As we have recently entered a new millennium, it is obvious that man, in his emptiness, is reaching out, searching for truth. Through the New Age movement, man has turned to meditation, Eastern philosophy and other ways to become self-reliant.
Since man is searching for the truth, I felt it appropriate to start this series by sharing some of God's prophecies and their fulfillment as recorded in history. I encourage you to go to the library and read up on the early leaders in world history as well as the nation of Israel—you will learn some very fascinating facts.
History shows that the first world empire was that of Babylon (586 bc), under the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, who was then conquered by the Medes and Persians under the command of Cyrus. Next came the Grecian Empire, under the command of Alexander the Great. Finally, the last world empire was Rome, headed by Julius Caesar, among others.
Rome in the first century conquered the civilized world. Since the Roman Empire, we have not had a world empire, although many leaders have tried (for example, Napoleon and Hitler).
In the book of Daniel, chapter 2, King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that Daniel, a prophet of God, was given the interpretation of in a vision from God. In Nebuchadnezzar’s dream (Dan. 2:31-35), he saw a large statue with a head of gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron and its feet made partly of iron and partly of clay. He saw a rock being carved out, but not by human hands. The rock smashed the statue on its feet, destroying it without leaving a trace, and then the rock that destroyed the statue became an awesome mountain and filled the earth.
Disturbed by this vision, the king sought advice from his counsel. He gathered his advisors and commanded them to interpret his dream without revealing the dream to them. They asked him how they could interpret a dream that had not been described to them. He replied to them that they could, if they were indeed wise. They responded by saying that there was not a man alive who could fulfill such a request, nor had any ruler ever demanded such.
For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain (Dan. 2:12-13).
Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men…shew unto the king; But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days (Dan. 2:27-28).
God revealed the dream to Daniel as well the interpretation. The interpretation (Daniel 2:36-45) was that the head of gold represented King Nebuchadnezzar and his kingdom, Babylon. In the vision, the chest and arms represented two kingdoms combining their strength, and we now know that these two kingdoms were the Medes and the Persians. Daniel continued with the interpretation, telling the king that a third kingdom would rule the earth, as represented by the belly and thighs of bronze. This kingdom ended up being that of Greece. Finally, a fourth kingdom, strong as iron, would rule and crush all. Clearly this describes the Roman Empire, whose brute force dominated the world. The Roman Empire would later collapse from within and become the individual countries of Europe. This fulfilled the next prophecy, which Daniel explained as a kingdom that would divide into smaller and weaker nations as iron and clay. He then added:
And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and
consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever (Dan. 2:44).
So as we can see, the Bible actually foretold history —which leads us to another astonishing prophecy that is found in the book of Isaiah, describing how Cyrus would conquer Babylon.
This is what the Lord says to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of to subdue nations before him and to strip kings of their armor, to open doors before him so that gates will not be shut (Isa. 45:1 NIV).
This prophecy was written 150 years before the event and shows how Cyrus would enter into the city. History records that Babylon was a city with walls so high and wide that it could not be captured. Cyrus (of the Medes and Persians) conquered Babylon by backing up the Euphrates river and going under the walls, where he found the gates of the city left opened. He then took the city by surprise. When Cyrus came to power, Daniel showed Cyrus that his name was written in the scrolls of Isaiah’s writings. Cyrus was so in awe of this that he allowed the Jews to leave Babylon and return to Jerusalem.
Continuing on with Bible prophecies, Psalm 22 contains a prophecy that predicts the crucifixion of Christ, thousands of years before crucifixion was even thought of. In the book of Matthew, Jesus gave a prophecy as He was leaving the temple.
And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down (Matt. 24:2).
History records that in 70 ad, when Titus took the city of Jerusalem, a soldier set fire to the temple and all the gold melted into the cracks of the rocks. The soldiers then disassembled the temple by each stone individually, gathering up all the gold—fulfilling yet another prophecy.
Before I was a believer in Christ, I was quite skeptical about the Bible and passages like these. My question was, how do I know that the Bible was not written after the fact? I mean, it would not seem like a difficult task to predict something that has already happened. As this question kept entering my mind, I felt a need to do some research into history. I was amazed to find that in 1947 the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. These consist of nearly 500 scrolls and fragments (including the complete book of Isaiah) that archaeologists have dated back well over 2,500 years.
I then started researching the nations of Israel, both ancient and modern-day. I found that in the 1800s the land in the region was neglected by the Arabs and Turks. They cut down all the trees, creating marshland. In the 1930s, during the Zionist movement, the Jews gradually purchased back the land and started planting trees. Today Israel is the fourth-largest producer of fruit in the world. In fact, Israel produces fruit for all of Europe during the winter.1 In Ezekiel chapter 36, the Lord states:
This land that was laid waste has become like the garden of Eden; the cities that were lying in ruins, desolate and destroyed, are now fortified and inhabited. Then the nations around you that remain will know that I the Lord have rebuilt what was destroyed and have replanted what was desolate. I the Lord have spoken, and I will do it (Ezek. 36:35-36 NIV).
Could this passage be a coincidence? Or was God telling His people that He had spoken it and it would happen? Do you realize that Israel is the only country in the world
that has lost its land yet never lost its citizenship? The Jews were dispersed around the world and yet, on May 14, 1948, Israel became a nation, fulfilling the prophecy of Ezekiel 37:21:
This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land (NIV).
Again, I would ask the question, is this a coincidence? Or did the Lord forewarn His people of events that would take place?
In 1967, during the Six-Day War, Israel again defended its land. Yet again God’s Word was fulfilled: “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse” (Gen. 12:3 NIV). In October of 1973, during Yom Kippur, Syria and Egypt attacked Israel from opposite ends. Since Yom Kippur is the Jews’ holiest day of the year, the Israelis were not militarily prepared for battle. The Syrians attacked a twenty-mile area with nearly 1,200 tanks, while Egypt had 3,000 tanks and heavy artillery. With minimal support, the Israeli army managed to again overthrow their attackers. Incidentally, Jerusalem has had more wars fought at its gates than any other city in the world.2
We are living in very exciting times, seeing the fulfillment of the Lord’s words coming to pass. In the early 1900s, a British scholar condemned the Bible as a hoax because of a verse (Revelation 11:9) stating that every nation, tribe, language and people will witness an event that takes place. This was impossible, of course, before TV was invented. We are seeing biblical prophecy unfold in front of our eyes.
Recently I was on a flight coming back from Europe, and a young student from Switzerland was sitting next to me. He saw me reading my Bible and told me that his grandmother had been saying for years that Christ is coming back, which to him seemed like a myth. I quickly pointed out that the Bible says that knowledge will be increased in the end times and that when we see and hear of these events stated in the Bible, that we should look up, for our redemption is near (Luke 21:28).
Actually, in the book of Revelation where it states “what must soon take place” (Rev. 1:1), in the original Greek language the word soon means rapidly, similar to a domino effect. This means that once it is ready to happen, it will happen quickly. I then showed him Revelation 13:17, which talks about a cashless society: “so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark” (NIV). If you had considered the idea of a cashless society twenty-five years ago, you would have said, “No way…not possible!” However, today, with ATMs, point of sale, electronic banking, etc., one would never say that there is no way that it will not come to pass. Think about the advantages: the crime rate would decrease greatly, banks and merchants would not have to worry about checks bouncing and drug lords would be left with large amounts of cash that they would not be able to account for. As you can see, the list goes on and on. On a governmental level, the concept of a cashless society might seem very attractive—especially to the IRS. The consumer might find it extremely convenient. When I travel abroad, I find it easiest to use ATM machines to receive that country’s currency. That way I do not have to pay a bank commission fee and I get the current international market exchange rate, which is a higher rate. Revelation 13:17 speaks of the new world leader giving everyone a mark on their right hand or forehead. Could this mark be a computer chip or possibly a laser tattoo? There are several states in the US that tag animals by injecting a device in them.
In Singapore, during the spring of 1998, it was documented that a microchip was installed in a man’s forehead. That same spring, Time Magazine also reported on the benefits of a cashless society. Just imagine going to buy groceries and having the cashier scan your forehead to deduct your payment. It is also interesting to note that the FDA will not approve a drug, medicine or technology until it has been tested for a seven-year period. If this type of technology were under development now, perhaps in a testing period, could we be within seven years of this kind of cashless society?
So today, as we watch the news and read the paper, we find that current events are in line with Bible prophecy. Looking again at the book of Daniel, we have already discussed the world empires that have already reigned; however, what about the rest of the prophecy, referring to the feet of the statue made of iron and clay and the rock cut from a mountain, yet not by human hands, that crushes the feet and toes of the statue (Dan. 2:41-45)? Well, let’s examine the prophecy by looking at the feet and toes of the statue that emerge from the legs of iron, which history has defined as being the Roman empire. We believe that this prophecy tells us that the fourth empire (Rome) will reunite, with ten nations joining together, stronger and weaker nations forming a united community. This is extremely fascinating, because we know that, before the 1990s the Berlin Wall came down, and then the European countries started forming trade associations, resulting in what is now known as the EU or the European Union. In the past, as a traveler through Europe, one would have to stop at border patrols in each country and receive a passport entry. But today, your first port of entry into Europe is the only passport stamp needed. This makes it easy to travel around Europe without any other documents needed. Also, as of January 1, 1999, the Euro was adopted, giving Europe only one currency (excluding the UK, Sweden and Switzerland).
Looking back fifty years at Nazi Germany and how Hitler attacked and destroyed most of Europe, would anyone have imagined that these countries would unite and give up their military and currency and join forces? Well, the Bible has predicted it, and in our lifetime, we have seen this with our own eyes. The Lord has spoken it and it has happened. We must also note that the Lord said that He has given His Word to “show his servants what must soon take place” (Rev. 1:1 NIV). In other words, the word coincidence is not in the Lord’s vocabulary!
In the New Testament, the Pharisees asked Jesus to perform a miracle and Jesus answered them:
A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (Matt. 12:39-40 NIV).
The Bible clearly lays out history, including the past, present, and most importantly, the future. Jesus also stated, “I have come in my Father's name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him” (John 5:43 NIV). Could this perhaps be the next world leader? Daniel’s prophecy declares that the next world leader will come out of the Roman empire (or be of Roman descent) and will establish a one-world government. This world leader is known as the Antichrist. The word anti in Greek means instead of or other than. We see this leader appearing on the scene in Revelation 6:2, identified as the rider of a white horse. In Daniel chapter 9, there were seventy seven-year periods declared upon the nation of Israel. Sixty-nine of the
seventy seven-year periods have been fulfilled by Christ appearing, suffering and dying for our sins, which gave everlasting life to those who accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. The last seven-year cycle has not started yet, and it will be ushered in by the world leader. Daniel refers in several passages to the world leader, saying that he will make a treaty with the nation of Israel and rebuild their temple, but after three-and-a-half years he will walk into the temple and claim that he is the Christ, which, in biblical terms, is the “abomination of desolation.”
So, according to the book of Daniel, this world leader will come from the Roman empire and bring peace to Israel. If you ask a Jewish scholar who their Messiah will be (for Jews do not believe that Christ is the Messiah), they will tell you that the Messiah will bring peace to Israel and rebuild the temple. The Bible describes this new world leader as a charismatic man who brings peace to the earth and seems to be the answer to economic problems. The world will love this charismatic leader and participate in his one-world government. Think about this scenario: in the last fifty years, we have seen NATO emerge as a world peacekeeper (to some degree), the Soviet Union collapse and the United States of America close down military bases and decrease their military manpower. Could this all be part of God’s plan to allow a one-world government? I realize this is hard to visualize, but after World War II, who would have thought that all the nations of Europe would be joining forces with Germany, as we see today?
Revelation 13:3 talks about the world leader surviving an assassination attempt on his life, miraculously recovering from a fatal wound, and the people of the earth being astonished and worshiping him. Revelation 13:11-13 refers to the world leader having a sidekick, who could perhaps be a religious figure, performing miracles and wonders. Referring to the end times, Daniel 12:11 states that when the world leader steps into the temple (the “abomination of desolation”), there will be 1,290 days until the end.
After this event, the wrath of God will be poured out upon the earth (as described in Revelation chapters 6 to 19). And then the final battle will take place in the valley of Megiddo, which is the event described as Armageddon (Rev. 16:16). And from here, we go back to the conclusion of Daniel’s prophecy:
the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed…It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands (Dan. 2:44-45 NIV).
Revelation 19:11 says “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.”
The Bible teaches that man is made for eternal life. Although our flesh only lives for so long, our spirits and souls shall live for eternity in either heaven or hell. It is so hard to be in this world and not of this world: “For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting” (Gal. 6:8). As children of God, we have the Holy Spirit dwelling inside us, and we can understand spiritual things. Remember, the flesh seeks this world’s realities and does not understand the power of our Lord.
The Bible was given to us so that we would not be ignorant of things to come. Our Lord is a gentleman and does not wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance and accept His grace and forgiveness (2 Pet. 3:9). We are washed clean by His blood, and all we have to do is ask Him to come into our hearts, admit that we are sinners, repent of our sins and walk in His Spirit. If you have not yet done so, you can ask Christ to come into your life, forgive you of your sins and give you the promise of everlasting life.

May the peace, grace and joy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ wash and cleanse you of your sins.

In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.