Dan. 7:15-28 NLT
1 I, Daniel, was troubled by all I had seen, and my visions terrified me. 16 So I approached one of those standing beside the throne and asked him what it all meant. He explained it to me like this: 17 “These four huge beasts represent four kingdoms that will arise from the earth. 18 But in the end, the holy people of the Most High will be given the kingdom, and they will rule forever and ever.”
19 Then I wanted to know the true meaning of the fourth beast, the one so different from the others and so terrifying. It had devoured and crushed its victims with iron teeth and bronze claws, trampling their remains beneath its feet. 20 I also asked about the ten horns on the fourth beast’s head and the little horn that came up afterward and destroyed three of the other horns. This horn had seemed greater than the others, and it had human eyes and a mouth that was boasting arrogantly. 21 As I watched, this horn was waging war against God’s holy people and was defeating them, 22 until the Ancient One—the Most High—came and judged in favor of his holy people. Then the time arrived for the holy people to take over the kingdom.
23 Then he said to me, “This fourth beast is the fourth world power that will rule the earth. It will be different from all the others. It will devour the whole world, trampling and crushing everything in its path. 24 Its ten horns are ten kings who will rule that empire. Then another king will arise, different from the other ten, who will subdue three of them. 25 He will defy the Most High and oppress the holy people of the Most High. He will try to change their sacred festivals and laws, and they will be placed under his control for a time, times, and half a time.
26 “But then the court will pass judgment, and all his power will be taken away and completely destroyed. 27 Then the sovereignty, power, and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be given to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will last forever, and all rulers will serve and obey him.”28 That was the end of the vision. I, Daniel, was terrified by my thoughts and my face was pale with fear, but I kept these things to myself.
Daniel's vision continues. Though he had seen millenia of human history in the first three beasts, a fourth came into his seeing that was far worse than any he had previously seen and across a short span of time. The kingdoms of this world work evil, generation after generation. They have laws that are supposed to be for general good but evil arises out of them all. They keep order, instead of chaos, but even evil can be orderly!
In the time of The End-- the time of the fourth kingdom-- one of ten kings overpowers and usurps the resources the others. It exceeds all the power of the previous ten to become the actual first global kingdom of this world. It is a kingdom driven by God's enemy, Satan. The leader, inspired by the author of evil, even seeks to destroy God's people wherever they are found. According to verse 26, even the special days and times of God's people become controlled by the world-wide kingdom of evil-- until God steps in and turns it all around.
We have not yet seen the rise of this world-wide kingdom but we are witnessing the rise of world-wide evil and a stage being set with Chaos. According to another prophetic writer, John, this evil kingdom's ruler rises precisely because of world-wide chaos. He and that kingdom are welcomed because of the fear of disorder. And even this God permits. We learn from the books of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible, that the affairs of nations are only seemingly controlled by the people who rule them. In reality, however, all the world stage is set for the last and final act. God permits Daniel to see this last act but he does not fully comprehend it. And so, he tells us that what he saw terrified his thoughts so he kept it all to himself and did not write more down. John, too, was terrified by the same vision but gives us details that were held from Daniel thousands of years earlier.
So you ask, we see world wide chaos. We see world-wide wars. We see world-wide earth quakes. We have seen disturbances in the atmosphere and in the oceans. Is this the time of the end? I say, it might be or it might not be for yet some generations to come. However, how should you and I be living? I suspect we should be living as if it was the time of the end. I suspect we should be living according to God's priorities and not our own. I suspect we ought to be seeking God's purposes ahead of our preferences. I suspect that even today, we should live for Christ as we would if we knew for certain the end was coming tomorrow.
Your servant in Christ's Presence