Help for Today — Hope for Tomorrow
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[Darris McNeely] This world is not what it appears. It is a continual struggle of spiritual wickedness in high places.
Would it surprise you to know that your Bible foretells a coming time when a world leader emerges with the claim to not be like a god, but to be a god? Don’t think this strange. It could happen in our time. World conditions could easily turn so that such a person would appear.
What would you do? Would you recognize the deception from such a ﬁgure?
Join us on Beyond Today as we continue our series, “Kingdoms at War: The Man Who Would Be God.”
[Announcer] Join our host Darris McNeely and his guests as they help you understand your future on Beyond Today !
[Darris] News headlines warn of a changing world where nations are lining up for confrontation that could plunge the world into another world war.
Iran continues to destabilize the Middle East developing a nuclear weapon. It promotes unrest among its neighboring states.
While North Korea develops rockets that could carry nuclear weapons across the Paciﬁc Ocean, hitting the cities of America’s west coast.
Russia provokes conﬂict with its European neighbors and stirs the pot of conﬂict in the Middle East.
And millions of immigrants are ﬂooding out of the Middle East and threatening the stability of Europe.
I could go on but I think you get the picture. What you and I are seeing are massive changes among today’s nations. Changes that signal the potential for major Bible prophecies coming to pass.
The only way you can truly understand our world is through the pages of the Bible. The only way that you can protect yourself from a great spiritual deception to come is by God’s revelation of not only prophecy, but His role as the God of history—the God who determines the times when nations rise and fall according to His plan. The only way you could see through the deception of a world leader who claims to be God is to understand that it happened before. The keys to understand this are found in the biblical book of Daniel.
This is part ﬁve in our series called, “Kingdoms at War .” You can see our past programs on our website. In this program, we are going to closely examine a little understood part of the book of Daniel.
As a student of the Bible, you will also know that Greece was a key nation mentioned in Scripture. Ancient Greece had an impact on the biblical story that emerges telling God’s purpose and plan for humanity. Let’s look at what the prophet Daniel saw in these visions.
We begin in the seventh chapter of Daniel where the prophet had a dream and visions while sleeping. When he woke, he wrote the facts and images of his dream.
It was a nighttime setting for the vision. Daniel saw a great expanse of ocean. From all directions the winds blew and stirred up huge waves. Out of the water came four distinct beasts. “The ﬁrst was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings. Its wings were plucked oﬀ and the beast was lifted from the earth and made to stand on two feet like a man. This beast also had the heart of a man” (Daniel 7:4).
We know this beast represented the kingdom of Babylon. Babylon was the power that had captured Jerusalem. Babylon had taken captive the Jewish people. Daniel was in Babylon as part of his captivity.
But suddenly, Daniel saw another beast. This one was like a bear. Raised up on one side and had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. A voice was heard saying, “Arise, devour much ﬂesh!” (Daniel 7:5).
This bear represented the Persian Empire which replaced the Babylonian Empire. Persia’s greatest leader, Cyrus the Great, the conqueror of Babylon, played a key role in returning the Jews to Jerusalem to rebuild God’s temple. Daniel also served a key role in the Persian Empire at Babylon.
Again, Daniel looked and he saw a third beast rise. Now this beast looked like a leopard. It had four wings and four heads. We are told this beast was given a large expanse of territory to rule over (Daniel 7:6).
This beast represented the Greek Empire, which is the subject of today’s program. This leopard-like beast was of such importance that we have another chapter describing it in the book of Daniel. We’ll go to that in a moment. But there remains one more beast to be seen by the prophet.
This fourth beast Daniel sees is described as dreadful, terrible, and exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth. It devoured and broke in pieces and trampled into pieces with its feet. It was diﬀerent from all the other beasts and it had 10 horns (Daniel 7:7).
This fourth beast pictured the ancient Roman Empire. It’s a remarkable vision. What Daniel saw gives important proof that God stands behind Bible prophecy. That Daniel foretold the Roman Empire hundreds of years before it existed is simply astounding. We’ll spend another program showing the prophetic importance of this fourth beast—Rome.
Daniel was grieved and deeply troubled by these visions. He asked to understand the truth of what he had seen. He was told the four great beasts were four kings that would arise out of the earth. These kings—and the kingdoms they ruled—would in time be subdued by a greater kingdom, the Kingdom of God.
As part of this vision, Daniel also witnessed one of the great scenes of the Bible. He saw a vision of heaven with God seated on a throne of ﬁery ﬂame with wheels like a burning ﬁre. A stream of ﬁre ﬂowed before Him. Tens of thousands of powerful spirit beings surrounded God in an image like a great heavenly court.
God gave Daniel this scene to show that His power was greater than any of these earthly kingdoms or beasts. Remember, these beasts rose up out of the earth. God’s throne is in the heavens. It’s not of this earth, and it’s not subject to the transitory nature of earthly kingdoms.
While watching this heavenly scene, Daniel also saw “One like the Son of Man” come on the clouds near to the throne of God (Daniel 7:13-14). This was a foreshadowing of Christ. He is given a dominion and glory and a kingdom. All people, nations and languages will serve Him. And He is given an everlasting rule that shall not pass away nor be destroyed.
This is a scene of the Kingdom of God ruled by Jesus Christ. This Kingdom is prophesied to begin with a one-thousand-year reign on earth. Daniel is given a panoramic overview of world history. It shows God is in control of history. He guides the nations and the people of the earth to fulﬁll His great plan and His purpose.
But God was not ﬁnished showing Daniel more about this third beast—the beast representing the kingdom of Greece. Another vision is devoted to this kingdom. What that vision shows is a power rising to challenge the holy people of God. It gives us a warning and a lesson for today. It reminds us our world is not what it seems. Great spiritual battles are taking place.
Before I go any further, we have a study aid to help you more deeply understand this topic. It’s called: The Book of Revelation Unveiled.
The book of Daniel and Revelation both give insights into end-time prophecy. Yet most people believe that this ﬁnal book of the Bible cannot be understood—that its language and symbols are too confusing to make sense. But this is not true! You can understand with the help of our free study aid.
To order your personal, free copy, call toll free: 1-888-886-8632. Or you can go online at BeyondToday.tv or write to us at the address shown on your screen throughout the program [Beyond Today, PO Box 541027, Cincinnati, OH 45254].
With the right keys to understanding the book of Revelation, you can unlock the doors to understanding biblical prophecy and discover what lies ahead for you and your family!
Why does all this fantastic imagery from your Bible matter to you today? What can you learn to help you cope with everyday life? Would it surprise you to know the prophet Daniel asked the same questions?
Daniel faced daily challenges to his faith and his life’s purpose. He knew God, but did not always understand why God allowed evil men to win and good people to suﬀer and lose. In fact, Daniel spent his life in Babylon seeking understanding. He too needed the hope that comes from seeing the hand of God in this world.
God gave Daniel a gift to see beyond the headlines of his day. He understood there was an unseen spirit world where greater battles were being fought. As we read what he saw, we share that same insight. This knowledge then can ﬁre us with meaning and purpose.
The prophet Daniel was given visions far into the future—even to our day and time. He foresaw the spiritual battles of our day.
Two years after receiving this ﬁrst vision, Daniel saw another vision. Now this vision was diﬀerent from all the others he received. One night, while traveling in another province, he had a vision of such clarity that he wrote it down. In that vision, he was standing by a river and he looked up to see a ram with two horns standing on the bank of the river. They were tall horns—one was higher than the other.
While watching, he saw the ram push toward the west, toward the north and the south. His power overwhelmed every other animal in its path. It conquered all. Bible scholars have long understood that this ram was the Medo-Persian Empire of history. This large powerful force dominated the Middle East region from what is today, modern-day Iran—westward to Egypt, and what is now Turkey. Its western border came all the way to Greece.
As Daniel considered this ram, suddenly there appeared a male goat from the west. The speed, the range and the power of this goat literally overwhelms the scene. The goat seems to ﬂy “without touching the ground” and comes at the ram with such furious power that it cannot defend itself. Its two horns are broken. He is cast to the ground and trampled. The attack completely destroys the power of the ram.
This goat with a large and impressive “horn” between its eyes is the empire of Greece under the famous, Alexander the Great. Daniel, in vision, witnesses one of history’s greatest stories. The conquest of the Persian Empire by Alexander was so improbable and rapid. In only 13 years, he rolled from Greece all the way to the Indus River in India conquering every nation in his path. No other army or general in history has accomplished such a feat.
Alexander left his mark on his conquered lands. His goal was to create a world based on Greek ideas and culture. He was a student of the famed Aristotle and was deeply inﬂuenced by Greek thought. Believing himself to be the son of a god, he was motivated by otherworldly motives to impose a new world order—a world united in language, religion and culture based on the Greek model. His zeal to do this went so far as to encourage his soldiers to take wives of the local population and bear children, and this they did. To this day, the DNA of Alexander’s soldiers can be found within the peoples of the regions that he conquered.
Daniel describes this empire growing very great and strong. But just at its peak, its large horn was “broken.” Alexander died in Babylon in 323 BC at the age of 33. He had conquered lands as far east as India and Afghanistan. When his soldiers would go no further, he had to accept that he had limitations. He never had time to consolidate his empire into a cohesive government.
After his death, four generals divided the spoils. Daniel’s vision refers to this as four notable horns replacing the one large horn. Daniel’s vision focuses on the story of one king who rose from one of those divisions. He is called a little horn and he exalts himself as a god. He wages a war on the Glorious Land, the land of Israel and Jerusalem. This king wages war on the truth of God and God’s people. His name—Antiochus Epiphanes and his name means “god revealed.”
History shows the lingering impact of the kingdom of Greece. Greek culture has inﬂuenced the world through architecture, religion, politics, language, culture and even sports. Our modern Olympic games are a revival of the ancient games held every four years in old Greece. Have you ever spent time in a gymnasium? A gymnasium is a place of sports and games. It’s found in virtually every city of the world and it came from Greece. It is where athletes participated in various games as part of everyday life in Greece.
Greek civilization is still alive today. This includes the ideas and the culture that Alexander magniﬁed and spread to his world of his day. The voices of its philosophers and politicians are heard across the centuries in the centers of politics and power. The locations have changed. Instead of Athens, today it’s Washington or New York, Toronto or Sydney. Freedom and liberty that once was taught on the Acropolis is now heard and seen as modern enlightenment and progress in universities and across the internet. Ancient Greece gave birth to today’s western civilization. Our world is nourished and sustained by Greek culture.
Which is why our world and its culture is not God’s world. It is an alien world to anyone who seeks faith and belief in the God of the Bible, the God who Daniel knew and served. We live in a world as alien to true faith as Babylon was to Daniel and his faith in his day.
Which is why Daniel’s focus in this vision is on the lasting power and the inﬂuence of this goat—the kingdom of Greece. And in particular the large horn, Alexander the Great. When Daniel had seen the vision, he sought to understand its meaning. His earlier experiences taught him that this night was no ordinary dream. It was a vision from God through his angelic messengers. Daniel needed to probe deeper for understanding.
At that point, the angel Gabriel stepped forward to help Daniel understand the vision. Gabriel seems to be functioning as a special messenger of God. Gabriel says the vision of the ram and the goat pertain to the future. He says, “I am here to tell you what will happen later in the time of wrath. What you have seen pertains to the very end of time” (Daniel 8:19, NLT).
The vision is about the world today and a “time of wrath” ahead of us. It’s a remarkable prediction of a powerful person to appear on the world scene that will make great claims seeking to control the world order. Notice what is further revealed:
“At the end of their rule, when their sin is at its height, a ﬁerce king, a master of intrigue will rise to power. He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause a shocking amount of destruction and succeed in everything he does. He will destroy powerful leaders and devastate the holy people. He will be a master of deception and will become arrogant; he will destroy many without warning. He will even take on the Prince of princes in battle, but he will be broken, though not by human power (Daniel 8:23-25, NLT).
Some 300 years after Daniel’s life, a type of this event occurred among the Jews in Jerusalem and Judea. A tyrannical king named Antiochus Epiphanes, a successor to one of the four lesser horns of the vision, sought to destroy the Jews. As a remnant of God’s elect, Israel, the Jews were clinging to their faith and their belief against great pressure. This evil king took advantage of strife and internal division within the Jewish state. He killed thousands of men, women and children. He forbade them to assemble on the Sabbath, to circumcise their children according to law, and he demanded they eat unclean food—pork. He even sacriﬁced a pig on the holy altar of the Temple.
Antiochus attacked the Jewish state with ferocious hatred. His action can only be understood as the physical instrument of a great spiritual attack by Satan and his evil forces. Satan was using this king’s evil actions to destroy God’s people and God’s true faith within the holy land.
Antiochus did not succeed. The Jews rose under the famous Maccabean family and preserved the Jewish state. In a later vision, Daniel would see and refer to these Jews as strong “people who know their God” (Daniel 11:32, NLT).
Because strong people knew God and acted, a Jewish state was preserved. More than a century later, Jesus Christ could do His work at His ﬁrst coming. Jesus even referenced this historic event, calling it the abomination of desolation, when He prophesied of another end-time attack on Jerusalem by a world power seeking to wreck the plan of God.
The world is not what it appears to be.
What we see with our eyes does not show us the whole story. Daniel’s visions reveal the truth of a spiritual dimension where forces of evil seek to act upon the physical realm, seeking to turn back the plan of God. Daniel was receiving the foundational understanding of world empires whose existence serve to promote spiritual deception and relentlessly attack the outposts of God’s true faith and knowledge.
Our world is molded by this deception. Call it Babylon, Greece or Rome. Call it religious, secular or atheistic. Call it liberal, modern or conservative. It is a world held in the deceptive grip of Satan through his unseen power and spiritual wickedness.
Can you see this? Can you be like a Daniel—a man who lived righteously in Babylon, a very ungodly culture? It’s time that you got oﬀ your couch. It’s time that you stop holding out hope that a political messiah will rise and ﬁnally solve our problems. That blind hope, ignorant of the spiritual understanding that I have been talking about could lead you into a blind alley of a coming deception on the entire world.
This subject can be a lot to take in and we want to help. We have prepared for you a special aid to help deepen your understanding.
Request your free copy of our valuable Bible study aid, The Book of Revelation Unveiled. We’ll also send you a free subscription to Beyond Today magazine. This special bi-monthly publication will help you make sense of the often chaotic and confusing events and trends in our world today.
Beyond Today magazine will also provide you excellent insight into the many valuable and practical teachings of the Bible.
To order your free copy of The Book of Revelation Unveiled and your free subscription to Beyond Today magazine, call: 1-888-886-8632. Or go online at BeyondToday.tv or write to us at the address shown on your screen throughout the program [Beyond Today, PO Box 541027, Cincinnati, OH 45254].
We are in the midst of a spiritual battle. We are living in a modern Babylon and we have to become like the prophet Daniel in the way that we face life. Learn to think like Daniel. Daniel saw glimpses of world powers through the ages.
We have been examining this fascinating prophecy of Daniel from chapters 7 and 8. Daniel saw a vision predicting the coming of the fabled Alexander the Great, a man who thought himself a god and who sought to make his world into the image of Greece.
Let me tell you a little known story about Alexander. When Alexander was in Egypt, he made a trek into the desert to visit a shrine to the chief Egyptian god called Ammon. Alexander had been told as a youth that his father was a god. The Egyptian priest there assured him that he was of divine parentage. So Alexander sent word back to his native Greece that he claimed descent from Zeus and wished to be considered divine. Alexander the Great thought he was a god.
This claim is a type of a religious leader prophesied to come in the time ahead, the end time. This leader will claim to be divine. 2 Thessalonians, the apostle Paul states in chapter 2 that this person “sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:4). Revelation 13 speaks of a system to arise at the same time, which will have both civil and religious power (a ruler called “the beast,” backed up and supported by “another beast”—religious in nature—that has the power to deceive and work miracles)(Revelations 13:11-14). Working together for a time, they will enslave men and defy the power of the true God. It will be the ﬁnal human eﬀort to achieve a one-world system apart from God.
Alexander wanted to bring together the peoples of Europe and Asia into the same system—one-world government. He came closer than any man to accomplishing this goal, before or after. This fusion of peoples into one system did transform the world. After Alexander’s death, there was the continued struggle for power, but the world he touched was transformed. Greek ideas and culture were spread.
To the world that Alexander molded, the Church took the words of the true gospel about Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God. The gospel is the true story of God who became man—the reverse of Alexander’s ambition. Yet, where a man who claimed to be a god failed, the One who was God and became man, succeeded.
What diﬀerent yet contrasting stories!
One man was born in a royal court and died in Babylon. Another as a baby was laid in a manger and was killed in Jerusalem. Yet Christ, who died almost at the same age as Alexander, laid the foundation for God’s eternal Kingdom. Alexander sought by cruel force of arms to forge his vision of one world. Ultimately, his attempt failed, just as all other attempts have failed. He fought and traveled over a part of the world where peace is still sought today.
What are you doing to understand the headlines and events of today’s world? Would you think about praying to God and asking for knowledge and understanding? The prophet Daniel did just that. He prayed three entire weeks on one occasion asking God to help him understand the events of his time and the world. He knew he needed the wisdom of God. How about you? Could God’s Word hold a key to understanding today’s headlines?
This Beyond Today series called, “Kingdoms at War” is taking you through the story told in the book of Daniel. The series helps you understand the truth that there is more to this world than meets the eye. The events we see are not the whole story. There is a great battle behind the scenes, spiritual wickedness in high places. You can take action to keep from being caught in the trap of deception that grips today’s world.
Once again, I’d like to remind you about our unique free oﬀers today. Please, take a few moments right now to order a free copy of our Bible study aid, The Book of Revelation Unveiled, and a free subscription to our bi-monthly magazine, Beyond Today . Simply call toll free: 1-888-886-8632. Or you can read or download our literature online at BeyondToday.tv .
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[Steve] Hi, I’m Steve Myers. I’m the pastor here at the United Church of God Cincinnati East congregation. I’d like to welcome you to come and join us on this great spiritual journey. We have hundreds of congregations around the United States and across the world. Click on the “Congregations” tab to ﬁnd a church near you. We’re committed to growing in our relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ as well as fellowshipping with each other.
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[Darris] Have you been watching the world events lately and found yourself wondering about the future and what it all means?
Are you frustrated with what you see going on in the world and feel helpless to do anything about it?
Are you seeing the bad things going on in the world and wondering where God is and what, if anything God might be doing?
It’s easy to be overcome by despair, frustration and even anger. All of this can destroy your belief that there is a God who does care about you and your life.
Put your focus on God. Understand His purpose for your life. It’s time to be like Daniel. It’s time to discern our times.
That’s our program today. For Beyond Today I’m Darris McNeely, Please join us in praying, “Thy Kingdom come,” and thanks for watching.
[Announcer] For the free literature oﬀered on today’s program, go online to BeyondToday.tv . Please join us again next week on Beyond Today !