††††††††††††††† Allan MacRae, Prophecies of Daniel:† Lecture 4
††††††††††† Two questions stood out to me at the end of the last hour, which I think I need to discuss a little bit now. One of them was, were there 4 kingdoms in Daniel 2 or 5? And that brings to attention my purpose in this class. Now when youíre speaking ordinarily, you will try to give people the truth as you find it, as you believe it and give them illustrations from the scripture. One gives Scripture evidence as to what you believe to be true. Only occasionally will you try to teach people to study the Bible for themselves. I wish that was done more often than it is. But the greater part of Christian work is passing on to others what one personally believes. However, in your own work there are two equally important tasks, I believe.† One is passing on to others the truth that you have found in the passage. But equally important is that you be constantly handling the Scripture rightly so that you are learning more of what God wants you to know from the Scripture. †In this course our purpose is related to that part of your work. I think it is not the one that will take the greatest part of your time, but I think it is really the most important because it is very easy for us to jump to conclusions on things that may not seem to make any difference at present.† But as new situations arise we donít know where our hasty interpretation of the Scripture will lead people astray. And so in Daniel 2 my purpose has not been to get all the truth I can for you from Daniel 2, but my purpose has been to find what is clearly taught in Daniel 2 and to see what the points are at which we cannot get an answer without looking elsewhere for further evidence. And that is not ordinarily a part of our present classes. †But let's again see what Daniel 2 has.
††††††††††† Now we find that in Daniel 2 there is a statue shown which has four principle metals in it. And so an argument can be made that there are four kingdoms here. There are the four main metals. But then we find that in the feet and toes, the iron is mixed with clay. †And so the question comes, is this a fifth kingdom or is this another phase of the fourth kingdom? And from Daniel 2 you cannot decide that question. †In Daniel 2 either answer would be possible. So the answer to whether there are 4 kingdoms or 5 kingdoms that are typified by the statue is one for which we have to look for further evidence. †And I believe we will find evidence answering that question later.† So for the present I am speaking of the statue as 5 parts, but we notice that it speaks to Nebuchanezzar and says that after you will arise another kingdom† and another 3rd kingdom that will better rule over all the earth and the 4th kingdom that should be as strong as iron.
††††††††††† And then it says in verse 41, "Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom." ††Well, does that mean a 5th kingdom or does it mean a further stage in the 4th kingdom? †It perhaps sounds a little bit like another part than like the other 4.† †Here in chapter 2 here we should see if Daniel gives us further light later on, and I believe that he does. You probably all noticed that in connection with your assignment for today. So thatís the question, whether there are four kingdoms or five. As far as Daniel 2 is concerned, we cannot be dogmatic. But when we come to Daniel 7, we may come to evidence that will give us a definite answer.
††††††††††† The other question is related to symbolism, and this is very important. You have a dream which Nebuchadnezzar had, which was a symbol, and we could not tell what this symbol was or what it symbolized except what was explained to us. It might describe the future from the bottom up, or it might describe it from the top down. Or it might describe things that may all happen at once in different parts of the world.† Now a statue has may parts to it, if itís at all life-like. †And if everyone of those parts has a meaning, you would have a tremendous amount of information contained just in that statue. †But if you donít have anything in the statue except for what has meaning, it may be pretty hard to recognize the vision as a statue. So there has to be features in any symbol which are not necessarily part of the meaning of the symbol. If you would say to a man "he was a lion in the fight" you donít mean that he went out and he chewed up the enemy or scratched him up to pieces with his fingernails. You are taking the idea we have of a lion as being brave, powerful and fearless, and that is all you are taking from the symbol. Many other things in the symbol of a lion would have no relevance. And so in any symbolism there is quite sure to be elements present to make a recognizable picture, but they do not necessarily have a meaning. And we do not find in this statue any particular meaning to its eyeís, nose, or ears.
††††††††††† The second kingdom is represented by the breast and the arms. And we do not have any reason to believe that the Persian empire had one center with two other important parts of the empire. †The arms are just part of the picture. Now when we get to the feet and the toes, we are not told how many toes there are. If we were told that on the right foot it had three toes and on the left it had four toes. We would say, "Why on earth do they mention such a peculiar thing about the statue?" †Surely there must be a reason for it. But if it said, but it doesnít, it had five toes on each foot then you would† say, "Well thatís just a natural part of the picture." †Now in order to decide whether a part of a symbol has meaning, the most important question is, is it explained in the Scripture? The Scripture says, "You are this head of gold." †Now we know that this head stands for either Nebuchadnezzar himself or for something of which Nebuchadnezzar was an important part. We know that because we are definitely told that the head has meaning. We are not told that the eyes, ears, nose or anything like that has meaning, we are told that the head has meaning. We are told that the feet and the toes represent the fifth part of the picture of the future that is given in the statue.
††††††††††† Now the most important way to tell if something has meaning then is if it is explicitly stated. There is nothing explicitly said about the toes having a separate meaning other than the meaning of the feet, anymore than the fingers have a separate meaning distinct from the hands. Another way to tell, which we just referred to, is if something is very unusual, strange, not expected in the symbols, then we have a reason to say, "This probably has a specific meaning." †Now 10 toes does not have a specific meaning, 3 on one foot and 4 on another would have. So unless we have a Scriptural statement then we have no basis on which to say toes have a specific meaning.
††††††††††† Now it may
be that later on we may find a parallel that says the number 10 is important at
this time. If we do that, it is fine to get that information, but that is
additional information, not information we can get from Daniel 2. But there are
some that carry that to an extent, in my opinion utterly inexcusable, when they
say that when it says, "In the days of these kings, God will set up a King,"
that the phrase, "these kings" refers to the 10 toes which refers to
10 kings. Now you may find later on that there were 10 kings at this time. But
if such a fact was revealed 45 years later (the time diffference between
chapters 2 and 7), it is not sensible to think that 45 years earlier he would
say "in the days of these kings" and refer to the kings' existence
whom werenít known until later on. †So that particular phrase, "in the
days of these kings," must mean in the time covered by the whole statue,
covered by all the kings represented by the statue in that time, and not specifically
referring to the toes.
††††††††††† Now this is not nearly as important as to what the toes themselves represent as is the whole question of the method of interpretation. And that is why I felt it was wise to take this much time on it, and I appreciate very much the question given to me. †If you have a question like these two excellent questions I received, please write it out. So I will consider how much time I will give it in class: †if we should speak about it individually, or if itís something that may be covered within the next two lectures anyway so we wonít need to go into it specifically right away.
††††††††††† Now at our last time together we began speaking about outline letter G: "Various attempts at relating these dynamic events to events to history." And under that was the view of the critics, a view you will find in many books written on Daniel, even some books written by some very godly Christians. Weíve noticed that this view however considers that the prophesies in the book of Daniel relating to times after the time of the Maccabaeus are only wishful hopes of the author. And there may be wishful hopes of the author in the Scripture, but if there are, we believe that they will be identified as such. We donít think that we can take a verse from the Scripture and say, "This is merely the hope of the writer" unless the context makes it quite clear that that is true.
††††††††††† Then as number 2 we notice the most obvious view that it is most interesting how very similar the condition of the Roman Empire from A.D. 400 to 600 is to the description of the 5th part of the statue. How very similar indeed. And kingdoms 3 and 4 have one coming right after another with no break in between them so it is quite natural to of the iron/clay feet as still continuing right after the fourth kingdom of iron. And then it is very striking right at A.D. 600, right during that period, events so exactly fits this, except for the one phrase that I really donít know what it means, "They shall mingle themselves with the seed of men." †I really donít know what that phrase means but right at that time there was a rousing movement which seemed to its followers to be a supernatural movement.† It came suddenly; it came quickly. People never dreamed of it. The eastern Roman Empire and the new Persian Empire were fighting back and forth, each of them trying to overcome the other, never dreaming that a little group of Bedouins in the desert would ever be a problem to them. And then all of a sudden, out of the desert, came a great hoard of Arabs following Mohammadís teaching and declaring that everyone on earth must accept his teaching or be killed. †He made the exception for those who believe in one God. They were not killed; they were given extra taxation and treated as second class citizens. But they were allowed to live. But all pagans, all heathens, all who did not believe, all except Jews and Christians had to convert or be killed. The Mohammadans killed in their conquest all who refused to accept Islam. And it spread eastward over a great part of Asia quite rapidly, and it spread westward and took over the whole of the Near East.† Islam took over Palestine and Syria and went all the way across North Africa,† one of the most fertile and important parts of the Roman empire. It took over Spain. It looked as if all the world was to fall to the Mohammadans. It seemed so exactly to fit this predication in Daniel about the supernatural spread of God's kingdom. †Anybody at A.D. 750 would find it difficult to deny that assertion, if such an assertion were made, that here was the fulfillment of Daniels prediction. It fits it exactly.
††††††††††† But of course today we donít have to argue about that, because although Islam spread over most of parts of the world that had been covered by those previous kingdoms, it was stopped.† It had held all the Bible lands for more than a thousand years, right up onto 1917. Yet, during the last few centuries, it has made comparatively little progress. And I donít think anybody today, at least no non-Muslim would think, that it was a fulfillment of Daniel's prophesy.
††††††††††† And now we return to the views of the early Christians. And here I am not at the moment so much trying to find an answer as their attitude towards Daniel 2, looking a little bit as to what they expected in general. And we find the evidence as to what they expected in Acts 1. †Where just before Jesus departed into heaven, we find that in Acts 1:6, "When they therefore came together they asked of him [Jesus] saying Ďwould you Lord restore again the kingdom unto Israel?'"† Here were these disciples who were with Jesus for 2 to 3 years.† They had been constantly hearing him teaching, he had been raised from the dead, and they asked, "Are you now going to restore the kingdom to Israel?" †Jesus intention was to establish a kingdom solely in the hearts of people, a kingdom which would not have an outward expression, a kingdom which would not destroy all that the old statue represented in Nebuchadnezzarís dream. So they asked him a question like this after he just rose from the dead. Iím afraid you would feel like I used to feel sometimes when I was teaching and someone asked a question about something I had just been discussing for a half an hour. You feel like saying, "Whatís the use; Iíll never get the message across." †Well, he didnít, he did not say, "You are entirely wrong. The kingdom of Israel will never be restored; thereís not going to be anything like the Old Testament kingdoms. This is a new regime purely in the hearts of people; you all need to spread the word until all the world recognizes me in heaven as their leader and all human society is all changed by the progress of the Gospel."
††††††††††† But that is not what he said. He said to them, "It is not for you to know the times or the seasons which the Father has put in his own power." †I think we ought to remember that; the Father has put it in His own power and it is not for us to know it. He repeatedly said we should be ready in case He comes soon. †And if He should come tomorrow would you be ready for Him? †On the other hand there are too many people saying we know He is coming in this generation. He may come in this generation, but Iím sure Saint Augustine would be horrified if anybody, while he lay on his deathbed and all of civilization seemed to be tottering around, tell him the Lord wonít be back for about 1500 years. Augustine would have said, "What are you talking about?" †I donít think anybody can say that He might delay His return for another 1000 years. But we hope that He wonít. He says, "It is not for you to know the times and seasons which the Father has put in His own power. But you will receive power once the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall topple all the kingdoms of the world and establish a kingdom of the saints where there will be righteousness and peace everywhere." †But thatís not what he said, he said, ĎYou shall receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be witnesses to Me both in Jerusalem, and in Judea, and in Samaria, and in the most uttermost parts of the earth." So the work given to them was to be witnesses. Not a work of conquest or complete victory.
††††††††††† We find in Matthew at the very end of Matthew, in Matthew 24:14, we find that the Lord said, "This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations. Then shall the end come." †He didnít say, "This gospel of the kingdom will conquer all the world and establish the kingdom," but "it will be preached for a witness." And at the end of Matthew He gave that Great Commission. The very end of the gospel of Matthew says, "Go, therefore and teach all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you. And lo I am with you to the end of the age." We are commanded to witness, teach, and spread the knowledge of Christ. But we are not in these passages given any promises that the statue will be toppled, and the whole world taken over by the work that we do.
††††††††††† There are many references in the gospels to the return of Christ as an event that might occur soon. There are many such references and particularly in Matthew 24 and 25. And in parallel passages, where He said, "Be ready for you donít know when the Son of Man will come." †And after Paul spent his whole life witnessing, concerning Christ, and spreading His word, when he came to the end of his life, there were two last epistles that he wrote. In Titus chapter two, verses 11 to 13, he said, "The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lust we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present age, looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of our great God and savior Jesus Christ." †There he showed, still at the end of his life, Paul was looking for the return of Christ. There are many statements that show that during his life, he thought Jesus might return then. He was looking for it still to the very end of his life. And in 2 Timothy 4:8, he said, "Hence forth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord the Righteous Judge shall give me at that day and not to me only, but also unto all them that love his appearing." †And the Greek word "appearing" here is a word that was regularly used when a king made a visit to one of his domains. It represents the coming of Christ. †† Now the early Christian writers many of them quote the statement of the stone cut without hands and they say this is a prediction of the virgin birth. Certainly the virgin birth was a supernatural event. An event that was, indeed, made without hands.† Now, thatís a figurative expression. †Itís a figurative expression, but the meaning of it would fit appropriately with the virgin birth. †And they quoted it as being predicted here. There is a problem however with taking it as the virgin birth. And that problem is that the virgin birth occurred very early in the 4th empire. †The Roman Empire did not begin its great period of decline to nearly A.D. 400, 400 years after Christ was born. And so there is a problem with this interpretation.† It is not proven because as we read, "The stone was cut without hands and it struck the image." It struck the image later on, so it does raise a problem with considering that the virgin birth was specifically mentioned in this passage.
††††††††††† Now the
discipleís went out and witnessed, and as they witnessed, many Christians came
together. In every section, in every place, groups of Christians came together.†
There was much persecution and there were difficulties right from the
beginning. †Right near the beginning of the Christian church, Steven was
martyred and Paul was stoned; there were great problems but the gospel spread
as they witnessed. But after all these centuries passed, I doubt if there was
ever a city that could be said to be 100% Christian. †I doubt that there has
ever been a sizable section of the world in which you could say that Christís
word was entirely supreme there. †Certainly there are parts of Godís kingdom.†
We are parts of the kingdom of Christ and we try to follow him as our king and
Lord. But we certainly did not conquer any substantially large section of the
world or any small section completely.
††††††††††† I think thereís one thing we should remember, sometimes we get the impression that during the first 400 years of church history was just one terrible persecution after another, and that the gospel can withstand any persecution. Now in Japan in the 17th century, the Roman Catholics went there and they established a very sizeable missionary work. And they had a great many accomplishments. And then one of the Spanish officers, if I am correct, was informed at a meeting with some of the Japanese leaders, talked to them rather frankly and said, "The friars are coming in here and they are getting people to turn from their Japanese religion to Christianity, and when we get the nation all softened up weíll simply take it over." †At any rate, the Japanese they got that impression and there was a tremendous persecution. And Roman Catholic Christianity was pretty well wiped out there. Now Nestorian Christianity is much closer to our beliefs than Roman Catholic Christianity. And the Nestorians did a tremendous work in the 5th, 6th, and 7th centuries as they spread the gospel through Asia minor eastward across to India.† There were great Christian churches in China, a hundred of them. There was a tremendous Christian population all throughout Asia. The Mongol conquerors turned strongly against it, persecuted it and wiped it out so completely that the memory of it was completely forgotten. This was in an area where there had been thousands of Christians. So we canít say that Christianity cannot be wiped out of an area by persecution. I understand that there are many secret Christians in China today, but no public Christian propaganda or meeting can be held in that country, which has nearly a fourth of the world's population today.
††††††††††† But during
the period of the Roman Empire there were terrible prosecutions, but in between
them were long periods in which there were no persecutions at all. And 50 years
before the time of Constantine, the Roman emperor made an edict of toleration
and during those 50 years many churches were built. And many fine buildings
were built, and maybe a tenth or as much as a fourth in the people of the Roman
empire became Christians. But then shortly before the emperor Constantine,
Diocletian began the greatest persecution the church had gone through. And
thousands were martyred, and there was terrible persecution, but the
persecution did not destroy the church.† Constantine declared himself a
Christian when he became emperor and put an end to the persecutions. And many
of the Christians at this time, 300 years after the time of Christ, felt that
now the great time of universal rule of Christ had come. And Constantine issued
many fine edicts improving social conditions throughout the Roman Empire.† He
gave tolerance to all religions but favored Christianity.† Ironically, many
Christians ceased to even think of the possibility of the Lord coming back and
thought now to have the kingdom of God on earth. However, not long afterwards, it
became quite obvious that many of the Christian rulers were not much different
than pagan rulers. Many of these were nominally Christian. And so these changes
occurred in the attitudes of the early Christians.
††††††††††† Let's look at them as number 4 in the outline: †"Suggested fulfillment in the Papacy." †And on the sheet which I gave you out with facts and dates, I mentioned the rise of the papacy and I gave the date of 1077 AD. †Now thatís a thousand years after the time of Christ. †By that time there were bishops in Rome who declared the Lord had established them to be supreme over all the earth. And every monarch was bound to obey them. And one thing that made people think that this claim was true was what happened at Nossa in northern Italy when the German emperor had been excommunicated by the Pope, and all his people turned against him. †As a result, he walked barefoot under guard down through Germany in winter, down across the mountains, and the Pope came north to meet him in northern Italy.† In the castle of Nossa he got there when the Pope was there. And the Pope made him stand shivering, barefooted with little on all day, in the courtyard waiting to see him.† Then they let him inside the castle where he spent the night. And then they put him in the courtyard, and they left him there 3 days until the pope would let him see him. †Then he came and knelt before the Pope and promised to do anything he wanted. And the Pope raised him up and promised to support him as emperor, and that is often referred to as evidence as how the popes got the supreme control over the world, the new kingdom, the kingdom of God.
††††††††††† But people
forget that when Henry the Fourth went back to Germany, he went back on
everything he had promised.† He gathered an army and opposed the forces of the Pope,
but then pulled back until he fled, and was exiled. But Pope Innocent the Third,
a hundred years later, was able to carry out from his power overall longer
period over various kingdoms and to order the kings of Europe to do this and
that, and to stop doing this and that. He was the most powerful of all popes in
his power over the various forces of Europe. But no Pope since has had anything
like the power that they had 750 years ago. And today we know that the power of
the papacy, like the power of Islam, to a large extent, disappeared. And so I
think we need to look at this but not to spend much time on it.†
††††††††††† Let's move on to outline number 5, "The social gospel." †The social gospel was widely presented just a few years ago.† There were in all our big churches, hundred of churches in the USA, in which 100 years ago the gospel was presented with power and with absolute loyalty to the word of God, but about 60 years ago a great many of these churches had ministers that felt that they were to bring in the kingdom of God by interposing social reforms of every kind. †One of the greatest enthusiasms was prohibition. And when I was a boy there was hardly a church that you didnít hear 2-3 sermons a year on prohibition, on how terrible alcohol was and the results that had come from it.† The results today are much worse then they were in those days because our cars go so much faster than they did then. But this movement of prohibition seemed as if they would do away with corruption in government and would bring universal peace.† It was something that was going to bring in the kingdom of God. This was the great social gospel, preached then and advocated today by the National Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches.† They gave large sums of money to revolutionary movements to many parts around the world thinking that they were going to bring in the kingdom of God. But we do not need to linger over that in this class.† It certainly does not fit the picture and it has no correspondence to the picture in Daniel, in the stone cut without hands, hitting the monument:† hitting the statue and completely demolishing it and then growing until it fills the whole earth.
††††††††††† But there is a sixth view, a view which is today quite widespread. †Among many earnest Christians is a view which considers the church as the stone. The church is actually the stone which is going to grow until it fills the whole earth, but this, as we will see, does not very exactly fit the picture. And yet we must not insist on the symbolism being absolutely exact. For instance, the stone is cut without hands.† The picture actually is seen as if it is cut.† But it might conceivably be cut and might hit a thousand years later. That would not be really stretching the symbolism too far. And then, as we look at the picture, it seems as if the stone hits the statue on the feet and the statue and immediately falls and breaks completely to pieces. And that little stone rolls to fill the whole earth. But it is not inconceivable that that might represent the situation in which the little stone grew to quite an extent before it actually knocks over the statue. That is to say, we must not insist on too rigid an interpretation.† I don't think that through the preaching of the gospel, people are going to be converted sufficiently to make this a thoroughly a Christian world in which everybody is a Christian, and in which Christian principles will rule the government.† Our nation is so far from this picture that it is pretty hard to fit with this interpretation. †So I think we can safely say it does not fit the picture.
††††††††††† But I want to call your attention to four difficulties in interpreting the stone. Number one is again, "The time of origin." †Now it is conceivable the stone cut without hands represent the eternal existence of Christ from all eternity. †That is conceivable. It is also conceivable that it portrays a feature of Christ the fact that he was born of a virgin, but that was quite a time before the actual might represented by the statue. But if it is the church that is going to destroy the statue, then we certainly must say the church began in the very early days of the early Roman Empire. When it is so explicitly said that the it strikes the statue on its feet of iron and clay, this is a pretty big change from the picture that Daniel described. So I think the time of origin is very much against this idea.
††††††††††† Second, the New Testament commands that we look at view of early Christians. They were commanded to witness and to look for the coming of Christ, but they were not promised victory. We used to have many hymns that were sung, although I havenít hear them much recently. Hymns such as, "Jesus shall reign, does his success of journeys run, His kingdoms run from shore to shoreÖ" etc. there were many hymns which express the confidence that the whole world was to be taken over by Christianity. Well, we do not find the promise in the Scripture that through the preaching of the gospel the whole world will be converted. We have the promise that many will be won to Christ. And it is the duty of Christians to stand for what is good, to oppose what is evil, and to give all the help in a material way to others. But the primary task is witnessing to Christ. And so the commands and promises of the Scripture do not fit the idea which was once very widespread and is now again being pushed by some very earnest Christians.
††††††††††† Outline number
three: †"The qualities of the statue are still present." †A third of
the world is held by regimes which absolutely control the lives and thoughts of
the people who are subject to them. †I was reading an article in a magazine
just recently which said how wonderful it is how there is no terrorism in three
countries.† It said they were China, Vietnam, and I forget what the other one
was, but it was another communist country. In China you have a snowstorm at 11
oíclock at night and immediately everybody gets up and cleans the streets. And
in every block there is a man who is in charge of watching every member of the
block and seeing exactly what their thoughts are, their deeds are, and their actions
are. It is recorded.† It is said you can walk anywhere in China with no danger
of being violently attacked. And I think that may be true but to have
everything you do ordered and supervised by a governmental power is much more
like the rule of Nebuchadnezzar than the rule of the saints. Nebuchadnezzar
could not have the kind of autocracy that we find today because they did not
have the technological means, but under these various rulers there was brutality.†
There was an autocracy that you will find fully equaled in a third of the
world, and to some extent in many other parts of the world today. And certainly
just look at the number of our Pennsylvania officials who should have been
convicted of corruption in these past two years. We are very far from the
establishment of the kingdom of God on earth.† The qualities of government seen
in the statue are still present.
††††††††††† And then I think we should mention the failure of hopes for a present establishment of the kingdom of God. A book was published within the past 5 years, called The Puritan Hope, in which the writer, a very earnest Christian, tells about the Puritans in England. In 1600 AD they were disgusted with the rule of King James and his successors.† They were determined to establish a thoroughly Christian situation in England. †So those Puritans had an uprising. †But after they did they had all sorts of difficulties to face and soon they were divided into groups among themselves as to what kinds of ideas they had and what to do. People voted the Stewarts back in, and the next 20 years it was impossible for a person, except for all who ascribed to traditional forms in ceremonies, to preach. And the theater sunk to the lowest level of degenecry that has ever been seen in history. †The kingís court was really a house of prostitution over the next 30 years. England sunk to the lowest point as a result of those wonderful puritan hopes for establishing the kingdom of God, which utterly failed. †The book points out how at the beginning of the period, some people felt that couldnít be done there.† Some in England moved over to the barren, rocky, cold shores of America to set up in New England. They established towns in which everyone was to follow the Bible.† The Bible was to be supreme. And everybody every Sunday went to church to hear a 2 hour sermon in the morning and another 2 hour sermon in the evening. †They did their best to have Christianity absolutely supreme in everything, and some of the writings show how they figured that here in a country in which Christianity would be absolutely supreme you would find the kingdom of God. †Many fine things were done by those great Christian people, and we enjoy the benefits of the many fine things they did. But today if you go to many parts of New England, you can go to church after church and never find a mention of the gospel. Today, in fact, even within 150 years after the Puritans came, their children have departed from the gospel so much that you would hardly recognize the teaching as Christian. Today it is far from being the most Christian section in the country. †Yet there had been these great hopes of individuals, of groups, of colonies, of all sorts of organizations, attempting to establish a present kingdom of God, but they have never succeeded.
††††††††††† Now there may be considerable growth of the kingdom of God, that is, of the people who wish to follow him and to do his will, before the statue is destroyed. We donít say that all the growth will come after the statue is destroyed. But certainly we have no reason to expect the establishment of the kingdom of Christ before Christ is here personally present to establish it.
††††††††††† And so we
move on to the 7th view that the second advent of Christ is the
stone, and surely it seems to fit the picture best. The cutting of the stone
without hands returns first to his origination to his being the son of God.† Whether
it involved within itself the virgin birth, or whether it refers simply to the
supernatural aspect of his coming to this earth, in either case it fits right
in with this idea. Then the destruction of all that is evil in this world after
the return of Christ seems to fit it far better than all of these other suggestions.
After that, the stone will then raise the kingdom of God throughout the whole
earth.† This surely fits the picture best. †The great difficulty for this view is
that the Roman Empire has disappeared. The Roman Empire was very strong from
about 200 BC to about A.D. 400 about as long as the first 3 put together. But
the Roman Empire after A. D. 600, in fact after 500, was practically nothing
more than a name in the west but in the east a small realm of Constantinople
continued to hold the name until 1453 when it was taken by the Ottomans.† Nothing
like this happened during those years of the decline of the Roman Empire A.D. 400-600.†
So if this is what the picture means, we have this question: †does the picture
of the time with the iron and the clay in some way cover the whole period?
Since A. D. 400 is that possible? †Is it this long period, or is it possible
that there is an unmentioned interval somewhere in the picture? Is an unmentioned
interval a possibility? That is a question that canít be answered from Daniel 2.†
As we go on, however, we will want to be looking to see whether there are
parallels to this idea.
††††††††††† And now Iím just ready to start the number 3 of the prophecy on Daniel chapter 7. I have 3 pages already written for this, but it is already 10 of the hour so maybe I can barely refer to the assignment.† Today I asked you to find parallels between Daniel 2 and 7 and to answer the question of whether there were 4 or 5 parts to the kingdom.† You noticed definite parallels along with parts that were quite different. We will look into those next time.
††††††††††† Final proof and narration by Dr. Perry Phillips
††††††††††† Initially proofed by Ted Hildebrandt