Dr. S. Lewis Johnson expounds the inspired interpretation of the vision of the beasts by the Prophet Daniel.
Now, the subject for tonight is “The Beast Vision Interpreted.” And I want you to turn with me to Daniel chapter 7 and we’ll be looking primarily of verses 15 through 28 in just a moment.
Incidentally, we are sorry that you have to come in this room and I know it’s a little more difficult for you to hear me, but it is due to the fact that the air conditioning is not only out, but it is badly out. Now we are assured that we will have some air conditioning, I mean we are confident that we will have some air conditioning on Sunday, we have two weddings on Saturday, we hope that those weddings are going to have some air conditioning too. And we have thought of sending the mothers and brads by the air conditioning company and order — thinking that perhaps some remonstrance from mothers and tears from the brads may help. So, we hope we are not disappointed. There are three, four seats up here, Jane you can come up higher since you came in just then, you and if your husband is with you. And anyhow there are three more, four seats up here very close and there are two in the back, Presbyterians may go in the back and the Baptists may come up here in front. [Laughter] Now you know that I used to be a Presbyterian; that’s why I sat in the back.
Returning now to Daniel Chapter 7 and verses 15 through 28 primarily we will be looking at in just a moment, but I do want to review since we did not meet last Wednesday night some of the things that were said in the exposition of verses 1 through 14.
Daniel is the great prophet of the times of the Gentiles. In other words, the subject matter of Daniel’s prophecy begins with the destruction of the city of Jerusalem around 605 BC and the captivity that took place then and goes on all the way to the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus. He is the prophet then of the times of the Gentiles, Jerusalem shall be trodden under foot until the times of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled. Luke tells us in the prophecy of the Olivet Discourse given in Luke chapter 21 and that specifically verse 24. This is not the same thing as that which Paul speaks about when he speaks about the fullness of the Gentiles in Romans chapter 11. That is a church term and refers to the Gentiles who come into the body of Christ during the period of time in which we are living.
I remember that last time I commented upon the relationship between Daniel chapter 2 and chapter 7. In chapter 2 we have a vision by given to Nebuchadnezzar and thus since Nebuchadnezzar is a Gentile we should expect that the vision that he was given of the times of the Gentile should be outward and human. But in chapter 7 we were given a vision or we read about a vision that was given to Daniel and this vision was a vision that also has to do with the times of the Gentiles, but since Daniel is a prophet it’s not surprising that in Daniel chapter 7 the vision of the times of the Gentiles should be inward and divine. That is, in chapter 2 we have the human side and so we see a great image made up of four different materials designed to represent the four kingdoms that shall come to pass upon the earth from the time of the captivity of Israel and the days of the destruction of Jerusalem to the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus.
But when in chapter 7 we come to look at the same picture instead of a vast impressive image seen by Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel sees a vision of four great wild beasts. Now this is the divine side, this is the way god looks at human kingdoms, but the same four kingdoms are in view in chapter 7 that were in view in chapter 2.
Now let me read very briefly verses 1 though 8 and just make a few comments by a way of review. In the first year of Belshazzar, king of Babylon, Daniel saw a dream and visions in his mind as he lay on his bed. Then he wrote the dream down and related the following summary of it. Daniel said, I saw looking in my vision by night, and behold the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea. The great sea incidentally is a term that refers to the Mediterranean Sea. And if you are interested in a text that might support that, Numbers chapter 34 and verse 6 makes that very plain. So, Daniel sees the four winds of heaven stirring up the great sea or the Mediterranean Sea,
“And four great beasts were coming up from the sea different from one 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 to stand on two feet like a man, a human man also was given to it. And behold another beast, the second one resembling a bear and it was raised up on one side and three ribs where in its mouth between its teeth. And thus they said to it: ‘Arise, devour much meat’.”
I remember when we were talking about the image of the lion we simply commented by identifying it as the Babylonian kingdom, a kingdom that was characterized by cruelty and so it’s very fitting that the Babylonian Empire should be represented by god as a lion that had the wings of an eagle. When we come to the second beast that resembles the bear, notice that it was raised up on one side. And so that suggests that there is some kind of division within that empire, and we made the identification made my most of the commentators of the Bible that this was a reference to the Medo-Persian Empire and a reference also to the fact that the Persian side of that combined empire became the dominant faction within it. The bear was characterized by voracity. Aristotle speaks of it as an omnivorous animal and characteristic of the Medo-Persian Empire was the vast numbers that made up the troops of that kingdom. Medo-Persia was ponderous in its movements, it has been said, it did not gain its victories by bravery or skill but overwhelmed its enemies by hurling vast masses of troops upon them. Army is the greatest that have ever been collected in numbers considering the time.
It’s not surprising that the Russians are called bear. So, the Russian bear and its voracity is like the Medo-Persian Empire. When Darius Hystaspes invaded Scythia, he took with him 700,000 men, a vast army in those days and in addition he had able force of 600 ships manned by 120,000 sailors and marines. Xerxes’ expedition against Greece was undertaken with our reported 2.5 million fighting men gathered from 56 nations. Adding the camp followers the whole body came up to 5 million souls, that was a vast multitude, which as Justin remarks where able to drink up rivers on their march, but could not exhaust the royal treasury. Artaxerxes used 600,000 men to subdue the one province of Egypt and raised 1.2 million to crush the rebellion of his brother Cyrus. So, when the Medo-Persian Empire is represented by the bear that is certainly true to what we know history. Now, scholars of course debate some of these numbers but they do not debate the fact that Medo-Persia was characterized by vast masses of troops.
Let me read in verse 6, after this I kept looking, and behold, another one, 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. We identify this as the Grecian Empire and characteristic thing about the leopard and also about the Grecian Empire was the celerity of the movement of Alexander. We know that Alexander’s Empire was divided into four dominions following his death and that seems to be the reference in the statement. The beast also had four heads and dominion was given to it.
Then in verses 7 and 8 we read about a nondescript animal and we have identified this as the Roman Empire because in history that is true and also there are some statements in the 9th chapter of the book of Daniel that suggest that the Roman Empire is referred to by the 7th and 8th verses and this fourth beast. We also remember in chapter 2 made that same identification.
After this Daniel writes, 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 a man and a mouth uttering great boasts.
One of the reasons this empire is not identified is because as we learn from chapter 2, this Roman Empire appears upon the human scene in two stages, the ancient stage and evidently there is to be a revival of it and we will seek to give evidence for that when we reach chapter 9. So, it is not identified because this is an empire of which we are still apart, we still live in a world system that is largely dominated by Roman institutions and Roman culture. And so this forth empire is one that is not described.
Nondescript is true, but it is an empire characterized by brutality. Notice in the seventh chapter there is no mention of the division in the Roman Empire such as we found in the second chapter when we had the two legs of the animal suggesting the two-fold division of the Roman Empire. The reason for this may be this. Nebuchadnezzar, the Gentile, its intermediate division into two empires, the eastern and western is foretold, but that event took place during the period in which Hebrew prophecy is in abeyance and therefore it is not disclosed to Daniel. That maybe the reason that we do not have that in the seventh chapter. I say maybe because of course we do not know exactly why because it’s not stated.
Then in verses 9 through 12 we read of the ruin of the beast. We read in verse 9, I kept looking until thrones were set up. And remember, I liken this to a TV screen in which we have one particular event being seen on the top of the screen and another below and we have been looking below at the earthly things that have happened. These animals coming up out of the great sea, but now the vision of the prophet is directed up. And so he 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 pure wool.
Evidently, the picture is of God with white hair. Now, that’s a sign of wisdom, evidently [laughter] as well as age. His throne was ablaze with flames, its 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. 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.
Now, this is a simple visual picture of the destruction of the little horn, which rose among the ten horns, which were part of this last nondescript brutal appearing beast. And a special attention is directed toward the destruction of the little horn, words are said about his boasts and words also are directed towards the destruction of his body and how it was given to the burning fire. The reason for this will become evident if it is not already evident to you. This little horn that rose up among the others is a reference to what we popularly call the antichrist. And so we are reading of him as the little horn in the vision.
Then in verses 13 and 14 we are given a picture of the rule of the Son of Man. This the most important two verses incidentally and the Lord Jesus sites this passage more than ones in his writings, in his statements and others in their writings. Daniel says, I kept looking 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 who is sitting upon the throne where judgment is being meted out and was presented before him and to him, that is to the Son of Man was given dominion, incidentally. The favorite term that the Lord Jesus used of himself was not Son of God, many contemporary scholars claim that he never did speak of himself as the Son of God, others did, and there is not doubt that he regarded himself as the Son of God by parables that he told.
Now the reason that modern scholars say that is because they don’t rally think the Gospel of John is a gospel in which the very words of our Lord are given. It is called a theological gospel by them written largely by the church long after the time of our Lord. I don’t have time to dispute that, but I assure you it can be disputed successfully. The Lord Jesus did speak of himself as the Son of God. He often spoke of himself as the son and of course the Son is a reference to himself as the Son of the Father who is God.
But aside from all of that his favorite term for himself is the Son of Man. And that expression is derived from this very verse here. One like a Son of Man was coming, and he came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And the reason that the Lord Jesus calls himself the Son of Man so often is that when he was here upon the earth he was a person on the way to the receiving of the kingdom and so it was very fitting for the Son of Man here as he comes to the Ancient of Days is on the way to the receiving of the kingdom.
And by the way, you will find as you read through the rest of the New Testament that the Lord Jesus is never referred to as the Son of Man definitely through the rest of the New Testament thought it was the favorite term that he used of himself except when Stephen makes a reference to seeing the Son of Man standing and two possible references that are disputed in the Book of Revelation. Reference is made to a Son of Man there and some question whether that’s really the Son of Man, the Son of Man.
The reason again for this is that our Lord now is a person who has received the kingdom and that kingdom is to be manifested in his Second Advent. And so it’s fitting that he and the apostles not use that term which was the favorite term for himself during a particular time of the ministry; that is when he was on the way to the reception of the kingdom. The Bible is a book that re-pays the most meticulous study because it is the word of God and I encourage you to study the Bible in that way.
Now verse 14. And to him, that is to the Son of Man, was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that 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. Now this is a reference then to the reception by the Son of Man who comes to the Ancient of Days and receives the everlasting kingdom.
Well, now the prophet’s reaction to this is not the reaction that most of us have, we I think would rather react by being curious. We have all kinds of questions that we like to ask about prophecy. Any time prophetic subjects are announced some of the believers come out the woodwork in order to hear about prophecy, not nearly so interest in hearing about the doctrines of soteriology, but the doctrines of eschatology. Well they do interest us. Now, there is nothing wrong in that. The Bible is largely eschatology in its writing; that is from the time of its writing. So, we shouldn’t be embarrassed about that, but we also should be interested in the other parts of the Bible too.
Now, Daniel was very disturbed by what he had seen. As for me, Daniel my spirit was distressed within me and the visions in my mind kept alarming me. So, it distressed and alarmed. Daniel approaches one of angels, evidently an angel standing by and thinking that he looked like a person who might be able to explain to him the meaning. We read in verse 15 through 18 of a kind of general summary of what he has just seen. Let me read these verses,
“As for me, Daniel, my spirit was distressed within me, and the visions in my mind kept alarming me. I approached one of those who were standing by and began asking him the exact meaning of all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of these things.”
So, we are dealing now with the interpretation of the vision. One of the nicest things about the Book of Daniel is that we have visions and then we have an interpretation and for the simple minded such as most of us our the interpretation is market out usually, just as it is here. So, we know this chapter is made up of a vision and then an interpretation. He wants to know the exact meaning of all others. And so he is going to get it.
Verse 17 and 18 as a summary. These great beasts, which are four in number, are four kings who will arise from the earth. But the saints of the highest one will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come. Now, this is a general summary of the section, of the vision and we’ll treat it first just as a general summary. What he says then in effect is that these four beasts represent four kings. Now, we’ve been talking about kingdom and one might be puzzled, why does he say four kings, why doesn’t he say four kingdoms? Well, the reason for this is that often a king is representative of a kingdom. Louis XIV made a famous statement, which all prophetic students have sited at one time or another. He once said, “I am France.” In other words, the whole country was summed up in its leader. So, when we read here our four kings, we are not to think that that means — that’s contradictory to the statement that we have here kingdoms.
Some years ago, Theodore Roosevelt split the Republican Party of the National Convention held in Chicago. His followers formed what became known as the Progressive Party. Shortly after that a European came to the United States of America and asked how many parties we had in this country? And the immediate reply was three: Republican, Democrat and Roosevelt. Well, that answer was correct because he was the father of the Progressive Party, he was its life, it was all summed up in him and when Theodore Roosevelt died while the progressive part lived on for a little while afterwards it so was gone and its body died later on. And some of you in the audience, not me of course, some of you in the audience lived on to see the final stages of the Progressive Party.
So, when we read here these are four kings, we are not to think that’s contradictory to the statement, four kingdoms. In verse 18 we have the fifth kingdom referred to, but the saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come. And that fifth kingdom, as you can see, is a reference to the everlasting kingdom, the kingdom of the future. Daniel wants to know the exact meaning of the fourth beast because that’s the nondescript one; the others he is not quite as interested in. Perhaps he has some inkling of the meaning of those others. But this last one is so terrible that he asks for information about that. And so in verse 19 through verse 27 the prophet has given details concerning this fourth kingdom,
“Then I desired to know, (let me read just a few verses, I’ll just read along and make a few comments when we come to appropriate parts of it.) Then I desired to know the exact meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others, exceedingly dreadful, with its teeth of iron and its claws of bronze, and which devoured, crushed, and trampled down the remainder with its feet, and the meaning of the ten horns which were on its head, and the other horn, that’s the little horn, which came up, and before which three of them fell, namely, that horn which had eyes and a mouth uttering great boasts.”
I don’t really like the new American standard Bible’s literary quality, and the Authorized Version has a great deal more literary quality. This is a more accurate version and therefore we are using it in these Bible study sessions. But some of the statements of the Authorized Version are hard to beat. And great boasts is just not as impressive as the rendering of the Authorized Version, the mouth uttering great things, which was larger in appearance than its associates. “I kept looking, and that horn was waging war with the saints and overpowering them.”
Let me stop and make a comment concerning verse 23. “Thus he said, the fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth which will be different from all the other kingdoms and it will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it.” Now, the interesting thing about this is that expression “will devour the whole earth.” So, we are not talking about a Western kingdom, we are not talking about the Western world. Many of our Bible interpreters have limited their vision to the West and so they like to think that the Western part of this kingdom is going to have ten horns and they look for things like the Common Market, and the ten nations which at one time were members of the Common Market, and consequently they have been misled because this kingdom that he speaks about is a universal kingdom, it is not simply a kingdom of the West. We read, it will devour the whole earth and tread it down. So, devouring the whole earth suggests to us that he is talking about a worldwide final kingdom and of course the little horn is the antichrist identified with it.
Now you’ll just have to take my word for this at this point. We are talking about a revived Roman Empire, but it will be a worldwide or a universal empire. We should forget about a Western empire other than the fact that it will form part of it. I mentioned to you that there is a group of ten nations, which are banned together in a form of economic consultative union. These would be more significant for the understanding of Bible prophecy than the European economic community. It’s often the case with us and all of our study of the Bible that we tend to limit ourselves to our own experience, and that’s something we must avoid. We must read the Bible as it is before us.
Now, in verse 24 a word is given concerning the ten horns. As for the ten horns out of the kingdom, ten kings will arise. Now, I read that wrong, I should have read that correctly. As for the ten horns out of this kingdom, ten kings will arise and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings. So, what we are told here is that this final worldwide empire will be an empire in which there are ten kings or kingdoms that are prominent. So, we can expect a kind of world outlook in which there are ten important nations represented by these ten horns. Notice they arise after the devouring of the earth. In other words, the Roman Empire will be revived in a ten kingdom form, but it will be a universal empire, not simply Roman in the limited Western since. We’ve had things like the group of ten I say, nine power-packed in all of the other forms of unions of kingdoms, but these are only foreshadowings of a kind of trend that will ultimately reach its climax in the ten horns or the ten kingdoms of the last days. So, when you read the newspaper you shall read the newspapers in the light of the book of Daniel. He does not give us identifications and so this is something for you to be interested in and seek to find the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you read what’s happening in the world that gives a kind of excitement to the first page of your newspaper. I get nothing from Dallas Morning News or the Times Herald for subscriptions as a result of that comment. [Laughter]
Verse 24 speaks about the little horn and another will rise after that. Now that is the horn, which we popularly call, the antichrist. Now, there are things that are said about the Antichrist here that are very interesting. It’s says in verse 20 that this horn had eyes and a mouth uttering great boasts. Now, the eyes are things or the organs with which we see. And so I suggest to you in the light of other things that are said about the horn that this indicates that this last great world emperor before our Lord is an intellectual man — that eliminates Kennedy. [Laughter] And there is something else that is said about him here. We read in verse 8, let’s see what it says in verse 8. “He possessed eyes like the eyes of a man and mouth uttering great boasts.” And then in verse 20 we read, “the little horn had eyes and a mouth uttering great boasts which was larger in appearance than its associates.” And then in verse 25 we read, and he will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One. That indicates that he was a blasphemous individual. That eliminates little Jimmy Carter, [laughter] because that’s one thing that he is not so far as we can tell.
Verse 25 says that he will intend to make alterations in times and in law and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. So, he is very creative, he is very independent. And that does not eliminate Rosalyn [laughter] who is the power behind the throne, evidently in Washington. Now, all of those comments are uninspired, do you understand? We really do not know whether Kennedy is eliminated or Carter eliminated or whether Rosalyn is included or not. That’s not stated here, I was just trying to be sure you were listening. It is interesting that he is a person who is going to try to make alterations in times and in law. In other words, he is going to make us go on the decimal system, the metric system. [Laughter, Johnson laughs] Well, these are things at which we don’t really — I was just kidding when I said that. He is going to make alterations — I never kid you understand, but I was going to get that time. He makes alterations in times and in law and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. I will say something about that in a moment, so we’ll drop it at that point. Simply to say that the horn is described in certain ways that indicate that he is a blasphemous individual, he will make great boasts against the Lord God of Heaven. He is a man of great intelligence and also a man of some independence as one might expect. So, we should expect that this individual from the standpoint of human estimation would be a man of significant power and influence. He would have to be if he is to be the ruler of the whole of the world.
Then let’s read on beginning at verse 25. “And he will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law. I do want to make one comment concerning the saints of the Most High.” I suggest to you that the reference here to the saints is a reference to the saints of the nation Israel. I do not think, I can be wrong about this. But I do not think that when it says that he will wear down the saints of the Highest One that he is speaking about the saints of the church of Jesus Christ. He probably here is speaking about, primarily about the saints of the Nation Israel. And if I had time I would like to support from the Book of Revelation form passages like Revelation chapter 12 in which we have a prophecy of the prosecution of the seed of Israel. So the saints is a reference then to those who will be upon the earth at that time and primarily the Nation Israel and especially those in the nation who have come to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ during that last 70th week of the Nation Israel. Now, we will talk about that when we get to chapter 9.
It will be a difficult time for the saints of God in those days. Yesterday I was reading an account in one of the magazines about the Jews in the land of Israel. This is the word of a Jewish man speaking today. “The situation over here is difficult as usual and it seems to become more complex by the hour. What appears to be peace with Egypt can easily turn into a real nightmare within hours. Some sources here are predicting a short life for the peace treaty and suggest that Sadat is simply using the treaty as a means to gain back the land lost by making war on Israel. A neighbor in more than humor tells me that he is scheduled to go to Egypt in a few weeks, but that there is a better chance of going into the army. The question of the SAM-6 and 7 missiles in southern Lebanon is a decided threat to Israel and it might produce a war directly with Syria unless they are pulled back.
“Inflation is nearly 100% now and the expectation for this year is that it will continue at that level. A crisis in the economy is just around the corner as things cannot continue at this rate. Exchange rates between the dollar and the pound in 1975 were 6 to 1. Now it is more than 24 to 1 in 1979. When you think that American currency is dropping at a rate of more than 5% a year this makes the Israeli loss even greater on apparent from the exchange rate. (He talks about internal strife and then he says) there is also the threat of 15 armored divisions on the eastern borders of Jordan, a few hours away form Israel. Iraq has already started these depots with all the needed Russian weapons. Saudi Arabia has constructed staging bases for fighters and ring them with hawk missiles, all with the help of American Navy. Currently American technology is supplying a communication system for $280 million that will link Syria and Jordan and could conceivably be used to coordinate an attack on Israel. All these preparations are either ready or nearly ready. F-15 fighter air cover is still needed before they are ready, but perhaps the F-15s and Iran will be available to complete the preparations.
“All this is well documented by excellent sources and with shrinking borders this land will be more nervous than ever. One false report could produce now most terrible results. But the poor man does not realize is that of course the future is even darker than the present, for the Nation Israel, with 80 million people seeking the destruction of those 3 million that are in the land of Palestine.”
So when we read that, this little horn will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, we can easily see how that could happen. The later part of verse 25 says and they will be given into his hands for a time, times and half a time. In other places in the Bible this time is shown to be a year. And so a time is one year, times two years, that’s three years and half a time is three-and-a-half years.
Now we know that the 70th week of Israel is a seven year period of time and that in the center, in the middle of that week an event will take place, we will read about it in chapter 9, which will change the character of the tribulation period of the future. The first half of the week is a relatively peaceful time, the last half of that week or the last three and half years is a very turbulent time. And so when we lead, they will be given into his hand for a time, times and half a time, the reference is to that period of time when the tribulation period, The Great Tribulation will be upon the earth.
Verse 26, “But the court will sit for judgment and his dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever.” In other words, in spite of the apparent hopelessness of the situation on the earth, God sits in judgment in heaven and judgment is going to be given against the little horn.
Finally in verse 27 we read, “Then the sovereignty and the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One.” His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom and all the dominions will serve and obey him. And note that this kingdom that is to be given to the saints is his kingdom, so it is the kingdom of God and it is given by God to them. It is not given by them to God.
Now that is the essential difference between our pre-millennial approach to history and a postmillennial approach to history. For the pre-millennialists believe that the Lord Jesus is to come and establish his kingdom upon the earth, giving that kingdom so the saints of the Most High. Post-millennial is believed that through the preaching of the gospel, the kingdom will come to pass on the earth as a result of their endeavor and then when he comes that kingdom may be presented to him. While you can see that the language of the book of Daniel is much more favorable to a pre-millennial interpretation of history than one that is post-millennial. A kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom and all dominions will serve and obey him. And the chapter concludes with Daniel’s statement, as for new, my thoughts were greatly alarming me and my face grew pale, but I kept the matter to myself.
Let me make just a comment in the one moment that we have. An ancient Israel has then a glorious future after troubles. The Messianic kingdom cannot begin until after the times of the Gentiles close. So the Messianic kingdom is a future kingdom. Now of course, we do not deny that the Lord Jesus has accomplished the victory on the cross of Calvary, that means that that is a certain event and nor do we not deny that as a result of the shedding of his blood, he is looking at the present time. We deny however that he is exercising his kingship in the public manifested way that he will when he comes in his second advent. In the meantime, the times of the Gentiles run on and salvation is open for those who are willing to abandon works for the grace of God.
Now to Donald Grey Barnhouse in one of his messages on the Epistle to the Romans tells the story of a little boy who visited his grandfather in California. His father had a pair of bedroom slippers that were very interesting to him; they had little hooks or loops on the top of them. And the little boy put his feet in them and started to try to lift himself up and since he wasn’t eating his own meal, his grandfather decided that he would trick him. He said if you were strong enough you could lift yourself up, it’s obvious you’re weak. What you need is more oatmeal and we’ll try it again tomorrow. And so this went on for several days. He would eat the oatmeal and then he would get the slippers and he would put his feet in them and try to pull himself up. And of course it was foolish, he couldn’t do it.
Now Dr. Barnhouse went on to say many do not have the right to smile at a story like that because they are attempting the same kind of things spiritually. They are attempting to lift themselves up by their own bootstraps hoping that by doing good works they may save themselves. If you could lift yourself by your bootstraps, Dr. Barnhouse said, you would have something to boast about, but if someone comes along and lifts you, then boasting is excluded by what law, by the law of your struggling? Of course not. It’s excluded by the law of the outward force that lifted you. And that of course is what our Lord does for us by virtue of the blood that we shed upon Calvary’s cross.
If you are here tonight and you have never believed in our Lord Jesus Christ. We remind you, you cannot save yourself. It is just as foolish as trying to lift yourself up by your own bootstraps. Works cannot save, but the grace of God can save us. And when we acknowledge that we need him then seeing that he has died for since and receiving his salvation as a free gift, we found a tremendous force of the power of God lifting us, giving us the forgiveness of sins and a hope that it is eternal. We often sing, from sinking sands he lifted me. With tender hands he lifted me. From shades of night to plains of light, all praise his name he lifted me. Every Christian who knows what it is to be lost and then to be saved by the work of Christ knows what it is to praise him because he has been lifted. May God help us to really appreciate what has been done for us through Christ. Let’s bow in a word of prayer.
[Prayer] Father we are grateful to Thee for these passages from the prophets, and we pray that Thou wilt give us understanding. And then Lord, enable us to live in the light of the truth that we see in Thy word. Bless us in the remaining classes of the night we pray for Jesus sake, Amen.