It's time to derive your worldview from the Bible

Rather than reading the Bible through the eyes of modern secularism, this provocative six-part course teaches you to read the Bible through its own eyes—as a record of God’s dealing with the human race. When you read it at this level, you will discover reasons to worship God in areas of life you probably never before associated with “religion.”

Daniel 2-3 by Charles Clough
A wise believer in a pagan society. Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, and the fiery furnace. An example of how quickly society can turn demonic. Paganism dissipates, distorts, and perverts truth. There cannot be harmony between paganism and the Word of God. A classic statement of godly civil disobedience and the spirit in which it is given. Two repercussions of the exile. The differences between prophetic and apocalyptic literature. Questions and answers.
Series:Chapter 4 – Kingdom Ended: The Discipline of Exile
Duration:1 hr 21 mins 41 secs

© Charles A. Clough 1998

Charles A. Clough
Biblical Framework Series 1995–2003

Part 4: Disciplinary Truths of God’s Kingdom
Chapter 4: Kingdom Ended: The Discipline of Exile

Lesson 91 – Exile Period (Daniel 2, 3), Dream Interpretation, Repercussions of the Exile

14 May 1998
Fellowship Chapel, Jarrettsville, MD

Just to review, we’re at that point in the exile in history when the Gentiles, the Gentile nations, were allowed by God to take on a new form, a totalitarian form. It’s a form that I call imperial. Turn to Daniel 2 I want to review some features of that. It’s important that we understand the structure because we live under this same regime that started in the exile; it hasn’t been changed, unless you’re a postmillennialist and believe the church is bringing in the kingdom.  

In Daniel 2 the grand announcement was made, and I want to show you the scope of this dream. The king dreamed the dream and he looked around for somebody to interpret the dream, and he started killing people. In Daniel 2:12-13 he got rather angry that no one in the kingdom could interpret this for him. Of course, this was divinely planned. The book of Daniel is like the book of Esther, in that the way God works through the historical events is sort of tongue in cheek, it’s providential, you kind of have to sit back and say what’s going on here. It’s written in a style that conveys it’s of accidental how things go on, like dreamed a dream just like any other night.

But this was a special dream. This was a dream that is analogous to the dream of what other Gentile ruler on the other end of Israel’s history; this is in the Exodus end of her kingdom before the Exodus where was Israel? She was in Egypt. Who was the one who dreamed the dream in the days of Joseph? Pharaoh. Notice the analogy. There’s a subtlety to it. Think about this, this is a detail of Scripture and we don’t want to let it get away from us. Why do you suppose the Scripture reports these two, both ends of the historical period of Israel’s kingdom? And in between that period we have God speaking on Mount Sinai so directly that the people are afraid. That’s where the expression, “put the fear of God” in someone came from. You have a direct revelation, you have Moses speaking with God, you have the Lord speaking through the prophets. Before this takes place you have dreams and after it you have dreams. This itself is a commentary.

First it’s a commentary that the God of the Bible is the God of the nations. It’s not just a Jewish God; He speaks to everyone, ALL the human race, not some cultural elite off to the side. This is not a culturally relative thing. God is an absolute God. But notice the subtlety of how He speaks. There’s a difference in the way He speaks to His people and the way He speaks to the world. He still speaks to both, but the speaking to the world is indirect and it has to be interpreted. The point here in Daniel 2 is that there has to be a godly interpreter there. The godly interpreter isn’t found in verses 11-12, “Moreover, the thing which the king demands is difficult, and there is no one else who could declare it to the king except gods, whose dwelling place is not with mortal flesh.”

In verse 10 [The Chaldeans answered the king and said, ‘There is not a man on earth who could declare the matter for the king, inasmuch as no great king or ruler has ever asked anything like this of any magician, conjurer or Chaldean.”] Quite clearly, the Chaldeans who are saying this, who had the reputation in history for being profoundly demonic and spiritistic, these are the people that conjure up the dead from the grave, these are the people that speak to the spirits of the dead, they had all kinds of weird contacts of the underworld. So here are these people, much like who else said the same thing back in Pharaoh’s day? The adversaries of Moses, and who were the adversaries of Moses when the first few sign miracles happened and they mimicked and counterfeited the sign miracles. It was Pharaoh’s magicians. Even that observation tells us something. That suggests, in both cases, these guys are intimate with the political leaders of the time. It’s a commentary that in the pagan culture political leaders have great camaraderie or attract to themselves people who are deeply steeped in the demonic. Their closest advisors are often very satanic people. I believe that that’s how Satan runs the world. All it takes is a good ruler with crummy advisors.

Probably one of the greatest illustrations of this, if you read Russian history, is the Monk Rasputin, how that man of all the demonic people of the last two or three centuries, this guy, they had to kill him seven times before they finally got him dead. This guy got into the Czar’s family group because he controlled the hemophilic bleeding of the Czar’s son. The Czar had a son, because the Russian nobility married with the Germanic and intermarried with the English, etc., so the royal families in Europe actually were genetic basket cases because they refused to marry commoners so they’d marry across lines and cousins were marrying cousins, and this is how you get all this genetic weakness. So the Czar’s family had a child that was in deep trouble and this Russian Orthodox monk was able to do (quote) “good things,” and he helped with the therapy with his child. And he got the Czar’s ear. It’s an example of the close intimacy to Gentile rulers.

Even in the days of Israel, the kings intermarried. Who was Ahab intermarrying with? The daughter of the chief priest of Baal. This book, Daniel, is not in the prophetic writings of the Hebrew Bible, it’s not in the Law, it’s not in the Prophets, it’s in the Writings, which means that Daniel which means that Daniel is viewed by the Holy Spirit primarily as a book of wisdom, not a book of prophecy. Of all the books that everybody thinks about when they think of prophecy, they think of the book of Daniel. Evidently the Holy Spirit doesn’t, because He didn’t classify it as one of the books of the prophets. We have to say why? Where was Daniel functioning in that society? We’re going to see what happens.

Verse 14, “Then Daniel replied with discretion and discernment to…” one of the king’s advisors. He goes in, he prays, verse 17, he gets a prayer group with his three friends, who are called by their proper Hebrew names, not by the Gentile names. Finally, verse 20, “Daniel answered and said, ‘let the name of God be blessed forever and ever, for wisdom and power belong to Him. [21] And it is He who changes the times and the epochs, He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men, and knowledge to men of understanding. [22] It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him. [23] To Thee, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, for Thou hast given me wisdom and power; even now Thou hast made known to me what we requested of Thee, for Thou hast made known to us the king’s matter.”

The Lord opens Daniel’s heart to this vision. Verse 19 is how He did it; He did it in a night vision. [“Then they mystery was revealed to Daniel in a night vision.”] When he does that, he goes in, he tells the king, and verse 27 is a classic reference of a wise believer in a pagan society. The book of Daniel is tremendous to read to establish model behavior for living as a lone isolated group of Christians in a domineering pagan society. It’s just loaded with stuff. Here is how Daniel talks to a pagan ruler, the most powerful man in history of the time. Daniel has his ear, not because Daniel got a lot of votes, not because he manipulated his way into the king, but because circumstances under the providence of God brought him to the king and he has the king’s ear.

Verse 27, “So Daniel answered before the king and said, ‘As for the mystery about which the king has inquired, neither wise men nor conjurers, magicians, nor diviners are able to declare it to the king.” He reiterates, king you understand this! This dream, whatever it was you had is a supernatural thing; it’s not just one of your normal dreams. The king had thousands of dreams, but this particular dream had a unique quality to it and Daniel said it’s obvious that the best guys around here, the therapists, can’t handle this problem.

Verse 28, “However, there is a God in heaven” now he begins to witness to King Nebuchadnezzar, he starts out with the nature of God, and this is an actual evangelistic encounter between a believer who’s getting into the inner circle of a pagan leader, “there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will take place in the latter days. This was your dream and the visions in your mind while on your bed.” [29] As for you, O king, while on your bed your thoughts turned to what would take place in the future, and He who reveals mysteries has made known to you what will take place.

Verse 30, “But as for me,” notice Daniel’s humility here, it’d be very easy for Daniel to walk in there and stroke himself and say hey, I’m the hotshot in the court now because I do these things and I have so much personal wisdom, and I make your followers look like fools. It’d be very easy for Daniel to exploit this. But Daniel has humility before God. “But as for me, this mystery has not been revealed to me for any wisdom residing in me fore than in any other living man,” he attributes the whole skill to God; this is the godly believer. That’s part of his witness. What made a difference in his life is not his own assets, is not his own flesh, it is something God is doing through him. “…but for the purpose of making the interpretation known to the king, and that you may understand the thoughts of your mind.”

Verse 31, “You, O king, were looking and behold, there was a single great statute; that statue, which was large and of extraordinary splendor, was standing in front of you, and its appearance was awesome.” He goes on, [32] “The head of that statue was made of fine gold, its breast and its arms of silver, its belly and its thighs of bronze, [33] its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron an partly of clay. [34] You continued looking until a stone was cut out without hands,” notice the stone without hands, does that ring a bell, a stone cut without hands. Do you remember in the stories of building altars in the Old Testament, what was prohibited in the stones that were part of the altar? They could not be hewn stones like the Gentiles built their altars with, it wasn’t bricks, it was natural rock. Again in worshiping God it can’t be the works of man’s hands. God made it such a point that when you went to make an altar you had to take the rocks like God left them and don’t mess with them, just leave them. He did it that way, now you just build on that. This is loaded with expressions, “a stone cut without hands,” and it implies that this is the way God is working, “the stone was cut without hands and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay,” not on the head, but on the feet, “and crushed them.”

Verse 35, “Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed all at the same time, and because like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. This is the dream; now we shall tell its interpretation before the king.” Immediately Daniel has done something here. The king never told Daniel what the dream was. So Daniel told him both his dream and now the interpretation. This follows the same way Joseph dealt with Pharaoh. Both of them follow a law of evidence in the Bible, by the mouth of two or three witnesses truth shall be established. So Daniel’s doing two things, he’s not just telling the interpretation, he’s telling the dream and the interpretation, showing two evidences of the origins of this.

Verse 37, “You, O king, are the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the strength and the glory.” Notice the words in verse 37; they parallel exactly the attribution of glory to Jesus Christ in the book of Revelation. We ought to take note of those, those are similar expressions— say wait a minute, what is going on, in verse 37 you’re attributing things that are attributed to Jesus. Consider for a moment, Nebuchadnezzar is placed in a position potentially of ruling the world. The description of those adjectives and nouns to him in verse 37 is another way of declaring His sovereignty. It’s an attribution of Him.

So in the book of Revelation when you see the same attributes applied to Jesus Christ it’s a claim; it’s a claim not that He’s just a religious figure, it’s a claim that has content invested from the Old Testament. This is why you get so many weird interpretations in the New Testament, people come racing through it at sixty miles an hour, no background in the Old Testament, and they start arbitrarily making these interpretations. Wait a minute, hold it! All those powers and things and qualities that are attributed to Jesus in the book of Revelation, all power, all glory is given to You, it is not just religious. The context here isn’t religious. The context here is political and physical. Therefore, the content in the book of Revelation includes more than just the religious, it is physical and political power when it says “the power and the kingdom,” it’s talking about Jesus Christ ruling physically and politically the world someday, not a popular concept.

Notice the dominion of this king: to you O king, are given these, verse 38, “and wherever the sons of men dwell, or the beasts of the field, or the birds of the sky, He has given them into your hand and has caused you to rule over them all. You are the head of gold.” Now Nebuchadnezzar is placed in the dream. Verse 39, “And after you there will arise another kingdom inferior to you, then another third kingdom of bronze, which will rule over all the earth.” That’s the Medo-Persian Empire. The third is the kingdom of bronze, which would be the Greek, Greco Empire. Verse 40, “Then there will be a fourth kingdom as strong as iron,” this is the Roman Empire, “inasmuch as iron crushes and shatters all things, so like iron that breaks in pieces, it will crush and break all things in pieces.” Verse 41, “And in that you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it will be a divided kingdom; but it will have in it the toughness of iron, inasmuch as you saw the iron mixed with common clay. [42] And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of pottery, so some of the kingdom will be strong and part of it will be brittle.”

It goes on to describe this fourth kingdom; notice what happens in the dream. “And in the days of those kings,” plural, “the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crust and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.” The problem in prophetic interpretation, this is not a course in prophecy but one of the problems in prophetic interpretation is that… I call it the accordion principle, because when prophecy is given it’s always compressed in time. For example, the gospel came to Eve in the Garden of Eden, and she took that prophecy that she would be the mother of all living and thought her first son was the Messiah; see the word play there. That being the case, Eve didn’t realize there are thousands of years before Messiah is going to come.

The promise is valid but you just got the timing wrong. What happens in prophecy is that God, so to speak, builds in expansion, ways of expanding history. This vision of the fourth kingdom is a good example of this because the fourth kingdom arose in the days of Rome and according to this prophecy continues until it is destroyed by God’s kingdom, a kingdom created without hands.

So Rome will be cut off. We already know Rome went down into oblivion but it went down into oblivion in kind of a strange way. The Roman culture declined, got weak, the barbarians came in, but the church basically carried on civilization from it. The picture is that whatever the continuity is, it’s sort of been abiding resident in history, even through our present time, and will one day rise again, and some people refer to it as the restored Roman Empire. At that point, it sort of continues back to the way it was before, except in this case there’s a plurality of kings, not one Caesar, a plurality of kings, sort of a confederacy, and upon that comes the Lord Jesus Christ. So the divine kingdom comes in at the end of history. So there’s this strange continuity in history.

It’s not clear from the way it reads, but you notice there’s a little phrase in the middle of verse 44, “that kingdom will not be left for another people.” When you do an analysis of Daniel 2 what you discover is that the four kingdoms are not mutually exclusive. What happens is you have the Babylonian kingdom, then you have after that the Medo-Persian kingdom, then you have the Greeks, then you have the Romans. What appears to be said here is that these kingdoms always contribute to their follower, so the qualities in the Babylonian kingdom, the first kingdom, carry over into the second; the qualities in the second and first carry over into the third; the qualities of the first, second and third carry over into the fourth. We could go on an on about that. But tonight is not a time of interpreting this, I want you to get you to see that there’s a big statue here and basically what Daniel has told Nebuchadnezzar is that as the father of an imperial paganism, he has been granted a view of the entire history of the world, down to the end, a magnificent revelation to this man.

In verse 46 Nebuchadnezzar responds to this witness, “Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face and did homage to Daniel, and gave orders to present to him an offering and fragrant incense. [47] The king answered Daniel and said, “Surely your God is a God of gods and a Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, since you have been able to reveal this mystery.” The king promoted Daniel; compare what happened to Joseph. Joseph interpreted a dream, in a divinely engineered set of circumstances he was able to show God working in his life; [he] became attractive on pragmatic grounds to the pagans around him and was promoted. Joseph attained a position in Egypt virtually next to the Pharaoh.

Look what happens here. Verse 48, “Then the king promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts, and he made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon.” Look at the end of that verse, notice his position. Later we’ll make mention of the six or seven religions that grew up in this period and what’s going on with all this religious revival in the 6th century BC and how come it gets influenced ethically and where did the influence come, and we’re going to make the claim that it came from the Old Testament. How did it come from the Old Testament? Who is it in verse 48 that is ruling over the men who are the intellectual leaders of the most powerful nation on earth? People don’t read the text carefully. If we just read that one sentence in verse 48 it’d save a lot of speculation. That one sentence basically sets up a mechanism through which the Old Testament goes into all of pagan culture. Daniel was known. The problem is because men were called by many different names in ancient history it’s hard to find out…, if we read pagan literature we don’t necessarily see the word “Daniel.” But we’ve probably seen him under other names and the question is what are the other names. This is a very hard historical question.

Verse 49, “And Daniel made request of the king, and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego over the administration of the province of Babylon, while Daniel was at the king’s court.” Now a strange thing happens. It’s this strange thing that happens that leads us into a deeper under­standing of our society and what’s wrong with Gentile imperial culture and why it’s insidiously dangerous. We live in a very dangerous situation, and we’re naïve if we let down our guard.

How quickly Gentile society can turn to monarchy is shown next in this passage. In Daniel 2:46 Nebuchadnezzar clearly infers that this vision of history, with this great thing in his mind and his dream, comes from God, the God of heaven. He acknowledges His position. Then in Daniel 3:1 what does he turn around and do? The very next event! “Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold the height of which was sixty cubits,” do you know how much sixty cubits is? Ninety feet tall. “… and it’s width six cubits; he set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. [2] Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent word to assemble the satraps, the prefects and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates and all the rulers of the provinces to come to the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.”

He assembled all the secondary officials and they were told in verse 4, “Then the herald loudly proclaimed: ‘To you the command is given, O peoples, nations and men of every language, [5] that at the moment you hear the sound of the horn, flute, lyre, trigon, psaltery, bagpipe, and all kinds of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king has set up.” Where do you suppose he might have gotten the idea for the image? The dream of chapter 2. This image story in chapter 3 has got to be connected with chapter 2; they’re not independent stories existing both by themselves. There’s a continuity in this book. Nebuchad­nezzar the pagan has taken something that God has spoken to him. Nebuchadnezzar has had revelation. We just got through that, revelation in chapter 2; that revelation has gone into his heart, he has partially responded to that revelation, but because he also is a pagan he reinterprets this thing, processes it in his fleshly mind, and it comes out and spews out idolatry.

Not only is it idolatry, it’s an idolatrization of the revelation he was just given. This is what happens when you have a culture that God doesn’t control like He controlled Israel. Who would have been on his case, just like that, if this guy had been a Jewish king? Who’s always lurking out in the wings to knock this kind of stuff off quick? The prophets. Where are the prophets in a pagan land? There aren’t any because they don’t exist. Pagan nations do not have prophets; Israel had the prophets. The problem is that revelation can come into an unrestrained society and be dissipated very quickly, VERY quickly. Paganism dissipates truth, it suppresses it, it contorts it, it perverts it. We’re learning from the book of Daniel how at the very highest levels, at the very highest levels of society the perversion sets in and can set in quickly, it’ll take your breath away it’ll happen so fast. We’re learning that the pagan culture, this kingdom of man that arose is very insidious and it’s something that is always potentially dangerous because what happens after verse 5 of chapter 3, immediately?

Verse 8, “… certain Chaldeans came forth and brought charges against the Jews.” What do you suppose the charges against the Jews are? The Jews aren’t going to worship the statue. Gee, we’ve got a problem because what happens is that you have a group of stubborn people down here, the religious right, who don’t go away. These stubborn people aren’t doormats and they have the audacity to stand up to the most powerful person walking the planet, politically speaking, Nebuchadnezzar. And they said no! With all due respect to you sir, NO! That is unnerving, that is very unnerving. We’ve got to glimpse this to understand how we are treated in our own social milieu. Whenever you have a group of people who cannot be peer pressured into a certain behavior pattern everybody else accepts, that is scary. Why is that so scary? Why is that so upsetting to the powers that be?  Because ultimately it’s a reminder to them that they’re not sovereign. There’s something beyond them and this insidious and stubborn group of people are reminders that they have to answer somewhere else other than themselves. They can have all the political power they want, they can have all the propaganda they want, and yet it doesn’t seem to work on this stubborn group of people.

We’ll get into this more later when we get into the doctrine section but here’s a case of civil disobedience caused by a conflict between the ultimate presupposition of paganism and the ultimate presupposition of the Word of God. There can’t be harmony between these two. This is the Word of God, and this is the opposite principle of paganism. It goes back to the chart that we’ve shown over and over. Here’s the conflict, in essence that’s it. This is about the 1030 case that we’ve seen of this thing, there are only two positions, and ultimately they are not reconcilable. Ultimately on the deepest level there can never be peace between these two, there always has to be a war. There always has to be a conflict, until one or the other caves in. But these are two ultimate competing basic presupposition of life and there’s no way you can glue them together, they’ll split apart every time.

That’s what we’re seeing. On one hand we have the Eastern religions, the ancient myths, the Continuity of Being, nature, gods and man all part of the same thing, no Creator/creature distinction. We have some sort of a transmutation built up; all the men came from the dirt in the earth in ancient motifs and also in Darwin and the ultimate control is in personal fate or chance. You can’t have this as an ultimate principle coexisting with this as an ultimate principle. There are two ultimate principles, which is the most basic? Is it a personal infinite sovereign God or is it impersonal fate and chance? You’ve got to make a choice between them, you can’t hesitate, it’s one or it’s the other; it can’t be both.

That’s what’s happening here and it’s manifesting in a very practical case of civil disobedience at this point, to the point of death. Let’s look further. Verse 14, the authorities interrogate this. Please notice that these guys are being respectful, they’re not thumbing their nose at the guy, they’re just saying no, we’re not going to do it, go ahead, but us in jail, kill us, no problem, we’re still not going to do it. What do you do with somebody that responds this way? Can’t we make a deal? No, no deals; go ahead, kill me. It’s very unnerving.

I remember talking to some WWII veterans that saw the reverse kind of thing in this in the closing days of WWII, they were going through France with Patton’s army, one of the unnerving things to our soldiers was not the surrender of the German army, but what unnerved this fellow that I was talking to was the fact that the SS Corps would come out, these are the Nazi hardliners, and they’d take their shirts off and they’d say go ahead, shoot us, all glory to Hitler. They’d defy them to the last breath, no fear, nothing. They said it really bothered them, because the other guys, the regular military guys would surrender, these guys wouldn’t; fanatic to the end. If you’d shoot them, the next guy would say the same thing; shoot him, the next guy would say the same thing. They dared you to shoot them. This is unnerving when you get these kinds of people.

Here’s what happened, although this is not done in a spirit of defiance. Nebuchadnezzar in verse 14-15 says, “Is it true,” so he interrogates, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up?” How ironic, when the golden image probably came from the dream God gave him. Verse 15, “Now if you are ready, at the moment you hear the sound of the horn, flute,” he’s trying to work a deal here, this is sort of a negotiated thing, a sort of settlement, you might say it’s kind of like a plea bargain here. Now if you’ll do this, then we can work a deal where you can do that and I can get you off of this thing.

“… But if you will not worship, you will immediately be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire; and what god is there who can deliver you out of my hands?” Look at this; this is the guy that had the dream. There’s where he made the big mistake. Unbelief is ultimately foolish, and eventually it always kicks itself in the butt, because what it does it goes so far in rebellion that it dares God. And once that happens… it’s great to hear it happen; when evil gets to that point you clap your hands and say okay, the bomb is about ready to go off and these idiots don’t realize it. Go ahead, get more hostile at God; watch what happens next. Here’s a case where he’s calling down judgment upon himself. “What god is there who can do this?” Wrong Nebuchadnezzar!

Now the classic reply. Verse 16-17 has gone down in church history as one of the most famous passages in all of the Word of God. It is a classic statement of godly civil disobedience, and the spirit within which it is given. [16, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego answered and said to the king] ‘O Nebuchadnezzar,’ ” there’s honor, there’s respect, “ ‘we do not need to give you an answer concerning this. [17] If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. [18] But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.’ ” Period!

Wouldn’t that be a great movie, can you imagine cameras zooming in on this guy’s expression when he has three of these helpless people, guards all around, they can take any one of these three out right there, no problem. And they have the audacity to say in their humble little way, no, we’re not going to sir. This is a toughness that is humble. It’s almost like a paradox is going on here, and it’s very unnerving if you ever have to face this kind of thing. You all know the story of the furnace, there’s a fourth person that shows up, the Son of man, etc. That’s the classic case and that’s what happens; that’s the potential kind of incident that can always occur as long as believers exist and are submitted to an overall Gentile society, because the presupposition warfare finally collides in a very practical way, in political ways.

On the notes on page 62 we’re going to follow up a few other things because we want to get into two of the great conclusions of this event of the exile. I gave an incident that’s kind of interesting, a person who was interested in English history gave me part of this, they had reviewed John Wurts, they were running down genealogy of their family and they had done a lot of work with British history. They found out “how the king of Britain, Caradoc, was captured and incarcerated in Rome in AD 52.” This lady pointed this out to me, she’s an English professor, she pointed this out to me because she says this is another instance of how in the circumstances of God, He always seems to have witnesses at the highest level of society. There are always witnesses around. We don’t know who they are, we may never know who they are, but God has His people placed in His position in His due time. Here’s a case.

“His daughter, Gladys, was adopted by the Emperor Claudius and became Claudia, who later married a man by the name of Rufus Pudens. Caradoc, his father, Claudia and Rufus were converted and baptized by the Apostle Paul, becoming the first royal converts to Christianity. Claudia and Rufus Pudens are mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:21, and Rufus in Romans 16:13. Another evidence is Roman law: it was very cognizant of Jewish Roman citizens, any of whom were prominent in the Empire as Josephus notes in Antiquities, SIV, vii,x. Thus Rome as well as the previous kingdoms all had sufficient biblical information readily available from their citizens and rejected it.” I might add biblical information at the highest levels of government.

We haven’t go time, but if you look at those references, Daniel 4:22-27; 5:18-30; Acts 12:20-23, all three of those references in Scripture refer to a direct divine intervention into the life of a Gentile ruler, where he cut them down.

On the bottom of page 63, we want to conclude our time together by looking at two repercussions of the exile. If the Bible is true and these things happened the way they happened, then the exile had to cause things. We want to ask ourselves what effects, what ripples were left in history as a result of this exile? One of them is the rise of a new kind of literature. There’s different genre of literature in the Bible; genre is a form. You can have poetry, you can have prose, you can have narrative, you can have history, songs, all those are called genres. Apocalyptic literature is a genre. We want to draw attention to this because this never occurred before in Israel’s history. Something new is happening. The books where you see this I give on page 64, I give you some references, and I want to turn to some of these references. Some you may never have seen before. We’ve already looked at Daniel, so let’s turn to Ezekiel 40. [blank spot]

… Apocalyptic literature, ask yourself what’s different about this than the prophetic literature that we studied. We read those sections in Micah, Isaiah, and Hosea, and I said these are prophetic literature. Think about that and when we were going through the rib proceeding, the lawsuit style of writing, how the prophets brought a lawsuit against the nation in God’s name. Keep that in the back of your head when you start looking at this kind of literature.

Ezekiel 40:1, “In the twenty-fifth year of our exile, at the beginning of the year, on the tenth of the month, in the fourteenth year after the city was taken, on that same day the hand of the LORD was upon me and He brought me here. [2] In the visions of God He brought me into the land of Israel, and set me on a very high mountain; and on it to the south there was a structure like a city.” It goes on to describe, in verse 3, “So he brought me there; and behold, there was a man whose appearance was like the appearance of bronze, with a line of flax and a measuring rod in his hand; and he was standing in the gateway. [4] And the man said to me, ‘Son of man, see with all your eyes, hear with your ears, and give attention to all that I am going to show you,” let’s stop there for a moment.

Most of you have read the book of Revelation. Do you notice any parallels? How does the book of Revelation start? John the Apostle on the isle of Patmos and all of a sudden he’s taken up in a vision on the Lord’s Day. And when he gets into the vision he sees a vision of Christ, and later on as he sees the visions inside the book of Revelation, who is it that is always there? John talks to people, he talks to the angels. One of the features of apocalyptic literature is there’s a divinely place interpreter somewhere in the vision. Daniel is not really mentioned, but here’s a case where an angel is given, an interpreting angel accompanies these kinds of visions. Whatever this angel is, or angels, plural, they have a teaching ministry to explain the vision to these men.

The visions are all about something that takes place in the far future. Notice basically Ezekiel 40, 41, 42, 43, all the way to 48 is a section on the temple. If you read the dimensions of this temple, it doesn’t fit anything in the Old Testament. This is not a vision of anything known in the Old Testament. This is a vision of a temple to be yet built for Israel.

Turn to Zechariah 1: 7; I want you to see another case of apocalyptic literature. After you’ve looked at a few of these examples you’ll see that the book of Revelation is not new at all. The book of Revelation is just another instance of that. “On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Shebat, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to Zechariah the prophet, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo, as follows— [8] I saw at night, and behold, a man was riding on a red horse, and he was standing among the myrtle trees which were in the ravine, with red, sorrel, and white horses behind him. [9] Then I said, ‘My lord, what are these?’ And the angel who was speaking with me said to me, ‘I will show you what these are.’” See the theme again, it’s a characteristic of apocalyptic literature that there’s an interpreting angel somewhere in the vision. The interpreting angel gives you all these goodies.

The question is what does apocalyptic literature do? Psalms are created so we can worship God and have a devotional life. Let’s try to make an opposition here between the prophetic literature and the apocalyptic literature. Let’s see if we can contrast and compare these two and see if we can come to some conclusion. There is a practical conclusion that we’re coming to out of this.

The role of the prophets—what basically was the motive of men like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Elijah, Elisha? What were they really doing? We said they were administering the curses of the Mosaic Covenant. They were spokesmen that God said you people have violated my covenant, and basically I’m going to discipline you. Then what would they do? They wouldn’t just leave it there; they’d always have a cushioning after effect. The model of prophetic literature is Deuteronomy 32; it gives a capsulation of all of Israel’s history and then says everything turns out fine in the end for those who trust God. So the emphasis, the goal of the prophetic literature is to secure repentance. It’s there to convict of sin, it’s there to bring believers to an awareness [that] to solve the problem it’s not one of economic reaction, it’s not one of human gimmicks, it’s one of confession of sin. That’s how we get fellowship restored. So the goal of prophetic literature is restoration.

Think about something else? To whom is most, most, not all, prophetic literature addressed? It concerns matters of Israel, not the pagans. It’s primarily Israel centered, or we’ll say primarily centered on believers, about believers. The apocalyptic literature is global in its extent. All nations are generally included in the purview of apocalyptic literature. That’s not totally opposite because the prophetic literature does address individual nations, Nahum addresses Nineveh, etc. But the apocalyptic literature tends to be global in the sense that it deals with human race wide issues. In particular apocalyptic literature emphasis is upon the final ultimate catastrophic judgment of God upon humanity. The apocalyptic emphasizes God’s judgments, but it’s God’s judgments not according to the Sinaitic Covenant, it’s God’s judgment upon the pagan world.

If apocalyptic literature arose during the period of the exile, let’s try to make a conclusion. Let’s think, what is the Holy Spirit after? What function, spiritually speaking, does apocalyptic literature do for believers who are going to face exile outside of the kingdom of God, living by themselves under the oppressive conditions of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, where they don’t know whether next week they’re going to be thrown in the fiery furnace? What function, what ministry, does apocalyptic literature have? Hope. Apocalyptic literature doesn’t castigate believers. It’s interesting; you read in there, there’s not a castigation of behaviors of believers. It’s all “I’m for you,” these powers that seem so powerful in your time, I will bring down. So it’s a hope, it’s a literature of hope. What’s so strange about the apocalyptic literature is that the imagery of it is always viewed as symbolic to the absurdity. Obviously there’s symbolism in it.

But consider, in the book of Revelation we have judgments upon the earth. Believe it or not we have people in our own evangelical camp that believe the book of Revelation is already past, that it occurred in AD 70. Excuse me, when did we have earthquakes in AD 70, the sun blotted out, one-third of the world’s population dissipated? But none other than R. C. Sproul, a preterist, believes it’s all over, the book of Revelation is passed, we don’t have to worry about it anymore. The problem is, that misplaces the function of apocalyptic literature. When was apocalyptic literature given? Prior to a vast time of exile. In the Old Testament when was apocalyptic literature? Before the exile. How long was the exile? 70 years plus, because not all the Jews are restored, it was the beginning of the Diaspora, the Jews had been scattered hither and yon through the whole world and they needed hope that eventually these powers in which they lived would be brought down.

Similarly the book of Revelation is the last book in the New Testament. Why do you suppose God would give the church and then nation Israel apocalyptic literature? So he could get over AD 70. No-no. Apocalyptic literature is given; its primary function is long term hope when believers are living in an alien kingdom. That’s the context of this genre of literature. How absurd that we have people trying to interpret the book of Revelation as something past.

A little footnote here, apocalyptic literature generates hope for the long term. I said the pagan world will always take Revelation and reinterpret it. Let me give you a great example of this. We talked about Nebuchadnezzar, he saw God’s dream of the statue. In the next chapter he’s building a statue and having everybody worship it, totally out of the theological context in the original dream; he totally perverted the thing. Guess what happened in the book of Daniel in history? The book of Daniel became the battle cry ideologically of Hegel and Karl Marx. Back in the days of real communism, when it was really aggressive and in danger of conquering the world, people could not understand, western intelligentsia could not understand why we can’t convince these people that capitalism and democracy is better.

What’s the matter, what’s the deal? The deal was that communism was a gospel, it was good news to the poor, it promised a cataclysm an apocalyptic ending to history when all governments would be overthrown and the dictatorship of the proletariat would be brought in. Karl Marx got that from the book of Revelation and scholars now know he did. He got it two ways, he got it from some German people in the German pietistic movement in Germany, and he also got it through Hegel because Hegel got his kingdoms in his book, his philosophy, he got them in the book of Daniel. So how ironic that this book, the apocalyptic book of Daniel has led historically to the rise of Hegel, indirectly to the Third Reich, the idea of history progressing toward a great kingdom and communism. Those modern social movements derived from the Bible by atheists, because atheism couldn’t give that view of history. The idea of history progressing to a goal could only be if there was a plan for history. So ultimately this is a great illustration of how paganism takes the fruit of the Bible that it can’t grow itself on its own ground, takes the fruit of the Bible and twists it, perverts it and builds a program out of it.

The second thing that happened as a result of the exile was the rise, this is amazing, the rise of seven different religions within fifty years. Look at the quote 64, “In the sixth century BC there was a tidal wave of revolt against the priest craft of the ancient world. This wave shattered the power of the old religions, though their cults continued to exist as backwaters for centuries. Seven world religions appeared within fifty years of each other and all continue to this day.”

The dates are on the next page, top of page 65, look at those dates and think about the period of the exile. A remarkable fact, I have never heard a historian deal with this. Here’s the exile, 586-516 BC, and even after that there were a lot of Jews in captivity. What happened in 586 BC? It was the end of the glory of God, God left the nation; we saw the retraction of the glory. The testimony of the Sinaitic Covenant, which had been going out through Solomon, had been going out through Daniel, the idea that there was an ethic, the idea that there were principles that the individual could believe in, the idea that there were truths, must have radiated all over the Middle East. If you look at the dates, the first guy out, it’s important to see who it is in the sequence of dates, Zoroaster; we don’t hear much about Zoroastrianism but it’s dualism, good and evil. Look at his date, 600 down to 583, didn’t last long, founded the religion of Persia. Where was Daniel, the second kingdom Daniel was in? Persia. What kind of circles did Daniel circulate in, socially speaking? The rulers. Did Zoroaster ever run across Daniel? I highly doubt it.

In India Mahavira (Vardhamana) 599-527 BC started Jainism. Gautama, 560-480 BC introduced Buddhism. Hindu reformers began Vedanta Monism with the Upanishads, same period. In China Lao-Tzu, 604-517 BC founded Taoism, and Confucius, 551-479 BC pioneered Confucianism. You’ll always hear it thrown at you, it’s all a bunch of religions in the world. What I want you to see is that all these religions in the world have biblical origins. We said Noah’s family started all the animism, it was degenerated. Every culture on earth had at one time the Noahic Bible. What we’re seeing here is that all these religions that people say what about Buddhists, what about Hinduism, they all arose within seventy years of one another, and all of them arose during the period of the exile when the Jew was thrown out of Israel. Tell me that’s a coincidence! Tell me that there wasn’t some sort of international influencing going on here, because one of the things, particularly if you look at those names, particularly Taoism, Confucianism, Zoroastrianism, and Jainism are all ethical religions. Confucius was an ethicist, dealt with political ethics, what is right and what is wrong. Same with Taoism. So they were emphasis on ethics.

Then legalistic Judaism is the seventh religion. Judaism never recovered from the exile. Judaism started getting hardening of the arteries during this period of time and movements that would eventually wind up with a Pharisaical movement in the New Testament began right here. These are all the religions. There was one other thing, the Greek philosophy which we’ll get into later.

On page 65, notice this sentence. Years ago I had a lady who was an artist who took a book end, I said can’t you move the guy’s arm a little bit, and I think that’s a great picture of an autonomous man, “Please, I’ll do it myself.” That’s in our flesh, that’s all of us, we’re all there. We want to rule ourselves on our terms independently of the Word of God. On page 65, “Although differing in details these seven religions and philosophy all had one thing in common: they emphasized man as Savior.” That was different, the early pagan religion had gods in the background, but those gods dropped back into the background very much now. And in the sixth century man arises. Man is going to solve his problems.

Follow the next few sentences with me: “They were potent new versions of paganism which arose to sustain the Kingdom of Man. Some were ‘pessimistic’ and ‘irrationalist’ such as Buddhism which stressed the illusory character of the human ego and the limitations of human thought. For Buddhism man saves himself by losing individual desire,” sort of like a spiritual suicide. “Taoism and Vedanta Monism developed the basic pagan idea of the Continuity of Being into a full-fledged pantheism in which God is the creation.” You’re walking through the street and you’re walking on God. You see a cow, that’s God, that’s why you don’t eat them, you starve to death. “Others were ‘optimistic’ and ‘rationalist’ such as those which stressed ethics and doing good (Zoroastrianism, Jainism, Confucianism, and Judaism). In these man saves himself by his good works. Whether optimistic or pessimistic, however, all of the religions that developed in the exilic period promoted man to a more active role than the older pagan religions. They mirrored the transfer of political supremacy to the Gentiles and rise of an imperialist spirit of the age.”

That is the imperialist spirit of the age. Next time we’ll go on, we’re going to review a little philosophy on page 66, then we start to get into the doctrinal consequences. In our Q&A the other week we raised this question about civil disobedience, etc. all that we’ll deal with under the doctrine of separation, because that’s something that becomes a major issue as we see in the book of Daniel, how do individual believers live in a society that is officially pagan… officially pagan. Before they were living inside Israel, it wasn’t officially pagan, it was officially “Yahwehistic,” it was officially biblical.

Last time there were some neat questions about separation that came up, political revolt and that sort of thing. That kind of helps because if I can get some feedback because I usually think about that when I start working on the lesson and respond to it.

Question asked: Clough replies: It’s a good question, what about the hermeneutics or the rules of interpretation for apocalyptic literature? One of the brightest guys I’ve ever known, years and years ago when I prepared these notes I went to the library and got his doctrinal dissertation on The Rules of Interpretation of Apocalyptic Literature. He lists the rules and one of the rules that really impressed me was that since all apocalyptic literature has a built-in angelic interpreter, you best adhere to what the angelic interpreter interprets it and stop there, because he says what happens is in our curiosity we try to interpret the interpretation and that’s what leads to things. Like, the book of Daniel with that statue in chapter 2, Daniel does not interpret every little image; he doesn’t talk about the beard and all the things that are there. That’s not to say those things aren’t important, it’s simply to say they are out beyond our grasp.

The other reason why hermeneutics of apocalyptic literature is so tough is for the same reason it’s so tough to interpret prophetic literature when it gets into future things, because it’s an accordion problem, that things that occur very close together in the prophetic writings turn out to be centuries apart, and it just blows your mind. An excellent example is when Jesus went into the synagogue one Sabbath, and He got up to read at one point when the Scripture was read in the Synagogue meeting, and He unrolled the scroll and He turned to Isaiah. He read the passage referring to Himself in His humility and he stopped right in the middle of one of the verses, which if you read the rest of the verse it is talking about the Second Advent. He rolled up the scroll, put it aside, and that was the famous time He said to the congregation this day it’s been fulfilled. That really frosted their chops when this Jewish guy gets up and He had the arrogance to proclaim that it’s fulfilled in Me today.

There’s also a little sub note here, this is why Jesus could not be a good person. C. S. Lewis was absolutely right, that either He was a lunatic or He was the Son of God, but people come up with what C. S. Lewis called condescending nonsense, that Jesus was a good man. This is silly. Every portrait that you get of Him He’s either total arrogance, or He’s the One He claimed to be. In that passage in Isaiah it’s clear that the Lord Jesus Christ, very clearly distinguished between the First and Second Advents, placing them poles apart and it’s all hooked into one verse. Here’s the Son of God interpreting the Scripture.

It’s a big challenge to do that and I think the safest way of handling apocalyptic literature is go back to the covenants that control history, go back to earlier passages and mount the gun, so to speak, on a firm base, mount it on those covenants. You can’t go wrong because you know the covenants are clear. Whatever the apocalyptic things are talking about it has to be an embellish­ment of the fulfillment of those basic primary covenants. At issue today in this preterist discussion that’s going on, this thing has come up in the last five or ten years, it’s relatively new, preterism isn’t new, it was in the 2nd and 3rd century but it seems like for some reason it’s a big thing now, “preter” means past, [Webster’s Dictionary: “preterist—one who believes the prophecies of the Apocalypse have already been fulfilled”] and the idea is that all the book of Revelation or 99% of it was fulfilled in the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70.

The problem with that is that the catastrophes mentioned in the book of Revelation are global geophysical catastrophes and either you take those symbolically or you take them literally. If you look at those vials and the bowl judgments, those judgments in the book of Revelation, lay them out on a piece of paper and they remind you of something that happened earlier in history. Think of a historical analogue. Where else did we see in early Jewish history the sun turning dark, cataclysmic destruction? It was on a Gentile kingdom; it was the Exodus. That’s why you heard me when we went through the Exodus say I think historians have the time lines wrong, because I can’t conceive of the judgments reported in the narratives, keep in mind the reports of the Exodus are narrative genre, they’re not apocalyptic genre, they’re narrative genre, that here you have straightforward narrative describing the plagues on Egypt as though they’re literal events, catastrophic events, things that are a total interruption of nature. We have the destruction in Noah’s day, amplified and interpreted by Peter as a global thing.

So I believe the hermeneutics of the rules of interpreting apocalyptic literature are controlled by our knowledge of earlier Scripture, and the earlier Scripture gives us the tip that when God judges, the Exodus was a mini preview of coming attractions of the future. So we already have the literalness of the global catastrophes established by the way the Exodus happened. Therefore, when we go into the future, into the apocalyptic thing and we read about all these judgments, we shouldn’t be taking them symbolically; we should be taking them literally. There’s no reason to take any Scripture symbolically if it makes sense literally. When it doesn’t make sense literally and you get conflicts, okay, then let’s see if this is a symbol or not.

But even with symbols you have to be careful. In the book of Daniel one of the great symbols, and it’s a powerful one, is the sea, and it’s a symbol of Gentile power. If you think about water and the sea, it’s a symbol only God the Creator could have picked because in one of Daniel’s visions the four winds of heaven blow upon the sea, and out of the sea arises a beast; the same language in the book of Revelation. Think, what does wind do to water? It whips it up. It turns out that the Hebrew word for spirit, ruach, is the same word for breath or wind. Isn’t this interesting? This is one of those symbols that is so loaded with about twenty layers of stuff in it, because now we’re talking about if the sea is humanity, and the wind blows upon it, these are spiritual forces. As a result of the spiritual forces blowing on the water it gets turbulent, and out of this comes these beasts and these animals. It’s not too difficult to interpret, it’s saying that the spiritual forces operate on the human race, and you have guys like Nebuchadnezzar in one chapter he’s worshiping God for the dream, in the next chapter he’s idolizing the whole thing, how quickly it can be transformed. That’s what it’s saying, potentially that’s the whole human race.

The human race can be viciously transformed overnight. I think that’s why it’s useful to go to Washington D.C. to the holocaust museum, and keep in mind that when you go there you’re seeing the behavior of the most well-educated society in western civilization. Nazism did not take place in a ghetto. It took place with the full complicity of the most brilliant intellects, the most brilliant community of scientists, the place where philosophy started in the west is Germany. Then ask yourself, but where did the Reformation start? Luther. What happen in Germany, how was it that you could have a German monk so loyal and faithful to the Word of God who translated from Latin to German and basically established the German language, just like the English language has been basically established by the King James Bible, he established the German language, and in a few short centuries we go from Luther to Hitler. How could that be?

It’s kind of a scary thought, and I think we have to understand that that’s the instability built into the fallen human race. That’s how quickly we can turn into mob like animals; it doesn’t take much to do that.

Question asked: Clough replies: Francis Schaeffer when he was alive gave a seminar in Dallas and if you don’t know Francis Schaeffer’s writings you need to look at his video series, How Shall We Then Live, an excellent series. It’s a panorama of the fruits of our Western civilization. I can remember in the 70s he and Coop went around, at that time Coop had not become Surgeon General of the United States, and at Dallas guys were raising their hands and attacking him all the time, Schaeffer you just take things too far, you’re going around this country from coast to coast saying that abortion leads to infanticide, which leads to mercy killing of the elder, that’s never going to happen, come on Schaeffer, you’re exaggerating some of these things. No, what Schaeffer saw was that once you tamper with the definition of life, and you move it from letting the Scripture inform the definition to man’s speculation inform the definition, now you’ve got plastic life. Now life is whatever you said it was last week. So the first week we say that the fetus inside the woman’s womb is not life. Oh, okay. Then the next week we say well, this infant has Down’s Syndrome, he’s born but let’s knock him off, think of all the money it saves; it saves grief, it saves money, all kinds or pragmatic arguments can be built, all you have to is just switch your definition of life to well, life really isn’t life until he’s socially acclimated.

Then you deal with the older people. That’s going to be the next thing. It’s already being done in Holland. There’s another sad case, Holland at the beginning of the 20th century had a Christian theologian, evangelical theologian, for Prime Minister. An amazing story, they had the free University of Amsterdam where Christian art was taught, the only place in history where Christian art was taught. And now it’s the whore house of Europe as well as the eugenic center of Europe today. You see the doctors in Holland have the legal right to kill your mother. All you have to do is give the word; it reduces health care costs. There are powerful pragmatic forces here. So once you relax the definitions and the content there’s economic forces that are leaning on you and so once you release the hard-nosed definitions of the Word, the whole thing caves in and that’s what we’re seeing because we don’t hold carefully to these basic categories. The pragmatics will always win over, every time.

What’s so ironic is that every discussion of social security reform is that there’s not going to be enough people to pay the social security bill when we’re old. Guess why? You just knocked off thirty million people for the last ten years, sure they’re not around. God has structured history, thankfully, so that once man makes these aberrations and perversions he always self-destructs. That’s how history is saved, because ultimately paganism destroys itself. Homosexuals, thank­fully they can’t reproduce. That’s exactly why they’re getting into homosexual marriages, to perpetuate themselves; they want the legal right to adopt children. Why are they panicking about that? It just dawned on them, we’re not reproducing. No kidding! The result of this is that they’re self-destructing and that’s always happened in history. Homosexual societies always go down the tubes. It’s sad when it’s your country that’s involved in it. At least we can say we saw it coming.

Question asked: Clough replies: The question is about the idea, and we’re heading into an era where there’s going to be a lot of that talk, I think we have to adhere to the fact that “times and seasons” are not known, and that’s primarily because the rapture is an unannounced event. Nothing’s going to happen before that, it’s not going to happen any time. That’s when Christ comes to take His people. That sets up a time clock so at [can’t understand word] the entire human race is unsaved. Then you have rapid evangelism during the Tribulation and all the rest of it happens. And obviously once the Tribulation starts you know that seven years down the road we’re going to have something. The problem is, until that treaty is made there is no firm anchor inside history. All we can do is speculate, and that’s all we’ve got. On a biblical time scale 2,000 years fits in the broad of scheme of things. If the world was created a little bit before 4000 BC and the idea is that you have six thousand year periods and then one thousand year millennium, that’s kind of a symmetrical picture. But the Bible does warn us that the times and the seasons no man knows, and Jesus said that. So we have to salute and say we’d better not forecast. You’ll see books written, Jesus is coming in October 1993 and He never showed up, gee, he made a mistake. That’s been going on since the 19th century. The Adventists did that, Miller, in New York, had everybody up on a hill in upstate New York in 1844 Jesus was supposed to come back.

So it’s really made a mockery of the whole Second Advent with these silly things. But what we can say that is impressive in our time is that before God moves, if you look at biblical history, He always forces us to have to solve the problem before He solves it. It’s sort of like an excellent teacher, he always lays the problem out and lets the student play with it a little bit, and then, oh you can’t solve the problem, come to me, I’ll show you how to solve the problem. Now all of a sudden the student is all ears because the student tried to solve the problem, fell on his face, and now he’s teachable. But if he’d gotten the problem right away, he wouldn’t have been teachable.

Ask yourself, what are the big struggles the human race is now faced with? First, intriguingly if Jesus returns He’s got to come back to a temple in Israel. Israel since 1948 is now in place, that was not so in 1844 when the Adventists were doing their thing in upstate New York, nor the Mormons. But now Israel is in place; Israel is in the land, they’re already preparation in the sense that they own half the hill where the temple is going to be, and I think the most impressive thing of the hour is that for the first time in the human race we have a global perspective. We had kind of mercantile type perspectives before but we’ve really got a global village going. This is the first time it’s happened, and I think we have to have a global consciousness to become aware that the whole human race collectively has a problem.

Jesus, when He comes to set up His kingdom, it’s a global kingdom, it’s understood that its preparatory to appreciating why it’s necessary to have a perfect Son of God Son of Man come and become the world dictator, because nobody else has solved the problem. If He didn’t do history that way, you know what we’d all do for all eternity? Well, He didn’t give us a change, gee, we could have tried this idea and that one. What He’s doing is He’s playing all the cards, go ahead, you think that hand’s got it, go ahead and play it, lay down your cards and see what happens. So after we lay down all our cards, we’ve tried communism, we’ve tried democracy, we’re tried republicanism, we’ve tried this and that, we’ve tried peace treaties, we’ve tried nuclear warfare, there aren’t too many more options here. When all the cards are laid down, then He’s going to lay His down and that’s going to be the return of Christ. I’m convinced that when He comes it will be intuitively obvious to everyone, there will be a sigh of relief for the believers who go into this kingdom that, whew… appreciation for what He’s done, now we see that human history could not come to a glorious culmination without a perfect human leader. When Jesus comes back [message ends]