December 2, 2013
Who is the coming “world ruler”? What is his
role in end-time prophecy? Will his appearance
have any connection with the rebuilding of the
Temple in Jerusalem?
In Revelation 13:1 the apostle John states, “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.” The ten horns of John’s vision correspond to the ten toes of Daniel’s image in chapter 2 of the Book of Daniel. Let’s investigate this account and see its importance in our discussion concerning the “coming world ruler.” Nebuchadnezzar, the king of ancient Babylon, had a dream. However, he could not recall its content. Therefore, he called in his magicians, astrologers, and soothsayers, saying, not very politely, I might add, “Tell me what I dreamed, or I’ll kill you.” That certainly got their attention. However, they were stymied: They could not fulfill this bizarre request. However, Daniel, a young Jew and a man of prayer, fell on his knees three times a day before his God Jehovah and received the answer.
The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king; But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these . . . Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass. His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. . . . Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. . . . Thou art this head of gold. And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth. And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise. And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. (Daniel 2:27-28, 31-35, 37-41)
Those who scoff, ridicule, and slander the Word of God would be well advised to dust off their history books to discover the reliability of the Bible. In this passage we see that Daniel gave King Nebuchadnezzar an outline of world history down to the last days-events that have taken place precisely as God said they would. Daniel said, “You, King Nebuchadnezzar, are the head of gold (Babylon), but there will be two nations pictured by the arms of silver (the Medes and the Persians) who will destroy you. Then there will be a kingdom of brass (Greece), pictured by the stomach, which will destroy the Medes and the Persians. Next, the kingdom of iron (Rome), pictured by two legs, will smash Greece.” Why two legs? Because at one time in history, the Roman Empire was divided, having headquarters both at Rome and Constantinople. Again, a historical fact.
Notice carefully that the only power not put out of existence is the Roman Empire. At the end time, the iron again manifests itself in the toes of the image. It is a deteriorated form mingled with clay, but still viable.
Edward Gibbon’s masterpiece The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire reminds us that Rome was never destroyed but rather lost its prominence because of degradation and sin. This historical fact fits the clay of deterioration. Nonetheless, the Roman Empire will be revived in the last days through an alignment of ten Western nations, pictured by the ten toes of Daniel’s image and the ten horns in the Book of Revelation. (See my book Final Mysteries Unsealed [Nashville: Word, 1998], 225 pages of verse-by-verse explanation of the Book of Daniel.) In verse 44 of chapter 2, Daniel says, “And in the days of these kings [the confederacy of ten Western nations] shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” This refers to the return of Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, which we know is very near.
Consider Daniel 2:34 again: “Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.” What, or better who, is the stone that smashes the image when the ten Western nations have aligned themselves? Acts 4:11: “[Christ] is the stone which was set at nought of you builders.” First Corinthians 10:4: “And that Rock [or stone] was Christ.” Since 1948, we have witnessed an amalgamation of Western nations in the form of the European Economic Community or “Common Market.” The movement began with Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands joining in economic alliance. Then France, Italy, and West Germany joined in 1957. In 1972, three additional members-Denmark, England, and Ireland-were received. Then, on January 1, 1981, Greece became the ratified tenth member. However, Ireland and Denmark were never part of the old Roman Empire. What about them? The answer is simple. Daniel 7:8 states, “I considered the horns [at the end time], and, behold, there came up among them [the ten] another little horn [number 11!], before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots.” Once a ten-nation Western confederacy has been formed, number eleven comes to power, plucks up three of the first ten, and replaces them with his own and two others. Later the majority of the globe is under his control. This leader will be the world dictator and infamous Antichrist-the final global ruler.
The organization of the European Economic Community is important because the first beast, or Antichrist of the Book of Revelation, comes out of such an alignment of Western nations. In Revelation 13:1, John says, “I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea.” The sea speaks of nations, and the ten toes of Daniel’s image and the ten horns of Revelation 13:1 describe a grouping of ten nations. Because this prophecy is now in the early stages of fulfillment, the stage is being set for a powerful world leader who works through this grouping of Western nations until he is able to assume worldwide prominence for his “greatness.” We know that he will come from the West because Daniel 9:26 states that he is of the people that destroyed the city and the sanctuary. Who are these people?
As we have already seen, in A.D. 70, Titus, the Roman general from the Western nations of the old Roman Empire, entered Jerusalem, destroyed the Temple, and drove a million of God’s people, the Jews, to every part of the earth. Now the prophet says that it is of this people that the Antichrist shall come. With this information in hand, it becomes clear this ruler will arise from the coming together of these Western nations. This appearance of the Antichrist then leads to another important question: the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem-another major sign of Christ’s return.
The Rebuilding of the Temple
The Antichrist will come into prominence and power by signing a seven-year peace contract with Israel (Daniel 9:27). Three and a half years after its signing, he will proclaim himself to be God, the true Messiah, and will set himself up as the global ruler in a temple in Jerusalem. Study carefully 2 Thessalonians 2:4, “Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” During our visit to the Holy Land, I stood by the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, walked through an arch at the end of the wall, and looked into a great hole in the earth. I observed that there the Jews are attempting to find, as they approach areas of the Dome of the Rock, the Holy of Holies of the old Temple. (Some have indicated through news reports that the Holy of Holies has already been discovered.) They know that the Wailing Wall is part of the old Temple area, and they say, “As soon as we find the Holy of Holies, we will try to build.” Chills ran down my spine when I heard them say this, because they were speaking ancient words of prophecy in the twentieth century!
An organization called “The Association for Progress in the Rebuilding of the Holy Temple” has four objectives: (1) to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem, (2) to enlist scholars to research laws and traditions relating to Temple worship, (3) to set up a fund to receive contributions from Jews in all nations for rebuilding, and (4) to enlist architects, builders, and designers to draw up the plans. What is preventing them from accomplishing their task? According to the Jewish press, the status of the organization is holding back its work because the Israeli government does not want to incite further Arab hatred. Meanwhile, Israel continues to prepare for the rebuilding of the Temple in her own way. Excavations around the Wailing Wall have outlined the boundaries of the old Temple site.
An exciting parallel to the rebuilding of the Temple concerns the $14 million Jerusalem Great Synagogue, which was dedicated August 4, 1982. Built adjoining the “Hechal Schlomo” near the intersection of King George V and Ramban Streets in the new part of Jerusalem, the edifice is only about a mile west of the old Temple site. The synagogue is intended as a rallying point for world Jewry and as a house of prayer. (The Lord Jesus referred to the old Temple as “the house of prayer” in Matthew 21:13.) Interestingly, construction of the Jerusalem Great Synagogue took seven years, plus eleven months of delays, to complete. Students of the Bible will recall that King Solomon’s original Temple also took seven years to construct-with an additional eleven-month delay! In addition, consider the facts that (1) a symbolic “half shekel” offering was received from Jews around the world to finance construction costs; (2) the number of $50,000 donors was limited to twelve as was the number of $25,000 donors. These figures equal the number of the tribes of Israel and, combined, equal the twenty-four elders seated around Christ’s throne in Revelation 4:4; (3) the synagogue presidents are limited to seventy, the number of elders who once comprised the Sanhedrin. Although the Jews prefer to call this building a synagogue rather than a temple, one of the chief rabbis insists, “We must never believe that this is a substitute for the temple”-observers note that the Great Synagogue could serve well as the Tribulation Temple. The building contains a symbolic Ark of the Covenant (which the actual ark could replace if or when it is discovered in the old Temple excavation) and a bema seat. The Temple is constructed of the same Jerusalem limestone as Solomon’s Temple. Although there is no sacrificial altar at present, one could easily be constructed and made ready to use. Continue to read your papers and watch the day-by-day unfolding of this greatest prophecy of all-the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem-a major sign pointing to the return of the King of kings and Lord of lords who sits in His holy temple upon His arrival to earth in Ezekiel chapters 40-48.
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
The Quest for Peace
I heard a story recently about a nagging wife who kept writing complaining letters to her serviceman husband who was on combat duty in another country. Finally, after receiving yet another hateful letter, the husband wrote back, “Will you please stop writing me vicious letters so I can fight this war in peace?”
We all want peace, don’t we? Personally and nationally we crave it. Yet, so few of us find it. I’ve read that over half the beds in our hospitals today are filled with people who have mental problems. These individuals have desperately sought for peace but haven’t found it. At last, they have reached the place where they can no longer cope with life, and they have become ill.
A noted doctor once said that if all the tranquilizers were taken away from the American people, we would have a national nervous breakdown so big there wouldn’t be enough well people to take care of the sick ones. People who take tranquilizers are trying to push the turbulence in their lives out of their minds. They have to resort to a little pill to put them in “peaceful” oblivion.
My heart goes out to those who do not know the meaning of peace. Each day is a repetition of the previous one, filled with hostility, despair, and loneliness. They are miserable, frustrated, and unhappy with themselves and everyone around them.
A picture of peace
Remember the story of the rich man who commissioned an artist to paint him a picture illustrating true peace. The artist painted a beautiful picture of a lake surrounded by trees. In the distance were majestic, snow-covered mountains.
When the rich man saw it, he shook his head. “It’s very beautiful,” he told the artist, “but it’s not a picture of true peace. Please try again.”
This time the artist thought a long time before he began to paint. On the canvas, he painted a huge, thundering waterfall. He showed the water churning over the falls and crashing onto rocks far below. Then, at one side of the waterfall, he painted a birch tree whose slender branches reached out over the roaring water. On one of the branches, he painted a little bird sitting quietly and contentedly on her nest, oblivious to the danger around her.
That is true peace — not an escape from the pressures and trials of life but the quiet repose of a heart at rest with God. Jesus said, These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world (John 16:33).
Jesus’ life was anything but peaceful. Yet, His last legacy to His disciples and to all those who would follow Him was the promise of peace. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (John 14:27).
I love the old hymn that goes:
Trust and rest when all around thee
Puts thy faith to sorest test;
Let no fear or foe confound thee,
Wait for God and trust and rest.
Trust and rest with heart abiding,
Like a birdling in its nest,
Underneath His feathers hiding,
Fold thy wings and trust and rest.
I don’t know the things in your life that cause you unrest and destroy your peace. But I want to remind you that there is a way to handle them. God has given us guidelines that can take us through these troublesome times.
Guidelines for troubled times
In His sermon on the mount, Jesus said, Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God (Matthew 5:9). What does that mean to you in your everyday life? It means that if you will turn your thoughts to God, He will take control. Then, regardless of the conditions around you, you have His abiding peace, joy, patience — whatever you need at the moment — to draw on.
The Apostle Paul tells us that He [Jesus] is our [way of] peace (Ephesians 2:14). It’s only when we follow after Him that the walls of hostility which surround us come tumbling down. He is our way of living at peace with others. Paul also speaks of those who do not seek after God, and he observes that they do not know the way of peace (see Romans 3:17).
A verse that has helped so many who were going through turbulent times is Isaiah 26:3, Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. When you keep your mind on the Lord and trust unwaveringly in Him, you can truly live in peace though the world around you be filled with turmoil and strife.
My prayer for you today is that… the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
Dear Dr. Jack and Rexella Van Impe
I just wanted to send a note to both of you to let you know that "we" are out here listening! We are out here soaking in all of your knowledge about Christianity and we sincerely appreciate and are devoted to you both.
I watch your show and read your weekly newsletter. I only wish that you could instruct Christians on more of what we can do to improve our society, how we can become more active in our faith, how we can join together to make a difference. We are so greatly outnumbered by non-Christians and I no longer have faith in our government, it is scary out here. You have given us the knowledge but now it is up to us to act on it but how????
I believe in Jesus and Heaven. I have faith that I will see both of you there one day!
A. Van Dyke
I recently received a copy of Jack’s Prophesy Bible and started reading his commentary on the book of Daniel. I want to say that I am completely delighted with his scholarly yet very enjoyable and sometimes humorous handling of this important serious material. I’ve only finished two chapters but can hardly lay it down. Thank you Jack for your lifelong dedication to the Word of God and to the Body in sharing what God has revealed to you.
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Are we now living in the era of the final three Popes? How do these final three Popes signal Christ’s imminent return?
Acclaimed Bible scholar and teacher Dr. Jack Van Impe draws upon his lifetime of research and study to make a definitive case for Christ’s imminent return.
This power-packed volume is thoroughly documented yet easy to read; an inspiring account proving beyond any shadow of doubt that Jesus is coming soon!