Imagery from Daniel 7
This was concerning Daniel’s time. Nebuchadnezzar is seen in Daniel 7:4 in that it speaks of wild animals which also had the mind of a human. He was insane like a wild animal and then was returned to his rightful mind upon repenting (Daniel 4:33-36).
- Second beast (Medo-Persian empire)
There will be three more kings for the Persian empire, and then Greece will devour it. This is seen in the fact that there are three ribs in beast’s mouth (Daniel 7:5). This account is given similarly in Daniel 8:1-3, 20. It speaks of a goat (Greece) which crushes a ram (Persia) quickly (Daniel 8:4-8, 21-22).
Alexander the Great dies very young, and four generals rule in his place. These are the four heads referred to in Daniel 7:6. The imagery of the leopard implies a quick conquest of Persia and surrounding territories.
Rome was the next major world empire, absorbing the Greek and Hellenistic culture and territories. Daniel 7:7, 23 describes Rome as that which treads down the whole known world and has iron teeth (speaks of strength; it is interesting that Rome came to be in power on the tail end of the Iron Age).
Out of Rome ten kings will rise and another will rise after them, namely the antichrist. He arises from a kingdom of ten kings (probably some kind of middle eastern/southern European alliance) and subdues three of them (probably three who are somewhat sympathetic to Israel and/or Christianity).
Characteristics of the Antichrist
- He utters great boasts (Daniel 7:8).
- He wages war with the saints and overpowers them (Daniel 7:21) but only “until the Ancient of Days comes” (Daniel 7:22).
- He speaks out against the Most High, and he seeks to make changes in times and laws (new religious and political systems). The saints are given into his hand for three and a half years (Daniel 7:25).
- 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 refers to him as the “man of lawlessness” and “son of destruction.” It says that he will exalt himself above all objects of worship and gods, and he will take his seat in the temple of God. He will come with signs and false wonders, including having an apparent fatal wound that will heal and cause many to be deceived (Revelation 13:11-12).
- He will be accompanied by a false prophet who will propagate the false religion and evil empire. He will cause all people to get a mark on their right hand or forehead in order to be able to buy or sell. His number is 666. He will force people to worship the beast and the images of the beast, both of which have power to rain fire on those who refuse (Revelation 13:13-17).
- He will have no regard for the desire of women (Daniel 11:37), which could mean that he is homosexual, that he kills children and women without remorse, that he is repressive toward women, or that he is celibate. His god is war, and as such, men are more valuable than women because they are stronger fighters (v. 38)
- His doom is sure. Daniel 7:10, 22, 26 records the judgment rendered which says that the beast will be put into the eternal fire.
70 seven year periods are allotted to make up for Israel’s neglect of the Sabbaths. From the time the temple is rebuilt to the advent of Christ as Messiah on Palm Sunday are 7 sevens plus 62 sevens, a total of 483 years. One seven year period is left, which will be antichrist’s rule, with the second three and a half years being the great tribulation (Daniel 9:24-27).
Antichrist will arrive on the scene, signaling the beginning of the seven year period. He will feign kindness and peace, making peace with Israel. After three and a half years of peace (Revelation 12:6), he will break the treaty, entering Israel, defeating it, and desecrating the temple (implying that one will have to be rebuilt before this time), setting himself up as God (Matthew 24:15, Daniel 9:27).
He has forty-two months or 1,260 days (Revelation 13:5) before his end. Daniel 12:11 says 1290 days, which may just allow 30 days for the judgments before the official start of the millennium. Daniel 12:22 says that those who wait and get to the 1335 days are blessed. Presumably, this accounts for the remaining events involved in setting up the millennial kingdom. A few might actually live through this, thus they are waiting for it.
Signs of antichrist coming include an increase in knowledge and people moving to and fro (easy travel) (Daniel 12:4). There will be famines, earthquakes, wars, rumors of wars, many false messiahs, many false prophets, much lawlessness, love growing cold, and the gospel having been preached to the whole world (though this continues during the tribulation and may have its completion there) (Matthew 24:1-14).
The second three and half year period is the time of trouble, the great tribulation. Prior to this, the true believers are caught up to meet the Lord in the air. I believe that believers will be raptured even before the final seven year period because of the fact that the final seven years is mainly concerning Israel, not the church. Revelation 3:10 says that the believers who persevere will be kept from the hour of testing that is about to come on the whole earth. That didn’t happen just for the Philadelphian church; it has to have farther reaching implications, namely toward the Great Tribulation. The dead in Christ rise first and then believers who are alive and remain meet Him in the air to be with Him forever (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-58). That there is a “rapture” before the tribulation is over makes sense given that believers appear to be represented in Revelation 4 as the 24 elders. This makes sense given that they rule jointly with Christ (they have thrones- Rev. 4:4), they have crowns (Rev. 2:10), and they have white garments (Rev. 3:18).
Seven seal judgments follow (Revelation 6), and then seven trumpet judgments occur (Revelation 8-11). These are brutal, killing much of the life on the earth (Revelation 14:14-20).
There will be testimony to Christ during the tribulation period. Apparently, during the tribulation, 144,000 Jewish witnesses are sealed and testify to the coming of Christ. These may well be the firstfruits of Israel who will turn to Christ (Revelation 14:4). During the last three and a half years, two witnesses will prophesy. They will witness to the truth of Christ and His return, having power to call fire down from heaven. They will eventually be killed, the world will celebrate, they will rise from the dead, and they will ascend into heaven (Revelation 11:1-13). Those who turn to Christ during the tribulation and are subsequently killed for their faith are called blessed (Revelation 7:1-8, 14:1-5, 13)
Finally, the bowl judgments occur (Revelation 15, 16). The final judgment culminates with the gathering of all the nations to the valley of decision, called Armageddon. Antichrist will have defeated the king of the south and the north. News from the east and the north will trouble him as armies gather around Palestine. He will annihilate many, but his end will come as Christ returns. Having set up his camp near the holy city, it will be there that Christ will slaughter him along with all the armies of the earth with the word of His mouth (Daniel 11:40-45, Revelation 19:15, Zechariah 14:12-15).
A remnant of Israel will be saved (Zechariah 14:1-3) as Christ arrives on the same Mount of Olives where He ascended into heaven (Acts 1:11, Zechariah 14:4). When Christ returns all will see and know it (Matthew 24:27). Remnant Israel will repent and become servants of God in the millennial kingdom (Micah 5:3-5). Revelation 16:18-20 and Zechariah 14:5, 10 indicate that earthquakes will seriously alter the earth’s topography, making it ready for the millennial kingdom. Jerusalem’s topography is improved while all other cities are destroyed. Babylon, the evil world empire, falls, and the beast and the false prophet are thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 17-19).
Then comes the first resurrection of believers (Revelation 20:5-7, Matthew 24:31). This includes the tribulation saints who had been killed. They join the other believers to reign (Revelation 20:4, 7:9-17). Following the first resurrection is the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:7).
Satan is bound for the one thousand years of the millennial kingdom (Rev. 20:1-3). Those not in the book of life stay in the place of the dead (Hades/Sheol) until the thousand years is over (Revelation 20:13-14). Believers reign with Christ during the 1000 years (Revelation 2:26). Saints will possess and inherit an eternal kingdom ruled by Christ (Daniel 7:18), and all kingdoms under heaven will be put under the rule of the saints and Christ (Daniel 7:25). That believers will reign is also seen in 1 Corinthians 6:2 and 2 Timothy 2:12.
There will be a sacrificial system and a temple during the millennium (Ezekiel 40-48). Some unsaved Gentiles who survived the Great Tribulation will live during the millennial kingdom, which will still be on this earth. Those who got to the kingdom to sacrifice to God will get rain, those who don’t will not. Sin and rebellion are still possible (Zechariah 14:16-18). Isaiah 65:17-25 indicates that people will live to be as old as trees live, and animals will get along with one another and not have to be feared.
Immediately following the millennial kingdom, Satan is released. He deceives the nations from the four corners of the earth. The armies are referred to as Gog and Magog. They surround the camp of the saints and Jerusalem, and fire comes down from heaven and devours them (Revelation 20:7-10, Ezekiel 38, 39).
The devil is thrown into the lake of fire where the beast and false prophet already are (Revelation 20:10).
Next comes the second resurrection, which is for the unbelievers who are judged at the Great White Throne and who are then sentenced into eternity in the lake of fire along with the devil and his demons. Death and Hades had been holding the dead unbelievers, but they give them up and death and Hades itself enters the lake of fire along with the unsaved (Revelation 20:11-15).
Daniel 12:1-3 emphasizes that some are raised to life and some to judgment. This is the first and second resurrection. This passage also shows that Israel’s seventieth week is over, and God will call them back to Himself (Romans 11:1-2).
A new heaven and a new earth are made. There will be no more pain, sorrow, death, or crying. The New Jerusalem, which is the dwelling place of God and of the saints, will be there, measuring 1500 mi in width, length, and height. It is made of all kinds of beautiful jewels. God will have made His dwelling among His people. God Himself is the temple and the light. All nations will be represented by the redeemed. There will be no more curse, God will be served, and believers will reign with Christ forever (Revelation 21-22:5).
NOTE: The subject of the end times is an extremely complex and difficult study. As such, I don't pretend to have mastered the study of the end times, but this is hopefully a good resource for further study nonetheless.