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The Hanukkah Story & DANIEL AND THE FOUR EMPIRES (Part 1)
Posted by En Punto
In the year 604 BCE, King Nebuchadnezzar took Daniel into captivity in Babylon. His captivity began 18 years before Nebuchadnezzar returned to Jerusalem and levelled it, ending the Davidic monarchy, destroying the Temple, and taking Judah into exile. In the second year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign, still 17 years before the destruction of Judah, the King had a dream. He saw an idolatrous image with a head of gold, arms and chest of silver, thighs of bronze, and feet of clay and legs of iron. He told his astrologers and wise men, "Tell me my dream and give me the interpretation or I will cut you to pieces" (Daniel 2:5). None could except for one --a Judean named Daniel.
The King said to Daniel, whose Babylonian name was Belteshazzar, "Are you able to make known to me the dream which I have seen and its interpretation?" Daniel answered before the King:
As for the mystery about which the king has inquired, neither wise men, conjurers, magicians nor diviners are able to declare it to the king. However, there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will take place in the latter days. This was your dream and the visions in your mind while on your bed." (Daniel 2:26-28)
Then Daniel described the great image of empires. Read it yourself when you have time. The head of gold is Babylon. "You O Nebuchadnezzar are that head of gold," Daniel tells Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 2:38). The arms and chest of silver represent the Medo-Persian Empire. As Daniel tells Nebuchadnezzar, "another kingdom will rise, inferior to yours." The thighs of bronze stand for the Greek Empire, established by Alexander the Great. Daniel says, "a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth." The legs of iron and the feet of iron and clay are the fourth kingdom, the Roman Empire. As Daniel says, it is "strong as iron; in as much as iron crushes and shatters all things, so like iron that breaks in pieces, it will crush and break all these in pieces" (Daniel 2:40).
The Ten Kings
The last kingdom, the one of iron and clay, is seen with ten toes, representing (we are explicitly told) the kings. In chapter 7, Daniel sees a vision of this fourth and terrifying empire: "After this I kept looking in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong; and it had large iron teeth. It devoured and crushed and trampled down the remainder with its feet; and it was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns" (Daniel 7:7). The ten horns of the iron beast correspond to the ten toes of the image. They are kings, just as in the book of Revelation.
Therefore, the idolatrous image of Nebuchadnezzar's dream represents four human empires spanning a period from the end of the Judean monarchy, 600 BCE up to the tenth Emperor of Rome. Nebuchadnezzar, who destroyed Jerusalem in 586 BC, is the head of gold. He is the Babylonian that begins the imagery. If we start counting with the first Roman Emperor and count them off, we have an amazing result:
The Ten Emperors of Rome
Emperor One: Augustus
Emperor Two: Tiberius
Emperor Three: Gaius Caligula
Emperor Four: Claudius
Emperor Five: Nero
Emperor Six: Galba
Emperor Seven: Otho
Emperor Eight: Vitellius
Emperor Nine: Vespasian
Emperor Ten: Titus
It is no coincidence that Titus, the tenth, was the general who destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in the year 70CE. The image that began with a destroyer of Jerusalem spans nearly 700 years and ended with a destroyer of Jerusalem. That is the power of biblical prophecy.
However, in the vision, the idolatrous image itself was not the victor. Rather it was the victim. In his dream, Nebuchadnezzar saw a rock strike the image and shatter it. Then the rock grew to fill the whole earth. The rock is generally understood to be the Kingdom of Heaven. It strikes the feet of Rome, and shatters them. The declaration of the Kingdom of Heaven began with the message of Yochanon (John) the Immerser. John was prophesying during the days of the second Emperor of Rome, Tiberius. Since then, the Kingdom has continued to grow and grow and one day will fill the whole earth.
THE LITTLE HORN
It is the nature of prophecy to be vague, ambiguous, and slippery. The prophecies of Daniel are no exception. However, there are certain elements in Daniel that are astounding in their level of detail and accuracy, such as the four empires of Nebuchadnezzar's dream. Another example of this amazing level of detail and prophetic clarity is in the description of the days of the Maccabees and the days of the Hanukkah revolution.
Daniel chapter 8 begins with the words, "In the third year of the reign of Belshazzar the King who would see the handwriting on the wall that only Daniel could interpret.” He was the last King of Babylon before that empire was toppled by the Medes and Persians. His third year was in the fifth decade of the fifth century BCE. It was some 36 years or so after the destruction of Jerusalem, more than half a century after Nebuchadnezzar's dream of the statue, in that year, Daniel had a vision.
In the third year of the reign of Belshazzar the king, a vision appeared to me, Daniel, subsequent to the one which appeared to me previously. I looked in the vision, and while I was looking I was in the citadel of Susa, which is in the province of Elam; and I looked in the vision and I myself was beside the Ulai Canal. Then I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, a ram which had two horns was standing in front of the canal. Now the two horns were long, but one was longer than the other, with the longer one coming up last. (Daniel 8:1-3)
Later in the chapter, the angel Gabriel explains the meaning. The ram represents the joint Medo-Persian Empire. Its capital, as we know from the story of Esther, is Susa, ie Shushan, One horn of the ram is longer than the other, suggesting that the Persian power was greater than the Medes. But as Daniel continues to describe the vision, a goat with a single horn comes charging from the West and gores and tramples the Medo-Persian ram. We learn the interpretation from the historical record. The goat is the Greeks. The single horn is Alexander the Great. In the year 336 BCE, Alexander the Great swept across the Mediterranean world and the Middle East. The Persian Empire toppled before him. In verse eight, we read about Alexander the Great.
Then the male goat magnified himself exceedingly. But as soon as he was mighty, the large horn was broken; and in its place there came up four conspicuous horns toward the four winds of heaven. (Daniel 8:8)
When Alexander was at the height of his power, he became deathly ill. Knowing he was about to die and had no heir, he summoned his four greatest generals and divided his kingdom among them. Macedonia and Greece went to Antigonus. Thrace and Asia Minor went to Lysimachus. Babylonia and Syria went to Seleuces. Ptolemy inherited Egypt and the land of Israel. In the vision, the four generals are represented by the four prominent horns "toward the four winds of heaven."
After Alexander's kingdom, was divided, the Ptolemies and the Seleucids fell to war with each other. The Land of Israel was between the two kingdoms and became strategically important in their battles. Generations later, a Seleucid king named Antiochus Epiphanes arose. Daniel foresaw him as a little horn arising out of one of the goat's four horns.
Out of one of (the four horns) came forth a rather small horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Beautiful Land. It grew up to the host of heaven and caused some of the host and some of the stars to fall to the earth, and it trampled them down. It even magnified itself to be equal with the Commander of the host; and it removed the regular sacrifice from Him, and the place of His sanctuary was thrown down.
And on account of transgression the host will be given over to the horn along with the regular sacrifice;
“and it will fling truth to the ground and perform its will and prosper. Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to that particular one who was speaking, "How long will the vision about the regular sacrifice apply, while the transgression causes horror, so as to allow both the holy place and the host to be trampled?
He said to me, "For 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the holy place will be properly restored." (Daniel 8:9-14)
to be continued
The Hanukkah story & Daniel and the Four Empires is a continuation of the Hanukkah story from the book
LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS HANUKKAH AND THE DISCIPLES OF YESHUA (JESUS) A FIRST FRUITS OF ZION ANTHOLOGY
Psalm 140…Tuesday December 20th, 2011
PRESERVE ME O LORD FROM VIOLENCE
Prayer for protection again those who slander or threaten you
DELIVERANCE BEGINS WITH CONCENTRATING ON OUR FUTURE LIFE WITH GOD
Rescue me O Lord; protect me
Keep me O Lord
O Lord I say to you, You are my God
Hear O Lord my cry for mercy
O Sovereign Lord, my strong deliver, who shields my head in the day of battle
I know that the Lord secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy
Surely the righteous will praise your name and the upright will live before you
To whom can the poor turn when they are persecuted or harassed?
They lack the money to get professional help; they may be unable to even defend themselves.
But there is always someone on their side
THE LORD WILL STAND BY THEM and ULTIMATELY BRING ABOUT JUSTICE.
This should be a comfort for us all.
No matter what our situation may be,
THE LORD IS WITH US
But this truth should also call us to responsibility.
As God’s people, we are required to defend the rights of the powerless also truly the results of experiencing the benefits of God’s love and mercy and care
LET US LOOK TO THE LORD and DRAW NIGH TO SO APPROPRIATE THE BENEFITS OF DELIVERANCE, DIVINE PRESERVATION and PROTECTION AS WE SO FOCUS ON THE LORD and SO ABIDE THEREIN BEING STEADFAST THEREIN
Study by Charlotte…December 2011
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