NOVEMBER, 1970 / Volume 10 / Number 11
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STUDIES IN THE BOOK OF DANIEL ............... 3 Lehman Strauss IN TIMES LIKE THESE .......... 14 Lloyd T. Anderson PANEL DISCUSSIONS.............. 26
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this reason, the book bearing his name is more accurately a historical- prophetical work. Daniel provides a mighty tonic to faith in the absolute sovereignty of God. Two significant phrases reveal this precious truth. In 2:28 we find, “there is a God in heaven.” In the second chapter alone, the Lord is re ferred to as the God of Heaven not less than five times (vs. 18, 19, 28, 37 and 44). He is called the great God in verse 45, and the God of gods in verse 47. Later He is referred to as King of heaven. The second phrase is that “the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men” (ch. 4:24, 32). The whole point in these two phrases is that the God of the Bible, who is the Christian’s God, is sov ereign over the affairs of men and nations. This book teaches us that God removes world leaders, setting them up and putting them down as He wishes. Behind the scenes is the hand of God. God is steadily moving toward the consummation of His own plans and purposes. Another interesting feature is the oft-repeated name, “The Most High” (3:26; 4:2, 17, 24, 25, 32, and 34; 5:18, 21; 7:18, 22, 25 and 27). This first appears in the Bible in connec tion with an incident in the life of Abraham. Lot had been taken cap tive by enemy tribes. When Abra ham received word of his nephew’s fate, he set out at once in pursuit of the invaders. The king of Sodom tried to make a deal with Abraham, offering material goods. In Genesis 14:22, Abraham testifies, “I have lifted up mine hand unto the Lord, the most High God, the possessor of heaven and earth, That I will not take from a thread even to a shoe- latchet, and that I will not take any thing. . . This is the name God uses when He wants to declare His ownership of creation. We need to learn well that the sovereign God of heaven and earth, the Most High God, is ruling over the affairs of 3
STUDIES IN THE BOOK OF DANIEL
by Dr. Lehman Strauss, Conference Speaker and Bible Teacher
C hapter O ne A ny study of this type properly begins with the strong declara tion that the Bible is the Word of God. All the adjectives and superla tives of all the languages on earth fall short in even coming close to describing adequately this Book of all books. Outstanding among the books of the Old T estam en t is Daniel. While some biblical critics have sought to make merely a legend of this portion of Scripture, they have no real basis in truth. They deny the most important fact that the Bible is the only divinely re vealed and supernatural Book in all the world. How foolish to turn from such divine light which makes clear God’s future plans. . Daniel was primarily a statesman rather than an official prophet. For
was the penman of this book, writ ing before most of the events he tells about ever took place.
man. You can never spurn God’s plan and purpose. Daniel, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote this book bearing his name. He is the one who received the revelations, and so he speaks in the first person. Please follow this suggestion. Read through this entire portion of Scripture at one sitting. You should be able to do this in an hour or less. Do this several times, everyday for a week if possible. In this manner your mind will retain the material you gain. It will fit together to give you real meaning. This is the most profit able way to read the Bible, I can assure you. The book is divided in two parts: History, chapters 1 to 6; and proph ecy, chapters 7 to 12. Keep in mind that both sections were written by the one person, in two languages, Hebrew and Aramaic. The book con sists of an accurate history and pre dictive prophecy. Our Lord Himself referred to Daniel in Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14. In addition, there are distinct references to him in Ezekiel 14:14 and 28:3. There is also a strong hint that both Ezra and Nehemiah had learned some inter cessory lessons from the penitential prayers of Daniel 9. It’s sad to real ize that the book of Daniel has been made the subject of one of the bit terest and most arrogant attacks by the entire anti-biblical movement. Daniel foretold the fall of Babylon, the rise of the Medo-Persian em pire, the conquests of Alexander the Great, the many outstanding events in the long period which followed Alexander’s death on to the coming of Roman power. The prophet pre dicted the coming of Christ. These are just a few of the many evidences which a u th e n tic a te the book of Daniel. While we don’t need these, for we believe the book .to be the Word of God, yet there is sufficient, substantial evidence archaeologists have developed to prove that Daniel 4
Biola College Professor Lola Kilander, member of the nursing education staff, is shewn beside the E.C.6. and cardioscope equipment which was do nated to Biela by the La Mirada Community Hospital.
L. C. Eddington, Biology Professor, is shown re cording nerve potentials with an electro physiology apparatus.
C hapter T wo I n D aniel 1:1, 2, we find this vital book of the Old Testament open ing with a statement which is both an accurate, historical record and a fulfillment of divine prophecy. The original kingdom of Israel began under the leadership of David. After Solomon it was divided into two separate monarchies. Ten of the tribes formed the Northern King dom, while Judah and Benjamin re mained loyal to Rehoboam, making Jerusalem their capital. There fol lowed a steady decline into apostasy, sin and idolatry. In Deuteronomy 31:17 we see God’s promise of His anger kindled against them should they follow the path of degradation they had chosen. God’s servants the prophets had repeated this warning over and over again. Still the people rebelled. As a result, there were many national d isa s te rs . Judges, Kings, and Chronicles record the sad history of Israel’s many defeats, bringing eventual destruction. The first chapter of Daniel shows the divine revelation relating to the nation’s downfall at the hands of the Babylonians. The captivity of Judah was the judgment of God. Such backsliding incurred the wrath of God. The Babylonian captivity was predicted in detail both in Isaiah (39:5ff) and Jeremiah (25: 8-12; 27:6ff). These verses tell us some of the particulars about the captivity, including its cause. God always settles His accounts with those who refuse to heed His warn ings. Very early in the nation’s history, God had set forth a proposition for His people Israel. It concerned the use of soil for agriculture. Known as the law of the land, the ground was to be tilled and planted for six consecutive years, ■ but not the sev enth, when it was to remain idle. This command was accompanied by
assurance that enough food could be produced in six years to provide for the people during the Sabbatic year. We see all of this carefully defined in Leviticus 25:1-7. In the next chapter there is a solemn warning. God says, “I will scatter you among the heathen.” The leaders, as well as the people of the nation, knew precisely what was expected of them in relation to God’s law of the land. Still, they disregarded what they knew to be true. The human heart is capable of varied and numerous ex cuses when confronted w ith it s wrong-doing. Sin pays its wages. Judah’s transgression against the law of the land continued for some 490 years. In their mercenary and materialistic spirit, they th ough t they had outmaneuvered God. How true the words, “Be not deceived, God is not mocked; whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Gal. 6:7). This should teach us as well that none of us can persist in disobedience to God’s laws and expect to escape the inevitable judgment. This is the first and important les son Daniel gives us. It’s good for us to recognize that the hand of God is in the rise and fall of nations (Dan. 2:21). Some times it’s difficult to understand the strange providential ways of the Lord. Yes, God is sovereign over the destinies of men. This includes even ruthless despots such as Nebuchad nezzar. Such tyrants have certain liberties, but they’re definitely bound by divine limitations. The most pow erful and proudest of rulers will come to naught. God raised up an evil man like Nebuchadnezzar as an instrument of judgment. The Baby lonian captivity clearly illustrates this principle. So, the purpose of the book of Daniel is to show how the Lord by His providence directs the history of nations. Will you let Him control and direct your life, too? 5
C hapter T hree I N this study , the focal point will be Daniel 1 :3-7. Please take the time to read this for yourself. Here we see that Nebuchadnezzar had de signed a plan whereby the most promising of his cabinet should serve him. The king wanted the fin est young men for government serv ice to grace the royal court. Daniel and his friends had a wide range of knowledge. They were handsome in appearance and of royal stock. They could have been descendants of King Hezekiah. The men were given into the custody of the master of the king’s eunuchs. Eunuchs were lead ing men holding positions of au thority (Acts 8:27). In verse 5 and 6 there is every evidence of the king’s clever device by which he hoped to convert the Hebrews to the Chaldean way of life intellectually, socially, and religiously. Enrolling in the royal college for a three-year course, the king prepared a diet of food and drink. These four young men were assured of an ample sup ply of rare delicacies. This was a part of N ebuchadnezzar’s brain washing technique. This same form of denationalization is carried on by Communists in our own day. The ages of the young men varied from 14 to 19. A conservative esti mate would be 17 for Daniel, al though all of them were teenagers. By changing the names of the four, it was the intention of Nebuchad nezzar to erase every vestige of iden tification between them and their own people and nation. Each of their four original names contained some form of the name of Jehovah. Daniel means “God is my judge.” The name Belteshazzar, which Daniel was giv en, on the other hand, means “Baal’s prince.” The same heathen names were given to the other three. Nebu chadnezzar wanted to stamp out every remembrance of God. In verses 8 to 16 we see Daniel’s determination not to defile himself 6
Dr. Robert Crawford, Academic Dean of Biela College, announced recently the addition of ten new full-time faculty members.
Language Professor Duane Wetzler received his doctorate in Spanish during the past summer.
Art professors Frank Zamora (left) and Grant Logan leek ever seme accomplishments of their students.
with the king’s enticements. God had brought Daniel into favor with the prince of the eunuchs who was will ing to give him assistance in his sa cred commitment. While they could change Daniel’s name, they couldn’t change his nature. This new and dif ferent environment brought Daniel to a crisis in his life. Daniel knew that he couldn’t be defiled except by his own behavior. He had been taken captive, not because of his own sins, but as the result of the sins of his fathers. As a slave in a far country, he might have become bitter or dis couraged. Yet, as a teenager, far from home and loved ones, he firmly resolved in his heart that he would not defile himself with the king’s delicacies. These young men, while they were going through the Baby lonian university, didn’t have to ac cept everything they heard. As far as eating heathen food, this was a serious issue. A portion of meat on the king’s table would first have been dedicated to some heathen god. Daniel refused to contaminate him self. This decision was both moral and spiritual. It showed his purpose and high principles. The source of Daniel’s victory, and the secret of the blessing attending him there after, can be summed up in the state ment, “Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself.” Without question, Daniel’s decision resulted from the knowledge he pos sessed of the Holy Scripture. There was neither rudeness nor fanaticism in Daniel’s stand for what he be lieved to be right. He merely politely requested to be excused from eating and drinking forbidden food. Daniel would not surrender his faith or re nounce the Word of his God. What an example he leaves for all believ ers! Let every young person be as sured that it does matter how you make decisions. Guard your deport ment at all times.
C hapter F our F or your interest , an entire com mentary on the book of Daniel can be purchased from the Biola Book Room here in La Mirada. In addition to the one the Lord allowed me to write, there are several others in which you’ll be interested. In verse nine of Daniel, chapter one, we see how the chief eunuch was convinced Daniel’s request was made in sincerity and upon the basis of principle. Of course, it was God who caused the man to react to Daniel in this favorable manner. Let us “dare to be a Daniel” and deter mine that we will be true to our Lord, whatever the cost or conse quences. Proverbs 16:7 tells us: "When a man’s ways please the Lord, He maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” At first the prince of the eunuchs was fearful for his own safety. He had a point. In essence, he was say ing to Daniel, “If you lose weight because of the change in diet, ap pearing pale and undernourished, it may cost me my life.” The eunuch was not a believer in the true God. As a pagan, he was only doing what could be expected. From verse 11-13, it seems that there was one by the name of Melzar who was given the oversight of Daniel and his companions. So, in the same courteous manner in which Daniel had answered the chief of the eunuchs, he now approaches the chief’s subordinate. This second ap peal is simply another sincere effort by Daniel to keep from sinning against his better knowledge (James 4:17). Daniel was certain that God would honor his stand for the right. The great care that Daniel and his friends exercised in doing the will of God shows how clearly they dis cerned the issues at hand. The trou ble with most of us is that we don’t 7
better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in his realm (1:20). Nebuchadnezzar had never witnessed such powers of perception or insight. We see the reason for this in such a verse as I Corinthians 1:25. The study of Daniel should give us courage to continue boldly in the way of life which God demands of His own (v. 21). We as God’s peo ple are in the midst of a world strongly opposed to the Lord and His people. It was no different in the days of Babylon. The modern Babylon of our time, prophesied in Revelation 17 and 18, would crush the Christians completely if this were possible. Our responsibilities are clear (II Cor. 6:17-18). Daniel lived to see the downfall of the very same empire by which he had been taken captive. Daniel’s God, who is our God, hasn’t changed, nor has His Word. Do not render obsolete the principles upon which the men of yester-years stood firm. Some of the precepts of modern psychology are poor pillows upon which to lay your weary head. The Bible admonishes the Christian to “Be not conformed to this world.” When Daniel faced a crisis in his moral life, he didn’t postpone the decision. He answered the temptation to do wrong with an immediate and emphatic “No!” It’s better to stand for the right prin ciple than to betray a Christian pro fession. So many give in with the slightest pressure from the World. The world needs men and women with courage and conviction. Can it be said of you today, “Are you will ing to ‘Dare to be a Daniel’ ” ? C hapter F ive I N the second chapter of Daniel, we find one of the most famous portions of the Bible. It contains a most amazihg prophecy. Really, it is a mountain peak of predictive truth. It depicts prophetically the develop
get started right. Daniel let it be known at the very beginning that he was a child of the true God. He had certain convictions and upon these he had to stand. The one who had custody over them gave them their request (v. 14). When the four young men were brought before the king after the ten days of testing, they were healthier physically and keener in tellectually than all the Babylonians and other Hebrew children (v. 15). What a beautiful lesson for us! We can see a demonstration here of both the grace and the power of God. It was nothing short of miraculous that Daniel and his friends flourished physically on such a meager diet. The test was so successful that Daniel’s requested diet was contin ued (v. 16). What a testimony to the power of Israel’s God (I Peter 4: 19)! The emphasis in the remaining verses of this first chapter concerns the progress of growth, especially in regard to Daniel. He was soon to demonstrate the calling and gifts of a prophet and his attainments were gifts from God. We must learn this same truth for ourselves. All we have has come from God. If we ever do become proud of our learning, we’ve fallen into the snare of wick edness. If the Lord has given you such gifts, get on your knees and thank God for them, making sure that they’re used for His glory! Let us never become puffed up with knowledge. Dedicate your mind to God. The wisdom and understanding God gave to Daniel was knowledge of a discerning type. In order to serve effectively it was essential to be instructed in the ways of the Babylonians. God gave him the greater gift of discernment so that he could distinguish things which differ. His progress of development was so noticeable that the king found Daniel and his companions ten times 8
cerned and afraid. This reminds us of the fact that power and wealth don’t in themselves produce peace of mind. Laxity and luxury aren’t conducive to tranquility. The man of the world has his portion in this life only. Assets actually become burdens. Whenever the scope of an Old Testament prophecy is measured by the words, “the latter days,” either in the Hebrew or Aramaic, the times of Messiah are always within the scope of that prophecy. We find this expression in Genesis 49:1, Deuter onomy 4:30; 31:29; Numbers 24: 14; Isaiah 2:2; Jeremiah 23:20 and many others. N ebuchadnezzar’s dream and its interpretation con tain a prophecy of the course of the nation of Israel until the second coming of the Messiah to set up His final kingdom. In Luke 21:24, Jesus speaks of “the times of the Gen tiles.” This expression isn’t found in Daniel; it was used only by our Lord. Don’t confuse “the times of the Gentiles” with “the fullness of the Gentiles” (Rom. 11:25). These two don’t mean the same thing. The fullness of the Gentiles ends with the removal of the Church from the earth to Heaven by our Lord before the Tribulation. The true Church will consist mainly of saved Gentiles, as well as all saved Jews during this dispensation. When the Church is removed from the earth, Jewish his tory will be resumed. The times of the Gentiles commenced with the Babylonian captivity under Nebu chadnezzar. They will conclude when Christ returns to the earth after the Tribulation to set up His millennial kingdom. Nebuchadnezzar awoke from sleep in a spirit of agitation and nervous ness. He summoned the magicians, enchanters, and sorcerers (v. 12). This made up the entire university of scholarly experts. Instead of tell ing them what the dream was all about, he insisted they tell him what 9
ment and decline of world powers through the rise and fall of king doms and empires. In the conquest of Judah by Babylon there was in troduced the first major Gentile world power. What was Israel’s fu ture? Did the destruction of Jeru salem and the deportation of the people seal the finality of that chosen nation ? God would now declare Him self as to this relationship. We pause to say just a few words on the subject of dreams. A dream is a vision in sleep to be distin guished from a vision when one is awake. Evil men who give their minds over to vile imaginations and sinful practices are spoken of by Jude as “filthy dreamers” (Jude 8). Then there are dreams which occur in sleep, the stimuli of which can either be physical or mental. Each of us has had his night’s sleep dis turbed at some time by a dream. Yet the dreams spoken of in Daniel’s prophecy are different from those we experience. In ancient times God had said, “If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream” (Num. 12:6). We see a similar truth stated in Job 33:14ff. This was the Lord’s silent revelation to men through a method chosen for reasons known only to Himself. Such meth ods were used before the written revelation of God, the Bible, was completely given. This is not true today. We have the Scriptures for our guidance. Dreams in our day are not the result of inspiration but rather of physical, emotional, or psy chological causes. Let us look at the actual text. With the overthrow of Jerusalem, Nebuchadnezzar was elevated to the lofty position of the world’s greatest ruler. Yet, his conquest didn’t bring him peace of mind. He was trou bled about the future, of his empire. This was the cause of his dream which made him all the more con
17 to 19 we see the exercise of prayer. Daniel proceeded at once to call on his companions to get on their knees in intercession as they brought the matter before the Lord. The men of Babylon had been marked by spiritual poverty and panic. The men of God were known by prudence and prayer. These men saw no worth in themselves. They cast themselves upon the God of mercy. In prayer meetings such as this history has been made. We need to be reminded that prayer is essen tial to understanding spiritual truth (Jer. 33:3). Daniel requested of God the unknown secret of the king’s dream along with its interpretation (v. 19 to 23). God granted the re quest. Daniel’s praise commenced with the desire that the Lord’s name should be eternally blessed. Again and again Daniel acknowledged di vine omniscience. This ded icated young man expressed thanks be cause his petition was heard and an swered. He didn’t ask for himself; he was a selfless individual. One of the lessons we all might learn from this section is that though God stands ready to reveal the deep things to His children, He refuses to reveal Himself just to any casual passerby. We must have a spiritual attitude toward God because “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God.” Verses 24 to 30 show Daniel’s spirit; how humble he was! He was prepared to appear before Nebu chadnezzar. The royal executioner was looking for credit for himself. Daniel on the other hand displayed dignity and humility. He purposely disavowed any ability of his own, pointing Nebuchadnezzar to the one true God who revealed the unknown. Daniel was like Joseph in a similar situation (Gen. 41:16). Both admit ted to human weakness and pointed to God as the Revealer of prophetic secrets. Too frequently we miss op portunities to glorify God. We dis
the dream was, and then to interpret what it meant. It was a double re sponsibility. This tyrannical and un reasonable demand seems almost de liberate. It seems as though he want ed to expose and to dispose of any who were not authentic in their duties and privileges. The king’s de mand is irrevocable. His mind is made up. His Chaldean leaders ap pealed for leniency. They felt the king was demanding the impossible (v. 10). They confessed their own limitations. Because of this, the king was angry. Verses 12 and 13 show his determination to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. The men had been trained to interpret mysteries, and they now turn out to be noth ing but frauds. Similarly, those of us who name Christ’s name should be sure that we declare, with au thority, the whole counsel of God, as revealed in His Word, the Bible. If you fail to do this, don’t be sur prised if the people hold you in con tempt. This decree of godless Nebuchad nezzar could well have been Satan’s plot to destroy Daniel (v. 13). There was to be a mass execution. The real goal seemed to be the extermination of Daniel and his friends. Daniel was not yet summoned before the king to have a chance to interpret the dream. Nevertheless, a t th is point, he was sentenced to die. In our subsequent message we can see what transpired. C hapter S ix I n D aniel 2:14 we find the young prophet Daniel faced with an im portant decision. There was not a minute to be lost. His determination showed the marks of a man of God. Condemned to death, he approached the chief executioner asking for a means to plead his case before the king who was still desirous of hav ing his dream interpreted. A stay of execution was granted. In verses 10
cover some little truth in the Bible that no one had previously brought to our attention. Then we go about speaking as though we wrote it. When will we mortals display any wisdom of our own so that we give God the glory and honor which are due Him? Many years ago, when I first be gan in the ministry, I preached fre quently from the book of Romans. Sometimes to this book alone I went for my texts. My wife frequently accompanied me on speaking engage ments. One evening I'd finished preaching from Romans and asked her on the way home, “Honey, what did you think of the message to night?” She replied helpfully, “I’m beginning to feel that you think you wrote the book of Romans!” That was a real eye-opener to me. Here we find Daniel a humble man of God giving the Lord all the glory. How difficult it is to escape the sin of intellectual pride. Don’t forget that the sin of intellectual pride began with the devil. Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. What an excellent ex ample is given to us by Daniel.
C hapter S even I T WAS NO wonder King Nebuchad nezzar’s dream troubled him. None of his soothsayers, magicians, as trologers and scholars could tell him what it was, much less interpret it for him. Daniel came and asked for the privilege. With his three com panions he kneeled before God for the necessary wisdom. In 2:31 to 35 the ruler is told his vision. It was of a great image whose head was of fine gold, breast and arms of silver, belly and thighs of brass, legs of iron, and feet part iron and part clay. Then there was a stone cut out without hands which struck the image on the feet and destroyed it. The iron, clay, brass, silver, and gold broke into pieces and became like the chaff of summer which the wind carries away. The king admit ted this was his dream. The impres sive statue did not move. The climax of the dream reveals the stone smit ing the image. The stone then grows to such gigantic proportion that it becomes a huge mountain filling the entire earth. What a masterpiece of the divine revelation! The king made no attempt to correct or to contra dict Daniel on any point. One can imagine the evil ruler’s emotion as he listened to Daniel. He was actu ally hearing a voice from another world. The God of Heaven was speaking to him. In verses 37 to 45 Daniel com mences his definition of the details. The statue represented a succession of kingdoms until Messiah should come. In your Bible underline the word “kingdom” because this is what the dream is all about. “Thou art this head of gold.” This is the evi dence of the prophecy Isaiah wrote (14:4). The king and the kingdom are associated tog e th e r. Daniel points out the absolute sovereignty of God in all of these kingdoms. They all will conclude with the Lord taking them from man and finally 11
Biola student Dave Leeman Is music director at Redeemer Covenant Church In Downey, Cs'ifornla.
setting up His own perfect kingdom on earth. The only thing said here about the second kingdom was that it was to be inferior to Nebuchadnezzar’s. This is a striking feature with the transition from gold to silver, from silver to bronze, from bronze to iron, and finally to iron mixed with clay. Note the decrease in worth and weight. The statue could not stand forever because it had a weak and insecure foundation. No Gentile pow er would ever be strong enough to control the world’s growing rebel lious population. The second kingdom represents the Medes and Persians. This is one realm in actuality. The third king dom is identified by name as Greece (Dan. 8:21; 11:2). Greece and Macedonia were combined with the latter ruled over by Alexander the Great and four successors after his death. The fourth kingdom is not identified by Daniel, nor does it bear a name elsewhere in Scripture. Its distinctive feature is strength which is not moral or religious. It is ruth lessly destructive in quality (2:40). This we understand to be a picture of Rome. Rome had the reputation of crushing all opposition and re sistance with an iron heel. When our Lord was born in Bethlehem, the tramp of Rome’s legions was heard as well as felt throughout the known world (Luke 2:1). For almost 500 years after the death of our Sav iour, Rome’s power was known by all. The implied ten toes suggest a kingdom in parts. This in turn cor responds to the ten hours of Revela- tian 17:12. What is the clay (v. 43) ? It is mankind in general in contrast to one particular race or nation. Our next study will be the latter part of this very interesting and informative prophecy. C hapter E ight A s we study the image of Daniel, in regard to the fourth king- 12
dom, we have to guard against the wrong conclusion that the ten-toed condition has been reached at some point in past history. It’s true that the Roman Empire was divided into several different kingdoms. (Few agree on the exact number.) There was neither unity nor union between them. They fought among them selves These divisions were spread out over a period of several cen turies. Here in Daniel the picture shows them existing at one time, formed into one confederation. This last form of Gentile world power exists when the Stone crushes the image (w. 44-45). This portion is clearly the eschatological interpreta tion of the dream. This begins the Messianic kingdom on earth. It is truly prophetic beyond our day. God’s kingdom shall never be de stroyed (Rev. 11:15). The Stone in the dream is none other than our Lord Jesus Christ. This is one of the many figures of speech used for Him in Scripture. The stone is of supernatural origin (vv. 34, 35) “cut out without hands.” This shows Christ’s miraculous con ception and virgin birth (Isa. 28: 16). Our Lord Himself said, “Who soever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to pow der” (Matt. 21:44). The Stone has A small boy’s reason for David’s vic tory over Goliath — “because it was two against one — David and God against Goliath.” When we worry about TOMORROW, we fail in our devotion to TODAY’S duties and so spoil BOTH days. LORD JESUS, THOU ART COMING TO BE MY KING ONE DAY, I OFTEN FEEL LIKE RUNNING TO MEET THEE ON THE WAY.
political and false religious empires are so closely united that they are both called “Babylon.” The political force eventually destroys the ecclesi astical system (Rev. 17:15-18). It is then finally destroyed at the re turn of our Lord Jesus Christ. It will be no surprise to me if the word “Roman” is eventually dropped entirely, and headquarters are re moved from Italy all together. It will be no surprise if an announce ment that a new city of Babylon is to be built where ecclesiastical Rome will make her headquarters. When my Lord returns to this earth, and I expect to be with Him, He will smite the image at its feet. In the ten toes there will be a re alignment of nations forming the fourth world empire. Babylon is to experience a destruction as sudden and complete as that of Sodom and Gomorrha, from which there will be no escape. The details of this dream produced a profound effect upon Nebuchad nezzar (w. 46 to 49). He was im pressed both with Daniel and with Daniel’s God. In the king’s eyes, Daniel had accomplished a mighty task. Daniel’s heart was pure in the matter. His only destire was for the glory of his God. While the king’s profession was that of a man who believed in many gods, he had come to see the importance of Daniel’s God. There was much the king was yet to learn about Daniel’s God. Daniel received gifts, honor and power according to verse 48. He shared these with his three friends. Such a promotion was not unreasonable. While the particular duties of Daniel’s office are not ex plained, we know that he remained true to God. Daniel never sought nor asked anything for himself. What an encouraging testimony to read of a man like Daniel! May these thoughts concerning this fas cinating event and prophecy be a challenge to each of our hearts. 13
not yet fallen upon the image, nor will it until world power is vested in the masses of humanity as repre sented in the whole image. Judg ment is not limited to the legs and toes of the image. The rule at the end of the age, before Christ re turns, will be democratic, a govern ment by the people. While a demo cratic government may appear to be the soundest system, it will prove to be a total failure. I am a loyal American; don’t misunderstand. I’ll take our form of government any time. I’m merely giving you what the Word of God teaches. All races, religious and rationalizations are clamoring today for hearing. They insist upon their “rights.” Every body wants to be heard. Lawlessness abounds everywhere. America serves as a classic example of one nation which has become a “melting pot” for the peoples of all nations. But our democratic form of government is doomed to crumble, along with every other form of rule in the world; it must give way to the ruler- ship of God. The consummation of the times of the Gentiles will be manifest at the end of the great Tribulation when Jesus Christ comes back to this earth. The final form of power at that time is really an outgrowth or a re-development of the fourth em pire. From out of the smolderings of Rome’s power there will be a gradual rising of influence religious, intellectual, and political. While re lated to the head of gold, it goes back far beyond the time of Nebu chadnezzar to a man by the name of Nimrod (Gen. 10:10). The begin ning of his kingdom was Babel. The times of the Gentiles commenced with Nebuchadnezzar but the king dom of Babylon pre-dates him. The system is revived and called Baby lon the Great (Rev. 17:5). This sys tem has taken the lead in recent years in seeking to form a world church as the ecumenical goal. The
walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation [or manner of living], in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” Now some people remind us man is like the steamboat which always toots the loudest when it’s in a fog. Confusion reigns supreme in the minds of many would-be coun selors. This is the price men pay for substituting human reason for the authority of the Bible. Psychologi cal adjustment isn’t enough to com municate satisfying answers to life’s most serious questions. Something more is needed. It’s a case of the blind leading the blind when they don’t point men and women to the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible does more than recognize that man has a need. It testifies to the reason for that need. The Bible never indulges in back-slapping, seeking to inflate one with a sense of self-importance. God tells the truths about us. This forever sets the Word of God apart from all other books. Without Christ as personal Saviour, an individual is dead in trespasses and sins. We don’t like to face the facts, especially when they’re so forcefully present ed to us. Pain-killing drugs can cre ate greater ease but not effect a cure. So with man’s explanations of his own problems and needs. A body without physical life is said to be dead. If God’s life is not infused and energized in a spiritual manner, as far as intellect, emotions and will are concerned, a person is spiritually dead. Anything less than this spiritual experience abandons us to a life of unsatisfied spiritual hunger. The word “trespass” refers to a misdeed of falling down when a per son should stand upright. “Sin”
IN TIMES LIKE THESE
by Dr. Lloyd T. Anderson, Biola Tour Teacher and Pastor of Bethany Baptist Church of West Covina, Calif.
C hapter O ne T here is assurance in the Bible that as believers we can live a vic torious life in the Lord. In Ephe sians 2:1-10 we have a tremendous passage, bearing on the subject of our relationship to Jesus Christ. This should be studied and appreci ated by every child of God. This sec tion contains the important truth that it is by grace that we are saved through faith. Today crime and violence are on the upsweep. Days of social revo lution are full upon us. The spirit ual temperature across the whole land is beginning to decrease in a very sizable fashion. Ethical values are being scoffed at. by the people and materialism is a god to multi tudes. Holiness, truth and integrity are forgotten concepts. People live beyond their means as status is sought. Nuclear destruction raises its ugly head, showing its destructive fangs. No wonder civilization is near the breaking point. Only God has the answer. Man needs a Saviour. The Lord Jesus Christ is God’s per fect provision for every need. Verses 1-3 in this passage show our spiritual condition before salva tion : “Wherein in time past ye 14
izing he is a sinner, and accepting by faith God’s free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. This is the theme of the Bible, as well as the passage for our consideration in Ephesians 2. The Lord has a tre mendous future in store for the be liever. He has redeemed us not only to satisfy His love, but also, in the future ages to put on exhibition that which grace has wrought (v. 7). Beginning with verse 10, we find God's divine method. The word “workmanship” represents “a mas terpiece." This would be impossible apart from the Saviour! There is no self-reform or moral uplift involved at all. As converted men and women, we have the spiritual possibility of living a surrendered, victorious and triumphant Christian life. Remem ber you cannot be a Christian unless you have been born again. God has to impart new life through faith. The New York Times reported that a man recently returned to his home in Wales after having lived in Manhattan for 34 years. He had come to the United States to find employment. In due time his letters to the family in Wales stopped. After seven years, he was declared legally dead. His wife remarried. When he went back to his home land, he discovered he had thirteen grandchildren and eleven g re a t grandchildren. Thus, a dead man re turned home legally dead, but very much physically alive. You see, there’s quite a difference between being dead and being legally dead. Triumphant Christian living begins with an understanding of the fact that every believer is, in the sight of God, legally dead. He has life only in Jesus Christ (Rom. 6:1-8). Here we see the believer identified with Christ. So much today is spir itual defeat at the hands of sin. The normal Christian life can be victori ous and triumphant. Spiritual defeat in the life of the believer is not a necessity. How sad that it’s so rou- 15
means missing the mark or the standard of God for acceptance. An unbelieving man who has never ac cepted Christ as his Saviour, may be very intelligent, having reached the zenith of all learning and under standing, but as far as God is con cerned, if he’s never accepted Jesus Christ, he is just as lost and dead spiritually as the man who exists on Skid Row. • In verse 2, the word “walked” is used of one’s manner of living and behavior. The world’s s tand a rd s , morality, ambitions, attitudes, as pirations and fashions dominate his activities apart from Christ. Take away these things, and he’ll have ab solutely nothing left. On the other hand, let this man come to the Lord in simple faith and he’s immediately introduced to a whole new pattern of living. His life takes on new meaning as he has a natural desire to live for eternity. Men without Christ live under the devil’s authori ty (v. 3). The devil is described as energizing the children of disobedi ence. This has reference to all un believing people. An elderly saint testified that it had taken him 40 years to learn three very simple things: that he couldn’t do anything to save himself; that God did not expect him to; and that Jesus Christ had done every thing already that needed to be done on the Cross. You get a hold of those three things and you’ll have a rich spiritual treasure. In addition to God’s love, we have His mercy, grace and power. Each one is infinite and belongs to the Lord. They are all sufficient for the needs of the whole world. Verses 7 to 9 give us the won derful and glorious plan of the Lord for our own hearts and lives. It will be the basis for our next study to gether. C hapter Two T here is no g reater knowledge any one can possess than th a t of real
tine for the majority! God has made every provision for us to be triumph ant in Christ. We don’t need to be so desperately weak. All of the re sources of God’s life are placed at the disposal of each child of His. Yet we fail in prayer, in witnessing to other people, and in consistently reading the Bible. We have hearts grown cold toward the Lord and His church. No one in the world is more miserable than such a person. There may be no doubt about their salva tion, but they experience so little in the way of vanquishing the enemy of sin and Satan. In Romans 6:1 to 3, Paul tells us how the believer is led into the truth of identification with Christ. Paul’s was not only an emotional answer, but also one filled with wonder. The believer isn’t dead to sins or to sin ning. We don’t become sinlessly per fect. The Bible doesn’t teach any thing of the kind. The law of sin in the life of the believer is the sin nature within him . In becoming Christians, we died in Christ to the old life. We have since been resur rected in Christ to live a new life. The Lord was our substitute. Death always involves a separation, wheth er spiritual or physical. The Mosaic law of the Old Testament command ments, when broken, demanded death. Christ was made the curse for the sinner when He went to the Cross. At Calvary, He met in Him self all of the demands of a broken law and a holy God. A person who dies is dead to the former sphere of his life. He might have been plagued by debts all his life, but when he dies these debts no longer bother him personally. Yes, death marks a separation from all controls, authority, obligation, and masteries of the former sphere in which we lived. So, when the believ er is declared to be legally dead in Christ, the mastery of the old nature of sin over his life ho longer is binding upon him. Now, we may not 16
feel dead, or act as if we’re dead, but that doesn’t change the legal or spiritual aspect of it. How can we live any longer in sin’s control ? Verse 4 of this chapter shows us the triumphant, victorious, surrendered Christian life through the spiritual resurrection. Our baptism symbolizes this entombment. We must not mis take the meaning of the passage. This is not talking about physical resurrection. It is spiritual and takes place the moment you believe in Jesus Christ. This means that we can live victoriously in Jesus Christ. In verses 5 to 10, the key to tri umphant living is to be found in the believer’s complete surrender of him self and all he possesses to the sov ereign mastery of Jesus Christ. What a wonderful thing it is to be a believer in the Lord through faith in His finished atoning work at Cal vary! May this be real in each of our hearts. jjplip maim Rfisjt ] jilts :JIBB p . yap — *, 'i JB f l i p M h . f
Dr. Israel Carmona (standing) and Dr. James Henry plan 1971 tours to the Holy Land and Europe.
life (Rom. 6 :4); of walking honest ly (Rom. 13:13); of walking in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16); of walk ing worthy of God’s vocation (Eph. 4 :1 ) ; of walking in love (Eph. 5 :2 ) ; of walking as the children of light (Eph. 5 :8 ); of walking worthy of the Lord (Col, 1:10); of walking in wisdom (Col. 4 :5 ); and of walking worthy of God (I Thess. 2:12). God is obviously concerned about the walk of the Christian. By this we mean the whole conduct we follow as we live our daily lives. Conduct is a general term for the total believer. Walking implies progress, moving ahead with Christ. As born again Christians now belonging to Him, we are to imitate God. God is In finitely loving, by which He com municates Himself to mankind. The Lord doesn’t call an unbeliever to imitate His love. The fact is, the human heart without Jesus Christ cannot produce divine love; it can only experience it. Those who name the name of Christ must become channels through whom the love of God is able to flow to the lives of others (Rom. 5:5). Ephesians 5:2 gives us God’s di vine example. Love motivated the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. It’s sad to see so much bickering, envy, gossiping, backbiting, trouble and difficulty that there is among Chris tian people. This ought not to be. One of the hallmarks of our salva tion should be love. It covers a multi tude of sins. Love is never happy when someone else gets into trouble, no matter who it is. It’s too easy to become so self-satisfied that we’re little concerned about the needs of people. A Christian is one who truly puts love first in his life. We’re to walk in the light of God (Eph. 5:3-18). Light is a symbol of God’s nature. He is infinitely holy. Light is also a wonderful symbol of His Word. To “walk in the light” simply means to order your life by the standards of God’s holiness and truth. The moral standards of the 17
C hapter T hree I T IS THROUGH the Spirit of God that an individual is born again. There’s a whole new vista opened up for the child of God. We are exhort ed to identify ourselves with the Lord so that we can experience spir itual victory instead of spiritual de feat. In Romans 6:11, we find the fact that the believer is to respond to the Lord in this life of spiritual surrender as we consider ourselves to be dead unto sin, “but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” We have died unto the old life, and are now resurrected to new life in Christ Jesus. In verses 12 and 13 Paul makes it crystal-clear that sin is not to reign or to rule in our bodies. We’re not to yield our bodies as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin. The Holy Spirit, the moment you believe in Christ, comes to take up His abode to give us the enablement for vic tory each day. This comes from a total yieldness of all that we are to the Saviour. He must have full con trol of us. This means our intellect, emotions, and will are to be placed in the unconditional control of the Holy Spirit. In Ephesians 5:1 to 18, there is a tremendous passage showing how we are exhorted to be very careful about the way we live before the people of the world. It’s been well said that a man’s Sunday-self and his weekday- self are like the two halves of a round-trip ticket. That is one is not good if either one is detached. There needs to be a consistent, attractive, and yet uncompromising Christian life. We need no revision of the standards for C h ris tian living. They’re quite fixed and clearly taught in the Word of God. What we need are people who, through the power of the Holy Spirit, put these essen tials into practical focus. We’re to be walking in the love of God as Christians. The New T estam en t speaks about walking in newness of
pagan world in Paul’s day were very low. Adultery, fornication and open sin were the order of the day. This refers to any illicit sex life, which was common among even the elite in the Greek and Roman world. The Christian was to be an example be cause he didn’t live in the filth and degradation of the world. We’re liv ing in a similar hour right now. What can be said of Paul’s day should certainly be said of ours. We are to live circumspectly. We’re to take heed to measure up our steps very accurately, making sure they’re exactly ordered by the Word of God (v. 15). This tremendous hour is a day of glorious opportunity for be lievers to win people to Jesus Christ. Let’s back up what we’re doing by a life that is circumspect, pure, true and lived only and wholly unto Jesus Christ. C hapter F our T here is absolutely no hope for man apart from a personal knowl edge of the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour. Once having received Him, we can live victoriously as we are identified with Him in a very real and wonderful manner. It is incum bent upon us to be very careful of our testimony. We need to walk cir cumspectly, filled with the Holy Spir it (Eph. 5:18). More than the new versions of the Bible, we need re vised Christians, patterning their lives after the clear-cut teaching of Scripture. In Ephesians 5:15-17 Paul re minds us to walk circumspectly. We must redeem the time for the days are evil. We must take heed to meas ure our steps very accurately accord ing to the Word of God. To “redeem” in verse 16 means to purchase for oneself. New opportunities face the Christian every day. If not used, they’ll pass us by. Lost opportuni ties can be a source of deep regret 18
for us. Our lives are to be character ized by real perception concerning the will of God as well as complete surrender to the Lordship of Christ. In verse 18, to be “drunk with wine” means to be under the control of some outside power. We are com manded rather to be “filled with the Spirit.” We are to be under His control, surrendering to His authori ty and will. This is not by some mysterious emotional experience. We cannot be dominated by sin and ex perience spiritual power at the same time. All known transgression must be confessed (I John 1:9). This must be sincere, unconditional and without reservation. The Spirit of God maintains a complete respect for the human will. He doesn’t force His control on anyone. He patiently waits for us to obey God’s Word. Walking in God’s love and light is vital to spiritual experience and grow th. This is life the Lord intends for every child of God. Dwight L. Moody pointed out, “There are two ways of being united: frozen together or melted together.” What we need is to be united in brotherly love. The devil is always willing for a person to profess Christianity as long as he doesn’t practice it. These may easily be the last days of the New Testament Church be fore Christ comes to receive us un to Himself. There is a life of joy and happiness bringing us freedom from the worrisome things of life (Matt. 6:25-34). This should characterize every believer in the Lord. Anxiety and care, hurry and worry, are God dishonoring works of the flesh. Christ gives rest from all of these. We’re careful fo r no th ing and prayerful in everything. A medical doctor declared, “Blessed is the man who is too busy to worry in the day time and too sleepy to worry at night.” Vance Havner rightly ob served, “Worry, like a rocking chair, will give you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.” ThePage 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36-37
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