Help for Today — Hope for Tomorrow
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[Darris] On September 11, 2001, Americans and other Western nations had a wakeup call from history. The attacks on the American homeland by the Islamic fundamentalist group called, Al Qaeda killed nearly 3,000 people. It was a shocking, devastating blow. The world has not been the same since.
That infamous day along with subsequent terror attacks created the question, “Why do they hate us?” And it has not been adequately answered to this day.
Why does our world see these violent attacks and growing hostility unleashed against Europe and America and other nations? An answer is found in the misunderstood section of your Bible, the book of Daniel.
Join us as we continue our series into the unseen spirit world behind today’s headlines, “Kingdoms at War: The Spirit of Hate.”
[Announcer] Join our host, Darris McNeely on Beyond Today !
[Darris] There is a well-known story of a little boy who passes by a levee—a wall holding back a large amount of water—and seeing a small leak from a hole, puts his finger in it to keep back the water. It’s a well-known story with many lessons.
Here’s one. There are lessons from the Bible and from prophetic history that show that the purpose for certain times and certain events is to keep back a larger time of trouble. The world’s story of nations and wars and conflict tell a gruesome tale.
Here is one story.
Since 9/11, one question that has been asked over and over is “Why do they hate us?” “They” are the Islamic radical terrorist groups who have made attacks and threats against many of the world’s leading countries. And by “us,” I mean the modern Western world.
There is no question fear and mistrust between east and west has been bred, fueled and maintained by extremists. To think that nice thoughts, and expressions of goodwill, and even better ideas, or even more money, can defeat the powerful forces that are aroused in these long conflicts—well, it’s just wrong, and it misses a critical dimension of understanding.
What is that dimension? It’s the Bible.
It’s the Bible and what it reveals about the unseen spiritual world. This is the little understood dimension of world affairs, of political science and even of history. There is a spirit world, there is a God and the unseen spirits do intervene in world affairs. I know the “wise” and the “educated” of the world will deny this truth. And without this understanding, you really though cannot fully understand and appreciate the way today’s world works.
Within the Bible, God has given us a book that combines prophecy, history and personal conviction and devotion. It’s a book that’s called the book of Daniel. It’s in the Old Testament. In this series we’ve been going through that are called “Kingdoms At War,” we have been taking a look at Daniel’s amazing story which involves encounters with great kings from the past, combined with spiritual insight into your world today and the hopeful future God has for all nations.
The answer to “Why do they hate us?” begins with this prophet, Daniel.
Daniel was a young Jew. He had been removed from Jerusalem to the great city called Babylon. Through the years, Daniel sought to understand why his people Israel had been displaced and what their future held. Would Israel, in his mind, be restored to their homeland back to Judah and Jerusalem? What was God’s purpose now with Israel? He had made them a special people, now what would He do with them?
Daniel knew that he was living in a very dynamic, momentous period of history. On one occasion, Daniel set himself to a period of fasting and prayer for the purpose to better understand God’s Word. And what came his way was an eye-opening experience. And through it, we can make better sense of our time in history.
Let’s look at this story.
Daniel knew of a prophecy given by the prophet named Jeremiah long before the fall of Judah and the captivity. That prophecy foretold Jerusalem would lay desolate for 70 years. Then after 70 years, the Jews would return from exile to rebuild the city, live again in their homes; farm their lands. Daniel by now is very elderly, and he’s lived through a captivity. He’s also dealt with Babylonian and Persian kings and he survived plots on his life. He even spent a night in a lion’s den and lived to write about it.
Yet one key fragment of information eluded him. Daniel wanted to understand the fate of his people Israel, and specifically his people, the tribe of Judah. Not only did he desire to know when Jeremiah’s prophecy would be fulfilled, he wanted to know God’s purpose for the entire nation. You see, Israel had been chosen as a special nation set within the Middle East at the crossroads of civilization.
And Israel’s role in this period of history is something little understood today by historians. When God commissioned Moses to bring the Israelite slaves out of Egypt to the homeland of their father, Abraham, God was creating a significant presence among the nations of Egypt, and Assyria, and Media, and Lydia and the other people in the nations in that region. God’s purpose for planting Israel among the nations was to be His witness—a living witness to His ways and to the fact that He was the true God—and also to set a righteous example as a nation living by the laws of God. God told them, in explicit terms, what their purpose was to be among the nations.
You see, Israel then is like that kid that I talked about earlier—the kid with his finger in the levee. One reason for Israel’s presence was an example to the nations that a people living by God’s laws and commandments, could prosper in all areas and be a great nation, and to make a difference.
Notice what the Israelites were told in the book of Deuteronomy. It says, “…today the Lord has proclaimed you to be His special people just as He promised you, that you should keep all His commandments and that He will set you high above all nations which He has made, …and that you may be a holy people to the Lord your God, just as He has spoken” (Deuteronomy 26:18-19).
Israel was set right in the middle of the chaotic nations of his day. God wanted them to be a beacon of light and an example of the way of life for the rest of the world.
Let’s look at what else they were told. God said, “The Lord will establish you as a holy people…all peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they shall be afraid of you” (Deuteronomy 28:9-10).
Israel’s historic role was to be a city on a hill. A city giving out light of God’s truth and God’s way to people who did not know the true God. You see the nations of that day, like the nations of our time, they were walking in a spiritual darkness. And they had created a war torn world of misery and conflict for the people. The history of this period emerges from a shadowy mist that can only be accurately understood by reading what the Bible tells us as a record of God’s guiding hand in all history.
Kingdoms of that day warred back and forth. Millions suffered through war, through famine, through pestilence as one nation after another tried to bring the world under its control.
Now today, the State of Israel plays a role in the Middle East that few people really understand. Let me give you a quote from a respected American scholar on foreign affairs that I think sets the record quite plain for us all to understand. He said a few years ago:
“Israel”—the State of Israel, He said, “Israel matters …like almost no other country on earth…the story of Israel stirs some of the deepest and [the] most mysterious reaches of the American soul… The belief that God favors and protects Israel is connected to the idea that God favors and [God] protects America…The existence of Israel means that the God of the Bible is still watching out for the well-being of the human race. For many American(s) the restoration of the Jews to the Holy Land and their creation of a successful, democratic state after two thousand years of oppression and exile is a clear sign that the religion of the Bible can be trusted.” (Walter Russel Mead, May 2011).
It’s a remarkable quote that verifies God’s Word and history and prophecy.
God placed ancient Israel in the land and God placed the State of Israel in the land today. For many biblical reasons, the State of Israel exists today, in that land and when the day comes when it is overcome by invading armies, we will be very close to the coming of Jesus Christ to this earth.
Only the Bible can give us the keys to understanding why all this happened and what the future held. It is at the heart of the story of Daniel.
Daniel now, was about to receive a glimpse behind the headlines. God was about to open a window into the spirit world. We’ll see in a moment what that is.
So far today, I’ve covered a lot of ground regarding biblical history and its meaning for the turbulent times that you and I live in today. To understand a lot more about what today’s subject is about and the prophesied events that are leading up to the dangerous times just ahead, I encourage you to request a copy of our free study aid, Are We Living in the Time of the End? You can get a free copy by simply calling toll free: 1-888-886-8632. The number again is 1-888-886-8632. You can also go online to BeyondToday.tv to begin reading or obtain a copy of this booklet.
This free booklet will help you discover more about what Bible prophecy explains about the coming end-time events—and what you can do about it.
So don’t wait, call: 1-888-886-8632 or go to our BeyondToday.tv website to obtain or to read this essential, free publication: Are We Living in the Time of the End?
The prophet Daniel had been fasting and praying for three straight weeks. He wanted to understand a vision God had delivered to him. He opened his eyes and he made out the image of a man standing before him. It was a man that blazed with the light of the sun and the gleam of gold, jewels and fire. The man’s voice was loud. It was strong. It was commanding.
Suddenly, a hand touched Daniel and the angelic figure addressed Daniel by name. And He said. “O Daniel, man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you.”
“Do not fear Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words.
“But the Prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I have been left alone there with the kings of Persia. Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision refers to many days yet to come” (Daniel 10:11-14).
This is exactly what Daniel was trying to understand—the events of his time and of his world when God gave him a little glimpse behind the scenes to show him this truth. Daniel’s prophecy gives us a glimpse into the powers of the unseen world.
The angelic messenger laid his hand on Daniel. He said, “Don’t be afraid… for you are very precious to God. Peace! Be encouraged! Be strong! As he spoke these words to me, I suddenly felt stronger and said to him, “Please speak to me, my lord, for you have strengthened me”.
“The messenger replied, ‘Do you know why I have come? Soon I must return to fight against the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia, and after that the spirit prince of the kingdom of Greece will come. Meanwhile, I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth. (No one helps me against these spirit princes except Michael, your spirit prince’”) (Daniel 10:18-21).
Don’t you wish you knew a little bit more about what was really going on there? We are only given a short amount in those few verses. What we’re told is this: there are powers and principalities that work on the spiritual level influencing physical events in our world. There are unseen spiritual forces at work influencing and creating the headlines that you and I read every day on the internet or whatever our chosen source of news might be.
It’s a key to understanding great world events today. It’s a key to understanding why they—the militant Islamic terrorists that I spoke of earlier—why they hate us and why they hate other nations with common interests.
The spirits that oppose God, they hate God. They hate God’s creation. They want to see mankind—you and I—destroy ourselves. They are at work in the world today sowing seeds of hate wherever they can. They don’t want to see peace in the Middle East, in Europe or wherever. And, they don’t want to see peace in your life or in your home.
This story in Daniel gives us a peek into how this world operates and why we see war, centuries of long conflict based on religion or opposing ideas. It’s a little noticed and it’s a little understood passage of Scripture.
First look at what we’re told. Two powerful spirit beings identified as the Prince of Persia and the other as the Prince of Greece. These are created beings—powerful angelic creatures. They are part of another dimension the Bible shows us as the spirit realm. Forget what you might think you know about angels, or about demons and this “other” world from the myths of popular culture around us today. That spirit world, it’s very real. It’s more real than can be imagined by any science fiction, any fantasy or any horror tale that can be told. In this case, we’re seeing two beings who oppose a messenger sent to Daniel from God. We see a clash between good and evil at another level of existence.
Other scriptures reveal more about this high-level conflict. Probably the best place for us to go and to notice and learn from this would be in the book of Revelation at the end of the New Testament, chapter 12, where we’re told a bit of pre-history, before there were humans and before this present world.
Revelation 12 opens with a “great sign in heaven, a woman about to give birth to a child and she cries in labor. This “birth” that she’s about to have refers to the birth of Jesus as a child 2,000 years ago. But now this scene there in Revelation shifts to another figure. It describes “a great, fiery red dragon” with many heads and horns and crowns. The dragon is Satan, known as Lucifer and identified in other passages of the Bible as a very powerful “covering cherub” who once hovered near the throne of God. The head and the horns and the crowns here in Revelation 12, symbolically show Satan’s power wielded through multiple human governments across history, across time.
Chapter 12, verse 4, is where we want to focus. It tells us that this serpent’s tail “…drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them [down] to the earth” (Revelation 12:4). Now in biblical symbolism, a star represents angels.
Here in this passage, we’re told of a great upheaval in the angelic realm—a rebellion where Lucifer rebelled against God and persuaded one third of the angelic realm to follow him in that rebellion. The prophet Isaiah tells us Lucifer sought to remove God the Creator from His position. Lucifer wanted to be like God. In fact, he wanted to be God. Lucifer’s move failed and those angels who were caught up in his part and in his spirit of rebellion, they were all thrown back. They failed, but they continue to this day to oppose God, His plan and His people.
The remainder of chapter 12 of Revelation shows the age-long effort by Satan to destroy this Child—Christ— to deceive all of the world. It shows Satan’s battle in the time of the end focusing on the people of God, the Church and involving the use of governmental powers to persecute those who “keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17).
Here’s a question: Where do you stand with the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ? I’ll come back to that thought in a minute.
These scriptures are very clear as to the signs of the times leading up to the second coming of Jesus Christ. We want you to learn much more about this. We want you to be sure to order a free copy of the Bible study aid we’re offering on this program, Are We Living in the Time of the End?
You can obtain your personal, free copy of this aid called: Are We Living in the Time of the End? by merely calling: 1-888-886-8632. That’s 1-888-886-8632. Or go online to BeyondToday.tv . When you call or write, we will also send you a subscription to our magazine, Beyond Today —completely free of charge. In each issue of Beyond Today you will find vital, Bible-based articles about prophecy, about faith, about your family, true Bible doctrine and a lot more.
I really encourage you to get your free offers today which will give you accurate, balanced teaching on the subject of prophecy and other biblical subjects. Again, call: 1-888-886-8632. 1-888-886-8632, or go online at BeyondToday.tv for the free Bible study aid: Are We Living in the Time of the End? and our free magazine, Beyond Today .
Let’s draw some conclusions from what we’ve seen.
There is more to this world than we can see with the eye. There is a vast unseen spirit world that exists. In this biblical truth, we can understand there is a God who guides history and mankind according to His purpose and His plan. He controls the destinies of nations—the nations of China, Russia, America. Nothing escapes His notice. This present world, with America, Europe, and Russia, and China and other nations is by God’s design. The powers that dominate today, they do so by His will and by His purpose.
Why do we see a militant Islam coming out of Iran and the Middle East? Well consider this: Iran is the ancient land of Persia. The same Persia where the evil Prince of Persia dwelt and ruled back in Daniel’s story. Today, Iran is the leading proponent of hostility toward America, the State of Israel and nations in Europe. And these nations, they are bound together by a common Western culture encompassing religion, politics, history and much more.
The hatred expressed by militant Islam by calling for the destruction of the State of Israel or calling America the Great Satan—it has its roots in this spiritual hostility and clash between the Prince of Persia and Greece. Now, America and other Western nations, they’re not perfect examples of righteous morals and ethics. They don’t get a free pass. But, Bible prophecy and history does detail this historic clash between the West and the East. And there are vast cultural and religious differences. But as we’ve seen, the conflict between cultures and nations is much, much more than that. There is a greater spiritual battle between good and evil. The Bible clearly shows this to be between Satan and God.
The core of their opposition flows from Satan’s desire to extinguish every remnant of God’s special relationship with a people known as Israel and the Church, or the woman that we saw identified in Revelation 12.
Again, the question: Why do they hate us? They hate us because Satan hates God’s purpose and mankind gets in the way. Radical Islam is just another pawn in Satan’s hand, like so many other pawns of other religions in history, and other cultures and other philosophies that reflect a raging spiritual hatred for God. It’s beyond human religion. It’s beyond human politics and philosophy. Satan the devil will engineer mankind’s doom if God does not step in and save mankind from itself.
In Matthew 24, Jesus Christ spoke a major prophecy of a future moment in history when there will be Great Tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no nor ever shall be. And unless those days will be shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:21-22).
Satan hated God’s eternal plan from before the foundation of the world and he sought to derail it. He failed and he took a third of the angelic realm with him into a spiritual state of raging, foaming, hatred that has played itself out upon mankind from the foundation of this present world. Satan desires human worship, and today, Satan is craftily deceiving religion, government and culture to build a final world order that will worship him through two figures the Bible calls the beast and the false prophet.
The wars and the clashes of kingdoms, first between Persia and Greece or later Rome and the East, reflect this ongoing battle. In fact, the wars of history can be cast against this larger tapestry. Satan has inspired his version of history but it’s always from the view that God, God’s purpose, and even the people who bear God’s name and worship in spirit and truth, is opposed and undermined and attacked at every level of society.
This is the root of our culture wars where we see society designed to destroy faith and belief in God and His Word. We see it when we witness undermining attacks on the family through divorce, abortion, same-sex marriage, and other forms of immorality. Satan has masterminded a world designed to thwart the purpose of God. But he will not succeed.
This is what the book of Daniel tells us. God was showing Daniel that in spite of His nation’s—Israel’s—captivity He, God, was still in control of world events and history. The vision Daniel receives at this point is one that goes into great detail and takes the world’s story right up to our day and beyond. We can look back at that story now with even more understanding than Daniel had. Yet, we still do not understand all of it.
What’s the lesson though for us right now? I’ll come back and I’ll tell you that in a minute.
Finally, as a reminder, please call, or go online for our free study guide: Are We Living in the Time of the End? It will help you clearly understand the times in which we live and what you can do about it. Also, when you contact us, we’ll send you a free subscription to our magazine, Beyond Today . Each issue gives you—your life—much more needed biblical direction than it currently has.
Be sure to call: 1-888-886-8632. That’s 1-888-886-8632. Or go online to BeyondToday.tv and get your free study aid and your magazine subscription.
And, if you would like to learn even more about the excellent truths of the Bible, be sure to watch our live, bi-weekly, Wednesday night Beyond Today Bible Studies on the Web. To find them, simply go to our Beyond Today website and search for “Bible study.”
[Steve] Hi, I’m Steve Myers. I’m the pastor here at the United Church of God Cincinnati East congregation. I’d like to welcome you to come and join us on this great spiritual journey. We have hundreds of congregations around the United States and across the world. Click on the Congregations tab to find a church near you. We’re committed to growing in our relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ as well as fellowshipping with each other. If you’re looking for a home that encourages living what the Word of God really teaches, you’ve found the right place! We’re a family—a family of Bible believers committed to following Jesus Christ in everything we do. We’ve found God’s way is the best way to live. We’re happy that you’re looking into what God is doing in our efforts to bring His message to the world. God is certainly pleased that you’re looking into knowing Him better. And we’re here to help! We would love to have you come and visit and worship with us. We’re looking forward to meeting you soon! Come and join us!
[Darris] Be like Daniel.
Don’t let today’s world overcome you. You overcome this world. With the help of God, Daniel resisted Babylon and stayed faithful to the commandments and teachings of God. How about you? Where do you stand in this spiritual battle? Immersed in our modern Babylon or feet firmly planted in the way of God and His coming Kingdom?
Be like Daniel.
Love God more than anything else. Seek His Kingdom with all your heart and being. Daniel and the clash of kingdoms—Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome—set the stage for our world today. Today’s nations continue to fight among themselves bringing suffering upon millions. And they do it because there is an unseen spiritual war. Keep this in mind as you look at today’s headlines and seek to understand your place in the world.
For Beyond Today I’m Darris McNeely. Thanks for watching.
[Announcer] For the free literature offered on today’s program, go online to BeyondToday.tv . Please join us again next week on Beyond Today!