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Saturday, 05 March 2016 14:18

3. Situating when the book was written

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The message of Revelation was originally addressed to the Christians of the 1st century, in John's time - and we are talking about John the apostle. Of course the message is timeless, and as important throughout the centuries, as well as today. The text in Revelation was written using the imagery and symbols the Christians from the 1st century were familiar with. We need to keep this in mind, because this idea is one of the keys to interpret the book.
John was one of the original disciples of Jesus. He received the vision of this message when he was in exile, in the island of Patmos. Just so we can understand a little better in what point in history Revelation was written, we need to go even further back in time, to the book of Daniel.
Like Revelation, the book of Daniel is also a prophetic book, full of symbols. and it covers some of the same prophecies that we see in Revelation. Daniel also received several visions while he was living in exile, but Daniel was in Babylon.
Today, we will revisit the dream that Babylon’s King had one night. The name of this king was Nebuchadnezzar. This dream will help us understand the scope of the timeline covered by biblical prophecies. You will find this story on chapter 2 of the book of Daniel.
The Israelites had been taken captives to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar around the year 606-605 BC. You can see that the story of Daniel happened over 600 years before John came along. Daniel was among those captives that had been brought to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar wasn’t one to waste good talent, not even when it came to his captives. He preferred to to use the brightest and most prominent people to help strengthen his own kingdom even further. That’s why some of the young Israelite men were chosen to be instructed in Babylonian culture. And so, Daniel and his friends were sent to what I call "Babylon University", and eventually they ended up working as advisors to the King.
One night, Nebuchadnezzar was in his bed, getting ready to go to sleep. He was worried, thinking about the future. That night, the King had a prophetic dream. As it turns out, only Daniel was able to interpret this dream through God's power. God had sent the king a dream about how the history of the world would unfold. It was a message about the kingdoms of this world, starting with Babylon and ending with the Second Coming of Christ. In the book of Daniel, we see the names of some of these kingdoms and the order in which they appear. Our advantage is that we can look into our history books and see which kingdoms came after Nebuchadnezzar's. It is not surprising though that Daniel described the kingdoms that came after Babylon in the exact order they ended up happening.
In the dream, God used images and symbols that were familiar to Nebuchadnezzar. Something that would make sense to this king. In the dream, there was a statue, with the head of gold, chest of silver, middle and thighs of bronze, legs of iron, and feet and toes of iron mixed with clay. Every part of the statue represented a different kingdom. At the end of the dream, came a rock that hit the statue’s feet and completely destroyed the entire statue. Nothing was left of it. The rock then grew and became a mountain that filled the Earth. This rock represents the eternal kingdom that God will establish one Day.
So, in order, we have the following kingdoms or empires represented here in the statue:
HEAD OF GOLD represents Babylon, which lasted from (B.C. 605 - 539)
 CHEST OF SILVER, which represents the Medo-Persian empire. This kingdom lasted from (B.C. 539 - 331)
MIDDLE AND THIGHS OF BRASS (or BRONZE), which represents Greece. This kingdom lasted from (B.C. 331-168)
LEGS OF IRON, which represents the Roman Empire, or Rome, and this empire lasted (B.C. 168 - A.D. 476)
FEET AND TOES OF CLAY mixed with IRON. These represent the Divided nations, an this period started in (A.D. 476 and is going to last until the End of Time)
John was alive in the 1st century, which places him less than 200 years into the Roman Empire. From the head to the legs of the statue we have kingdoms of world-wide domination. Then we get to the feet, and no longer we have a kingdom powerful enough to dominate the whole world. We now have several divided nations, the different countries we have out there. That's where you and I find ourselves at the moment. We live today in the time of the feet and toes made of iron and clay, right before the return of Christ.
Both Daniel and John wrote about what would happen in the future from their point of view - in other words, from the point in history where they were. They both described events in this same prophetic timeline that God had revealed. That's why we see some of the same prophecies being described in Daniel and in Revelation. Now you can see how the books of Daniel and Revelation are books about kingdoms, powers, and systems. Revelation is not a book about one specific human being who wants worldwide domination. These prophetic books show the bigger picture of how the timeline is progressing and will continue to progress until Jesus returns. God revealed this information to us not just to satisfy our curiosity, and definitely not to makes us afraid, but so that we could trust that, with God, we can have victory in the end.


Please see the picture of the statue and extra details at the Amazing Discoveries website:

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