At Abundant Health Wellness Center, we are committed to treating the whole person, including, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. We were created with a need to connect spiritually with God. Your spiritual beliefs may be different from our spiritual beliefs and that is okay. But for those willing to explore, in this blog, which will be longer than our usual blogs, I want to address the looming question, “What’s next?”
I am sure we all agree, our world is in great turmoil, and it would seem World War III is about to break out at any moment. Our financial system is so fragile it appears ready to crumble and a digital monetary system seems inevitable. There are predictions of another pestilence on the horizon worse than COVID-19, while we are still recovering from COVID-19. Depression and anxiety rates are at an all-time high. And this country has never been so divided into polarized sides since the civil war. No wonder the question of “What’s next?” looms over us like a heavy cloud just waiting to burst forth.
But through all these events we can take great hope because we find a great outline of time and world events in the Biblical Scriptures.
In Isaiah 46:9-11 the Creator God makes a very bold statement: “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.”
The God of the Bible declares the way we can know He is the really God is the fact that He can tell the end from the beginning. This is God’s proof-positive evidence that He really is Who He says He is. Such a bold statement requires something to back that up.
In the second chapter of Daniel, we find just that; God foretelling an outline of world events. Has it happened just as He foretold? Let’s find out.
Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, has a dream. When he awakes, he forgets the dream, but he remembers it was something very important and he wants to know its meaning. He calls for his magicians, astrologers, sorcerers, and Chaldeans, to come tell both what he dreamed and the interpretation of the dream.
The wisemen replied, “Let the king tell his servants the dream and we will give the interpretation of it.” This response did not please the king. He must have already been suspicious of the wise men because he calls them out.
“I know, with certainty, you are trying to buy time, because you see the thing is gone from me. But if you will not make known to me the dream, there is but one decree you: for you have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me, till the time has passed. Therefore, tell me the dream, and I shall know of certainty the interpretation is true.”
The Chaldeans are probably shaking in their boots because they know the request is impossible. Therefore, they try to reason with the king, “There is not a man upon the earth that can do as the king requires. It is an unusual thing that the king requests, and there is none that can reveal the dream, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.”
The king orders that all the wise men of Babylon be destroyed. And the decree went forth and included those in training to become wise men.
Arioch, the captain of the king’s guard knocks on Daniel’s door. Daniel has a good reputation in Babylon and the people of the court like him. Daniel asks Arioch what is going on and Arioch tells Daniel the whole story. Daniel then requests to be taken in before the king and permission is granted. Daniel asks the king for some time, promising he would show the king the interpretation. King Nebuchadnezzar had already refused the other wise men time, but he really wants to know the dream and the interpretation. Daniel has shown himself to be wiser than his peers (Daniel 1:19-20) so the king grants Daniel the time requested.
Daniel returns to his home and calls his friends to join him in prayer. They pray for God’s mercies to reveal to them the secret, that the lives of the wise men of Babylon might be spared. Daniel and his friends go to sleep, and that night God gives Daniel the same dream as Nebuchadnezzar. The next morning, Daniel calls for Arioch saying, “Destroy not the wise men of Babylon: bring me in before the king, and I will show the king the dream and the interpretation.”
Arioch, having full faith in Daniel, hastily brings Daniel before the king and with an air of pride declares, “I have found a man of the captives of Judah that will make known unto the king the interpretation.”
As Daniel stands before King Nebuchadnezzar, the King questions, “Are you able to make known unto me the dream which I have dreamt and the interpretation thereof?”
Daniel replies, “The secret which the king has demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, show unto the king; but there is a God in Heaven that reveals secrets, and makes known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Your dream, and the visions of your head upon your bed are these; As for you, O king, your thoughts came into your mind what shall come to pass hereafter? And He that reveals secrets has made known to you what shall come to pass.”
“You, O king, saw, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before you; and the form thereof was spectacular. This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. You watched until a stone was cut out without hands and smote the image on its feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then the iron, clay, brass, silver, and gold, all broken to pieces, became like the chaff of the summer threshing-floors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. This is the dream.”
Daniel proceeds, “Now we will tell the king the interpretation. You, O King, are a king of kings: for the God of Heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory. Wherever the children of men dwell, the beast of the field and the fowls of the heaven, has He given into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all. You are this head of gold.”
I can imagine Nebuchadnezzar breaths in deeply and raises his head high and his hands cup the heads of the golden lions carved on the arms of his throne. He is proud to be the King of the world’s Empire, Babylon (Daniel 1:1). Babylon, referred to as the Golden City, was one of the Seven Wonders of the World; it was four-square with beautiful hanging gardens and the Euphrates River running through the center. In the days of Nebuchadnezzar gold was the Babylonian currency; silver was of little value in comparison. The walls surrounding the city were thick enough for two chariots to pass on the top of the walls. King Nebuchadnezzar was very proud of the Babylonian empire he had built. Babylon was thought to be impregnable, and the Babylonians mocked those who dared to besiege it by throwing bread over the wall to their enemies indicating that those on the outside of the wall would starve before those on the inside.
But I can imagine Nebuchadnezzar was shocked by Daniel’s next sentence, “And after you shall arise another kingdom, inferior to you…” In the days of King Nebuchadnezzar, a king’s servant was to always be happy and positive in the presence of the king and wish the king long life and his kingdom to last forever. To say something in reference to the kingdom coming to an end, and that it would be an inferior kingdom that would gain the victory, would have been too much for most kings, and would jeopardize the life the individual who would dare to say such a thing. But King Nebuchadnezzar, listens patiently and thoughtfully, as Daniel faithfully gives the interpretation just as it has been revealed to him. Daniel can stand boldly before the king undaunted because he has knelt before the King of kings Who is with him as he speaks to King Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 2:36).
God had prophesied through Isaiah, approximately 400 years prior, that Babylon would meet her doom; “And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall never again be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation.” Isaiah 13:19-20. Babylon ruled the world from 605 B.C. to 538 B.C. Then another kingdom would come on the scene. Who was this inferior kingdom that would defeat the glorious, golden city, Babylon?
The Bible gives us the answer. Nebuchadnezzar gets old and his descendants rule in his stead. His grandson, Belshazzar co-rules with his father, Nabonidus, who would rather be a priest than a king. In Daniel chapter five, Belshazzar throws a banquet for all the officials of his realm. He requests that the golden vessels that had been taken from the temple in Jerusalem be brought to drink from while they praise the gods of metal, wood and stone, thus mocking the God of Heaven.
While in this drunken stupor, Belshazzar sees fingers of a man’s hand write on the plaster of the wall by the candlestick. Suddenly the party is over. The king is so sore afraid that he loses control of himself and cries aloud to have the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers come. The wise men assemble before the king and the king says, “Whosoever can read this writing and give me the interpretation shall be clothed in scarlet, and have a golden chain about his neck and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.” But the wise men could not read or interpret the writing.
The queen says, “O king live forever…there is a man in your kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy Gods…whom the king, Nebuchadnezzar, your father…made master of the wise men; for he had an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and showing of hard sentences and dissolving doubts…now let Daniel be called, and he will show the interpretation.” Daniel 5:10-12.
Daniel, now an old man, was brought before the king. The king gave him the same promise of reward as the other wise men. Daniel replies to the King, “Let your gifts be to yourself, and give your rewards to another; But I will read the writing unto the king and make known to him the interpretation.” But first Daniel gives the king a bit of a “reproof” through recounting the history of Nebuchadnezzar and his relationship with God (See Daniel 5:18-23) and concludes, “But you, O Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, though you knew all this; but have lifted up yourself against the Lord of Heaven; and have brought the vessels of His house before you…and have praised the gods of metal, wood and stone…then was the hand sent from Him and this writing was written: “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin. This is the interpretation: Mene: God has numbered your kingdom and finished it [Babylon as a kingdom is over]. Tekel: You are weighed in the balances and found wanting [it is not looking so good for Babylon or for you, King Belshazzar]. Peres [Singular of Upharsin]: Your kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.” Daniel 5:22-28. Daniel was made the third ruler of the kingdom of Babylon for part of a night.
While Belshazzar was partying, Cyrus, the Persian, was diverting the Euphrates River and he and his army marched up the river to the leaved gates. God had prophesied over 400 years prior, calling Cyrus by name, “Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight.” Isaiah 45:1-2. In the drunken stupor the guards had left the leaved gates open, and Babylon fell that very night. Belshazzar was slain and Darius the Median took over the kingdom.
The Medes and Persians were represented by the chest of silver. Taxes were collected in silver during the Medo-Persian reign. The Persians were stronger than the Medes but together they ruled the world from 539 B.C. to 331 B.C.
Daniel continues the interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel chapter 2, “And a third kingdom of brass, will bear rule over all the earth.”
What kingdom conquered the Medes and Persians? The Bible gives us the answer in Daniel chapter 8. In this chapter there is a ram with two horns and a goat with one horn and the goat kills or conquers the ram. Daniel 8:20-21 tell us who is represented by the goat and who is represented by the ram: “The ram that you saw having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia. And the rough goat is the king of Greece: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king.”
By the time the prophecy of Daniel chapter eight is fulfilled, Daniel has died. For Daniel to say Greece would one day rule the world is like saying today Latvia will rule the world. In Daniel’s day that looked like a total impossibility. But God said it would be Greece and God makes the bold claim to be able to tell the end from the beginning. So far so good, wouldn’t you agree?
At the Battle of Arbela, the Grecian soldiers were outnumbered one to twenty. It was not a very promising outcome for the Grecian soldiers. The battlefield was muddy from the recent rains. The heavy equipment and armory of the Medes and Persians bogged the military down and they sunk in the mud. The Grecian’s armory was of lighter brass and able to ambulate more easily. Greece won the battle and conquered the Medes and Persians in 331 B.C. Alexander the Great was the first King. He conquered the world faster than anyone had ever done it and when there was nothing left to conquer, traditional history tells us he cried.
Alexander could conquer kingdoms, but he could not conquer his own destructive alcohol addiction and he drank himself to death. When on his death bed, without any eligible heir to take the kingdom, his four generals asked who would take over the kingdom. He replied, “The strongest.” Greece ruled the world until 168 B.C. But it was a tumultuous time. The four generals and their successive heirs, fought until the strongest finally took the kingdom and became the fourth world empire.
Daniel continues the interpretation, “And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and subdues all things: and as iron that breaks all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.”
This fourth kingdom was the ruling entity during the time of Christ. Luke 2:1 tells us, “And it came to pass in those day, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the Roman world should be taxed.” Caesars were Roman rulers. Rome came out of Greece and therefore retained the Greek Mythology at it roots. The Roman Empire was often referred to as the Iron Monarchy of Rome. The Roman armory was of iron and they did indeed rule with an iron fist; known as the cruelest nation to rule the world. It was Rome’s way or no way. Rome ruled the world from 168 B.C. to 476 A.D. Jesus was crucified by the Romans in 31 A.D. What happened to Rome? Rome was not taken over by another kingdom, but the kingdom was divided.
Daniel continues, “And whereas you saw the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of iron, forasmuch as you saw the iron mixed with miry clay. And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. And whereas you saw iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.” In the dream the toes were not mentioned, but in the interpretation toes are mentioned, therefore, it must be of special importance. The Roman kingdom was divided into ten divisions (or ten toes) which eventually became modern Europe. Some divisions would be strong, and some would be weak.
Men and kingdoms would try to unite these divisions back together, but God said while men will do everything possible to try, they “will not cleave to one another”; they will never unite for any significant amount of time.
Then what happens? Daniel continues, “And in the days of these kings [the ten Roman divisions] 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. Forasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God has made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.”
What does the stone represent? God’s Kingdom. Revelation refers to the stones of the kingdom of God (see Revelation 2:17). 1 Corinthians 10:4 calls Jesus the Stone.
What will happen to all the other kingdoms? They will cease to exist.
How long will God’s Kingdom rule? “It will not be left to other people; It shall stand forever.”
Jesus is telling the king (and us) what is going to happen before it happens so when it does happen, he (we) will believe (John 14:29).
King Nebuchadnezzar concludes, “Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a Revealer of secrets, seeing you could reveal this secret!”
To help us understand the magnitude of this dream, we will imagine, I meet a man with a top hat, pin-striped suit, shiny black shoes, and holding a cane; you know the type, he gives me $5 and tells me to bet on horse #1. (Now, for the record, I am not promoting gambling, this is an illustration). He tells me if horse #1 wins I will have fifty dollars to keep instead of five dollars. So, I go to the races and find the ticket counter and place a $5 to bet on horse #1. I then climb up into the stands. I scan the horses looking for horse #1. I finally spot him. A good-looking horse; big and powerful. I think, no wonder the man told me to bet on him, he looks like a winner! I wait for the races to begin. BANG, I hear the gun shot and the horses and jockeys are off. Horse #1 is out of the gate and leaves the pack in the dust all the way to the finish line. I go to the counter, collect my fifty dollars, and turn to leave.
At the exit gate I see the man with the top hat, pin-striped suit, shiny black shoes, with a cane. I was ready to tell him thank you and how horse #1 won, but he wags his cane at me and says, “Put your money on horse #3.” Well, he was right once, I think, maybe he will be right twice. What do I have to lose? So, I turn around and put my money on horse #3. I climb back up into the stands and start looking for horse #3. Upon finding him, I get a little worried. He is not as handsome as horse #1. BANG! The gun fires and they are off. I cup my hands over my mouth and wait with bated breath as I see horse #3 in the middle of the pack. It looks like he does not stand a chance of winning. Around the last corner I see him break free. Gradually he inches his way past one horse and then another and another. He wins the race by less than one foot at the finish line. I throw my hands up and yell, “YES!” I scramble down and collect my $500. That was mighty close, I think as I head for the gate.
But at the gate stands the man with the top hat, pin-striped suit, shiny black shoes, with a cane and He wags his cane at me and says, “Put your money on horse #5.”
He’s still wagging his cane as I contemplate, he was right twice, maybe he will be right again. He gave me the money in the first place. I decide to give it one more chance. I go back to the counter and give my $500 for horse #5. Since there is some time before the horses line up, I decide to walk to the stalls and get a good look at Horse #5. I pass a lot of tall, lean, stately horses and finally see horse #5. Oh, what a pitiful sight. He is short and stocky. How will he compete with these other horses? He doesn’t stand a chance. With a sigh, I tell the horse, “You might be short and stocky but the man in the top hat, pin-striped suit, shiny black shoes, with a cane told me to bet on you. He’s been right two out of two times, so you have to win, ya hear me?” Well, it seemed to me the horse nodded.
So, with that little bit of assurance I climbed back up into the stands and waited for the race to begin. It was not too terribly long before the horses took their places, and I spotted horse #5. He looked like a miniature horse next to the tall, stately horses. BANG! Gates open and the race is on. The horses crowd to the inside lane, except one. The jockey on horse #5 has him on the outside lane. He is at the back and swinging wide. I let my head fall into my hands, covering my face. But then I lifted my head up again and cried at the top of my lungs, “Come on, boy! Show ‘em short boys can race too.” He starts gaining on some horse and then passes them. He gets to the middle of the pack but still in the outside lane and has a long way to go to catch the leader. Now the finish line is in his sight, straight ahead. It is a tight race. By the time horse #5 reaches the finish line, he is a full body length ahead of the rest of the horses. “He won, he won!” I cry out. I hurry down the stands feeling pretty light footed as I go to collect my $5000. As I approach the counter, out of the corner of my eye I see the man with the top hat, pin-striped suit, shiny black shoes, with a cane. Again, he wags his cane at me, “Put your money on horse #6.”
What am I going to do? He has been right 3 out of 3 times. Feeling confident the man in the top hat, pin-striped suit, shiny black shoes, with a cane will be right, I tell the lady at the counter to put the money on horse #6. I then go find horse #6. I find him in a stall with three other horses. He is a feisty ol’ horse. Lots of muscles but the four horses are biting and kicking and pestering one another. But it looks to me like he has a pretty good chance of winning. So, I turn to climb the stands again.
As the horses take their places, I am shocked to see all four horses I had visited in the lineup, and it seems they still wanted to get each other’s throat. Very strange, I thought, wouldn’t it be hard to focus on a race if you are focused on getting another horse’s throat? BANG! The horses lunge out the gates better than any of the previous races. The four horses stick together, bumping and shoving around the track. I had never seen anything like it, but then again, I had never been to the horse races before this day. The four horses are at the front, but it is hard to tell which one actually has the lead. The race is close; the announcer calls the winner, “Horse #6!”
He won! I think I am going to end up with ulcers if I don’t give this up, I think as I climb down to collect my $50,000. But guess who I meet at the counter? The man with the top hat, pin-striped suit, shiny black shoes, with a cane, and he wags his cane at me and says, “Put your money on horse #7.”
What will I do? He has been right 4 out of 4 times…
I think you get my point.
God said Babylon would rule the world and it was so. He was right once.
God said Medes and Persian would conquer Babylon and it was so. He was right twice.
God said little, scrawny Greece would rule the world and it was so. He was right three times.
God said Rome would be the next empire on the scene and it was so. He was right four times.
God said Rome would not be taken over but would be divided and it was so. He was right five times.
God said men would try to unite Rome again without success and thus has it been. God has been right six out of six times. What is your bet God will be right the seventh time, establishing His own Kingdom?
And that, my friends, is, in a nutshell, what is next.
God cares enough to tell us what is about to happen before it happens.
God cares about you!
God has proven He can tell the end from the beginning, not just in this prophecy, but in many other Biblical prophecies. We can have peace in this tumultuous world when we understand God cares enough to tell us ahead of time what will happen next, and we do not need to be surprised or fearful when we see things get worse. We can trust God because He has our best interest in mind.
Would you like to learn more about this God Who can tell the end from the beginning?
Join us Wednesday evenings at 5:30 pm CT at
Abundant Health Wellness Center, 240 Huntsville Rd., Eureka Springs, AR 72632