Chapter 7: Daniel Unsealed The Fourth Beast Kingdom, Part 3
Mystery Babylon and the Stone Kingdom, part 19—There is no gap in prophecy
Picking up where we left off (backing up just a bit for continuity’s sake)…
Revelation 17:3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns
Hmmm…Looks as though we have even another element added to the picture now. We have the beast and we have the ten horns—which were the two primary elements of Daniel’s vision. Then we saw that John added the idea of seven heads and seven crowns, and now here, he adds the image of a woman who is sitting on this monstrous beast.
The question for us as followers of Jesus Christ who want to understand His revelation to us is this: Do all these scattered verses speak of the same thing, the same entity? And the answer is yes and no.
I am not trying to be cute. Nor am I trying to tease you. It is simply a matter of fact; both are true when properly understood. Let me explain what I mean. And this explanation will set forth a concept of prophetic interpretation which we will encounter and utilize many times in the lectures to come.
This has to do with a very critical component of any and all prophecies; namely, timing. There are three primary viewpoints when it comes to the interpretation of prophetic timing. One is called preterism—whose adherents believe that almost all of prophecy was fulfilled by 70 A.D. That is admittedly, a simplistic over-generalization of preterism, but we are only giving you the broad strokes here, not the details.
The other end of the spectrum is futurism which contends that there has been a big gap in prophetic history as God stopped His time clock for the entire Christian era, and God will not start the clock again until the rapture of the church.
And at that time, there will be a very rapid fulfillment of tons of prophecies as the great personal Antichrist dude comes on the scene and—well, you’re familiar with futurism if you have read any of the Tim LaHaye novels or if you follow Scofield’s Bible notes or his contemporary standard bearers, such as Pastor John Hagee, the late Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and thousands of others.
Futurism is now the predominant school of prophetic interpretation as it has saturated the fundamentalist and evangelical wings of Christianity in America. It certainly out-publishes and out-broadcasts the preterist wing. And both dwarf the third interpretation which is called by a number of names including the *progressivist* interpretation.
That is a term I try to avoid simply because of its odious connection with the political movement of the same name (which lies and deceives people into thinking we are making progress as society and government follow their programs while it is actually regressive, going back to the failed tyrannies of the past).
Theologically, however, it is accurate because it refers to the progressive unfolding of prophecy throughout the course of history. So, I prefer the term *historicist*, but I can also live with the term “progressive historical.”
In other words, we historicists hold that there is no gap in prophecy, such that God’s time clock has stopped for the past two thousand years. That alleged gap, however, is a very necessary device (a) if you do not understand the true identity of Israel in the Scriptures, and/or (b) if you are the Roman Catholic church.
Why? Well, I cannot take the time to get into those details at this moment because I am coming to the point of how the answer can be both yes and no. And I know some of us have forgotten the question so I will summarize it.
We had seen how Daniel used the terms “beast” and “ten horns.” Then John first substituted the term “dragon” for “beast,” when he mentioned the “ten horns;” but then he added “seven heads” and “seven crowns.” Still later in Revelation, John added a “woman” to the picture. So, the question was: Do all these scattered verses speak of the same thing, the same prophetic entity? Yes and no.
No, because they are not exactly the same entity, but yes, because they are the progressive unfolding of that entity through centuries of history. You see, this one thing, among many others, is what sets us historicists apart from both the preterists and the futurists.
They see many or most prophecies as being fulfilled in very brief periods of time. For example, for the preterists, in the few years leading up to and following 70 A.D. Or, according the futurists, a 3½ or 7-year period—still future—when Daniel’s 70th week prophecy will finally kick in after a 2,000 year “time-out.”
And then, their interpretation goes…. Christ returns to Palestine, where a 200-million-man army at Armageddon gets the ballgame back in play for the last few minutes of the game, as it were, and it’s all over in a very short period of time.
In contrast, I am suggesting that you consider that God’s time clock has never stopped. The 70th week of Daniel occurred right after the 69th week, which was at the time of Jesus, and that since then, the book of Revelation has been continuously unfolding without a break.
That interpretation was the common understanding of Wycliffe, Luther, Calvin, John Knox, Sir Isaac Newton and most of the Reformers. Newton, by the way, wrote a book on the prophecies of Daniel. So as historicists, we are in good company.
Now, I apologize because I have been mentioning the 70th week of Daniel and we have not even read the Scriptural passage in these studies yet, but I know that many of my listeners are familiar with it to some extent, simply because of the futurist saturation of the airwaves with their version of it.
And so, I am suggesting that the idea of the beast with ten horns was an incomplete picture of the Roman Empire as seen by Daniel in chapter 7. Later, as John is living in that fourth empire, he is given visions which add certain details to what Daniel saw.
What is the bottom line? It is this: The concept that everything in prophecy happens quickly as we count time is not necessarily so. Obviously, an event like the birth of the Savior occurs on one particular day. That’s a given, that certain prophecies by their very nature must occur in a very short space of time.
But prophecies, which in Daniel and Revelation, might appear to be occurring one right after another in a very short space of time may only appear that way because they follow in consecutive verses.
But when it comes to interpreting the fulfillment of those verses, they may, in fact, take many decades or even centuries to be fulfilled. So, please bear that concept in mind because we will return to it again and again during the course of the upcoming chapters.
Alright, I brought forth those three separate verses from Revelation, not for extensive scrutiny at this time, but only to begin to show you the relationship to how Daniel was given to see all four world empires, and how John was given to see more details of the fourth world empire and beyond. So, let’s return to Daniel, chapter 7, and we’ll read the last part of verse 7 before continuing.
Daniel 7:7c … and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.
8 I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.
I am not going to go into the details of the interpretation of verse 8 in this lecture, as its exposition will require much more space, but I read it just to give you an example of what I was just saying. In other words, here are two consecutive verses in Daniel chapter 7 which do not happen in a month, or even 3 ½ or 7 years, but the span covered by these two verses is measured in centuries!
And I will show that to you next time, Lord willing. Go back to Daniel 2. Back to the dream. Look at verses 32 & 33:
Daniel 2:32 This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass,
33 His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.
The Neo-Babylonian Empire lasted for 70 years. The Medo-Persian Empire lasted 200 years. The Greek Empire—including its division among the four generals—lasted 130 years. Then the Roman Empire ruled in its undivided manifestation for 500 years, and if we include its divided condition, it ruled for over another thousand years in one form or another after that!
Count ’em up. How many centuries is that? Roughly, 20 centuries…and all covered in just two verses! Quite amazing, isn’t it?
As you know, we are living in a time that is often called “the ME generation.” And what that means is that “I want it and I want it NOW!” I find it interesting how that dovetails with modern Judeo-Christian theology which is deluded into thinking that events which may actually take centuries to unfold are all supposedly going to happen and be fulfilled in a mere 3½ or 7 years. May God open the eyes of our blinded brethren!
Well, our time is up for today, but we will continue in our studies of Mystery Babylon and the Stone Kingdom next time, as the Lord wills.