empire? Where could we find, where could we find such a gathering of people and nations that are descended from Ancient Rome? Maybe we should look at the part of the world where Rome used to be. Maybe there’s still even a city called Rome; that would be a good place to start.

Let's look at a couple of scholars.

John Lennox an Oxford professor; here’s what he says,

The Roman Empire lasted a long time in various forms…but left a legacy that is still with us. Latin, the first language of modern science, continued for that purpose until the eighteenth century, when more modern language supplanted it. Latin script is used for most European languages, many which are derived from Latin itself, and Roman law has had a deep influence on contemporary jurisprudence. John Lennox, Against the Flow (Grand Rapids: Monarch Books, 2015), p.112-113.

 

Stephen Miller, Old Testament scholar, he summarizes his analysis of this. He says,

[T]his future world empire will be connected to ancient Rome in that it evidently will involve people or nations that made up the old Roman Empire... Shortly before the second coming of Christ, ten (a literal of symbolic number) kingdoms of unequal strength [He says that 10 could either be a literal number or a symbolic number but a bunch of kingdoms,] nations of unequal will unite to form a coalition that will rise out of the ruins of the ancient Roman Empire. [Can you see where I’m going with this?] Since Rome is part of Europe in the activism of that ancient Empire centered in Europe, it is reasonable to assume that this area of the world will play a leading role in this future regime. In Daniel 7 the prophet indicates that from the empire will come an evil world leader of the last days commonly known as Antichrist.” Stephen R. Miller, Daniel: New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman, 1994), p. 97-99.

We don’t have time to get into the Antichrist tonight but we’re going there.

What is Daniel really saying?

Not only does Daniel predict the first four kingdoms correctly, but he then describes a world in the future where Rome splits into ten or more different nations, scattered around the area Rome used to rule. And then these nations are made up of the people, culture, customs and even languages of Rome. They “try to strengthen themselves by forming alliances with each other through inner marriage” (Dan 2:43).  They exist as separate nations with their own governments until we start getting close to the end of the world and then, right before the end of the world, these nations descended from Rome, located in Europe, unite into a federation of nations that “will be divided… [but] will have some of the strength of iron” (Dan 2:41).

Can you believe the Bible would predict something so ridiculous? Can you believe this crazy prediction from 2500 years ago; that they would think that this would come true?

Ancient Rome splitting into four kingdoms only to reunite in the last days?

Then that new alliance becoming the most powerful coalition in the world?

Is this even possible?

The answer is yes! You better believe that’s possible.

The European Union

I’d like to talk just a little bit about the European Union. I don’t know if any of us watch the news here. The European Union really started out of the ashes of World War II. Europe had been killing each other for 1500 years and they decided: maybe we should try a different approach. Winston Churchill in a famous speech coined a famous phrase, “We must build a kind of United States of Europe,” he says. “In this way only will hundreds of millions of toilers will be able to regain the simple joys and hopes which make life worth living.” A few years later the Treaty of Paris was signed. And then a major treaty called, ironically, the Treaty of Rome, in March of 1957 was signed. That really paved the way for what we call the European Union today. It was the sixth main nations of the European Union. Kings, Presidents and Queens gathered together to sign the treaty and where did they sign it? They signed it on the Capatilian Hill right next to the old Roman Forum. You could probably throw a football and hit every place that Caesar walked during this time in that area.

The Treaty of Rome went through several modifications and amendments before finally the Maastricht Treaty replaced it and kind of subsumed it in February of 1992. And this makes statements like: “The Union shall set itself the following objectives: to promote economic and and social progress…through the creation of an area without internal frontiers… through the establishment of economic and monetary union, ultimately including a single currency.”  All European nations are going to give up their currency and go in on one together? Yeah, actually, they did. It’s called the Euro. It's been around for over 15 years at this point.

Here’s McCormick and Olsen,

The European Union today is the largest economic bloc in the world, accounting for one-fourth of global gross domestic product (GDP) and about 20 percent of global trade... There is now virtually unlimited free movement of people, money, goods, and services among most of its member states. [Yeah passing from one country to another within the EU is like driving from Ohio into Indiana. You’re like oh, I’m in Indiana now.] It’s a global powerhouse: the world’s largest economy, it’s the second largest exporter and importer, and-- with a population of more than 500 million-- significantly larger than the United States. When the EU inaugurated the ‘euro’ in 2002 ‘for the first time since the Roman era, much of Europe had a single currency.’John McCormick and Jonathan Olsen, The European Union: Politics and Policies. Eth ef. (Boulder, CO:  Westview, 2014), 77-78.

Britain was part of the EU but they never adopted the Euro, though they kept the pound. Of course the Brexit last year was their bid to get out and it passed, (52% of the vote) but they’re still trying to disentangle themselves from this union even though they never even went on the same currency. Some people thought the Brexit might kill the EU. But instead, it just pulled the one powerful member out that was resisting further unity and it paved the way for groundbreaking news from this past Monday, one week ago, a common military.

Most of the European Union’s member states have signed up to a plan for closer defense cooperation. [UK and Ireland are out but]… the other 23 are now committed to the permanent structured military cooperation plan to boost their defense budgets and joint capabilities...The participants will be backed by a European Defense Fund that should be worth five billion euros annually after 2020. [That’s closer to six billion dollars, so they’ve got a five, a six billion dollar army they’re funding now.] The money will be used for weapon research and equipment purchases... It means simply that national military capabilities can be brought together under a single command at a time of crisis.” BBC News. “European Union gives impetus to joint defense plan” November 13, 2017.

This is unlike anything we’ve seen before. It says in the past ten months it’s moved ahead faster than it has in the previous ten years since Great Britain got out.

What about the GDP of the European Union? Is it really possible? Maybe they’ll unite, but could they really be the most powerful nation in the world? The EU has a higher GDP than China and the US according to Business Insider of 2015. What about the size of the European Union? It’s not as big as the US, but their population is way bigger. Population of the United States? 323 million. The EU? 508 million. What about athletics? This is perhaps the most troubling stat. Number of Olympic gold medals by country; on the one hand you got the US with 1077 medals of all time. USA USA USA! But look if you just take the top 11 EU countries in there, they have 2103 medals. This is going to be real embarrassing pretty soon.

The Larger Point

The point is not whether the EU is Daniel’s Rome 2 of the end times. I’m not saying that the EU is Rome 2 predicted in Daniel. I’m not saying it’s not either, okay? The point is that 2500 years ago scripture predicted four successive kingdoms including the rise of the Roman Empire, the fall of the Roman Empire, that the fall of Roman Empire would break into separate states that would exist as separate entities for the rest of the history of the human race until we get to the end times at which point they will begin to come back together into a coalition. A fragile coalition, but none the less one that will become the most powerful, more powerful than any other nation in the world. And that, I think, is incredible.

What we see this: this is really Bible prophecy at its finest and we’re only in the first week. We got four more to go; but let's not forget the punch-line of this dream either.

You’ve got the statue but I don’t think that was the thing that was most terrifying to Nebuchadnezzar. So what happened at the end of the dream? Here you have it all. God has all the human empires that have ever existed, all of the kings and queens, all of the dictators, all of the generals, all of the Kaisers, all of the emperors, all stacked up like a bowling pin as a monument to human autonomy, human empire, human pride. And God looks down and, he says,

‘You people are always trying to take over my world, you're always trying to step forward and do something you simply are not fit to do.’ And God takes this, this empire of pride; he takes this statue and he says let me show you how it’s really done and he hurdles this rock that he chiseled out of this mountain, a supernatural rock whizzing through the air, until boom. It smashes into the feet and pulverizes them, turns the whole thing to dust. And then as it says,

‘the wind blew them away without a trace like chaff on a threshing floor.’

Yes dust in the wind. That’s what the emperors amounted to.

‘but the rock that knocked the statue down became a great mountain that covered the whole earth.’

Look no kingdom lasts forever. As much as they want them to, and neither will your life. That will come to an end. A question you need to ask yourself is where do you stand with regard to the Eternal Rock, Jesus Christ? He is the stone cut without hands, the supernatural rock; he is the one who will bring these feeble human attempts to take over the world to an end and will set up a true kingdom of righteousness. As it says in 1 Peter 2:6, ‘Behold, I lay in Jerusalem a choice stone, a precious cornerstone. And he who believes in him will not be disappointed.’