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Lesson 2 - Our Day in the Light of Bible Prophecy

What does the future hold? Is anyone in charge? Can we look forward to the future with confidence? Is there anything we can count on? Our lesson today is on an ancient prophecy from the book of Daniel. The prophet Daniel’s predictions have been amazingly accurate for the past 2,500 years. They speak with relevance to us today. They promise certainty for the twenty-first century. They reveal that God is really in control of history.

Throughout history the Bible has proven its accuracy in predicting the future. This study is an outline of world history from Daniel’s time to our time today. Before we turn to the book of Daniel, let’s discover a few things about Bible prophecy.

1. How far-reaching is God's ability to reveal the future? Isaiah 46:9, 10

The Bible Answer:
I will make known the end from the beginning

In contrast to all false gods, God knows "the end from the beginning." He alone has the ability to consistently reveal the future.

2. How does God reveal the future to His people? Amos 3:7

The Bible Answer:
By His servants the prophets

God has the ability to look into the future and foretell what is going to take place centuries before the events come to pass. He revealed the mysteries of the future to the Bible prophets. These Bible prophets share God's messages of the future with us. As we see these prophecies fulfilled, our faith in God increases. One of the Bible's most significant prophecies regarding the future is found in Daniel 2.

3. What unusual thing happened to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon? Daniel 2:1, 3

The Bible Answer:
He had dreams.

Nebuchadnezzar had a dream of great significance, but when he woke up the next morning he couldn't remember it. He was greatly troubled.

4. Whom did the king ask to tell him his dream and the interpretation? Daniel 2:2, 3

The Bible Answer:
The magicians, sorcerers, enchanters and astrologers.

Miraculously, God hid the dream from Nebuchadnezzar's mind. If the king could have remembered the dream, the psychics would have been able to make up a plausible interpretation. The wise men of Babylon utterly failed.

5. When these men could not reveal the king's dream, what did Nebuchadnezzar do? Daniel 2:12, 13

The Bible Answer:
Decree was issued to put the wise men to death.

The angry king condemned all the wise men of Babylon to death when they could not tell him what he had dreamed. Daniel was a Hebrew captive in the king's court and educated in the University of Babylon. He too was considered one of Babylon's wise men.

6. When they sought to kill him, what did Daniel do? Daniel 2:16-18

The Bible Answer:
Went into the king and asked for time.

Daniel asked the king for time so he could pray to the God of heaven who reveals all secrets. He had confidence that God would solve the problem.

7. After Daniel and his fellows sought God earnestly, how was the dream and its interpretation revealed to Daniel? Daniel 2:19

The Bible Answer:
In a vision.

8. Who did Daniel say was the only one who could make known the dream and its meaning? Daniel 2:28

The Bible Answer:
A God in heaven who reveals mysteries.

Remember, the prophet Isaiah said that God is the only one who knows all things. The God of the universe is the only one who can reveal the future (Isaiah 46:9, 10)

9. To what time period does the dream apply? Daniel 2:28

The Bible Answer:
The last days, in days to come, in latter days.

The book of Daniel especially reveals events in the last days of earth's history. The king's dream focuses on the end-times. It foretells events that occur at the close of this earth's history.

10. What did Daniel say King Nebuchadnezzar had seen in his dream? Daniel 2:31-35

The Bible Answer:
A large statue made of different metals

                * What do the different metals represent? Daniel 2:38-40

                     The Bible Answer:
                     Different kingdoms, You are this head of pure gold-another kingdom

                     According to Daniel's interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream, each corresponding metal represents a kingdom that would rule the world. Beginning with Babylon, the prophet traces the destiny of the nations through the centuries.

                * List the corresponding metals that make up the image. Daniel 2:32, 33

                     Image Metals

                     Head _____________________________

                            The Bible Answer:
                     Head-Pure gold

                     Breast and Arms _____________________________

                            The Bible Answer:
                     Breast and arms-Silver

                     Belly and Thighs _____________________________

                            The Bible Answer:
                     Belly and thighs-Bronze

                     Legs _____________________________

                     The Bible Answer:
                     Legs-Iron

                     Feet _____________________________

                            The Bible Answer:
                     Feet-Part iron, part clay

                *Identifying the Kingdoms


                     Whom does the Bible identify as the head of gold? What kingdom does this head of gold represent? Daniel 2:38 (last part)

                            The Bible Answer:
                     Different kingdoms, You are this head of pure gold-another kingdom

                     According to Daniel's interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream, each corresponding metal represents a kingdom that would rule the world. Beginning with Babylon, the prophet traces the destiny of the nations through the centuries.


                     What metal follows gold? What kingdom would arise next? What nation conquered Babylon? Daniel 2:39; Daniel 5:28

                            The Bible Answer:

                     Medes and Persians, Inferior to yours-The Medes and Persians overthrew the Babylonians in 539 B.C. Under the leadership of the Persian king, Cyrus, they ruled from 539 B.C. to 331 B.C. Each of these empires were dominant world powers which aggressively oppressed God's ancient people.


                    
What metal follows silver?What kingdom would overthrow the Medes and Persians? Daniel 2:39; Daniel 8:20, 21

                            The Bible Answer:

                     Greece, rule over the whole world, Bronze-The nation of Greece overthrew the Medes and the Persians in 331 B.C. The prophet Daniel describes the Greeks in two ways. First, as bronze in the image of Daniel 2. The Greeks were known for their bronze-plated armor. Second, the prophet describes a fierce battle between a ram and a he-goat in chapter 8. He clearly identifies Greece as the goat that tramples down Medo-Persia, the ram.

                     How is the fourth world dominant power described? Daniel 2:40

                            The Bible Answer:
                     Rome, strong as iron; it will crush and break all the others-The Roman Empire conquered the Greeks in 168 B.C. The Romans ruled the world during the time of Christ. The ancient historian Edward Gibbon, in his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, referred to "the iron monarchy of Rome" using the exact expression from the Bible.

11. What significant events would occur next? Would a fifth world-ruling empire arise to overthrow Rome? Daniel 2:41

The Bible Answer:
Kingdom will be divided.

The prophet Daniel predicted that the Roman Empire would be divided. The breakup of the empire occurred from A.D. 351 to A.D. 476. Daniel continued, "But they will not adhere to one another" (verse 43, NKJV). History has followed this prophecy like a blueprint. Dictators and rulers have attempted to unite Europe through the centuries, but have absolutely failed. The Roman Empire was divided. The divisions of the empire into the eastern and western sections formed the foundation of the nations located in Europe today.

12. Would the nations of Europe ever be united into one cohesive, lasting, political nation again? Daniel 2:42, 43

The Bible Answer:
Will not remain united, anymore than iron mixes clay.

Oppression of God's people does not last forever. Although the Roman Empire lasted longer than any prior empire-no small feat in and of itself-God saw that ultimately oppressive regimes would collapse. God's Word is clear. These seven prophetic words, "They shall not cleave one to another," have stopped every would-be conqueror of Europe through the centuries. Throughout history, political leaders such as Charlemagne, Charles V, Louis XIV, Napoleon, Hitler and Stalin have attempted to dominate by uniting Europe. Each has desperately failed. Communism stretched its tentacles across Europe. One nation after another fell into its grasp. But Communism failed. The Berlin Wall came down. Freedom triumphed! Bible prophecy is accurate. The future is in God's hands. He can be safely trusted. He will safely guide us into the twenty-first century


13. What will be the next event in history? Is there hope for the twenty-first century? Daniel 2:44, 45

The Bible Answer:m
The God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed.

The rock represents the coming kingdom of God. Soon all wickedness, evil and rebellion will be gone forever. The forces of evil will be crushed, destroyed, broken in pieces. God will establish His everlasting kingdom forever. You can face the future with confidence. The twenty-first century is bright with the promises of God. The future is in the hands of God. Hope is on the way.

* Texts credited to NKJV are from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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