KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
THE KINGDOM OF GOD
THE INCREASE OF THE KINGDOM
For those longing for the coming of the Kingdom of God upon the nations of earth, today's march of history-making events has special interest. Millenniums ago ancient prophets saw our times, prophesied the rise and fall of world empires, revealed the frantic efforts for global peace and a new world order in the last days, and finally outlined clearly and unmistakably the last great world empire of all. The Spirit of God has revealed the course of human history today. He shows the finale of the efforts made by mortal men to resolve their differences and live peaceably, every man beneath his own fig tree and by his own vineyard.
In the days of Daniel the prophet, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, had a dream in the night. He awoke disturbed, perplexed. "Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to show the king his dream. So they came and stood before the king" (Dan. 2:2). The king shared with them his problem. He was certain the dream he had had was a significant one. But now he could not remember any of it! So he called upon the magicians, the astrologers, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans to tell him the dream and to give him the interpretation of it. It was common practice for these men to give the king fanciful, highly colored interpretations of his dreams. They were usually twisted to please the king and build his ego. But now there could be no guessing! They were called upon to not only interpret the dream but to provide the dream! They were left speechless. They pled with the king to at least tell them the dream; then they would give the interpretation. But try as he might, the king was unable to remember his dream. In wrath the king ordered their execution.
Numbered among the wise men in Babylon was Daniel. He, along with others, had been taken into captivity when Nebuchadnezzar invaded and destroyed Jerusalem. The first he knew of the king's disturbance -- and drastic action -- was when Arioch, the captain of the king's guard, came to take him to the place of execution with the rest of the wise men. The record states: "And Daniel answered with counsel and wisdom to Arioch the captain of the king's guard, which was gone forth to slay the wise men of Babylon: he answered and said to Arioch the king's captain, Why is the decree so hasty from the king? Then Arioch made the thing known unto Daniel. Then Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would give him time, and that he would show the king the interpretation. Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions: that they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven" (Dan. 2:14-19).
You see, God has promised "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets" (Amos 3:7). God will not leave His people in darkness about the future. God is in control! In the annals of human history the rise and fall of empires appear to be dependent on the will and power of man. But by the word of God the curtain is drawn aside, and we behold, behind, above, and through all the play and counterplay of human interests and power and passions, the workings of the great God, silently, patiently working out the counsels of His own will.
King Nebuchadnezzar's question to Daniel was to the point: "Are you able to make known to me the dream which I have seen and the interpretation of it?" Daniel answered the king, "The secret that the king has demanded neither the wise men, enchanters, magicians, nor astrologers can show the king; but there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to king Nebuchadnezzar what it is that shall be in the latter days -- at the end of the days. Your dream and the visions of your bed are these..." (Dan. 2:26-28, Amplified). And then came the dream, one of the most dramatic revelations of all history, in which God outlined the rise and fall of global empires, moved beyond to our day with its struggles for peace and safety among the great powers, on to the setting up of earth's last great world empire. The dream accurately portrayed the events now transpiring before our very eyes. "God...has made known to king Nebuchadnezzar what it is that shall be in the latter days..."
THE GREAT IMAGE
"Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, his legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king" (Dan. 2:31-36).
Now it all came back to Nebuchadnezzar. This, indeed, was the dream he had dreamed in the night! And Daniel informed the king concerning the significance of the dream: "As for thee, O king, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter: and He that revealeth secrets MAKETH KNOWN TO THEE WHAT SHALL COME TO PASS" (Dan. 2:29). This was a dream whose interpretation was to reveal the FUTURE. Painted dramatically, unforgettably, unmistakably, was a precise outline of world history -- the rise and fall of world empires and the exact events which would lead to the establishment of the last great empire of all.
FIRST KINGDOM OF GOLD
With what interest and astonishment must the king have listened as Daniel began his interpretation of the dream and informed the king that his own kingdom was the golden head of that magnificent image. Gold, the king of metals, represented the Babylonian empire. Daniel informed the king that the God of heaven had given him his kingdom, and made him ruler over all. The character of the Babylonian empire is indicated by the head of gold. It was indeed the golden kingdom of a golden age! A natural center of trade and commerce, Babylon was immensely wealthy. Site of the ill-fated effort of Nimrod to erect the tower of Babel centuries before, it boasted one of the seven wonders of the world, the hanging gardens, which tradition says Nebuchadnezzar built to console his Median wife who missed the mountains of her homeland. The city of Babylon itself was another and still mightier wonder which there is neither time nor space in this message to recount. There, with the whole world prostrate at her feet, a queen in peerless grandeur, drawing from the pen of inspiration itself this glowing title, "The glory of kingdoms, the beauty of Chaldees' excellency," stood this magnificent city, fit capital of that great world kingdom which was represented by the golden head of this great historic image.
SECOND KINGDOM OF SILVER
The Babylonian empire was not to stand forever. It was to give way to another. Interpreting the dream, Daniel added: "And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee" (Dan. 2:39). The breast and arms of silver represented the Medo-Persian empire (538-331 B.C.). Fulfilling a word of the Lord (see Isaiah 45:1), Cyrus damned up the river Euphrates flowing through Babylon, marched his armies beneath the two-leafed gates, and through this stratagem overthrew the kingdom of Babylon. Across the banqueting hall of Belshazzar, the king of Babylon at that time, appeared the dreadful words: "Mene, mene, tekal, upharsin," ("thou art weighed in the balances and found wanting"). Before the night was over, blood flowed in the streets as Belshazzar and his thousand lords perished at the hands of the Medo-Persian armies. Medo-Persia, inferior to Babylon in some ways, was nonetheless a great empire. The king had two capitals, one at Persepolis and the other at Susa. The one he occupied in summer, the other in winter. Medo-Persia had the first organized mail system. While it did not launch the Pony Express, it did have the Dromedary Express -- camels carrying messages throughout the empire. Its great armies are said to have numbered in the millions.
THIRD KINGDOM OF BRASS
Great as was the Medo-Persian empire, it too, was to topple. Daniel declared: "And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth" (Dan. 2:39). Alexander the Great assumed the leadership of the Grecian armies at the age of 20, and marched with lightning rapidity to conquer the then-known world by the time he was 33. From the beginning of his military career he was a marked man -- a man of destiny. Ambassadors came to Alexander almost from all parts of the world: some to congratulate his victories, others to tender his crowns, others to make leagues and alliances with him. However, Alexander could conquer cities but not his own spirit. With contemptible arrogance, he claimed for himself divine honors. He gave up conquered cities, freely and unprovoked, to the mercy of his bloodthirsty and licentious soldiers. He often murdered his friends and favorites in his drunken frenzies. He encouraged such excessive drinking among his followers that on one occasion twenty of them died as the result of their carousal. Finally, having sat through one long drinking spree, he was immediately invited to another, when, after drinking to each of the twenty guests present, he drank twice, history records, incredible as it may seem, the full Herculean cup containing six of our quarts. He was seized with a violent fever and died eleven days later while he yet stood only at the threshold of his life and career -- for he was only 33 years old! His kingdom was divided among his four generals.
FOURTH KINGDOM OF IRON
What kingdom succeeded Greece as the empire of the world? Daniel said to Nebuchadnezzar: "And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: foreasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise" (Dan. 2:40). One kingdom did this and only one. Rome. Rome conquered Greece; it subdued all things; like iron, it broke in pieces and bruised. Rome -- everywhere victorious! Rome with its universal language, Latin; its universal highway system, of which the Appian Way is a surviving example; Rome with its invincible armies moving undefeated to the outposts of the globe. In A.D. 312 Rome experienced a radical change. In that year, Rome became so badly divided that Diocletian abdicated as emperor. The two most likely successors were the general Constantine who was in the West, and the general Maxentius who was in Rome. Constantine rounded up his loyal followers and marched into the capital to battle Maxentius for the throne. When Constantine approached Rome he found that he was greatly outnumbered by Maxentius. That night at a bridge Constantine had a dream. He was shown a sign which was the combination of the Greek letters Chi and Rho. These are the first two letters of the name "Christ" in Greek. These letters had been used as a symbol or logo by the Christians in Greece. In Constantine's dream, the Latin words, "Hoc signo victoreris" appeared beneath the Greek logo. These words mean, "By this sign conquer." At dawn, Constantine ordered the logo to be painted on every soldier's shield, and the soldiers were encouraged, "By this sign, you will be victorious!" Against overwhelming odds and against a very strong defense by Maxentius, the army of Constantine was victorious at one of the world's greatest battles, the Battle of Melvian Bridge. In gratitude, he caused Christianity to emerge as the state religion. Constantine moved his imperial capital to Constantinople, thus dividing the kingdom into two parts, East and West. Nebuchadnezzar's dream of the image with the two legs of iron points to this period when ancient Rome was divided into two segments, with government at both. Rome's years of power were from 168 B.C. to A.D. 476.
A logical deduction would be that after Rome another world empire would emerge. Not so!
TEN KINGDOMS EMERGE
It should be noted that at first the fourth kingdom is described with two legs which are unqualifiedly as strong as iron. This was the symbol of its strength, by which it has been likened in history to a mighty colossus bestriding the nations, conquering everything, and giving laws to the world. But this was not to continue. Daniel went on to say: "And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potter's clay, and part of iron, the kingdom SHALL BE DIVIDED; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, foreasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom SHALL BE PARTLY STRONG AND PARTLY BROKEN" (Dan. 2:41-42). The decline and fall of the Roman empire was a gradual thing. Luxury, vice, an almost total moral breakdown, disintegration of the family -- it culminated in A.D. 476 when the barbarian hordes overthrew the Roman empire.
Ten kingdoms, represented by the ten toes of the image, emerged. The ten peoples which were the instruments in fragmenting the empire were the Alamanni, Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Franks, Vandals, Suevi, Burgundians, Heruli, Anglo-Saxons, and Lombards. The kingdom was indeed divided! These barbarian peoples not only overran the Roman world, but planted themselves within the territory of the empire and thus became the empire! The connection between these and the modern nations of Europe is clearly discernible in such names as England, Burgundy, Lombardy, France, etc. These are the roots of the leading nations of Europe today! The geography of Europe is determined by the ethnic identities of these ten peoples! A study of the history of the last days of Rome shows that the empire did not really "fall." It has been suggested that its political and judicial system, religion, culture, and militarism continue to exist in Europe and many countries of the new world having European roots. In reality, the ancient empire only fragmented.
REVIVAL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE?
The earth was never again to see the cohesive strength of the Roman empire welded into the superstructure of one great World Empire. For Daniel, in one of the most significant prophecies of all time, declared: "And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they (the ten toes) shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with miry clay" (Dan. 2:43). It is important that we take more than a mere casual perusal of these words of the prophet, for in them is contained the KEY to, and UNDERSTANDING of, the world's history from the time of ancient Rome all the way down to, and including, events that shall unfold in this our day.
Many are proclaiming a "revival" of the Roman empire here at the end of the age under the Antichrist. Some speak of a "One World Beast Government" which they believe to be even now arising in the earth. Preachers declare to us that the European Common Market will give birth to a political alliance in the United States of Europe that is to be the coming last great "revived" Roman empire through which the Antichrist, or the beast, shall rule the world and universally enforce the "mark of the beast." Nearly everyone is looking for a world government under the beast to arise out of a UNITED EUROPE. And right here, before going any further, I want to speak a word against that. I will say plainly that IT SHALL NOT COME TO PASS. Now, I do not say there will not be a United States of Europe or some kind of political alliance in Europe. There has been before. If there is, it will not last, and should it come, it will not be a World Empire nor a World Government. It will not be the beast government nor the government of Antichrist. That is what I am saying.
One brother said in a meeting with us in 1971 that the "Beast Government" would arise in the earth and take over the United States within three or four years. And for many years until his death he continued preaching and proclaiming that the beast government would rise up and take over the world within three or four years. One wonders just when "three or four years" will end!
One of the problems today is that men read too much trash. People read all kinds of politically oriented literature telling about the Illuminati, the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, conspiracy theories about the Rothschilds, Rockefellers and others who control great financial empires and international money systems, much of which is either spurious or misinterpreted or misapplied. Many take this kind of information and try to harmonize it with what they imagine to be the prophecies of Daniel or the Revelation and come up with all kinds of speculations that they embrace as revelations about so-called "end time events." Many years ago the Spirit spoke to me that all those kinds of "revelations" are false because, in reality, they are NO REVELATION AT ALL! At best, they are merely carnal unions of flesh and spirit, mixture of men's ideas, theories, speculations, and lies with the word of God. Most the sources for this information about the great banking conspiracy, the Illuminati, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, etc., are not Christian at all. Granted, there are many Christians promoting these ideas, but they are not the originators of them. When one accepts the political theories and speculations of unregenerated men and mixes them with the prophecies of the scriptures, calling it a REVELATION, promoting it as the word of God, he has created an abomination before the Lord. None of the true, proven prophetic voices that I know across the land are prophesying those kinds of things. And those who are will live to see their prophecies come to naught!
Even apart from the teaching of the Holy Spirit, I have no faith at all in the conspiracy-mongers who harp on the above issues and the coming One World Government. I have followed their writings for at least forty years, both political and economic forecasts, and have found them liars. Their predictions have been proven false time and time again -- in fact, they have rarely been right! This one-world conspiracy of the Illuminati has supposedly been around for more than two hundred years. In the meantime we have passed through a civil war, two world wars, the great depression, the rise and fall of communism, and they still have not taken over our government, formed a one-world government, or imposed the mark of the beast. Either the conspirators are extremely stupid and inept -- or the whole supposed conspiracy is a lie. The fact is -- the world is fractionalizing, not uniting. The prophecies of the Bible are opposed to the concept of a coming world government. In Nebuchadnezzar's dream of the course of history in the form of a great image there were only FIVE world governments -- Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and the Kingdom of God. That's all! There was NO other world empire between Rome and the Kingdom of God. And the kingdoms of Rome that exist just prior to the triumph of the Kingdom of God are fractionalized -- ten toes of iron and clay mixed, that will not cleave together. Many have historically tried to unite those ten toes into a powerful one-world government -- Charlemagne, Napoleon, Kaiser Bill Wilhelm, Hitler, the Communists. And all have gone down in ignominious defeat before the infallible word of the omnipotent God! So I put no confidence in the prognostications of the fundamentalist conspiracy-mongers.
The church today is full of energetic and sincere preachers and teachers who are just full of and bubbling over concerning things that are going to happen. Eighty-five years ago men were telling how the Kaiser was the Antichrist and was going to upset the world. Then when that failed to materialize, they frittered away much time and wasted much good paper and printer's ink telling what the next war was going to be like, and how it was going to be fought. There were to be death rays, and a hundred and one other horrible devices. There were to be rays that would melt a gun in a soldier's hand even as he held it. But the next war came. There were no death rays. It was fought in much the same manner as the last one had been, except that there was very little or no poison gas used, and the equipment and methods were much more effective, particularly on the Allied side. And yet, even after this next war had actually begun, certain religious periodicals published these blood-curdling articles telling of the awful inventions which were ready to be used against mankind. The actual battles that were being fought at the time the articles were published made a lie of the articles. And the unbelievable reality is that many of God's people today are so gullible and so susceptible to this kind of sensational trash, that they have no better sense than to glory in it, even though the statements are proven false by actual events then transpiring before their very eyes.
Then Mussolini arose, and he was to be the future superman who would revive the Roman empire and do this, that, and the other. Then Hitler formed a deceitful alliance with Russia, and the false prophets loudly predicted that they would soon fight side by side. But we now know the answers to all these predictions. They were nothing more than the presumptuous guesses of idle shepherds who were destitute of truth. Other men, now that the Kaiser, Mussolini, Hitler, and other hoped-for candidates for the office of Antichrist have passed out of the picture, pinned their hopes on Henry Kissinger, Jimmy Carter, Mikhail Gorbachev, Saddam Hussein, and others. And all the books written about these are today worthless except as kindling to start a fire!
My prayer is that God will deliver His people, especially those who have heard the call to sonship and God's great Kingdom purposes, from all this carnal and soulish sensationalism. I fear that even many of the Lord's precious saints who have a vision for higher and deeper things haven't progressed far beyond Dr. Scofield's footnotes when it comes to their understanding of events at this transition of the ages. Many people today fear the term "New World Order" as it has been used by George Bush, Mikhail Gorbachev and others. But those who are afraid of it have a misguided "One World Government" mentality. Learn this, my friend, and you will know a great truth. THERE WILL NEVER BE A MAN-MADE ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT! When it comes to the so-called New World Order I must ask: Which one? History records one in 1815, 1848, 1861, 1918, 1945, and 1990. And they each collapsed into chaos and war!
The question follows: Will this latest effort at forming a New World Order be any more successful than those that preceded it? According to the prophet Daniel -- not a chance! And our recent experience in Iraq, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo and other places confirm the word of the Lord! I'm glad David said, "In all their evil imaginations they are vain." That means their evil imaginations will not come to pass! Whatever those who roar against God and His purposes devise, their imaginations are vain, vanity, emptiness, and they fall on the ground before His face and in His presence. Their imaginations cannot triumph over our God, His word, or His Christ.
Those who are looking for the Antichrist are always calling on us to imagine a world with no national boundaries...one global government...one international economy...one monetary system with one universal currency. Imagine a world where conflicting religions are unified into one supreme ecumenical force, presided over by one self-exalted "god." Imagine a world leader so powerful that he personally directs the world's economy and military might...a man so crafty that he enforces universal peace even in the troubled Middle East! My friends, it won't happen. Do the world's leaders want this? Some do. Is there a movement in that direction by the world's governments? I do not doubt it. But just because men wish for it, hope for it, plan for it, and work toward it, doesn't mean it will happen! The word of almighty God is against it. And even if God had not spoken against it, it is unlikely that it would happen due to the deceitfulness of the human heart and the treachery of human nature.
Let us look for a moment at the practical political ramifications of the idealistic concept of one world government. President Clinton attempted to follow the idea which George Bush proclaimed, namely that a New World Order can be inaugurated under the UN which should use the NATO organization as its main police force. China laughs at that. The British government feels obligated to make polite noises, but doubts such a system is practical. Germany does not believe that America will be able to construct a single New World Order. Germans know that a One World Government cannot be set up without China gaining numerical superiority, and Germans would not accept that. Like Russians, they are still nationalistic, as are the French. China and Russia and the Middle East all have their own aims which do not fit in with a One World Government, especially if Europe or America is in the driver's seat. The whole Moslem world, about a billion people and many nations, have no intention of being ruled by a One World Government. Neither a unified Europe nor the current NATO system can now stop or change the course of events that those four influences will cause. Every nation and block of nations has its own agenda! We are no more on the verge of a One World Government today than we were in 1815, 1848, 1861, 1918, or 1945!
Ah, beloved, every son of God must be able to distinguish between FACTS and TRUTH. Truth is Reality, Life, Christ. Truth is a Living Person! In Truth there is a flow of Life. If there is no quickening flow of Life, then you are not receiving Truth. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life" (Jn. 14:6). Now Truth always brings Life because Christ is the Truth and Christ is also the Life. Truth always brings Life, but there are things that are true that can sometimes bring death. For example, were I to rob a bank this morning, and someone stood up in your fellowship next Sunday to tell how Preston Eby robbed a bank, would it bring you Life? Would you say, "Hallelujah, praise the Lord for that word, we are blessed!" Do you see what I am saying? The word would be true but it would not minister Life. Therefore, though it would be true it would not be the Truth, for the Truth and the Life are one, the Spirit and the Word are joined together as one Living Stream. There are many things that are true, but they are not the Truth and if you live in them you will die. Truth brings Life and because we are the children of Truth we desire Life.
And now may I exhort you further to flee from those things that are true but are not Truth, as surely and swiftly as you would flee from your home if you discovered it to be a den of rattlesnakes. We have a whole crop of doom-casters in the land today who spend their time in nothing else but informing the Lord's people of all the negative situations which are going to overtake our nation and the world. Many believers are continually being fed a diet of messages, articles, books, and tapes about world conditions, politics, intrigue, crisis, economic collapse, conspiracies, antichrist one-world government, mark of the beast, tribulation, so-called safe areas, planetary conjunctions, earthquakes, tidal waves, wickedness, and a whole catalog of other fearful and frightening events, some of which may happen, but most of which I tell you now are nothing more than carnal-minded sensationalism proclaimed by men masquerading as end-time teachers and prophets, bewitching the saints.
Let every child of God in whose bosom has been birthed the bright hope of sonship answer this one question: Do any of the before mentioned things minister LIFE? Does the study of them or the knowing of them cause you to be more filled with the Spirit? Do they aid you in putting on the mind of Christ? Do they work deliverance in your life? Do they transform you into the image of God? Do they imbue you with divine wisdom, spiritual understanding, righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost? Do they add an inch or a cubit to your spiritual stature? Are they Truth, Life-giving Truth, or are they merely things that are true, or may be true, or may not even be true!
My deepest prayer is that the reality and force of this may grip your believing heart! I cannot over-emphasize the importance for every son of God that our thoughts be His thoughts and that our words be the Father's words of Spirit and Life. One of the unmistakable marks of a son is that he speaks as His Father speaks. The mind that dwelt in that glorious firstborn Son of God was His Father's mind. Is that not why He could say, "For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, He gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that His commandment is LIFE everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so speak I" (Jn. 12:49-50). How could He do otherwise when the Father's mind possessed Him! As we walk in blessed unity of mind and spirit with the Father, the words of our mouths automatically become a river of Life unto all who hear them.
We do not have our heads in the sand, pretending that the horizons are not dark, or that the world has no problems, or that sin and death do not stalk the lands. But those who walk in the Father's purpose for this Day are able to distinguish between the voice of man and the voice of God. You will hear a multitude of voices from both the secular and the religious world in this hour, but the sons of God do not parrot the words of scientists, politicians, economists, ecologists, psychologists, military leaders, or theologians. Sons speak only the words of their heavenly Father! We do not get our revelation of "end-time" events from Newsweek magazine, USA Today, or the Wall Street Journal. The words spoken by the learned ones of this world hold nothing for me, for I know only and always as I am taught of my Father, and I must speak only the words I hear my Father speaking.
For years preachers warned us that the communists had a plan and time-table for world domination, and we were told that they were ahead of schedule. What fear this struck into men's hearts! But it was not the word of the Lord, it was the word of the communists! The preachers didn't take time to hear from God, they just accepted the word of the communists. So they jumped on the anti-Communist bandwagon and stomped around the country warning God's people about what the communists were going to do. But the word of the communists was merely a lying vanity within their own deceitful and wicked hearts. Finally they came face to face with the power and purpose of the Most High God, and the Lamb overcame them! And even if they could have been successful in dominating the world for a season, their plans would have been true, but not THE TRUTH.
Preachers today are just full and running over with information about what Russia is going to do, or China, or the Illuminati, or the Antichrist, or the Common Market, or Saddam Hussein, or somebody else. The question follows -- Has GOD revealed those things unto them by the Spirit, or has the knowledge of them been gained from the reports, books, and tapes of men? You see, if I accept the word of the Illuminati as being true; if I then teach God's people that this fulfills certain prophecies about an end-time One World Government; if I proceed to show how gun control, oil crisis, economic collapse, martial law, etc. are instruments in the implementation of this One World takeover, then I have accepted the DEVIL'S WORD as Truth and have transformed myself into a messenger of Satan, convincing men that the devil's word can be counted on, he will surely do all that he says he will do! I care not one whit about any conspiracy on earth or the aims, plans and goals of any group of men or nations. Satan is a braggart and a liar. He is defeated! This is the LORD'S DAY, the day of victory and triumph, the Day of the unveiling of the Christ, when the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ! The next thing on God's prophetic schedule, my beloved, is the manifestation of the sons of God!
In Noah's day, in Abraham's day, in Moses' day, in Elijah's day, in the days of all the prophets, and in the day when Christ Jesus trod the pathways of earth, it was the man of God who notified the world, by the spirit of revelation from God, of the impending events that would determine the future course of men, kingdoms, and the world. The prophets didn't get their information from the counsels of men, rather, the counsels of men received a word through the prophets from almighty God who rules in the heavens and in the earth. In our day it is the world that is feeding the information to the preachers about what is supposed to happen! If your revelation of events that are going to transpire in this hour at the transition of the ages is dependent upon what comes over the wire services, or what you read in someone's book, then you need a NEW REVELATION! And if God has not spoken about the events unfolding before our eyes from day to day, then we need not worry about our ignorance of those things. Our only concern is to hear the voice of our Father, and when He sends us light, that we receive it and walk in it. The words of God are always Spirit and Life and by them we are quickened to those things which are above, where Christ sits at the right hand of God. About many things happening in the world I confess that I know very little, but my heart sings a thousand hallelujahs, for I do know that this earth in God's good grace is yet to see a whole race of sons of God begotten by the Holy Spirit in the extremity of the age, and the wonderful life of Jesus Christ shall flow out from the throne of God within their innermost beings as mighty surging torrents of Life-giving water in those blest days that lie just before us. This word I have received of my Father!
THEY SHALL NOT CLEAVE TO ONE ANOTHER
Let us now examine more closely the prophecy of Daniel 2:43. There are two important statements in this prophecy concerning the final stage of the Roman empire, the ten toes. Of them Daniel says, "And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay,
1. They shall mingle themselves with the seed of men:
2. But they shall NOT CLEAVE one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay."
Hear it! "They shall NOT cleave one to another!" This reference is to the ten divisions of the old Roman empire which remain with us unto this day in the nations of modern Europe. But if these ten toes must yet be formed into the superstructure of a World Empire of Antichrist, where is the signification of that COMING WORLD GOVERNMENT? Daniel revealed that there would be four great World Empires of man. The fourth would be divided into ten parts, brought into a condition of fragmentation. Then, in the days of those kings, in their weakness and fragmentation, the God of heaven would set up a Kingdom which shall never be destroyed. If there is to be a World Government here at the end of the age, then God left something out! The Holy Spirit was wrong! The word of God was missing something! There was an oversight on His part! Perhaps there really was to be a FIFTH WORLD GOVERNMENT in between the fourth World Empire and the Kingdom of God -- but in His haste to reveal to king Nebuchadnezzar the plan of the ages God momentarily overlooked that fifth kingdom!
Perhaps one of the most astonishing features of this prophecy is the declaration that the Roman kingdom would be the last -- not the last of four -- but the last of all, the end of man's political domination of earth through World Empire. How could Daniel have known that no other kingdom would ever rise to world dominion? It would have been but the natural supposition that since the Babylonians would give way to the Medes and Persians, and they in turn would fall before the Greeks, who, in course of time would surrender their scepter to the Romans -- that, at length, when the Romans ceased to dominate the world, that surely another great warrior-conqueror would rise on the horizon who would gather in his hands the reins of power, and forge a new World Empire, perhaps stronger than any in previous history. How has the continent of Europe, for nearly two millenniums, escaped unification? Everything in Europe seems to call for it; great men and mighty armies have tried to accomplish it; yet history testifies to the futility of every effort. Had Daniel written out of his own imagination, why should he have stopped at four in predicting coming empires in Europe and Asia? Why not fourteen? or forty? Because only God rules over the nations and controls human destiny! Ah, God almighty has a controversy with the statesmen and leaders of this world who dream of a United Europe and a New World Order. They should know that the future is not Europe nor a world based on it. All attempts to reconstitute the Kingdom of Iron will not succeed. Europe is no longer the Kingdom of Iron, it is now a mixture of iron and clay in divided form, a conglomeration of peoples culturally, ethnically, linguistically, and religiously different, and because of its inherent weaknesses can never again be the Kingdom of Iron.
Furthermore, if these ten toes were to be united into a fifth World Empire, they would have to be symbolically joined together in a sort of webfoot. Men do not have webfeet, and this image of Daniel being the image of a man, therefore signifies no joining of the toes. If God had wished to give such a signification, He would necessarily have given Nebuchadnezzar a dream of an aquatic animal, such as a muskrat. He did no such thing. Furthermore, if there were to be this union of the Empire of the Toes, then Daniel, in his explanation of the vision, surely would have said something about it. Instead, he stated the exact opposite: in speaking of those toes he said, "but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay." If these toes still have to be joined to form a kingdom for the Antichrist to rule, then they must cleave one to another, and that would make Daniel a false prophet. I leave my readers to judge who are false: Daniel, or those who contradict him and thus contradict the Word of God.
With Rome fell the last of the world's universal empires. Heretofore it was possible for one nation, rising superior to its neighbors in prowess, bravery, and the science of war, to consolidate them into one vast empire. But when the Kingdom of Iron passed away, such possibilities forever passed away! The iron was fragmented and then mixed with clay, and lost the power of cohesion. No man or combination of men can again consolidate the fragments as a power over the earth. No other human empire was to succeed it, as had the three which went before it. It was to continue, in this ten-fold division, until the Kingdom of the Stone smote it upon its feet, broke them in pieces, ground them to powder, and scattered them as the wind does the chaff of the summer threshingfloor!
In the afterglow of a thousand battlefields, in the shattered dreams of would-be world conquerors, in the light of two world wars, the words stand invincibly true... "they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay."
CHARLEMAGNE TRIES IT
In A.D. 800 Charlemagne was crowned Holy Roman Emperor. Voltaire, an able French writer and intellectual, observed wittily and sarcastically that while the coronation had plenty of pomp associated with it, as for the empire, it was "neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire." Charlemagne grasped for world empire, came close, then found himself defeated by the words of the great God: "They shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay."
LOUIS XIV TRIES IT
Louis the Fourteenth was a vain and pompous Frenchman. He sent his armies into Holland and the Low Countries, to no avail. At death, he too, had failed. Before him, Charles the Fifth had marched his armies across much of Europe, then found himself unable to achieve world empire. The words still stood: "They shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay."
NAPOLEON TRIES IT
From the ashes of the French Revolution arose Napoleon Bonaparte. "I will tear the heart out of glory," he promised a friend. The supreme object of Napoleon's life was to get the Roman empire together again, and he very nearly did it. Christian people told Napoleon that he was the "beast" and he was flattered. In Marengo, Ulm, and Austerlitz -- everywhere Napoleon's armies were victorious. Then came the invasion of Russia. Due to a set of circumstances Napoleon made a fateful decision. He would return to France. The retreat that followed was the most disastrous of all history. Literally hundreds of thousands of soldiers fell in the ice and snow as the coldest winter of Russian history struck. Napoleon was captured, and escaped, and returning to France rallied his troops for one last great effort to unite the nations of earth under his control. June 15, 1815, as the sun sank on the third day of the Battle of Waterloo, Napoleon's career sank with it. In captivity Napoleon wrote his memoirs. And he gave what he felt was the reason for his failure: "God almighty has been too much for me!"
"They shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay."
KAISER WILHELM TRIES IT
For decades prior to the outbreak of World War I, the world had been at peace. Men anticipated the Golden Age. On the fateful night when the ultimatum delivered by the British empire to the Kaiser had been rejected, Sir Edward Grey stood with his military aide looking out over the London skyline. It was late. Lights in the buildings of the city were winking and going out. Pondering the implications of the outbreak of the first World War, Grey turned to his aide and said, "The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our lifetime."
Kaiser Wilhelm's armies met Allied forces in No Man's Land in France. For a time it appeared victory would be his. The horror of trench fighting had demoralized the Allied armies. Then came the battle of the Marne. From every standpoint, German armies should have been victorious. But up and down Allied battle lines the slogan went, "They shall not pass." Victory went to the Allied armies! Before the war was over 60,000,000 casualties had been sustained on the land, in the sea, and in the air. Armistice day came. Kaiser Wilhelm had failed as had all the others before him. He too, had come face to face with the words of our God: "They shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay."
HITLER TRIES IT
In the 1930's, fed by the injustice of the Versailles Treaty, the storm clouds of war began to gather. September 5, 1939, Hitler's panzer divisions swept through flimsy barriers that separated Poland and Germany. World War II had begun. Unstable and mercurial, Hitler deceived and misled the Germans, a people with a proud and ancient heritage. He sought absolute power for himself. He held out the promise of a thousand-year Reich.
Five weeks, and Poland was defeated. The Low Countries were quickly conquered too, with Blitzkrieg, a new lightning war technique that utilized the mightiest mechanized army the world had ever seen. Bypassing France's "invincible" Maginot Line, Hitler plunged through France to Dunkirk. Military experts gave England a few weeks -- at the most a few months -- before she too would be crushed beneath Hitler's mighty military machine. Nazi armies at that point seemed to be unstoppable. But Dunkirk was a turning point. For when the picture appeared hopeless and the logical course for Britain to follow was surrender, Winston Churchill, British prime minister, announced the course England would take: "We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight in the seas and oceans, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender."
Had Hitler at this point launched a massive invasion of England with paratroops and air cover supporting, there is little question the British Isles would have fallen. Possibly, eventually, the whole world. But curiously he did not. He was sure England would sue for peace. So he waited -- for an event that never came. Then, too late, after England along with refugee troops from Europe had had opportunity to rally, Hitler launched the Battle of Britain. Hitler invaded Russia, making the same mistake of Napoleon before him. Later came D-Day, June 6, 1944, and the invasion of continental Europe by the Allies. Hitler is believed to have died a suicide in a Berlin Bunker. Like military leaders before him who had dreamed of world conquest, Hitler was defeated. But he was not defeated by military might -- this he had in super-abundance. Rather, it was the fateful words of our never-failing God that doomed him to failure: "And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay."
Hallelujah! The Lord God omnipotent reigneth! Next month we will consider the Kingdom of Stone.
To be continued...
J. PRESTON EBY
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