The bible is the only religious book that bases its authenticity on prophecy -- evidence of the word of God. The purpose of prophecy: (1) comfort believers in dark times (2Pe 1:19); (2) to reveal God's plan to His servants (Amo 3:7, Rev 1:1-3); (3) the importance of Christ's coming. Paul refers to the return of Christ 50 times. One verse in 30 in the new testament speaks of the coming of Christ. In the Old Testament there are 20 times more references to the 2nd coming than the 1st. The rapture is called "blessed hope" (Tit 2:13); the "living hope" (1Pe 1:13); the "purifying hope" (1Jo 3:3). The signs of the times: scoffers (2Pe 3:3-4); false teachers (2Pe 2:1-2); increase in antagonism of the believer (2Ti 4:3-4); increase in spiritualism and demonism (1Ti 4:1); Perilous times (2Ti 3:1-5, 1Th 5:3). We live in the Laodicians church with standards of the world (Rev 3:14-22). The budding of the fig tree -- the prospering of the Jews (Mat 24:22-34). The distress of nations (Luk 21:24-27). Days of Noah - time only for human pursuits (Luk 17:26-30). (1) we live in a dark time and need the lamp of prophecy. (2) God gives abundant evidence s to the outworking of His plan. (3) Since God has shown His servants what is to come, those who don't know are unfaithful servants. Understanding of the coming of Christ gives spiritual balance. Nebuchadnezzars dream: the image had a head of gold, torso of bronze, legs of iron and feet of clay and iron. Smiting stone is Jesus Christ. The head of gold is Babylon. The Jews are trodden down "until the times of the Gentiles" have been fulfilled (Luk 21:24). Man is degenerating as seen in the gold decreasing to clay - each successive kingdom is weaker. The silver is the Medo-Persian empire (Dan 5:1-31). Daniel's dream of animal (Dan 7:1-8). First beast is a lion, Babylon. The bear is the Medo-Persian; it devours the 3-fold alliance Lybia, Babylon, and Egypt. Leopard is the Greek empire; it was swift. Fourth beast - large iron teeth and ten horns - Roman empire. Great supper of God - Armageddon - feeding of the birds (Dan 7:8-14, Rev 19:11-21). Little horn (Dan 7:21-22, Rev 13:7). Little horn will change policy for last 3 1/2 years (Dan 7:25, Rev 13:1-5). The ram is the Medo-Persian empire and dominant goat Greece(Dan 8:20-21). The beast with seven heads is the revived Roman empire (Rev 17:9-10).