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The Lord in the book of Daniel presents a panorama of prophetic outline till the coming of Christ. It starts in Chapter 2 where the Lord revealed in a dream to the king of Babylon about the rise and fall of five consecutive world empires. The Lord predicted that the last earthly kingdom would be divided until replaced by God’s kingdom which would stand forever.
History has unquestionably confirmed these five nations. Babylon, symbolized by a head of gold, reigned from 612–539 BC. Medo-Persia, represented by a chest of silver, followed from 538–331 BC. Then arose Greece, the belly and thighs of bronze (331–168 BC), followed by the iron legs of Rome (168 BC–AD 476). The feet of iron and clay represented the last world empire, which reaches from 476 AD to our day. The prophetic landmarks in Daniel 2 strongly establish the trustworthy nature of Bible prophecy in predicting the future. Also, Daniel chapter 7 presents the succession of these five empires.
Then, we come to the prophecies of the coming Messiah in Daniel chapter 9. Here the prophecies accurately and precisely point to Jesus’ baptism, crucifixion, and the preaching of the gospel to the Gentiles.
The prophecies in Daniel 9 help us to understand the longest prophecy in the entire Bible which is found in Daniel 8. This prophecy is stretched 2,300 years from the rebuilding of Jerusalem after the Babylonian exile (457 BC) to the time when Christ entered into the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary (1844 AD) to serve as our High Priest before returning to earth.
As we look back on these sure prophecies in Scripture and see how they were fulfilled with precise accuracy, we can be sure that God’s Word will likewise be fulfilled on present and future prophecies.
Christ gave more signs that would appear before His return and are being fulfilled today. There would be natural signs like earthquakes (Matthew 24:7; Luke 21:25). And in the religious world, beginning in the late 1700s, the Bible foretold of a great awakening in studying prophecy (Daniel and Revelation) and the spreading of the gospel to the world in fulfillment of the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14.
These signs will be followed with efforts to restrict religious freedom and an increase in wickedness (Matthew 24:12), many wars and rumors of wars (v. 6, 7), rise in false religious teachers (v. 4, 5), overwhelming cares of life (Luke 21:34), moral decadence (2 Timothy 3:1–4), great economic troubles (James 5:1–5) and finally the preaching of the gospel to all the world (Matthew 24:14) which satellite TV and the Internet has greatly contributed to.
As for future prophetic signs, the Bible predicted that before Jesus returns, there will be a false religious power that would arise (Revelation 13:1). This beast-power, which once ruled the earth was wounded but “his deadly wound was healed” (v. 3) and then “all the world marveled and followed the beast” (NKJV). This power (Papacy – Revelation 1-11) would join hands with another beast-power (USA – Revelation 13:11-17) and seek to enforce religious laws in order to crush out God’s people (v. 15–17).
But the Bible teaches that God’s faithful followers—those who “keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus” (Revelation 14:12)—would be protected during the final plagues and calamities that would fall on the earth (Revelation 16). After this, false religious system would collapse and Christ would appear in the clouds of heaven.
When Christ comes again, every eye will see Him in the clouds (Revelation 1:7) and the righteous will be clothed with immortality (1 Corinthians 15:51–54). The wicked will perish at the sight of Christ (Revelation 6:14–17). And the righteous will be taken to heaven to reign for a thousand years (Revelation 20:4).
At the end of the millennium, Satan will be loosed (v. 7) and lead the resurrected wicked in a failed attempt to overcome God and His children. Then God will send His final fire and will destroy the devil and his followers (v. 9) thus purging the earth from sin. The Lord will then will create a new earth and the righteous will inherit it (Revelation 21:1–3).