We continue exploring human history through the Biblical depiction of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in the book of Daniel 2. Prophecy, in its many forms, has impacted human history at every turn. We start with the Holy Roman empire and explore how it grew and changed through the centuries. Then we turn to the 7 weeks prophecy in Daniel 9 and unpack how it relates to the tribulation and the end times.
The Holy Roman Empire
Along about 800 A.D. something new happens with the western Roman empire. Anybody remember what it is? Christmas day, 800 A.D.?
This was in France, actually, that this event happened. The Holy Roman Empire starts. They crowned somebody. Remember who they crowned as holy Roman emperor? Charlemagne. Does anybody remember what Charlemagne means? Charles the Great. It’s French for Charles the Great.
800 A.D. We now have Charles the Great crowned on Christmas Day. This marks the beginning of the Holy Roman Empire. I think it was Voltaire that said it was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire. It was mainly French and Germanic.
This is what became self-described. This lasted until when? Anybody know when this dissolved? Napoleon. It lasted until 1806, and it was dissolved under the threat of Napoleon. Napoleon was after this crown. He wanted to be the Holy Roman Emperor so the standing emperor at the time dissolved it hoping that Napoleon would leave him alone.
How long is this roughly? About a thousand years.
Another fellow came along and saw this thousand-year reign or reich, and he was German too, and he said, “I’m going to institute another thousand-year reich.” Who was that? Hitler.
It was the third reich? Why the third? Actually it was three German empires. This is the first one. Then there was this interlude here where Otto and those guys were there. He’s going to start the third one.
This is actually just a history that is according to Nazi propaganda, the three reichs. Interesting that any dictatorship has to create its own history to legitimize itself. That’s part of what Hitler did.
Kaisers, Czars, Caesars, and kings
During this same time period, you had Germanic kings. What did they call themselves? Kaisers. During this time, also, you had Russian kings. What did they call themselves? Czars. Anybody know where the word Kaiser and Czar come from? Caesar. Kaiser is German for Caesar, and Czar is Russian for Caesar. Why would they use the term Caesar? They’re Roman.
We went to Vienna because this whole era. This whole era of the Middle Ages was always a mystery to me. I didn’t really understand what’s going on during this timeframe. Vienna turns out to be the political center of this time period. The Holy Roman emperors would have palaces everywhere; but they would have a main palace. Usually, they were in Vienna.
The Hapsburgs were the family that sat on that throne for most of the time.
Here’s a way you can just kind of boil down this era. It just kept breaking into pieces and reforming. If you just want to boil it down. It kept breaking into pieces and reforming. There were always a whole bunch of kings, and they would come into an alliance.
The Hapsburgs weren’t fighters; they were lovers. What they did, mostly, is marry people. Every time they married somebody, they’d create an alliance. They’d have a problem, so then they’d marry somebody else. This was kind of the way they tried to keep things together.
You had a lot of kings, and the Holy Roman Empire would shrink and then grow and then shrink and then grow. They just kept breaking it into pieces and then reforming.
From the czars took over a fellow named Lenin who was followed by a fellow named Stalin. From the Kaiser took over a fellow named Hitler.
What do you think of when you think of Caesar, Nero, Kaiser, Czar, Napoleon, Hitler, Lenin, Stalin? Give me some episodes that come to mind. Dictators. Mass murderers. Mass murder for what purpose? Control. To create fear for their rule.
What else? Jewish persecution. Yeah. You know about the Hitler Jewish persecution. Do you know about the Holy Roman Emperor Jewish persecution?
The medieval Catholic church—catholic meant universal at that point in time rather than being a denominational label. That’s all there was. They took Augustine’s theology that the church had replaced Israel and concluded that the Jews were Christ killers and needed to be purged. That was the theology behind the Spanish Inquisition. That was also the theology behind the burn-outs that they had in Vienna. Three of them.
The Jews were disallowed from owning property because they weren’t Christian. Property, economically, is a liability. If you happen to have minerals or a mine on it or something, it’s not. If you build a palace, it just sucks money up. The way that the Romans thought about things was—you want prestige, so they kept building these palaces; but they wouldn’t let the Jews do it.
The church said you can’t charge Christians interest, but the Jews could. They set up a monopoly for the Jews to be bankers, so they became immensely wealthy.
The Jews had all these banking empires, and they loaned money to the Holy Roman emperors. The Holy Roman emperors had a nasty habit when they couldn’t get enough money, they would just do the Esther-thing and burn them out and repudiate their loans. That’s the history we have there.
Hitler, of course, in Mein Kampf, which was his manifesto for his philosophy, said that the Germans are a warrior class, and the Jews are the leaders of this merchant class. The merchant class makes everything about money, and just makes everybody soft, and ruins the German spirit. So what we have to do is eliminate the Jews and reinstate the warriors.
This spirit still exists, which will come into our conversation here.
Roman crush things
What’s the point of all this? We’re Roman.
What did these Caesars tend to do if someone crossed them? Crush them. What the Romans did is they defeated Hannibal, who was Carthage, northern Africa.
Instead of just kind of taking over the property, they just went in crushed everything to the ground and sowed it with salt. Which is not economically beneficial to them. What point are they making? You do not mess with Rome.
70 A.D., they come in, and they crush Israel. They go into the temple, and they raid it; and then they just crush it to the ground. They don’t just come in and knock it down because it’s such massive stones and stuff. They bring in cranes and stuff and take it down. Because what point are they making? You don’t mess with Rome.
Americans don’t have this attitude, do we? If someone were to fly a plane into one of our big buildings, we would just say no problem, right? No. We say, “We’re going to come pave your country!” Then, after a little while, when we’re kind of worn off, everybody sort of forgets about it, right? Because we still have this ingrained attitude. Do you get this?
What does this have to do with biblical prophecy? Everything. Because what’s happening here is setting up what’s coming.
The end of the Roman era
Let’s look at Daniel. Daniel 9. He’s got the 70 weeks prophecy which is going to set up the whole period that’s coming, that’s going to be the end of this Roman era. In the New Testament, sometimes it’s called the time of the Gentiles.
Daniel 9:20. Now while I was speaking—this is Daniel talking—praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God, yes, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel—this is the angel—whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, reached me about the time of the evening offering.
And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, “O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand.
At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision:
So here comes the vision.
“Seventy weeks are determined
For your people and for your holy city—So this 70 weeks is for the people in the holy city.
To finish the transgression,
To make an end to sins,
To make reconciliation for iniquity,
To bring in everlasting righteousness,
To seal up vision and prophecy,
And to anoint the Most Holy.
That’s a pretty good vision statement, don’t you think?
When this 70 weeks is up, where are we? We’ve got a perfect world, now, right? No sin. No transgression, and the Most Holy is anointed and on the throne. That’s the end of the 70 weeks. That’s what this is for.
Now he goes into some time sequencing.
“Know therefore and understand,
That from the going forth of the command
To restore and build Jerusalem
Until Messiah the Prince,
There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks—which means 69 weeks.
The street shall be built again, and the wall,
Even in troublesome times.
“And after the sixty-two weeks
Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself;
And the people of the prince who is to come
Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.
What are we talking about? This has already happened. What are we talking about? Who’s the Messiah, the Prince? Jesus. He came.
How was he cut off? He was crucified. Why was he crucified? He was rejected, right? They said, no, we don’t want you as king. They turn him over to the Romans and crucify him. He was cut off. But not for himself. Why was he cut off? To make an end to the transgression, right? For the whole world.
And the people of the prince who is to come
Who’s the prince who’s to come, at this point in time?
The antichrist; but the antichrist is not in this statue. The antichrist has to be part of, what? Rome.
We’ve got Caesar, Nero, Hitler, Lenin, Stalin. Any candidates for a prototype in that group? We’ve already seen what it looks like, right?
Do you think some people thought that Hitler might be the antichrist? Would it have been for good cause? Yeah. “I’m setting up a thousand-year reign.”
And the people of the prince who is to come—Rome
Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. When did that happen? 70 A. D. The Romans came in, leveled Jerusalem. Destroyed the temple. What condition is the temple in today? It’s still destroyed.
The end of it shall be with a flood,
And till the end of the war desolations are determined.
Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week;
But in the middle of the week
We’ve got 69 weeks that have happened. What’s the prophecy for? 70 weeks. We fast forward, and the 70th week is standing out here by itself. The 70th week is that thing we’re looking forward to. What’s it usually called by theologians? The tribulation.
People quibble. Tribulation, great tribulation. Some people call the seven years the tribulation and the three-and-a-half back years the great tribulation. Reasonable term, the tribulation. It’s ahead of us.
It starts when he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week;
But in the middle of the week
He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.
And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate,
Even until the consummation, which is determined,
Abomination of desolation
Let’s go to Matthew 24. Jesus speaks to this same thing. Matthew 24:15. Jesus speaking.
“Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand),
“then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
There’s a ton loaded in that verse because Jesus is saying the abomination of desolations is happened or going to happen? Going to happen. Any doubt about that? It’s in the future, right? Here’s what’s interesting. It’s already happened.
In 168, one of these Seleucid fellows that I talked about named Antiochus Epiphanes. Antiochus Epiphanes, in 168 B.C. He’s one of these Seleucid guys. This is before the Romans absorbed them too. He decided that he wanted to eradicate Judaism. He made it illegal to circumcise, made it illegal to do the festivals, made it illegal to be Jewish. He set up a statue in the temple. Most people think it was a statue to Zeus. He forced the Jews to come in and sacrifice to Zeus. This is the abomination of desolations.
The Jews revolted under a group of people we know as the Maccabees. The Maccabees won. It was an impossible-odds type thing. It was a God-thing.
Their successors, by the way, are the Pharisees. The Pharisees are the ones that took their mantle. The defenders of the faith. The protectors of Judaism. The ones who are going to be willing to die to keep Judaism pure. That’s the Maccabee notion.
This guy had already come in and done this. It’s interesting. This is a point that I think is very important.
Let’s just back up a little bit. Matthew 24:8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.
Birth pains. Has anybody here ever had a baby? I see all the women’s hands raised. Shelley, you just had a baby, right? So, what is a birth pain like?
It’s pretty painful.
What’s it like?
It’s kind of like a wave.
It comes, and it gets real peaky, and then it kind of dissipates. And then what?
Then it comes back again.
Then there’s a rest, and then it comes back again. What happens every time? It just kind of gets a little stronger every time, kind of gradual. It might dissipate for a while, then it just keeps getting stronger and stronger, and then, boom, you have a baby, right?
Let’s look at the passage coming right up to the boom-you-have-a-baby part.
Look at 24:4. And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you.
For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.
And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.
All these are.
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by nations for My name’s sake.
And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.
Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.
Lawlessness will abound, he endures to the end shall be saved.
This is talking about a huge period of history, so this can’t be talking about you got to be alive at the time when all this—when the baby booms—in order to go to heaven. This is talking about not being deceived. You’re saved if you endure through the deception. This is the principal here. It’s not talking about justification.
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
“Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place”—
We’ve already seen an abomination of desolation, but this is not the one at the end. We’ve already seen men of sin, Hitler, Stalin, all these Kaisers. Nero may be the worst.
At the time of this revelation that we’re going to look at next week was written, Nero was fresh in everybody’s minds. Wait ’til you hear what he was like. He was really awful, especially to Christians.
Then flee to the mountains. Next week what we’ll do is we’ll look at Nero. We’ll look at the man of sin. We’ll look at this beast character that’s just going to come out of this iron and clay. We’re going to look at a couple of things that are very interesting.
Jesus is, was, and is to come. The beast was, is not, and yet is. He comes out of the bottomless pit. Isn’t that interesting? What in the world is that talking about? He’s going to do some pretty nasty things. He represents a city on seven hills. Anybody know a city on seven hills? Yeah. He’s the eighth king. Five have been, one is, and one’s to come.
What we’re going to do is take all this Roman background, and we’re going to see the culmination of it with not just the predecessor, Antiochus Epiphanes, but the real thing. Not just the—Hitler was a pretender. We’re going to see the real guy. It’s not going to be pretty. He loses.