Robert Jeffress - The Dream Team That Failed - Part 2
Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress, and welcome again to Pathway to Victory. Some people turn to crystal balls and fortune tellers in an effort to see what's to come. But the only one who can reveal the future is the one who wrote it. Today, we're going to look at the fascinating truth that God revealed to king Nebuchadnezzar in a dream. The lesson the king learned was true of ancient Babylon, and it's true of modern day America as well. My message is titled, "The Dream Team That Failed", on today's edition of Pathway to Victory.
Daniel was not only going to tell Nebuchadnezzar what was going to happen to his kingdom, but he was going to give him a sweeping panorama of all of human history, of all the kingdoms that would succeed Babylon, until the return of Jesus Christ. What in the world does this dream mean? Well, Daniel gives Nebuchadnezzar the interpretation, beginning in verse 36. He says, "This was the dream, now king, we're going to tell you the interpretation. 'you, o king, are the King of kings to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom'". He was being respectful to Nebuchadnezzar, but he also said, "Nebuchadnezzar, your power comes from God. God is the one who has given you the kingdom, and wherever the sons of men dwell, or the beasts of the field, or the birds of the sky, he has given it into your hand. You are the head of gold".
The head of gold represented Nebuchadnezzar and the kingdom of Babylon. Remember in Isaiah 14:4, Babylon is referred to as the golden city, because gold was used to decorate its shrines and temples, and other buildings. Then look at verse 39, "After you, there will arise another kingdom inferior to you". That is the chest and arms of silver represented the kingdom that would overtake Babylon. That was the Medo-Persian empire. We know from history in 539 BC, Darius the Mede overtook the Babylonian empire, and we'll see that in a few ahead. And that is the Medo-Persian empire. Even though this Medo-Persian empire was larger geographically than Babylon, it was more unstable, and that's why God said, "It's an inferior kingdom".
Thirdly, look at the abdomen and the thighs of bronze. Verse 39b, "Then another third kingdom of bronze, which will rule over the earth". This was Greece, that ruled the world, from 331 BC to 63 BC, under Alexander the Great and his successors. This is Greece, and we'll see that more clearly when we get to Daniel 8:21. But the bulk of the attention of this vision is given to the fourth kingdom. The legs and the feet of iron and clay, this is the Roman Empire. Look at verse 40, "Then there will be a fourth kingdom as strong as iron, and as much as iron crushers and shatters all things, so like iron that breaks in pieces, it will crush and break all these in pieces".
What a perfect description of what the Roman Empire did. It conquered all of the countries around the Mediterranean Sea. In 63 BC, Pompeii conquered Palestine, and Rome ruled the world. And even though the pax Romana, the Roman peace filled all of the earth, that peace only occurred because of the strength of Rome. Everyone served under the Roman boot. It is a kingdom of iron, a kingdom of force, but there's another aspect of this kingdom as well, that is described, the feet and the toes. Look at verses 41 to 43, "In that you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter's clay and partly of iron, it will be a divided kingdom. It will have in it the toughness of iron, in as much you saw the iron mixed with common clay. As the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of pottery, so some of the kingdom will be strong, and part of it will be brittle. And in that you saw the iron mixed with common clay, they will combine with one another in the seed of men, but they will not adhere to one another, even as iron does not combine with pottery".
Now, I want you to stay with me for the next few moments, this is key. The fourth empire that Daniel said would rule the world until the fifth final kingdom, the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ would come, was the kingdom of Rome. Now what happened to Rome? Rome, unlike any of the other kingdoms, Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece, Rome was not conquered by another nation. Rome did not fall under the strength of another nation. Instead Rome, simply decayed and faded into insignificance, just like Edward Gibbon wrote, and Rome's final collapse was marked by the Eastern empire of Rome, the fall of Constantinople in 14, I think 53, ad, when Constantinople, the Eastern portion of the Roman Empire fell. But Rome was not conquered, Rome is not dead. The Roman Empire is dormant right now. Remember Mussolini, the Italian dictator? He said that he would resurrect the Roman Empire. He didn't quite pull that off, did he? But the Bible says the Roman Empire is going to be resurrected.
Right now, it's dormant. Its influence is still felt throughout the world, with the Roman Catholic Church, but as a world power, it is dormant. But the Bible is predicting here in Daniel chapter 2, and in Daniel chapter 7, and in Revelation 13, and in Revelation 17, all these passages predict that the final world empire that will be reigning under antichrist will be a revival of the Roman Empire. And what you see in this prophecy is the next aspect of the Roman Empire. Yes, its legs are of iron, but the feet and the toes are a mixture of iron and pottery. Now how many toes do normal people have? I have 10 toes, don't you? So he says this Roman Empire is likened unto 10 toes, that are partially clay, as well as iron. And that's referring to not only the strength, but the brittleness of those toes.
Now the Bible predicts, and we'll see it in Daniel 7 very clearly, verses 24 and 25, that in the end times, in the last seven years of earth's history, there will be 10 kings, 10 rulers, who will come together to form a union. And they will be a revival of the Roman Empire, in this sense. Of those 10 kings, there will be an 11th king who will overtake three of those kings, his name will be the antichrist. And those 10 kings will give their power to the antichrist. And through this 10 nation confederation, the antichrist will work his will to persecute God's people, both Jews and gentiles alike. There'll be no selling or buying of food. There'll be no freedom of worship or speech. The final world power, before the return of Jesus Christ, will be a dictatorship of antichrist. And that dictatorship will come about because of a 10 nation confederation, these 10 nations that will give their power in turn to the antichrist.
These 10 nations will have a difficult time sticking together. They will constantly be fighting one another. They'll even try to war against the antichrist, but at the Battle of Armageddon, Revelation chapter 19, they will all unite together to fight against Jesus Christ, and those of us who return with him. This 10 nation federation will be much like the European Union is today. The European Union consists of 27 nations. They have come together for economic reasons, for economic stability. You have some strong members of that union, like Great Britain. You have weak members of that union, like Greece and Spain. They're trying to hold it together for economic stability in the world. I believe the same motivation will be the reason for this 10 nation confederation. They will come together, probably after the rapture of the church, they will come together probably motivated by economic reasons.
And that brings me to the question I pose this morning, why isn't the United States of America mentioned in prophecy? I think it is. I think it's disingenuous to claim that the United States is going to cease to exist in these last seven years of the world's history. We're not just going to fade off into oblivion. I don't believe that. But what I do believe is we are going to be one of those toes, one of those 10 nations as a part of this confederation. And just like the members of the European Union have been motivated to join for economic stability, I believe we are going to find it necessary to join with other nations in this economic alliance, in order to promote economic stability in our country.
You realize the tremendous fiscal mess our country is in right now. Our debt right now is approaching $17 trillion, but that's the only debt Washington wants you to know about. That $17 trillion is a drop in the bucket, compared to the real debt of the United States of America. Do you realize that right now, we have a debt of 150 trillion additional dollars, because of unfunded programs like social security, and Medicare are very real liabilities. There is absolutely no way we're going to work ourselves out of this fiscal crisis. And the people in Washington D. C. know that. Everybody knows there's a fiscal crisis that is looming. And I believe it's that fiscal crisis, now this is the word of Robert, not the Word of God speaking, but my prediction is it is that fiscal crisis that is going to force us to become a part of this 10 nation confederation that will eventually give its power to antichrist.
Now, I think I'm on solid ground in saying this, because remember, under this 10 nation confederacy that will give its power to antichrist, Revelation chapter 13 says there'll be no freedom of worship. If you don't bow down and worship the antichrist, you'll die. There'll be no freedom of commerce, you can't buy or sell unless you take the Mark of the beast. Now for those things to happen, it means we would have had to surrender our constitutional rights as Americans. There would no longer be a first amendment. There would no longer be freedom of commerce. And so when that happens, in a sense, the United States of America ceases to exist anyway. We will become an amalgamation of other nations that will hold together loosely, in order to preserve our economic way of life. That's where I think you find the United States of America in all of this.
The fourth kingdom is Rome, and the revived Roman Empire. One other thing, remember in Revelation chapter 13, about the description of the beast, and it says that the beast is thought to be wounded, to suffer a mortal head wound. And then miraculously, it comes back to life again. My own feeling is that's not the antichrist, it's the empire over which the antichrist ruled. It's talking about this Roman Empire. Most people think the Roman Empire is dead today. It's never going to come back to life. No, it's just dormant. It will come back to life again, in the form of this 10 nation confederation. But that Roman Empire is simply a prelude to the final empire, that of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Look at verses 44 and 45, "In those days, the days of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed. And that kingdom will not be left for another people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it itself will endure forever". What is this great stone that crushes the statue of all the world powers? The great stone is Jesus Christ, and the great stone, the Lord Jesus Christ, brings a kingdom that gets larger and larger and larger, until it fills all the earth. This is a reference to the second coming of Christ, Revelation 19:11-15, and the establishment of God's kingdom on earth. Now about that, most commentators agree, nobody doubts that the great stone is Jesus Christ.
Here's the question, when does the great stone crush all the gentile rulers of the world, and bring about the Kingdom of God? The amillennialist, the one who doesn't believe in a literal thousand year reign of Christ, believes it's already occurred. It occurred at the first coming of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem. When Jesus Christ came, he crushed the world power, and now the Kingdom of God is expanding in the hearts of individual believers who trust in Christ as Savior, and the kingdom is getting stronger, and stronger, and stronger.
Now that sounds real nice, but it has no basis in history. For the fact is, the gentile world powers have not been destroyed. The time of the gentiles is not over. And if you want to see a good demonstration of that, just go to the City of Jerusalem, God's holy city, and walk up to Temple Mount, and walk into the center of Temple Mount, after you go through all the x-ray machines, and they pat you down to make sure you don't have a machine gun, and you'll go right in the center to the dome of the rock. And that dome of the rock is standing where the second temple once stood. It is the Jews' most holy site, and who is it controlled by? Is it controlled by the Jews? No, it's controlled by the Muslims, right there where the second temple stood, right there where Abraham almost offered his son, Isaac, as a sacrifice, there sits a dome that belongs to the Muslims. In no sense of the word is Jerusalem, or any part of the world, under God's control at this time.
We are still living in the period of the gentiles. No, this is a reference to the second coming of Jesus Christ, when he will crush all world powers, and every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Now, how did Nebuchadnezzar respond to this interpretation? Look at verse 46, "Then king Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face and did homage to Daniel". He tried to worship Daniel. See, he didn't know Daniel's God, so all he knew was to worship Daniel. But look at verse 47, "The king answered Daniel and said, 'surely your God is a God of Gods, and the Lord of kings, and the revealer of mysteries, since you have been able to reveal this mystery".
Now this doesn't represent Nebuchadnezzar's conversion, and we'll see that in the next chapter. But it is an acknowledgement by Nebuchadnezzar that there is only one God who can truly reveal dreams. What happened, verse 48, "The king promoted Daniel and gave him great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon". Verse 49, Daniel made a request. He said, "Just don't elevate me, king. Elevate my friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego," and Nebuchadnezzar acquiesced to the request, and made his friends rulers over Babylon, which sets us up for chapter 3.
Now we saw with the dramatic interpretation of this vision, Nebuchadnezzar's response to the vision. But let me ask you tonight, what is your response when you see this panorama of human history? You see, the fact is God is not only the God of world history, he's in control of your history as well. There is nothing that's happening to you tonight that is not according to God's perfect plan. Today at our first step, for our new members, somebody asked me the question, "Pastor, what is your favorite verse in the Bible"? Without hesitation, I said, "It's Romans 8:28 and 29, 'for we know that God causes all things to work together for good, to those who love him, to those who are called according to his purpose". And then verse 29 he tells us what that purpose is, "'for whom God foreknew, he predestined to become conformed to the image of his will'". That means, ladies and gentlemen, there is nothing that happens in your life by accident. God is using every event in your life. God is orchestrating every event in your life to work together for your good, and for his glory. And when you understand that, it releases you from any fear about the future.
Don Campbell tells the true story about sir Wilford Grenfell. Wilford Grenfell was a medical missionary in Labrador. And a one day he was on his way to make a call to one of his sick patients. And in Labrador, all you can do is travel by dog sled, so he took his dog sled team over to visit the sick patient. And he traveled over an ocean of ice. And suddenly Grenfell himself on an island of ice, that had separated from the rest of the island, and he found himself drifting out to sea. Not knowing what to do in such a dire situation, Grenfell mercifully put his dogs to death. He then took the skins of those dogs, and made a coat, a covering for himself. He hoisted a distress signal, a distress flag, and then he laid down on the ice, and he went to sleep.
Later, when he was rescued, somebody asked Grenfell, "How in the world could you lay down on that ice, and go to sleep and knowing what you were facing"? And this is what Grenfell said, he said, "I did everything I knew to do. I did everything humanly possible. My life lay in God's hands. What then was there to be afraid of"? My life lay in God's hands, what indeed is there to be afraid of? Isaiah 26:3 says, "Thou will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusted in thee".