Help for Today — Hope for Tomorrow
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[Gary Petty] The Bible predicts that before the second coming of Jesus Christ, there will be a superpower of great military strength that will create the global economy. Is there a way for us to know who this superpower will be?
Since World War II the United States has been the world’s greatest superpower. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the U.S. with unprecedented wealth, military power and influence in global politics with a large population, abundant natural resources and a massive industrial infrastructure. And this is really important, a form of government that promotes peaceful transition of power. And that’s very rare in history. This is all combined to propel this nation into becoming the most powerful superpower the world has ever seen.
Can the United States maintain this unprecedented economic and military power, or is a new super power going to rise? You and I live in a time when the old national alliances as well as economic and industrial powers are shifting, and technology is changing our world faster than anybody can predict the outcomes. The news media bombards us all the time with a constant stream of conflicting and anxious predictions about what’s going to happen next.
I mean how much did Russia influence U.S. elections and is the former USSR destabilizing nations in order to reestablish themselves as a superpower? Is the United States economy on the edge of a great recession? There’s a lot of fear about that right now. Is the U.S. political system in such shambles they can’t maintain powerful international influence? And I’ve talked to people in Europe, I’ve talked to people in Australia, who fear that, that our entire system is becoming such a system of conflict that eventually we won’t be able to help others in other parts of the world. Of course is the growing industrial military might of China about to propel them into becoming the next great military and economic power?
A lot of people fear, and this has been in the news lately, is the Islamic world going to unite and create an oil-based super power that’s going to be driven by religious fervor. And of course the European Union, many fear it’s on the verge of collapse. Or can it go through some kind of a radical revival? The Bible predicts that before the second coming of Jesus Christ there will be a superpower of great military strength that will create a global economy.
Now is there a way for us to know who this superpower will be? To understand the prophecies about the great future superpower we have to go back to the time of another great superpower, way back to the time of ancient Babylon. In the seventh century B.C., Babylon was the greatest empire of the day. You know a couple of years ago our Beyond Today crew traveled to Berlin, Germany and visited the Pergamon Museum and we were able to film the Ishtar gate and sections of this wall or these walls, from ancient Babylon. It was an amazing experience. I mean to walk along the walls, to film it, to be there, that Daniel would have walked along these walls. Daniel would have seen these very walls because these are the walls from Nebuchadnezzar’s time. It was a real amazing experience to see this.
We also realized the absolute splendor, the greatness of Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon and the empire that he ruled over. So what I want to do now is pick up the story of what took place within these city walls that’s recorded in Daniel chapter 2. What we know in Daniel chapter 2, that Judah was taken into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar the King of Babylon. And when that happened, some of the- sort of the brightest young people of Judah were taken to Babylon to learn how to be Babylonians but also to give advice and be advisers to the Babylonian government. Daniel we know refused to become a Babylonian but he lived there in the palace. And while he was there Nebuchadnezzar had a dream. And this dream was so disturbing to him that he gathered together all his soothsayers and his magicians and his advisors and he said, ”I want you to give me the meaning of this dream. It has to have a meaning.” And they said, ”Well, tell us the dream and we’ll tell you the interpretation.” And he said, ”Oh, no, no, no, you’ve tricked me before. You have to tell me the dream and then tell me the interpretation because I’ll know, you know, you know what you’re talking about.” Of course they couldn’t do that and he said, ”Well then I’m going to kill all of you.”
Well Daniel found out, you know, because now all the advisers are living in fear because he’s going to kill all of them. Daniel goes to God and prays about it, and God gives him the interpretation and the dream. And he’s able to come before Nebuchadnezzar and say, ”Let me tell you what your dream was. It was the dream of an image of a man. And this man was strange because in this image, the top was gold, his arms and chest were silver, the midsection was bronze, and then the legs down here were iron.”
Now I did a program not too long ago here on Beyond Today where we called- it was called “The Message of the Antichrist.” And we talked about these four different segments of this image and what it meant and what it means in history and prophecy. And what I showed there in that program was that the gold head and what Daniel was able to tell Nebuchadnezzar, this gold head represented him, the Babylonian Empire and that these other sections symbolized empires that were to follow. Well history tells us, we’re able to put this together now from our viewpoint very, very succinctly because the Babylonian Empire was conquered by the Persian Empire. The Persian Empire was conquered by the Greek Empire. The Greek Empire was conquered by the Roman Empire.
So we can look at this historically, we know what’s happened and we know that this also has a future prophecy and we’re going to talk about that, because what we’re going to talk about today, we’re going to talk about these two legs at the bottom. We’re going to talk about this iron that gets mixed with clay, the Roman Empire. You know the history books declared that the Roman Empire fell in 476 A.D., but it’s important to understand, if we’re going to understand this prophecy of Daniel 2, is that this empire — now notice in the image it develops into two legs. It develops into two legs. This is often ignored in the prophecy of Daniel 2. In the late third century the Roman Empire was literally divided into east and west as two administrative centers. In fact in 330 the emperor Constantine made the capital of the empire in the East. He developed a city there under what had been the Byzantine or Byzantium. He turned it into Constantinople. Today it’s Istanbul but at the time, it was called the New Rome. And Rome literally had two capitals, one over the East and one over the West.
We think in 476 how the Roman Empire fell, but it didn’t. The Western Empire fell. The Eastern Empire became known as the Byzantium or the Byzantine Empire, lasted until 1453 A.D. 1453. Now think about that. How long did this Eastern Empire continue to function? Just a few decades before Columbus came to the new world. So this is very important to understand that the Roman Empire divided into two and both halves are very, very important. And we’re going to talk about both halves and we’re going to talk about the future of the Roman Empire.
Now we do have a study guide that we’re offering today because we’re covering a lot of material. To really understand the biblical prophecy about the fourth kingdom of Daniel 2 you need to get this free study guide called ”The Final Superpower,” and you can discover the biblical explanation of this Daniel 2 image because right inside the booklet, or the study guide, we have a chart that will explain exactly what we’re talking about here which is obvious when you look at history. Daniel 2 isn’t a difficult prophecy. Now you can get your free copy by calling the toll free number on your screen or going to beyondtoday.tv and downloading a copy. You can download a copy right into your computer or you can order a copy and we’ll send it to you by mail.
Now we’re going to look at some of the efforts that have happened over the centuries to revive the Roman Empire and to reunite East and West back together. But before we do that I want to talk a little bit about something that’s very important if we’re going to understand the culture of Europe. I mentioned Constantine. Constantine was the first emperor to claim to be Christian. If you study his life you will find that, well, the Encyclopedia Britannica says that he was half heathen, half Christian, and that’s truly what he was. In 324 he became emperor of both the East and West. He had them combined. He had them together and he established, as I said, Constantinople as the New Rome. He also did something else. He promoted a minority religion.
At the time of Constantine the Roman Empire was pagan and they were all just a collection of different pagan religions. But he promoted something else, Christianity, and what was just then beginning to be called in a general way, the universal church or the Catholic Church. He was very disappointed when he took over as the emperor because he found out that the Christians were all divided and all argued with each other and he thought it was one church and it wasn’t. So he went about trying to unite the church. Unite his empire and unite the church.
By the time of the end of this century, you know just this 60, 70 years after Constantine really started to do this, the Catholic Church is the most dominant religion in the entire Roman Empire. And the reason why is they have imperial backing because throughout that century every emperor except one, and he only lasted for three years, was a Catholic. In fact in 381 Theodosius actually outlawed paganism and he outlawed any other form of Christianity. It’s fascinating. He outlawed it. In fact now the people who had been persecuted by the Romans controlled the government and they persecuted anyone who didn’t believe what they believed.
Now that doesn’t mean paganism disappeared because a lot of people still continued to be pagan, but it meant that the Roman Empire and the Catholic Church had merged together into a singular culture. When the Germanic barbarians spread across the Western Empire they destroyed that Roman form of government, the Goths and the Vandals and the Anglo-Saxons, they came across Europe and they destroyed the Roman government. But they were still a minority. The Germanic tribes that came across Europe controlled parts of Europe, but they were a minority. The average Roman who had personally had been a Roman citizen, still tried to survive in this and especially in places like Italy and France and Spain.
The only order they had in this chaos of these Germanic invasions was the Catholic Church. Throughout the middle ages the Catholic Church became intertwined with European culture and like I said, to this day you can’t separate, even though Europe is a secular culture in many ways, you can’t separate Catholicism from the culture of Europe. Now the religion of the eastern half of the Roman Empire became known as the Orthodox Church. And today the Orthodox Church by the way is the primary religion in countries like Russia and in Ukraine, Romania, Greece, and Bulgaria. And their beliefs are very similar to the Catholics except they don’t accept the primacy of the papacy.
Now understanding the relationship between the Catholic and Orthodox churches and European culture is necessary if we’re going to understand the meaning of the legs of the statue of Daniel 2. Now when we look at the history of Europe since the fall of the Western Empire we see attempt after attempt. Now I say the history of the fall of the Western Empire. The Eastern Empire was a little different. But we see attempt after attempt to reunite the empire into one. Now I want to mention again the final superpower because there is an entire chapter in here that outlines historical attempts to recreate the Roman Empire. And we’re going to look at three of these. So I want you to remember to get your copy.
First one I want to talk about, which is very brief, is Justinian. Justinian ruled the Eastern Empire. But after the West fell to the barbarians he decided in 533 to launch a campaign to reunite the eastern and western halves of the empire, not only under one government but under one religion. He wanted to reunite the Eastern Orthodox and the Catholic Church together. He took back from the barbarians North Africa, the Middle East, and much of Italy. And he would have probably continued on but the empire suffered an outbreak of bubonic plague that killed they estimate at least 25% of the population. So that stopped him from being able to unite them entirely. But Justinian’s dream of a united Europe combined with one Christian religion. Remember this is the concept. This became an idea that never died out.
Over 200 years after Justinian tried to do this another ruler tried to revive the Roman Empire and his name is Charlemagne, or Charles the Great. That’s what that means in French. On Christmas day in 800 A.D. the Pope crowned a Frankish King named Charlemagne, or Charles the Great, as emperor of the Romans. Now Charlemagne conquered and reunited a large part of what had been the old Roman Empire in the West. And his kingdom covered much of not only what is modern France and Italy, but much of what was or is today, Germany, which was not part of the old Roman Empire.
Now when Beyond Today traveled to Europe to record some programs about the revival of the Roman empires in the past, we were able to actually go to Charlemagne’s cathedral in Aachen. And what we see here, this is the throne that Charlemagne’s successors were crowned on, to crown kings, and they were crowned kings on what became known as the Holy Roman Empire. And the Holy Roman Empire became the great expression of Christendom.
Christendom is a concept of reuniting a large group of different people together by one religion. They may have even different governments but they’re brought together by one religion called Christendom, the kingdom of Christians. Now another attempt to resurrect the old Roman Empire occurred under Napoleon. That’s a name that’s familiar to most people. At one point his empire stretched from Egypt to Moscow but Napoleon overstretched his army. It was destroyed by the Russian winter and he was finally defeated by a combined European army at Waterloo. Justinian, Charlemagne, Napoleon, and others represent an historical thread. All of these attempts to recreate the Roman Empire involve both a civil government and a Christian religious power. All of them did. And this once again is important if we’re going to understand Daniel 2.
Now you can read about these various attempts to recreate the Roman Empire by getting your free copy of “The Final Superpower.” And there’s a whole lot more information than what we can cover here. Just call the toll free number or go to beyondtoday.tv. Now let’s go back and look at the fourth kingdom of Daniel Chapter 2. Let me read a little bit from Daniel Chapter 2 here.
Here’s what Daniel told him about this fourth kingdom. “And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron in as much as iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything. And like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others.” And he skips down and he says, ”And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile. And in the days of these kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom.” I want you to think about what it says here. It says that these two branches of the Roman Empire are going to go on until there’s a time where the peoples are mixed together but they really don’t come together but it’s still going to have a lot of iron in it. And it says these 10 toes, and these 10 toes are called kings.
In the days of these kings there’s going to come a time when the Roman Empire is going to be revived just like there’ve been attempts to do it for centuries. And the East and West are going to work together and there’s going to be 10 kings, groups of people. We’re not sure exactly what that means but there’s going to be 10 rulers. And it’s at this time, and we’re going to read this in a minute, at this time that Jesus Christ returns. I want you to understand there are only four kingdoms in this image. This kingdom is going to be part of the fourth kingdom. That means it’s not going to be China, it’s not going to be Islam, it’s going to be a revived Roman Empire. That’s important. This tells us that. Now since World War II there’ve been many attempts to reunite Europe. 1957 France, West Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, signed a treaty in Rome establishing the European Economic Community, which became known as the Common Market.
Over the years, the Common Market has become known as the European Union, which currently includes over 25 nations, 7% of the world’s population. But listen to this, 24% of the global gross domestic product is in Europe. Now the EU faces many challenges. The weak economic state of some of its members like Greece, and Brexit, worries about Putin’s Russia, radical Islam, and of course its relationship with the United States. You know concerns about Russian incursion are very real in Eastern countries like Poland and Hungary and Romania. Those people remember what it was like to live under Soviet domination. You know one of the biggest concerns that some of the EU members like Germany and France face is oil. Where do they get their oil from?
And all the problems in the Middle East means that they can lose their oil and they think in order to keep their civilization, and I say keep their civilization they go without oil and their civilization dies. It’s not like here. They don’t have oil. They have to create a European army. And other European countries are beginning to believe that they have to also join a joint military intervention force. You know overnight a European army could challenge Russia or the United States and they have nuclear weapons. This doesn’t mean the European Union fulfills the prophecy of Daniel 2. The EU is just laying the groundwork for a future revival of the Roman Empire. And just like the revivals of Justinian and Charlemagne and Napoleon, the Catholic and Orthodox churches will be involved in influencing European culture.
Please get your free copy. This will help you understand this important prophetic message. Just call the toll free number on your screen or go to beyondtoday.tv and download a copy for yourself.
So what should we be looking for on the world scene just knowing this Daniel Chapter 2? Well first be aware of what’s happening in Europe. According to Daniel 2 this is where the final superpower will form. Yes we should know about what’s happening in Asia and what’s happening in Africa, but we need to understand this is where this is going to form. And secondly be aware of a religious deception that will appear to be Christian and be involved in the formation of this superpower. Jesus prophesied the coming end of the age and he predicted a time that’s so terrible that humanity will be on the very brink of total annihilation, but that’s not what’s going to happen.
As Christians we should not be filled with anxiety about the future, because here’s the good news. The followers of Jesus Christ will know what is happening because he’s told us what’s going to happen. Christians won’t face the great deception alone. God promises to be with us. God promises to guide us and take care of us. So what does this understanding of this prophecy mean to you? Jesus told His disciples before His death and resurrection, “Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me.” This is what He told them. This is the message that even rings out to us today. ”In my father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” Jesus went to prepare a place for his followers, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again to receive you to myself,” he said, ”and that where I am, there you may also be.”
In Daniel Chapter 2 the image of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of four kingdoms also contain an image of a stone, a stone that is supernaturally cut out of a mountain. As we conclude here I want to go back and read a little bit of this. Verse 44, ”And in the days of these kings, these 10 kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed and the kingdom shall not be left to other people. It shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. In as much as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands and that broken pieces, the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold, the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain. The interpretation is sure.”
See we’re given the message of Daniel 2 not to live in fear but to know what the outcome is, to know what the outcome is. Christ is the stone. He left to prepare a place for His followers and He’s returning so that where He is you may be also. And by knowing this we understand there is a fourth empire. We know who that fourth empire is. It was split in two. It’s still split in two and it’s been attempting to reunite since 476 A.D. To truly believe and follow the God of the Bible is to be a pilgrim in a strange land. That’s what it means to be a Christian. But He gives us the understanding what’s going to happen. To be a Christian is to live a life of hope, not fear, not anxiety, because it turns out God’s way. It is to live a life filled with anticipation of this event when Jesus Christ returns to bring God’s kingdom to all humanity and for Christians to be part of that.
[Narrator] Call now to receive the free booklet offered on today’s program, “The Final Superpower.” For many years now America has been the lone superpower. But how long will this last? Will China rise up to claim this position? What about Russia or Europe? Incredibly in the book of Daniel God revealed the shape of history all the way up through our present day. These great prophecies are the key to understanding future events.
Our free study aid “The Final Superpower” makes plain the prophecies of Daniel and how they fit with the book of Revelation. Learn the truth from your Bible about the coming final superpower. Order now. Call toll free 1-888-886-8632 or write to the address shown on your screen. Bible prophecy is a window into the future. Don’t be among those who will be caught off-guard by end-time events. When you order this free study aid we’ll also send you a complimentary one-year subscription to Beyond Today magazine. Beyond Today magazine brings you understanding about today’s world and hope for the future. Six times a year you’ll read about current world events in the light of Bible prophecy, as well as practical knowledge to improve your marriage and family. Call today to receive your free booklet, “The Final Superpower” and your free, one-year subscription to Beyond Today magazine. 1-888-886-8632 or go online to beyondtoday.tv.