Dr. S. Lewis Johnson supplements his exposition of the Revelation to John the Apostle by expounding the vision of the beasts by the Prophet Daniel in the Old Testament. This first part reveals God's perspective of human history.
[Message] We are still continuing the exposition of the Book of Revelation but since, for those of you who have not been here, we have reached chapter 13 in the exposition of that book I thought it would be most useful if we refreshed our minds concerning Daniel chapter 7 because it bears very directly on the things that are said in chapter 13. You may remember last week when we finished chapter 12 the beast, or the dragon, was in view. And then chapter 13 begins,
“And he, (that is the dragon) stood on the sand of the seashore, and saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names.”
Now, to understand Revelation chapter 13 it really is essential that we have an acquaintance with Daniel chapter 7. In fact, it would be even more helpful if we understand also Daniel chapter 8. But nevertheless, the understanding of chapter 7 will help us immensely in understanding chapter 8. So we’re devoting two Sundays to Daniel chapter 7. Today we will look at Daniel’s visions and then next Sunday, the Lord willing, we will look at the interpretation of the visions before we turn back to revelation chapter 13 and look at John’s further view of the future. So chapter 7 of the Book of Daniel verse 1 through verse 14 is our Scripture reading for today. Daniel writes,
“In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel saw a dream and visions in his head upon his mind as he lay on his bed: then he wrote the dream, and related the following summary of it. Daniel said, I was looking in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea. And four great beasts were coming up from the sea, different from another. The first was like a lion, and had the wings of an eagle: I kept looking until its wings were plucked, and it was lifted up from the ground, and made stand on two feet like a man, and a human mind also was given to it. And behold another beast, a second one, resembling a bear, and it was raised up on one side, and three ribs were in its mouth between its teeth: and thus they said to it, Arise, devour much meat. After this I kept looking, and behold another one, like a leopard, which had on its back of it four wings of a bird; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it. After this I kept looking in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrifying, and extremely strong; and it had large iron teeth: it devoured and crushed and trampled down the remainder with its feet: and it was different from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. While I was contemplating the horns, behold another horn, a little one came up among them and three of the first horns were pulled out by the roots before it: and, behold, this horn possessed eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth uttering great boasts I kept looking and until thrones were set up, and the Ancient of days took his seat, his vesture was like white snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: and his throne was ablaze with flames, its his wheels were a burning fire. A river of fire was flowing and coming out from before him thousands upon thousands were attending him, and myriads upon myriads were standing before him:”
One notes, as we read this that there is some similarity with chapter 5 of the Book of Revelation, of chapters 4 and 5 of which we have one vision of our Lord upon the throne and the angelic hosts gathered around. The prophet continues,
“The court sat, and the books were opened. Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words, which the horn was speaking: I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed, and given to the burning fire. As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away: but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time. I kept looking in the night visions, and, behold, with the clouds of heaven one like the Son of man was coming.”
Incidentally notice he says, “One like a son of man was coming.” The term son of man in the Old Testament generally refers simply to a man. But this is put in words to suggest this is more than just a man. “One like a son of man,” that is a true man but nevertheless there is more than simply a person possessed of humanity.
“And he came up to the Ancient of days, and was presented before him and to him was given dominion, glory, and a kingdom, but all the peoples, nations, and men of every language, might serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which will not pass away, and his kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.”
Magnificent revelation, let’s bow together in word of prayer.
[Prayer] Father, we thank thee for the word of God and for the insight that thou hast given to us through the word, in the spirit, concerning the things that are to come. We thank thee for the prophet and for the usefulness that he has been in enlightening the people of God with the visions that thou didst give to him when he was upon his bed at night. And we ask, Lord, that thou would give us understanding and enable us to profit from the things that we read and ponder. May we be submissive, Lord, to all of the truth that thou hast given to us in Holy Scripture.
We thank thee for the presence of the Holy Spirit within us who guides, and directs us, and enables us to submit to the truth in our minds, and in our hearts, and our lives. We ask, Oh God, for that spirit of submission, which will bring glory to thy name. We thank thee for the privilege, and the preaching of thy word, and pray thy blessing upon our time today together, upon the singing, upon the ministry of the Word for Jesus sake. Amen.
[Message] The subject for today is “Daniel and the Beasts” and this is the first of the two messages on Daniel chapter 7. It is a chapter that we could spend a half a dozen messages on and not exhaust it, of course, but that isn’t our opportunity so we have to do it as best we can. If you’ve been reading the papers lately or any of the periodicals you will have noticed that Dr. Francis Fukuyama, who is the Deputy Director of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff, has written a very significant article regarded by many political philosophers as being extremely significant in the periodical The National Interest. And in it he’s made the startling suggestion that history may have come to an end.
Now, of course, the does not mean history in every since, but history in the since of political philosophies. He has suggested that the end of history, as he is using the term, is the endpoint of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universilization of western liberal democracy as the final form of human government. A remarkable position no doubt brought about because of the fact that in our day, particularly the last part of the 1980s, we’ve seen remarkable changes in the Soviet Union, remarkable changes in Eastern Europe, and therefore the tendency is for individuals to think that we finally are reaching some form of political and economic peace.
I noticed that this has been picked up by lots of people and some have pointed out, as this past week in the Wall Street Journal there was a lengthy article or two written by more than one person, presented as one feature, and the title was, “As History Ends, Is Everything Getting Nicer?” And the point is that everything is not getting nicer, that nationalism has become a very very serious problem, according to the authors. And the very things that you might think would suggest that history is coming to an end are not really happening as some would like for them to happen. I mention this only not to debate the point. I’m not able to debate the point on the level that Dr. Fukuyama and others will debate the point.
But when I look at the word of God and ask the question, “What does the future hold?” It quite obvious that history has not come to an end, that the final form of human world government is not a liberal democracy and many of us wouldn’t necessarily want that any. But still it has not come to an end and it will not come to an end because the final form of human government is a divine monarchy, which it seems to me is the finest form of government that one could possibly have and that form of government is the hope of the word of God. And our Lord Jesus Christ, as the King, affords us reason for consolation and comfort in anticipation as we look into the future. If the final form of human government were a liberal democracy, then I’m afraid I would not get a whole lot of consolation and comfort from that, particularly as we look about us.
Now, is there any way for wayward stumbling man to know? Well, of course, if he looks at it from the standpoint of human wisdom there is no way for us to know. Dr. Fukuyama is just like every one of us. He’s a person who cannot look into the future with any sense of certainty. But if an individual stands upon the great principle that the Scriptures are the word of God then there is some reason for hope and consolation. In fact, we know, that is we believing individuals, we know that God knows the future and only God knows the future. In fact, that’s what the Prophet Isaiah tells us so beautifully in the forty-sixth chapter of his prophecy. He says,
“Remember this and be assured, recall it to mind, you transgressors. Remember the former things long past: for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that have not been done, saying, My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all my good pleasure: (He will not be frustrated in his purpose and he knows his purposes, he knows the end from the beginning.) Calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my purpose from a far country: yea, truly I have spoken, truly I will bring it to pass; I have planned it, surly I will do it.”
I read in one of the commentaries on the Book of Daniel, one of the expositors used the illustration of the building of a tunnel through a mountain in Colorado. And in Colorado, the men who were building the tunnel began from both sides of the mountain, and they constructed their tunnel and they were astonished that when they reached each other the tunnel was only about an inch off. And they thought that was great accomplishment. Well, of course, it is a great accomplishment for human technology. But I only say this, if God had built the tunnel they would have matched perfectly. That’s the difference between human technology and divine technology. We have great technology, but our space scientists still have troubles and problems and they always will.
Now, chapter 7 of the Book of Daniel has been called the most comprehensive and detailed prophecy of future events to be found anywhere in the Old Testament. That’s quite a claim. Whether it’s true or not is not important, it surly is one of the great chapters that has to do with future events. It concludes the first major section of the Book of Daniel having to do with the nations and the world. In fact, when you read the Book of Daniel, you’ll be reading along in the Hebrew text and when you come to chapter 2 and verse 4 you will find that the language moves from Hebrew to Aramaic. And beginning at the fourth verse of the second chapter and on through the chapters through chapter 7, the language of the Book of Daniel is not Hebrew it’s Aramaic, but then in chapter 8 Hebrew resumes. It’s very fitting because, you see, those sections of the book are the sections of the book that relate primarily to the gentiles. And it’s so fitting that the language should be the language of the gentiles of Daniel’s day. But the last chapters, which have to do primarily with Israel, are written in the language that is especially suitable for the nation Israel.
Now, you know of course as you read Daniel, there is a great vision in chapter 2 given to Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, that if you read it you can never forget it. Even children in the Sunday school reading that teach will not forget that great vision. You will remember, I’ll remind you in case you’ve forgotten, that this giant vision of a figure that Daniel saw was constructed of four metals, m-e-t-a-l-s. Southerners have difficulty with some words, like iron. I cannot pronounce that. But anyway, four metals: gold, the head of gold, silver, the breast of silver, bronze, the body and the thigh parts of bronze, and then the iron and clay of the legs and toes, or feet. That vision was Nebuchadnezzar’s vision, which Daniel by the grace of God was able to interpret.
In chapter 7, in the section that we have read, Daniel is given visions in his mind as he lay on his bed and he perceives in his visions four beasts: one like a lion, one like a bear, one like a leopard, and one none descript, cannot be described. It’s obvious as you read this book that these are related, that is the vision of chapter 2, the vision of chapter 7. There are some differences that are significant. Chapter 2 is the vision that this given to a pagan king. Chapter 7 contains a vision that is given to a prophet.
But let me point out something. You know in Believers Chapel we don’t go much for ceremony and we don’t go much for attaching titles to people. No one in the ministry here likes to be called, “The Pastor”. And in fact, this morning I came in and there was an envelope on the desk that I usually come in to see Sunday morning and it was an article, a letter that was addressed to, “The Pastor”, and it was put on my desk. And I didn’t see Mrs. Ray there so I didn’t say anything. That’s to a nondescript person as far as Believers Chapel is concerned there is no “The Pastor” because when you speak of “The Pastor” you’re talking about normally a person who holds an office of pastor.
There is no such person in this church who holds the office of pastor teacher. There is the gift of pastor teacher, a spiritual gift. There is the gift of teaching and more than one, we believe, has the gift of teaching. I speak for those other men. They’ll have to speak for me. But I know others in this congregation who have gifts of teaching. But the office of pastor teacher, and going with it an administrative responsibility, does not exist here. Do you know why? Because it doesn’t exist in the Bible. It’s not there. But we are so used to the terminology of the world, of the church, that we use it. I don’t like it. Daniel is called a prophet.
Now, you may think that is an office, that he held a spiritual office, that Daniel would be a cleric and that in his day when he traveled from one place to another he would a clerical discount. You know? [Laughter] But listen, Daniel was a lay executive. That’s what he was. He had the gift of prophecy but he was lay executive. He was a not a person who held spiritual office. He had a spiritual gift, but he carried on the work that a lay executive would carry on. So in the second chapter the pagan king is given his vision, in chapter 7 the prophet of God a lay executive. It’s amazing to me that people in the ministry don’t like that. Why? Do we want people to speak of us as something out of the ordinary? I don’t. I think there are many also who don’t want to either but they’re forced into the mold over the years.
Chapter 2 is a vision of a great image, chapter 7, of four great beasts. One is outward and human, portraying history as man views it. He looks at human history and he thinks of the great accomplishments of man. And today we have that tendency still with us, the great accomplishments of human technology. In case of chapter 7, we have the history of the future as viewed by God and instead of seeing a great, impressive, magnificent picture that Nebuchadnezzar saw, what we see is four wild beasts: a lion, a bear, a leopard, and then one that cannot even be described. So, wild ferocious beasts symbolize God’s view of human beings on the face of this earth.
Chapter 2 lets us know that at the conclusion of these four great world empires there will come on final one, pictured by the stone cut out without hands, which strikes the great image upon it’s feet, destroys it and it all falls down in one great pile and the wind carries it away like the wind on a threshing floor, blowing away everything. But the stone, which struck the image, becomes a great mountain that fills the whole of the earth. And Daniel says, “The stone describes the everlasting kingdom of the one who is ‘the stone’, ‘the rock’, our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Now, there is one thing that we have in chapter 7 that chapter 2 did not give us and that is chapter 7, in its elucidation, in its further expansion of the four great empires, gives us an insight into the individual who will be the ruler of the final great world empire. The beast, we sometimes call him the antichrist, but he’s the beast. He’s the little horn of Daniel chapter 7. In Daniel chapter 2 there are ten toes of the foot suggesting, of course, the ten kingdoms that will be part of the final world empire. And in chapter 7 we have the ten horns that correspond. But the little horn that grows up and destroys three of the horns, taking them out by their roots from their positions, is something unique to chapter 7. Now, when we think of that we’ll see in chapter 13 of the Book of Revelation some further details concerning the one who is represented by the little horn.
But let’s turn now to Daniel chapter 7. We’ll just give a brief overview. We don’t have time to expound it in its fullness. The first three verse of chapter 7 give us something of an introduction. They tell us the time of the vision. It was sixty years, approximately, after Nebuchadnezzar’s vision of the image, roughly 553-555 B.C. The four winds of the heavens, which Daniel sees stirring up the great sea, suggest a great tempest of God’s doing. The great sea is not identified if it’s a reference to any particular sea. Obviously, it is a symbolic expression. It’s a reference to the Mediterranean around which all of these great empires were set, but it’s possible it’s only a symbolic reference. The sea in Scripture, in more than one place, is frequently symbolical of the peoples of the earth because of the waves that move back and forth, the storms, the floods characteristic of human nature. The beasts, incidentally, are symbolic. And if you have any doubt about them being symbolic, if you’ll read verse 17, Daniel in his interpretation says, “These great beasts, which are four in number, are four kings, who will arise from the earth.”
Now, Daniel’s vision takes quite a while. In fact, he uses the expression,
“I was looking,” about nine times in these opening verses. So he’s telling us the things that he continued to see and I’m sure he didn’t lose any interest whatsoever as they things were being unfolded to him. What does he see? Four wild beasts, the first is a lion. He says, “The first was like a lion and had the wing,” I’ll say it, no southerner can pronounce the word lion so I try my best. Lion, how does that sound to you Yankees? I cannot pronounce iron either. Every southern worth the salt of his blue blood says, i-o-n, “ion”. That’s about the way we say it. Anyway, “Was first was like a lion, and had the wings of an eagle. I kept looking until its wings were plucked, and it was lifted up from the ground, and made to stand on two feet like a man, a human mind also was given to it.”
Now, I’m going to have to pass over some of the details. I hope you will forgive me because we want to get the major points. You may study some of those figures for yourself.
Now, in the first of the vision given to Nebuchadnezzar, the golden head was specifically stated by Daniel to be Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon. And the fact here that the national symbol of Babylon was a wing lined, together with other things, the parallel to chapter 2 suggests that the lion represents the Babylonian kingdom, a kingdom known for its cruelty. In fact, great figures at Nineveh and at Babylon have been dug up and are found in some of our museums and represent this similar types of things as the great image that Nebuchadnezzar was able to see. He says secondly, “And behold another beast, a second one, resembling a bear.”
Now, we know from history that the Medo-Persian Empire succeeded the Babylonian Empire. That was an empire known for its veracity and we are not surprised then to read, “resembling a bear, and it was raised up on one side, and three ribs were in its mouth between its teeth: and thus they said to it, Arise, devour much meat.” That kingdom known for its veracity was in its Persian conquests, it destroyed the kingdom of Babylon, of Lydia, and Egypt principally by the huge armies of Cyrus and the Persians
When I was going through college, in order to play golf every afternoon I took Greek in the morning. Not knowing precisely what I would be doing for more of my life, but German met in the afternoon so I had to quickly change and take another foreign language, and since I was majoring in the classics I transferred to classical Greek. And for three years I read classical Greek. One of the good things about it was when I was converted I was able to open up the Greek New Testament and read the Greek New Testament.
But I read Xenophon’s Anabasis and Cyrus the Persian was one of the great figures of Xenophon’s Anabasis. And so I got acquainted with the Persians and their great accomplishments. Their conquests were great. The three ribs are Babylon, Lydia, and Egypt destroyed by the armies of Cyrus. The third of these animals was a leopard, no doubt representing the Grecian empire and specifically as found in Alexander and his remarkable conquests. In Nebuchadnezzar’s image it is the brass of bronze part of that image. The Grecian empire was outstanding for its agility, and thus, the leopard swift, cunning, cruel, with an insatiable thirst for blood, effectively represents Alexander. I love the expression that is stated in verse six. We read after this, “I kept looking and behold another like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird; the beast also had four heads; and dominion was given to it.”
Now, if you read human history and read the conquests of Alexander, and he was a remarkable man, he was rightly called Alexander the Great, you would get the impression that it was Alexander who was responsible for his greatness. Such a remarkable man, but the word of God throws the spotlight of truth upon it and we read, “Dominion was given to it.” It’s God who stood back of Alexander and his conquests. It was part of his eternal purpose and that’s why Alexander was “The Great.” Oh, I’m not taking anything away from Alexander. He was a great man, but everything that he accomplished was ultimately due to the purpose of God.
Thirty-five thousand men, he managed to conquer the world. And when he finished conquering the world at about the age of thirty-three, he wept because there was no one else to conquer [laughter]. But still a great man, but God made him great.
The reference to the four heads is no doubt a reference to the division of his empire into the four who, after Alexander died young, divided up his empire. But the final of the visions and the final of the beasts is described in verses 7 and 8,
“And this beast, is dreadful, terrifying, extremely strong; large iron teeth: it devoured and crushed and trampled down the remainder with its feet: and it was different from all the beasts before it; and it had ten horns.”
No beast in the animal kingdom is able to portray the last world empire. Outstanding for brutality, Idi Amin and the Khmer Rouge would be angelic in comparison with this fourth world empire.
Now, we know that Rome succeeded the Grecian Empire of 63 B.C. when Pompey conquered Jerusalem may be put as a date perhaps. But the Roman Empire was a great empire. But in the Book of Daniel we are told very plainly that the final empire, while it will be Roman, will not be the Roman of the time of our Lord, but the Roman of the future. In fact, the prince or the beast who shall came, is stated distinctly in chapter 9 to be of the same kingdom that destroyed the temple in 70 A.D. So we look then for a double representation of the Roman Empire. In history, at the time of our Lord, it was born at that time and actually was enrolled under requirements of the Roman government and then we look to the future in a revival in measure of the Roman Empire. Call it a continuation if you like. We won’t talk about that right now.
Ten horns, this beast has, and a little horn, which it’s not necessary for us to talk about but the little horn is, of course, the final beast, the beast of Revelation chapter 13. That this is a future empire is made very plain from chapter 2, in which in verse 28 Daniel is told that the things that he is seeing are things that are to take place in the latter days. And then in verse 44 of that same chapter we read,
“And in the days of those kings, (the ten, the ten horns, and the little horn) the God of heaven will set up a kingdom, which will never be destroyed: and that kingdom will not be left for another people, it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will endure for ever.”
Now, the ruin of the beast is described in verse 9 and 10. The scene shifts suddenly from earth to heaven. It’s almost as if you’re looking at a TV screen and you’re observing what has happened and then suddenly on the screen there is flashed a picture of a different event, and here we have that. There’s some question about these things. If I were giving a class in exegesis of the use of the Old Testament and New Testament we could talk about details, but I’m speaking very broadly. It’s possible to argue this is an earthly scene, but normally it’s taken as I’m taking it. Daniel says,
“I kept looking until thrones were set up, and the Ancient of days took his seat, his vesture was like white snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was ablaze with flames, its wheels were a burning fire. A river of fire was flowing and coming from before him: thousand upon thousands were attending him, and myriads upon myriads were standing before him, (the angelic individuals about the divine court) and the court sat, and the books were opened. Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words of the horn, which the horn was speaking: I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed, and given to the burning fire. As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away: but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time.”
Suggesting to us that in measure, those three kingdoms of the Babylonian, the Medo-Persian and the Grecian persist in measure in the final, the fourth, and the final stages of World Empire.
“The Ancient of days is the father.” Someone has said this is the only verse in the Bible in which the father is depicted in something like bodily form, but this is the judgment of the nations that will take place at our Lord’s second coming, and the destruction of the fourth kingdom that takes place at that time to usher in the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As Daniel puts it in chapter 2 and verse 45,
“Inasmuch as you saw that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God has made known to the king what will take place in the future: so the dream is sure, and its interpretation is trustworthy.”
That tells us that if he were building that tunnel, it would have been a perfect fit. That’s the way God does things. And finally, in verses 13 and 14 we’re introduced to the rule of the son of man.
“I kept looking, (Daniel said) in the night visions, and, behold, with the clouds of heaven one like a Son of man was coming, and he came up to the Ancient of days, and was presented before him, and to him was given dominion, (In other words, the messianic King comes as the servant of the father, carrying out his perfect will.) And to him was given (In other words he didn’t take it. It was given to him by the father as the God man. He was given dominion.) glory, and the kingdom, that all the people, nations, and men of every language, might serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which will not pass away, and his kingdom is one.”
You remember when we were discussing Psalm 2, we’ve discussed I think twice, the great messianic psalm in which we have the word of the nations raging against God and his Messiah in heaven. Then the word of the father, he who sits in the heaven, laughs at the activities of men. And then the word of the son, remarkable, “I will surly tell of the decree of the Lord. He said to me, ‘Thou art my son. Today I have begotten thee.'” Our Lord’s resurrection is the final act of the father in the completion of his messianic king, giving him a glorified human nature. “Today, look at my son. I have begotten him.” That expression in the New Testament more than once applied to the resurrection of Christ. “I have begotten him.” But the prophecy goes on to say, “Then he will speak to them in his anger and terrify them,” I’m sorry I’m reading the wrong verse. Verse 8,
“Today I have begotten thee, ask of me, (the father says to the son) ask of me and I will surly give the nations as thine inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt shatter them like earthenware.”
You see, the time is coming when the Son, given the invitation to ask of the father and he will give him his possessions, the nations, and everlasting dominion, when the Son will ask for the kingdoms. He will say in effect, “Father, give me my inheritance that you have promised to me.” And with that will come to the right to judge. And that is what we read here, “dominion is given to him.”
Now there are some who look at this and say, “Well, this is just symbolic. After all, we’re talking about a lion, a bear, a leopard, and a nondescript beast that no one can describe, and we grant that it’s symbolic. So why is not the kingdom no longer to be understood as an earthly kingdom but to be understood as a symbolic kingdom? How foolish. How foolish can you get? I ask you the question. The Babylonian Empire is described under the figure of a lion, the figure of gold, the Medo-Persian Empire under the figure of silver and under the figure of a bear, and you can finish it all, we don’t have time to do it. Did those kingdoms exist? Did they exist on the earth? Of course, they existed on the earth.
You may describe historical kingdoms in figurative terms, but they’re historical kingdoms. Nebuchadnezzar existed. The Babylonian kingdom existed. The Medo-Persian Empire existed. The Grecian Empire existed. And so when we look at this we gather, I think with great justification, that when we are given a description of a nondescript beast, which no one can describe, we’re not to reason from that that this kingdom will not exist on the earth. It will exist like the other kingdoms, on the earth.
Let me make two or three concluding observations, after all we’ve got to interpret this. Next Sunday we look the interpretation that Daniel puts upon it. We’ll see if his interpretation agrees with mine. [Laughter] If it doesn’t, follow him. [Laughter] Just a couple of concluding observations, the messianic kingdom, as you can see, follows the gentile kingdoms. Hence, there is no kingdom in its full visible sense now. The king has accomplished his work. He’s accomplished the propitiation. He’s ratified the new covenant, and the Davidic Covenant, and the Abrahamic Covenant in his blood, and he sits at the right-hand of the father in heaven, and he waits for the visible appearing of the kingdom that is his. But there is no kingdom in that full sense now. To me, that is one of the great disadvantages of an amillennial interpretation of Scripture. What my friends say, “the nil-mills,” that is those who don’t believe there is to be a millennial kingdom on the earth.
Another thing, the additional matter in chapter 7 concerns the fourth kingdom, verse 7 and 8, a more particular treatment of the little horn that is further explanation of that final world kingdom apart from the ultimate eternal kingdom.
Now, let me say one final thing in conclusion. The son of man is in heaven, therefore, there is hope for all who are in the son of man. He is the only individual who is in heaven with a glorified body. That’s what Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15, that our Lord is the earnest of the resurrection of all believers, but he alone is there. First Christ is resurrected, then those that are Christ’s at his coming. We look forward to that and the resurrection of the body.
Many years ago, I read a story that Donald Gray Barnhouse had in one of his books. And in the course of describing it he said that a young man who was a G.I. after World War II needed some money, and so he walked into the Chase Manhattan Bank’s head office in New York City. And he asked for the loan department and he was shown to the Small Loans Department of this great bank that did most of its business with individuals who had lots of money, and with industry, and merchants. He was told to go over to the Small Loans Department. He went over to the Small Loans Department and they gave him all kinds of forms to fill out. And he filled them all out for a loan of six hundred dollars. And he said that when the individual got all the forms and looked at them and saw what it was he said, ‘Excuse me.’ And he walked off.
And he went off and he was gone for about ten minutes. And the G.I. was just about to lose all patience when he came back and he had with him a man who was introduced to him as the President of Chase Manhattan Bank. And the president said, “Would you mind turning around?” And there had mysteriously come some photographers. “Would you mind turning around, we’ll get your picture?” So he turned around, they gave him his picture. And then, of course, he was anxious to have an explanation and he was told this. He said, “The Chase Manhattan Bank has been anxious to develop small loans business and we have said that when the individual comes in who asks for the loan that puts us over one billion dollars he’s gonna get his loan free.” And so he was told that he was the one that his six hundred dollars had put him over the one billion and that, therefore, he received his loan free. And he handed him a check for six hundred dollars. And the G.I. said, “How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. How blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute six hundred dollars debt. And in whose spirit there is no deceit.” No he didn’t say that, but that’s what I say. [Laughter] That’s actually what transpires when we discover that our great debts are covered by the blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. How marvelous it is to know about the propitiation.
I was thrilled this morning after the 8:30 message. [Laughter] I walked out this morning and I went out in the hall and a man came, I won’t mention his name, you may know him. He’s been attending the chapel for a year or two, brought by one of our men, and so far as I know he’s been very responsive and I have had the privilege of getting to know him. He’s a very very fine, relatively young man in the medical profession. And he came up to me and he said, “Lewis,” he said, “I’d just like to let you know that recently when you described the relationship between love and propitiation, it finally came home to me.” And this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Now, we have said that love is explained not by sentimentality, not by the kinds of things that the world things of as love, being loving, love is defined and explained by the propitiation that Christ offered. That explains what the love of God is. So love is defined by the propitiation and the propitiation, the death of Christ, is defined by God as his love. That’s what his love is, it’s the death that Christ died. The propitiation, that’s love. And if you want to know what love is, it’s the propitiation. They mutually explain each other.
Next February, I think it is, I’m supposed to go to Toronto. Two years ago I went up and lectured in a theological seminary there, Toronto Baptist Theological Seminary I believe is the precise name of it. And this time they asked me if I would preach on Sunday, which I have agreed to do Lord willing. And it’s in the pulpit of T.T. Shields, a man, when I first became a Christian, the person who was very influential in my spiritual growth was an independent Baptist preacher, a graduate of Dallas Seminary here. He put good books in my hands. He put everything he possibly could in my hand because he wanted me to grow. And he put in my hands “The Gospel Witness”, which is a little paper that T.T. Shields, a great preacher, had his sermons in. Mr. Shields was preaching in Spurgeon’s Tabernacle once and he said that when he was there for these meetings, that he was asked to step aside for one meeting because Dr. J.H. Jowett had been asked to preach that particular time.
And so he said, “I had a chance to sit and listen to Jowett.” And he said that Jowett spoke about the woman who came, who pushed her way through the crowd, the woman with the issue of blood who pushed her way through the crowd and saying within her heart, “If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.” And she came and touched his garment. And Mr. Jowett, after preaching on it, turned to the audience in his application and he called out to the great congregation, and he said, “Touch him, touch him.” Then he seemed to sense that someone might say, “But I don’t know how to touch him.” And so he said, “You tell him that you don’t know how to touch him, and that will touch him.” That’s true. If you don’t know how to touch him, if you don’t know how to come to Christ, you tell him that and you will find he’ll answer your prayers and you’ll be in the presence of our Lord and you will receive the benefits of the work that he has done. So we invite you to come to him. Trust him and receive the gift of eternal life. Let’s stand for the benediction.
[Prayer] Father, we are grateful to thee for the way in which thou hast unfolded the future for us. We know that thou didst know the end from the beginning. We look forward to the consummation of all things and for that glorious eternal fellowship we enjoy with the King, our Lord Jesus Christ,
For his name’s sake. Amen.