Jehovah Is “a Revealer of Secrets”
“Truly the God of you men is a God of gods and a Lord of kings and a Revealer of secrets.”—DANIEL 2:47.
WHAT IS YOUR ANSWER?
What has Jehovah revealed to us about the future?
What do the first six heads of the wild beast mean?
Which parts of the wild beast and of the image in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream mean the same things?
1, 2. What has Jehovah revealed to us? Why has he done so?
JUST before God’s Kingdom destroys all human governments, which ones will be the most powerful? We know the answer because Jehovah God is the “Revealer of secrets,” and he has revealed it to us through the writings of the prophet Daniel and the apostle John.
2 Jehovah gave Daniel and John several visions of wild beasts. He also explained to Daniel the meaning of a prophetic dream about a giant metal image. Jehovah made sure that Daniel and John wrote about these visions so that we can read about them in the Bible. (Romans 15:4) Jehovah wanted to strengthen our hope that soon God’s Kingdom will destroy all human governments.—Daniel 2:44.
3. To understand the prophecies in the Bible, what must we understand first? Why?
3 The prophecies of Daniel and John reveal information about eight kings, or human rulerships, and show in what order they would appear. But we can understand those prophecies only if we understand the first prophecy in the Bible. Why? Because the whole Bible and all the prophecies in it are connected to the first prophecy.
THE SERPENT’S SEED AND THE WILD BEAST
4. Who are the two parts of the seed of the woman? What will that seed do?
4 Soon after the rebellion in Eden, Jehovah prophesied that a “woman” would have a “seed,” or offspring. * (See footnote.) (Read Genesis 3:15.) That seed would “bruise” the serpent, Satan, in the head. Jehovah later revealed that the seed would come from Abraham, from the nation of Israel, from the tribe of Judah, and from the family of King David. (Genesis 22:15-18; 49:10; Psalm 89:3, 4; Luke 1:30-33) Christ Jesus is the main part of the seed. (Galatians 3:16) And the congregation of anointed Christians is the other part of the seed. (Galatians 3:26-29) Together, Jesus and these anointed ones form God’s Kingdom. God will use this Kingdom to destroy Satan.—Luke 12:32; Romans 16:20.
5, 6. (a) How many powerful governments do the visions of Daniel and John mention? (b) What do the heads of the wild beast of Revelation mean?
5 In that first prophecy Jehovah gave in Eden, he also said that Satan would have a “seed.” Satan’s seed would have enmity, or hatred, for the seed of the woman. Who are the seed of the serpent? All those who hate God and fight his people, as Satan does. Besides religious and military organizations, Satan has organized his seed into many governments, or kingdoms. (Luke 4:5, 6) Only some of these governments have fought directly against God’s people, that is, against the nation of Israel or the congregation of anointed Christians. This helps us to understand why the visions of Daniel and John mention only eight great powers even though there were others.
6 Almost two thousand years ago, Jesus gave the apostle John some amazing visions. (Revelation 1:1) In one of them, John saw a dragon standing on the shore of the sea. This dragon means the Devil. (Read Revelation 13:1, 2.) John also saw a strange wild beast come out of the sea. It had seven heads and received great authority from the Devil. Later, John saw a scarlet beast that also had seven heads. This was an image of the wild beast of Revelation 13:1. An angel told John that the seven heads of the scarlet beast mean “seven kings,” or governments. (Revelation 13:14, 15; 17:3, 9, 10) When John wrote Revelation, five of those kings were no longer ruling, one was in power, and one had “not yet arrived.” What were those governments, or world powers? Let us learn about each of the heads of the wild beast of Revelation chapter 13. We will also learn more about many of these governments from the book of Daniel. Daniel’s prophecies gave details about some of these governments hundreds of years before they even existed.
THE FIRST TWO HEADS MEAN EGYPT AND ASSYRIA
7. What does the first head mean? Why?
7 The first head of the beast means Egypt because Egypt was the first world power to hate and fight God’s people. God had promised Abraham that the seed of the woman would come from his family. The Israelites were descendants of Abraham. After they went to live in Egypt and became many, Egypt started to treat them harshly. Satan tried to destroy God’s people because he did not want the seed to arrive. So he used Pharaoh to try to kill all newborn Israelite boys. But Jehovah did not allow that to happen to his people, and he freed them from Egypt. (Exodus 1:15-20; 14:13) Later, he gave the Israelites the Promised Land.
8. What does the second head mean? What did it try to do?
8 The second head of the beast means Assyria. This powerful government also tried to destroy God’s people. Jehovah had used Assyria to punish ten of the tribes of Israel because those Israelites worshipped idols and disobeyed God. But then the Assyrians tried to destroy Jerusalem. Perhaps Satan wanted to destroy the family of kings in Jerusalem because Jesus was to come from that family. Jehovah did not want Jerusalem to be destroyed, so he destroyed the Assyrian army and saved his people.—2 Kings 19:32-35; Isaiah 10:5, 6, 12-15.
THE THIRD HEAD MEANS BABYLON
9, 10. (a) What did Jehovah allow the Babylonians to do? (b) What needed to happen before certain prophecies could be fulfilled?
9 The third head of the beast that John saw means the kingdom of Babylon. Jehovah allowed the Babylonians to destroy Jerusalem and to take his people as prisoners. Before this happened, Jehovah told his disobedient people what the kingdom of Babylon would do to them. (2 Kings 20:16-18) Jehovah also told the Israelites that he would no longer allow their kings to sit on his “throne” in Jerusalem. (1 Chronicles 29:23) But Jehovah promised that there would again be a descendant of King David who would have “the legal right” to rule as king for Jehovah.—Ezekiel 21:25-27.
10 Another prophecy showed that the Jews would be worshipping at the temple in Jerusalem when the promised Messiah arrived. (Daniel 9:24-27) And before the Israelites became prisoners in Babylon, another prophecy said that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. (Micah 5:2) These prophecies could not be fulfilled unless the Jews left Babylon, returned to their land, and rebuilt the temple. But the Babylonians did not normally release their prisoners. How could God’s people go back to their land? Jehovah revealed the answer to his prophets.—Amos 3:7.
11. What symbols in the prophecies of Daniel and John mean the kingdom of Babylon? (See footnote.)
11 One of the Israelite prisoners in Babylon was Daniel. (Daniel 1:1-6) Jehovah revealed to Daniel that after Babylon there would be other world powers that would come one after another. Jehovah used different symbols to prophesy what would happen. For example, he gave King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon a dream about a giant image that was made of different metals. (Read Daniel 2:1, 19, 31-38.) Jehovah used Daniel to reveal that the gold head of the image meant the kingdom of Babylon. * (See footnote.) The breasts and arms of silver meant the world power that would come after Babylon. What was that world power? How did it treat God’s people?
THE FOURTH HEAD MEANS MEDO-PERSIA
12, 13. (a) What did Jehovah reveal about the world power that would conquer Babylon? (b) Why can we say that Medo-Persia was the fourth head of the wild beast?
12 More than a hundred years before Daniel’s time, Jehovah’s prophet Isaiah gave important information about the world power that would conquer Babylon. Jehovah explained how the army of that world power would go into the city of Babylon, and he even gave the name of their leader. That leader was Cyrus the Persian. (Isaiah 44:28–45:2) Jehovah gave Daniel two other visions about the world power of Medo-Persia. In one vision, Daniel saw a bear that was raised up on one side and that was going to “eat much flesh.” (Daniel 7:5) In the other vision, Daniel saw a ram with two horns.—Daniel 8:3, 20.
13 Jehovah used Medo-Persia to conquer Babylon and to allow the Israelites to return to their land, just as he had foretold. (2 Chronicles 36:22, 23) But Medo-Persia later tried to destroy God’s people. In the Bible book of Esther, we read that Haman, a very important official of Persia, wanted to kill all the Jews who lived in this large kingdom. Haman instructed the people throughout the kingdom to kill all the Jews on a day that he had chosen. However, Jehovah again protected his people from the hatred of Satan’s seed. (Esther 1:1-3; 3:8, 9; 8:3, 9-14) So we can say that Medo-Persia was the fourth head of the beast of Revelation.
THE FIFTH HEAD MEANS GREECE
14, 15. What details did Jehovah reveal about the ancient kingdom of Greece?
14 The fifth head of the wild beast of Revelation means Greece. In the dream that Daniel explained to Nebuchadnezzar, the copper belly and thighs of the image mean this same world power. Jehovah gave Daniel two other visions that had more details about the kingdom of Greece and about its greatest ruler.
15 In one vision, Daniel saw a leopard with four wings. This leopard meant Greece, which would conquer other nations very quickly. (Daniel 7:6) In another vision, Daniel saw a goat that had one large horn. It quickly killed the ram with two horns that meant Medo-Persia. Jehovah told Daniel that the goat meant Greece and that the large horn meant one of its kings. Daniel also wrote that the large horn would be broken and four smaller horns would grow in its place. All details of this prophecy came true even though it was written hundreds of years before Greece became a world power. Alexander the Great was the large horn. He was the greatest king of ancient Greece, and he led the Greek army against Medo-Persia. This horn was broken when Alexander suddenly died. He was only 32 years old and was very powerful. After that, four of his generals eventually took a part of his kingdom.—Read Daniel 8:20-22.
16. What did Antiochus IV do?
16 After it conquered Persia, Greece ruled over Israel. The Jews had already gone back there and had rebuilt the temple in Jerusalem. They were still God’s people, and God still viewed the temple as the place where he should be worshipped. In the second century before Christ, Greece attacked God’s people when one of the heirs to Alexander’s divided empire, King Antiochus IV, built a pagan altar at the temple in Jerusalem and said that those who practiced the religion of the Jews should be punished by death. Again, a part of Satan’s seed was fighting God’s people. But soon, another world power replaced Greece. What was the sixth head of the wild beast?
THE SIXTH HEAD MEANS ROME, WHICH WAS “FEARSOME AND TERRIBLE”
17. What specific part of Genesis 3:15 did the sixth head fulfill?
17 Rome was the world power when John had the vision of the wild beast. (Revelation 17:10) Rome was the sixth head of that wild beast and fulfilled a specific part of the prophecy of Genesis 3:15. Satan used Roman officials to bruise the seed “in the heel.” The Romans treated Jesus as a rebel who fought against their government, judged him, and killed him. (Matthew 27:26) But that bruise soon healed because Jehovah resurrected Jesus.
18. (a) What new nation did Jehovah choose? Why? (b) How did the seed of the serpent continue to hate and fight the seed of the woman?
18 The religious leaders of Israel helped Rome to attack Jesus. And most of the nation of Israel rejected Jesus as the Messiah. So Jehovah rejected Israel as his people. (Matthew 23:38; Acts 2:22, 23) He chose a new nation, “the Israel of God.” (Galatians 3:26-29; 6:16) That nation was the congregation of anointed Christians, which included both Jews and Gentiles. (Ephesians 2:11-18) After Jesus’ death and resurrection, the seed of the serpent continued to hate and fight the seed of the woman. More than once, Rome tried to destroy the congregation of anointed Christians, who were part of the seed of the woman. *—See footnote.
19. (a) What did Daniel say about the sixth world power? (b) What questions will another article answer?
19 In the dream that Daniel explained to Nebuchadnezzar, the legs of iron meant Rome. (Daniel 2:33) Daniel also saw a vision that describes not only the Roman Empire but also the world power that would grow from Rome. (Read Daniel 7:7, 8.) For hundreds of years, Rome was like a “fearsome and terrible and unusually strong” beast. But according to this prophecy, “ten horns” would grow from this empire. Then “another horn, a small one,” would appear and become more powerful than the others. What are the ten horns, and what is the small horn? What part of the giant image in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream means the same thing as the small horn? The article on page 14 will answer these questions.
^ par. 18 By the time Rome destroyed Jerusalem in the year 70, Israel was no longer God’s chosen nation. So the destruction of Jerusalem was not an attack on the seed of the woman and was not a fulfillment of Genesis 3:15.
SOME EXPRESSIONS EXPLAINED
World power: A government that is the most powerful in the world at a certain time and that fights directly against God’s people
Vision: Something that Jehovah makes a person see in a miraculous way
Congregation of anointed Christians: A congregation is a group of people organized for a purpose or an activity. The congregation of anointed Christians is the whole group of anointed ones on earth
[Blurb on page 7]
The seed of the serpent are all those who hate God and fight his people
[Blurb on page 8]
Satan tried to destroy God’s people because he did not want the seed to arrive
[Blurb on page 10]
Satan organized his seed into many kingdoms, but only some of these fought directly against God’s people