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The Coming Kingdom of Christ: the Chronology

Continuing now with MacArthur’s sermons through Daniel 7 (part 2 and part 3), now comes the chronology of the kingdom.

Chapter 7 is one long vision, with three segments: first, the four beasts that rise out of the sea; second, the Ancient of Days on the throne; and third, Christ being given His kingdom as He comes in glory. Though of course we don’t know any specific dates for when Christ’s Kingdom will come, we can know these points:

The Kingdom of Christ follows the final kingdom of the nations

Christ returns after the four great world empires, described in the first seven verses: Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome. Daniel sees these as four beasts, rather ugly creatures, since he sees things from God’s perspective. Contrast this with Nebuchadnezzar’s vision in chapter 2, in which the four kingdoms are described in very beautiful, attractive language — a statue with gold, silver, and bronze: Nebuchadnezzar as a pagan saw the kingdoms of men in a positive way.

The Kingdom of Christ follows the final form of the final kingdom of the nations.

The final form of the final kingdom will be some form of Rome. Rome died a long time ago, yet we still have many vestiges of the Roman system today: our legal system, our culture, even our language has some derivatives from Rome’s language. Daniel 7, verse 7, tells us that the final form will have ten horns. John MacArthur, from this message in 1980, believes this will be some type of European Union, a ten-nation confederacy, and saw significance in the forming of the European economic union. I’ve heard other preachers (more recently) say it will come out of the Middle East, which after all was also part of the Roman Empire. Again, we don’t know the details, but can only speculate, yet it will somehow be a revived form of the Roman Empire, in the general Middle East / European part of the world.

Here as in many places of Daniel, we find parallel descriptions, with more details, in the book of Revelation. Revelation 13 describes a beast with ten horns and seven heads, and one of the heads was dead and came to life again.

The Kingdom of Christ follows the final ruler of the final form of the final kingdom of the nations

Verses 8, 20, and 24 tell us that one particular king arises from the ten:

MacArthur: Verse 8, Daniel 7, “I considered the horns, and behold, there came up among them another little horn, before which there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots. And behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things.” Verse 20, “And of the ten horns that were in its head, and of the other which came up and before whom three fell, even of that horn that had eyes and a mouth that spoke very great things, whose look was more…stout says the authorized…than its fellows.” Again commenting on this little horn that rises. Verse 24, “And the ten horns out of this kingdom are the ten kings that shall arise.” That’s the final form of the final kingdom. “But out of that final form shall arise after them another, diverse from the first, and subdue three kings. And he shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change the times and the laws; and they shall be given unto his hand until a time, and times, and the dividing of time… there is a constant comment that there’s going to rise a king out of the ten. He will subdue three others. He will take over and rule, and he will do various and sundry things. Now, this is a prediction of what we call in Daniel 7 “the little horn.” But he is none other than the antichristHere, among all the uncertainty as to the details, we can discern a few specific traits: he starts out small, a little horn, and apparently becomes larger, more “stout” as one translation renders it, in verse 20 — meaning abundant in size, rank, such as a captain or a chief. Antichrist is clearly a political genius: an individual so subtle that he gradually rises up the political ladder, without an upheaval or revolution. He conquers without fighting. Revelation 6 further describes this, a rider on a horse, with a bow but not arrows. He is also an intellectual genius: “eyes like the eyes of a man (verse 8), which refer to insight, knowledge, shrewdness and cleverness, someone who is able to solve the world problems, who will be able to bring peace to the Middle East as another passage describes. Antichrist will also be a great orator (verse 8, a mouth speaking great things), paralleled in Revelation 13:5, as well as a military genius. MacArthur: “Once he rises to his place peaceably, once he obtains his kingdom by flattery, then the holocaust begins.” He’ll also be a commercial genius, able to solve economic problems (Revelation 18). Also he will be a religious genius — someone who has charisma, who passes himself off as a great religious leader, and (verse 25) speaks boastfully against the Most High God. Fortunately, as we see at the end of verse 25, his time will be limited, to 3 1/2 years.

The Kingdom of Christ follows the final ruler, and the final form, and the final kingdom, only after the final persecution by that final ruler.

Verse 21 describes a persecution by the final ruler, against the saints. Zechariah 13:8-9 describes this terrible persecution also, in which the antichrist kills 2/3 of the Jews, and literally conquers Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:1-2). Revelation 13:5-10 also describes this time, including a great persecution, and that many saints will be killed.

The Kingdom of Christ follows a divine judgment for the great persecution by the final ruler of the final phase of the final kingdom of the nations.

In verses 9 and 10, the Ancient of Days took His throne, and the books were opened. Verse 9 describes “His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze.” Fire here speaks of His authority, and is associated with judgment, as described also in Psalm 97:3. Ezekiel 1 also describes God as wheels of flaming fire. Revelation 1 has a similar description, of God the Son, to show that the same description is applied to both God the Father (in Daniel 7) and God the Son (Revelation 1) — the amazing truth of the trinity, how they are described because, though distinct persons, they are of the same essence.

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