Friday, January 27, 2012

Bible Prophecy's Big Picture

Isaiah 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, 'My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure';

The Hubble Space Telescope's attempt at a big picture
In 2003 to 2004 the Hubble Space Telescope turned its view upon a certain section of the sky near the constellation Orion.  Its goal was to continuously focus on a patch of sky that was smaller than the eye of a needle viewed at arms length.  Termed "the Hubble Ultra deep Field", Astronomers were hoping to peer into the earliest moments of the Universe's origin.  The result was astounding!  Literally thousands of galaxies and star systems populated a minute patch of sky that many thought might be empty.  In attempting to explain the big picture of the universe, astronomy only discovered just how small we really are.

Considering the Book of Daniel as a telescope for prophecy's big picture
Around 600 years before Jesus Christ had come to earth, a young teenage Jew by the name of Daniel, along with the Jewish nation, was taken away captive into the land of Babylonia (modern day Iraq).  Other prophets who had been ministering in Israel had warned the people that if they did not turn to the Lord in repentance, they would be taken away by the Babylonians for 70 years. (Jeremiah 25:11)  Daniel was only 15 years old when this occured, and for the whole 70 year period Daniel received a series of visions and interpretations concerning his current day and the age to come.

The Book of Daniel functions a lot like a big telescope.  It details both history and prophect, giving us the big picture of God's Divine plotline for our planet.  When read in concert with the Book of Revelation, we get the complete Big Picture of Bible Prophecy.

What is the Big Picture of Bible Prophecy?
As you study the book of Daniel, its contents can be divided into two main parts: Chapters 1-6 are mainly historical, with a little bit of prophecy; and chapters 7-12 are mainly prophetic, with a little bit of history.  As we turn the telescope of Daniel to the heavens of God's prophetic plan for time and eternity, we begin with the Bible's sweeping account of an Enormous Empire: Babylon the Great.

1. Enormous Empire - Babylon the Great 
When Ancient Babylon Began - The Tower of Babel
The setting of Daniel begins during the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.  Babylon's history is perhaps the longest of all of the empires recorded in scripture. In Genesis 9-11 we see the origins of this ancient Kingdom in the rise of the tower of Babel.  Once God had dispersed the languages, the mighty tower had remained for centuries.  Other empires would come and go, but that mighty tower stood as testament to mankind's rebellion against God.  The ancient historian Strabo tells of the Tower of Babel still standing in his day - being a quarter of a mile at its base and over 600 feet high. 

When Babylon arose again - The days of Daniel
Naboplassar in 626 b.c had conquered the Assyrians and began what historians call the Neo-Babylonian Empire.  His son, Nebuchadnezzar (whom we meet in Daniel), came on the scene and began to reign around or before 605 b.c.   Historians such as Herodotus and Josephus record King Nebuchadnezzar attempting to rebuild the ancient tower and the mighty city of Babylonia from ruins.  By Daniel's time this project was well underway.  Nebuchadnezzar had constructed one of the seven wonders of the ancient world - the Hanging Gardens of Babylon - as a gift to his wife.  For 43 years Nebuachadnezzar reigned.  Once he died, the throne of Babylon passed through several of his relatives. 

Babylon of History would end in the days of Daniel
By the time the seventy years were almost complete, Babylon of history was in the eve of its existence.  A grandson of Nebuchadnezzar by the name of Belshazzar was taking care of Babylonia as second in command while his father, Nabodinus (not mentioned in scripture), the 1st in command, was off fighting various wars.  In Daniel 5 we see the aged Daniel, now in his mid-eighties, warning Belshazzar of the end of he and his father's kingdom.  It would be on that night that King Darius the Mede would come in and take over and defeat the Babylonians.  Though gone from the pages of history, the pages of prophecy detail how Babylon will once again rear its ugly head.

Babylon the Great is predicted in Revelation
Revelation 17-19 records for us the prophetic theater in which the kingdoms of this world will be united together into a system Revelation calls "Babylon the Great". (Revelation 17:5)  Babylon the Great, like its prior historical ancestors of Nebuchadnezzar's Babylon and the Tower of Babel, will operate as a center of humanity in three ways.

In Revelation 17:1-13 we see Babylon the Great as Religious center.  Much like the Tower of Babel and Nebuchadnezzar's demand of worship in Daniel 3, Babylon the Great will demand all of earth's inhabitants to bow at its feet.  Then secondly, Babylon the Great will be a political center in Revelation 17:14-18:8.  Then finally, Babylon the Great will be an economic center in Revelation 18:9-24. 

Babylon, the Great Empire, will be defeated by the Lord Jesus Christ
Much like the Tower of Babel and the Neo-Babylonian empire of Daniel's day, the outcome will be brought to an end by Divine intervention.  Christ will return to judge humanity and put a permanent end to Babylon the Great, demonstrating His power in Revelation 19:1-21. 

No comments:

Post a Comment