Dr. S. Lewis Johnson expounds Zechariah's vision which symbolizes the Nation Israel's ethnic survival over time.
[Message] Will you turn first to the first chapter of the prophecy of Zechariah and let’s read verses 18 through 21 of chapter 1, Zechariah 1:18-21.
Now, for those of you who have not been with us for the last two times, we have begun a series of messages on the general theme of Zechariah in the light of current events the opening six verses of the chapter is a call to repentance, and then there follow a series of visions which are apocalyptic visions in this book. They are for the most part visions of a prophetic character.
Now, the first vision that we saw last Sunday morning was the vision of the man among the myrtles, it was designed to represent God’s invaluable relationship to Israel for the man is identified as the servant of Jehovah, the reincarnate Lord Jesus Christ, for even though; Israel is under define judgment, under define discipline, and not in the place of ultimate blessing still he is with them. At the conclusion of that particular vision there are some good and comfortable words as your text puts them in which the Lord makes certain definite promises to the nation they are found in verses 16 and 17:
“I am return to Jerusalem with mercies.” (Now, in the Hebrew text the chaftee [phonetic] is a prophetic perfect and we should have rendered this I shall return to Jerusalem with mercies.) “My house shall be built in it, saith the Lord of hosts, and the line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem. Cry yet, saying, thus smith the Lord of hosts; my cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad: and the Lord shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem.
[Message] Now, that is the message of the vision of the man among the myrtles. Now, we read this morning the second of the eight visions, it is a short vision. The prophet is not a man given to great long speeches like preachers. The preachers must interpret his short visions. So the second vision is found in verses 18 – 21 it is the vision of the four horns and the four smiths:
“Then lifted I up mine eyes, and saw, and behold four horns. And I said unto the angel who talked with me, what are these? And he answered me; these are the horns, which have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem. And the Lord showed me four artisans, (Now, your text has carpenters. This word means a worker in iron, sometimes a worker in wood. It might mean a carpenter; it may mean a man who works on a grave; an artisan of some type. Here obviously a worker in iron so we have called it the vision of the four smiths, rather than carpenters.) “Then said I, what come these to do? And he spoke, saying, these are the horns which have scattered Judah, so that no man did lift up his head: but these are come to terrify them.” (You have to fray them, the Hebrew word means to terrify.) “To terrify them, to cast out the horns of the nations, which lifted up their horn over the land of Judah to scatter it.”
[Message] Now, I do not think that we can understand this second vision of the four horns if we do not understand in general the second chapter of the book of Daniel. And so will you now turn with me and let’s read together a portion of Daniel chapter 2, it is forty-nine verses, we will not read the entire chapter. But let’s begin with verse 24 of Daniel chapter 2. Now, that’s a view pages back in your Bible, it’s in the old testament, page eight hundred ninety-eight in my edition, and for those of you who can not follow those directions there is always the table of contents. Daniel chapter 2 and verse 24, now, this chapter is the first of the great prophetic chapters of the book of Daniel also an apocalypse. And in this chapter Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, in the second year of his reign is given a tremendous and very significant, from the biblical standpoint, dream. Now, the opening verses of the chapter give the occasion of the dream and some of the details with regard to its interpretation. But, now, in verse 24 we pick up the story:
“Therefore Daniel went in unto Arioch, whom the king had ordained to destroy the wise men of Babylon: he went and said thus unto him; destroy not the wise men of Babylon: bring me in before the king, and I will reveal unto the king the interpretation. Then Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste and said thus unto him, I have found a man of the captives of Judah, that will make known unto the king the interpretation. The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, art thou able to make known unto me the dream, which I have seen, and the interpretation thereof? Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, the secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, reveal unto the king; but there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king, Nebuchadnezzar, what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these: As for thee O king, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter: and he who revealeth secrets maketh known to thee what shall come to pass. But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but for their sakes that shall make known the interpretation to the king, and that thou mightest know the thoughts of thy heart. (Now, here is the dream.) Thou, O king, sawest, (In the Aramaic text at this point we have a construction, which stresses continuous action. “Thou O king, weren’t looking,” we might translate it in King James English.) Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form of it was terrible (awe-inspiring). This image’s head was of fine gold, its breast and its arms of silver, its belly and its thigh parts (for a moment we shall have legs) its thigh parts of bronze, (you have brass) its legs of iron, its feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest until a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and broke them to pieces. Then were the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.”
[Message] May God bless this reading from his inspired word.
We are very delighted during the summer months to have with us Mr. Ed Bloom, who is the pastor, of the Bethel Independent Presbyterian Church of Houston, with his lovely wife, Mrs. Ann Malone Bloom. Now, I know her name because I married them, some years ago, and they have obeyed me and become fruitful and have multiplied and their wonderful five children are here with us during the summer while Mr. Bloom is working on an advanced degree at the seminary. And I’ve asked Mr. Bloom if he would come and lead us in prayer this morning.
[Prayer removed from audio]
[Message] The subject for this morning as we continue our series in Zechariah is the four horns and the four smiths. Last Sunday morning in the beginning of the message I commented upon the fact that the reemergence of the ancient biblical powers is an extremely remarkable thing. The continuance Jewish national survival is just as astounding if not more so. In fact, men who have studied the history of the nation of Israel have continually been astounded by the fact that they are still with us today. For example, the German philosopher, Hegel, once said with reference to the Jews, “It is a dark troublesome enigma to me I am not able to understand it. It does not fit any of our categories; it is a riddle”.
Nicholas Berdyaev, the Russian philosopher commented upon the Jewish national survival by saying, “I remember how the materialist interpretation of history when I attempted in my youth to verify it by applying it to the destinies of peoples, broke down in the case of the Jews where destiny seemed absolutely inexplicable from the materialist view point. And indeed according to the materialist and positivistic criterion this people aught long ago to have perished. Its survival is a mysterious and wonder phenomenon demonstrating that the life of this people is governed by special predetermination, transcending the process of adaptation expounded by the materialistic interpretation of history. The survival of the Jews, their resistance to destruction, their endurance under absolutely peculiar conditions and the faithful role-played by them in history. All these point to the particular and mysterious foundations of their destiny”.
Now, the philosophers Berdyaev and Hegel are merely echoing in terms, which academicians would understand, the facts that the Bible has set for us many hundreds of years. For example, in the fifty-fourth chapter of the prophecy of Isaiah, the ninth and tenth verses, there is a definite reference to the national survival of the Nation Israel. Will you notice the fifty-fourth chapter of the book of Isaiah the ninth and tenth verses, the prophet writes:
“For this is like the waters of Noah unto me, for as I have sworn the waters of Noah shall no more go over the earth so have I sworn that I will not be angry with thee nor rebuke thee. For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, smith the Lord who has mercy on thee.”
[Message] In other words, the mountains may go and the hills may go but Israel shall not go. And Israel shall not go unless the mountains and hills go.
Now, will you turn to Jeremiah, chapter 31 verses 35 and 36, page 805 in the approved edition of the King James version, verse 35 and verse 36 of Jeremiah chapter 31:
“Thus saith the Lord who giveth the sun for a light by day and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night. Who divideth the sea when its waves roar the Lord of hosts is his name.” (Now, notice Jeremiah 31 verse 36) “If those ordinances depart from before me saith the Lord, (this is the sun and the moon) then the seed of Israel shall also cease from being a nation before me forever.”
[Message] In other words, the national survival of Israel is nothing more than the fulfillment of the prophecy of the word of God. Now, Hegel is astonished by this because he is astonished by the word of God, Berdyaev is astonished by this because he too is astonished essentially by the word of God which has prophesied Jewish national survival. Now, not only has the Bible stated that Jewish national survival is to be expected it has also gone on to say that Jewish national survival is one of the clues to world peace.
It is remarkable of course, that we never hear this in our political discussions today. Remarkable only because our politicians are frequently so ignorant of the Scriptures which God has given us. Someone said when Israel is out of Palestine she is out of place and when Israel is out of place mankind is out of place.
Now, the fact that we bring Israel back in the land does not mean that mankind necessarily comes to its place. But is an absolute essential for ultimate peace to mankind that Israel be restored to its place in the land Palestine and Israel’s Messiah the Lord Jesus Christ come again.
So not only is Jewish survival remarkable and astonishing it is also the fulfillment of biblical prophecy. And not only is it astounding and astonishing in the fulfillment of biblical prophecy it is also one of the clues to world peace. Zechariah who wrote almost twenty-five hundred years ago spoke of Israel’s captivity, he spoke of Israel’s dispersion, he spoke of Israel’s return to the land, he spoke of the return of Israel’s Messiah and he also spoke of the reconciliation of the world through the Messiah of the nation Israel.
Now, we’re looking at the prophecy of Zechariah and you remember it is a prophecy in four parts the first two parts take us through the seventh chapter. The first part is very short, a simple direct and yet a very very earnest call to repentance in the first six verses. This is absolutely essential for God’s blessings ultimately do not come until the heart of man is changed. And then secondly, beginning at the seventh verse the apostle begins a series of eight visions. These are apocalyptic visions; that is they are symbolic visions, they are visions, which me must interpret by reference to establish principles for interpreting symbolic language in the Bible the Bible has a great deal of symbolic language but its not in the sense in which it is often said.
It is sometimes said the Bible is a symbolic book. The Bible is not a symbolic book; it is a very straightforward book, written in ordinary language for the most part. But there are apocalyptic sections in which symbolism has a very very strong and in fact, a leading part, such as: the book of Daniel, the book of Revelation, this section of the prophecy of Zechariah, certain sections of the prophecy of Isaiah. The rest of the Bible for the most part is made up of language that is straightforward and to be interpreted in a literal and normal way. Of course, the Bible contains many figures of speech throughout its pages and we recognize those if we are intelligent students of the word. The fact that the Bible contains one figure of speech does not mean that we interpret everything in the Bible as if it’s a figure of speech. The fact that the Bible has a section that is symbolic in character does not mean that we must therefore, interpret all of the Bible as if it were symbolism and make nonsense out of it; as so many do. But when we look at the literature and see that it is symbolic in character, apocalyptic in character, then we interpret it according to the principles that are applicable to that type of literature. The Bible is a book that contains several types of literature.
Now, we are beginning a section in which we are to interpret symbolic literature. We must use therefore principles for the interpretation of symbolic literature and so we should expect to find symbols. We saw last time that Zechariah so a man among the myrtle trees. By the use of very very simple principles we saw that the reference was to the angel of Jehovah who dwelt among the myrtle trees which represented Israel and out of the vision there came some very comforting words which said, in effect, that Israel has been under divine discipline, will be under divine discipline by the nations of the world but shall have a glorious future.
Now, if you had been the prophet, Zechariah, and had listening and paying attention to his words you might have asked this question. Well, now he has implied from this vision that Israel will be under discipline for some time. Even the angel of Jehovah said, “O Lord of Host how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah.” And so the natural question would be. How long will Israel be under divine discipline? And furthermore, he has said that Israel was under divine discipline and the nations were the instrumentalities of it, but the nations went beyond their appointed place and treated Israel in a way that was beyond the intention of God. Not beyond the permission of God, beyond the intention of God. As a matter of fact, he said in verse 15: “I am very much displeased with the nations that are at ease. For I was but a little displeased with Israel and they helped forward the affliction.” In other words, they were to discipline Israel and discipline Israel in a measured way and they went beyond it they took delight. They were guilty of a form of ancient anti-Semitism last time we talked about anti-Semitism and I tried to give some of the reasons why this exists today. When I finished Mr. Bloom came up to me and he said it seems to me that it all boils down to this; anti-Semitism is an objection or objection to the election of God and of course, that is what it is.
And so now, we have the question how long will Israel then be under divine discipline and what is God going to do to the nations which have displeased him by virtue of going beyond his intention with reference to the discipline of Israel. So Israel is to be dominated by the nations but ultimately delivered. What about the period of time between their domination and their deliverance what’s going to happen then. And now, we have the vision four horns and the four smiths. “Then lifted up mine eyes and saw and behold.” And whenever you see in prophetic literature the little word hinneh that means behold, you can be sure that it is something that is significant according to the divine word. The important thing in this vision is the four horns not the four smiths which are a complimentary and supplementary to the vision of the four horns, four horns. Now, what do we do when we come to a statement like this, “I lifted up mine eyes and saw and behold four horns.” How do we interpret something like this? There are different kinds of horns you know, there is the horn of plenty that’s a figure of speech that any student of Latin knows. There is of course, a trumpet horn, you know that Al Hurt plays the horn; don’t you? There is a Saxophone, we even call that diabolical instrument a horn. Mr. Spurgeon was once asked, “Mr. Spurgeon is anyone who plays a saxophone going to heaven?” He said, “I do not know whether anyone who plays a saxophone is going to heaven, but I am extremely worried about those who have to listen to those that play saxophone. And so this horn might be a saxophone or it might be the horn of plenty. How do we interpret a horn? Well, remember in interpreting symbolic language we look at the context? Well, the context tells us that the horn scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem that might fit a saxophone but it would not fit a horn of plenty. So we eliminate the other type of horn and think about the saxophone for a moment but remember we are not to interpret not only according to the context but also the content of Scripture as a whole. And so we go to our concordance. See, I’m trying to bring you into the laboratory this morning so that you’ll understand how you do this. Now, I’m not going to do this through the book of Zechariah, but you’ll understand that you have to do this. So you go and get your concordance down and you look up horn and you discover that through the Old Testament it has a very interesting connotation, as a general rule. Furthermore, you will notice that it has a particular connotation in apocalyptic literature.
Now, will you take your Bible for just one moment quickly and turn back to the prophecy of Jeremiah. I know you can find it twice in one morning. So Jeremiah chapter 48 and verse 25, very simple a little reference which will help us. Jeremiah is prophesying, this is page eight hundred and twenty-three and we read: “The horn of Moab is cut off and its arm is broken saith the Lord.” “The horn of Moab is cut off and its arm is broken saith the Lord.” We still use the expression “broken arm” don’t we? We even use that as an expression for the defeat of a person’s power. We might even say it symbolically or figuratively; he really had his arm broken. He broke his arm. Now, the horn of Moab as a reference to the national power of that nation; the horn of Moab was its power.
Now, the horn is used in the Bible also of the horns of animals. Now, we who are Texans, by the way I should put in a word for Texas weather this morning but I forgot to do it, wonderful Texas weather. But, in Texas we know about animals horns and we know that the horn of a bull is its place of strength. The one thing that we want to beware of is the horns of an animal like a bull or an ox. Now, that is the figure in which the context in which this figure of the horn is used frequently in the Old Testament, most frequently it is used of a persons strength. If I should saw my horn has been broken, I am a broken old man; it would be true of me, my strength is gone. The horn of Moab is broken which means that the strength of Moab is broken. Now, in apocalyptic literature the horns are very frequently referenced to national powers. Will you turn back to Daniel chapter 7 for just a moment? We could turn to the book of Revelation chapter 17, but let’s take the Daniel reference it’s the source of the other anyway and let’s read verses 7 and 8 of Daniel chapter 7:
“After this (this is page nine hundred and eight) After this I saw in the night visions and behold a forth beast dreadful and terrible and strong exceedingly and it had great iron teeth it devoured and broke in pieces and stamped the residue with its feet and it was diverse from all the beast that were before it and it had ten horns. And I consider the horns and behold there came up among them another little horn before which were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots and behold in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man and a mouth speaking great things.”
[Message] Now, this horn we know from the book of Daniel as a reference to one of the kings who shall arise in the days of the tribulation, become ultimately the king, the anti-Christ. Well, you notice the 24th verse and the interpretation: “And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise and another shall arise after them and he shall be diverse from the first and he shall subdue three kings.”
In other words, a horn then is a reference to a national power, sometimes it may refer to the individual himself who is the king sometimes it may refer to his kingdom, but there is little difference because often the kingdom is really only an extension of the king as Napoleon said, “I am the state.”
Now, taking this interpretation to the book of Zechariah, and it should be taken back here. When Zechariah lifted up his eyes and saw and behold four horns, we are to interpret the four horns then as nations or national powers. What does it mean? Well, Zechariah then sees four ruthless powerful, national powers when he sees the four horns. In the 19th verse he says: “These are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel and Jerusalem.” Or as that perfect may be translated, “Shall scatter Judah, Israel and Jerusalem.” But since it has already begun it all right to translate it as a past. Now, that is not the completion of the vision. Verse 20: “And the Lord showed me four artisans for four smiths, four workers in medal or if we want to think of these as those who wreck and destroy the horns and since this term, “to work in metal” or “to work in stone” was often used in connection with making of graves or coffins we might even call these four coffin makers. But, that’s exactly what they are going to do for the horns who scatter Jerusalem.
You see when a nation goes beyond God’s intention with reference to Israel even though it has been used by God to discipline his own nation. If they go beyond his purpose for them then of course, the subject themselves to discipline too. And that is what happens; the four horns is raised up by God to discipline Israel, but they go beyond themselves and so God must raise up four smiths to destroy the four horns and so what we have reference to then is to four successive powers which shall wreck or scatter Israel and then four more powers who shall wreck the four powers that have scattered Israel. And that is the content of verse 21.
“Then said I what come these to do and he spoke saying these are the horns which have scattered Judah so that no man did lift up his head (it was terrible judgment and discipline for Israel) but these are come to terrify them to cast out the horns of the nations (you’ll notice it’s a national power) which lifted up their horn over the land of Judah to scatter it.”
[Message] Now, at this point I want to ask the question, what are specific the four horns and what are the four smiths who shall destroy the four horns? Zechariah doesn’t tell us but you see Zechariah had read another book he knew of the prophecy of Daniel, Daniel had prophesied sixty or more years before Zechariah. He knew of the great vision, which we read in our Scripture reading, he knew also that those who read his prophecy would know it. They both were writing apocalyptic literature, they were well versed in this. He expected his readers and his hearers to know something about the book of Daniel. I expect you to know something about the book of Daniel too.
So now, we are going to turn to Daniel chapter 2 and take a very quick look at the dream, which Nebuchadnezzar had, which explains the four horns and the four smiths. So turn back a few pages to Daniel chapter 2: “Nebuchadnezzar was the king of Babylon it was the second year of his reign (Babylon is the place where organized rebellion against God began. It is very fitting that this great king of Babylon should receive the vision which gives a kind of visualized portrait of gentile dominion on the earth while Israel is under the discipline of God.
Now, the ancients well knew of the existence of Colossi, the Colossi in Egypt are well known to us today. Many of them were figures giant statutes that went up fifty to sixty feet in the air. Like the Vulcan that stands outside the city of Birmingham Alabama, Colossi. And so Babylon and the king, these things were well know to them.
Nebuchadnezzar one night upon his bed out of sleeping tablets, the text says, “his sleep went from him,” he was out of sleeping tablets and with a case of royal insomnia, one of my friends likes to say very much concerned over what was going to happen to the future of Babylon he had a tremendous dream. I think that he was worrying about what was going to happen to Babylon and that is why God spoke to him and gave him this revelation of what was going to happen to Babylon and also down through the century.
He was thinking about the kind of things that LBJ thinks about when he reads through the service that comes to him that China has now fired a hydrogen bomb. I don’t think that the President if he had the affairs of this country upon his heart at all slept very well on that Saturday or Friday before that information came in he was very much disturbed about it. During the last war the allies where very much concerned about some of the things that were happening in Germany and I’m sure that Mr. Churchill spent many a sleepless night. Even the old Russian Bear Kruschov the other night over the TV he said that in the Cuban crises he didn’t bother to take off his clothes. He probably dreamed some dreams on the couch on which he was sleeping too. And so Nebuchadnezzar out of sleeping tablets with insomnia thinking about the future is given a vision of what shall come to pass in the latter days the twenty-eighth verse says or what shall come to pass hereafter.
Now, he dreamed a tremendous dream and this dream which is detailed for us in Daniel chapter 2 is the “ABC” of the prophetic Scriptures if Revelation is the “XYZ” this is the “ABC” of prophetic word. You cannot understand anything about he prophetic word if you don’t understand Daniel chapter 2; not every detail of it but the great panorama, which is presented here.
Now, I know a lot of people say prophecy that’s utterly irrelevant, we shouldn’t study prophecy we should just occupy ourselves with the gospel of the Lord Jesus witnessing to others and guidance by he Holy Spirit and let all of these be the discussion of preachers and interpreters of the word of God who teach our Sunday school classes. Nothing could be more nonsensical than that. It is just as if to say God didn’t have a very good purpose in writing the rest of the word of God. So if we ever say the word of God is irrelevant we are really stupid.
I think of the two cross-eyed men who were walking down the street one-day and they ran square into each other. One of them looked a the other and said, “Why in the world don’t you look where you’re going?” The other said, “Why don’t you go where you’re looking?” [Laughter] And a lot of people are like that in the prophetic word they think it has absolutely nothing to do with the word of God. It is very fundamental to Scripture the Bible is a book of prophecy from beginning to end and if we are going to understand this book we must understand prophecy. Here is the “ABC” of it.
Now, then when Nebuchadnezzar dreamed this dream the first thing that he did was, here is my chance to get back at the magicians, the astrologist, the sorcerers and the Chaldeans. They’ve been giving me all of this advise through the months passed and I haven’t believed anything of it I think he would have said, but now is my chance to really test them and so he called them in and said, “Now, I have forgotten my dream and I want you to tell it to me and give me the interpretation to it.” Of course, they are very very much upset by this. They are prepared to interpret anything but to give a revelation is something that they finally admit that they cannot do. So the first thing that he does is call in the fortunetellers, in other words, the ancient Jean Dickson’s and Maurice Woodruff’s. But these men didn’t have a third eye anymore than Maurice Woodruff has third eye in his forehead and they did not know the future and they finally were forced to admit and so the king said then, “Off with the heads of all he wise men, the enchanters the magicians and all of the rest who claim that they can tell me the future.”
And so the order goes out and Arioch, the executioner, goes out to carry out his task. Well, it so happens that Daniel is associated with the wise men too. He’s known as a wise man it’s just as if LBJ should issue an order for the execution of all preachers of the word not really a bad ideal, perhaps. But that would include me and I wouldn’t be very happy about that; now, some of the false teachers I might be happy about, but about myself I’m not so happy. And Daniel said, “Now, what a minute what’s all of the haste.” And Arioch told him the story and he said, “O, but wait a minute just give me a little time there’s a God in heaven who reveals secrets and he will tell me what the secret is. And so they had a very very earnest prayer meeting.
Now, in the Bible prayer meetings are ordinarily held when people have something to pray about. Did you know if you read the New Testament through there is no such thing as a mid-week prayer meeting; did you know that? Come on face up to the word of God, that’s right there is no such thing as a regular weekly prayer meeting. Now, I’m not against prayer meetings, but let me say this people who come together to pray ought to be sure they have something to pray about. Prayer meetings in which people come together just perfunctory can be the deadest of all meetings. Like the deadest ministry of the word is orphan, ministry of the word by a conservative whose heart has never been touched by the Scriptures that’s the deadest kind of ministry. Not the liberal, but the conservative who has no real identification with his message that’s really dead the truth served out like an iceberg, that’s the deadest of all. Prayer meetings should be alive because they who pray is interested specifically in God’s will for them and the he’ll do something for them as they feel lead of God. So I’m not attacking regular prayer meetings, if there is always the sense of God’s desire that we get together and specific prayer is made.
Now, I want you to know that this prayer meeting was alive, because if it wasn’t alive they’d all be dead in a short while. And it was very alive and they got their answer and finally Daniel came to the king and he said, “Now king according to the information that I have perhaps this is your dream perhaps? No. He doesn’t come in that spirit at all, as a matter of fact, he came and he said in the twenty-eighth verse: “Thy dream and the visions of thy head upon thy bed are these.” He was very firm right to the point, they are these; so stay the execution Nebuchadnezzar and I think that’s the order that went out to Arioch here is a man that knows what he’s talking about.
And so he tells Nebuchadnezzar what his vision meant, he says: “Nebuchadnezzar this is the dream you had, you saw a great image.” Now, it’s very interesting that this Babylonian king was given a vision of a great image, it was awe- inspiring because it was the human view of the future Gentile dominion over the earth and we always think that Gentile dominion is great. We think of he kingdoms of the Babylonians, the kingdoms of the Medo-Persians, the kingdoms of Rome and down through the years these are the great kingdoms of men. And so we talk about Alexander the Great and we talk about Napoleon in awe-inspired words. We talk about Charlemagne all the great men of history and speak of them as if they were great. Many of them were very vile and vulgar and abominable characters all you have to do is read history and discover that fact, but Nebuchadnezzar is given the vision from the divine standpoint. And Daniel says,
“This is the image you saw and you will remember Nebuchadnezzar his head was gold his breast was silver, its belly and its side were brass, its legs were iron and the feet were part of iron and part of clay. And Nebuchadnezzar you saw another thing, you not only saw the metals but you stone and you saw that stone that was cut out without hands it was a kind of supernatural stone it kind of came from no where so to speak, and you saw that stone come and you saw that stone strike that image on the feet (now, notice it strikes the image on the feet where it is weak) and suddenly you saw the image disintegrate and become the chaff of the summer threshing floor and it was carried away and astonishingly it was carried away to the extent that no place was found for them (those metals) they vanished they were gone. And so you saw the four metals you the stone and you saw the great judgment that came upon the image. And then thirdly, you say Nebuchadnezzar this you looked at that stone which did not appear to be unusually significant except that it was cut without hands you looked at that stone and as you looked at that stone it began to expand, it got bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger like a snowball coming down a mountain and suddenly the stone filled the whole earth. That was your dream king.”
[Message] And I think that Nebuchadnezzar must have stood before Daniel open mouth, as the prophet of God explained to him exactly what he had seen upon his bed. Now then he begins his interpretation, it’s very simply he said,
“O king God has told you what’s going to come to pass in the latter days; he’s told you what’s going to come to pass hereafter. In other words, you’ve been worried about the future of Gentile dominion represented by your worldwide kingdom. Here it is, there are four great kingdoms upon the earth, four and that’s all. You are the head the head of gold the Babylonian empire. There shall arise after you another king inferior to you represented by the silver.” The rest of Daniel says, “That that is the kingdom of Medo-Persia represented by the kingdom under which Zechariah himself was serving. After this there shall come a kingdom of bronze which shall bear rule over all the earth.”
[Message] Alexander the Great’s kingdom it is identified in the eighth chapter of the book of Daniel as the kingdom of Greece. And finally a fourth kingdom, and great detail is given to the fourth kingdom and this morning of course, we cannot discuss it this kingdom is diverse formal of the others, it rises up in the place of the third kingdom so the seventh chapter in the Aramaic text says. And so we know from the new testament as well as from the old that it is Rome. These four kingdoms, that’s all just four world kingdoms upon the earth between the time of king Nebuchadnezzar ascent to authority over the Jews in 605 BC to the time when the stone comes and smites the image and if fills the whole of the earth, till the Messianic kingdom comes.
Now, he speaks in verse 44 and verse 45 of Daniel 2 and says,
“In the days of these kings represented by the ten toes, the last form of that fourth kingdom, shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed and the kingdom shall not be left to other people but it shall break in pieces and it shall stand forever and this is why for as much as though sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay the silver and the gold the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter and the dream is certain and the interpretation thereof is sure.”
[Message] In other words, there shall be four great kingdoms in the last stage of the kingdom represented by the toes, the ten kings. Then the stone cut out without hands the stone in reference to our Lord Jesus Christ to more than once in the Scripture is referred to as the foundation stone he shall come again he shall smite the image of Gentile world dominion shall thoroughly remove it from the earth and his kingdom shall fill the whole of the earth. So the history of Gentile dominion begins at 605 BC when Nebuchadnezzar assume the Babylonian throne. It ends when the stone cut out without hands comes and shatters Gentile dominion. Only four kingdoms shall ever exist the Babylonians, the Medo-Persian, the Grecian, and the Roman; only four great worldwide dominions.
A natural question comes at this point, well, the Roman Empire, does that exist still? Well, according to the teaching of the world of God that kingdom still exists in its extension we often say for example, that the first or the father of our country was Washington. Actually Washington never ruled over Texas. Washington was the head of thirteen colonies, which expanded to forty eight to fifty states, but he is still a head of the country. Let’s just suppose that the Russians should attack the United States, the Russians are coming that’s suppose we hear; and they come.
The other day we were riding home from Houston and my wife was kind of sleeping on the right side of the car and I was driving and she wasn’t paying very much attention to what was happening and I turned on the radio and she kind of woke up just as they were announcing the fact that the Russian delegation had landed at Kennedy Airport in New York City, and this really happened. And monitor news was on and the announcer said in a moment Chet Huntley will say a word about the coming of the Russians. Well, she didn’t here that and so just as Chet Huntley came on she awakened and she hear these words, “the Russians have landed at Kennedy Airport,” or “the Russians have landed in New York City,” and I looked over, [laughter] and so I had to say now calm down, calm down [laughter] they haven’t come yet.
Let’s suppose however, the Russians had come let’s suppose that they had taken Washington we wouldn’t mind that [laughter] let’s suppose that they also had moved westward. Now, of course, our government as evacuated it no longer is in Washington it’s in Chicago now. And as the Russians move across the country the United States have changed let’s suppose they conquer the whole country and the United States government moves out to Hawaii, well, that’s the United States. That’s what it is.
And so today biblically, we are still living in the extension of the Roman Empire there has never been a great empire since the Romans. Charlemagne tried, Genghis Kahn tried, Hitler tried, Stalin and others perhaps have tried. LBJ may even be trying. We shall never again have a world dominion until the Roman Empire is revived.
Ten kings shall make up that kingdom one of these kings shall be the anti-Christ who shall rise up destroy three of them become the head over all the earth with the last stage with the fourth great empire, that is yet future.
So Daniel’s prophecy then tells us that Nebuchadnezzar is the beginning of Gentile world dominion, Gentile world dominion will continue until the time that Jesus Christ comes as the stone to shatter Gentile world dominion. In the mean time the nation Israel is under divine discipline scattered to the four corners of the earth. Ultimately, they shall be brought back into unbelief into the land and then finally into belief when our Lord Jesus comes and establishes his kingdom.
So the four horns then that scattered Judah, Israel and Jerusalem are the horns of Babylon, Medo-Persian, Greece, Rome the four smiths that terrify and cast out the four horns are Medo-Persia, which terrified Babylon, Greece which terrified Medo-Persia, Rome which terrified Greece and our Lord Jesus Christ, the last and final casket maker, who shall come and shall build a coffin for a world dominion the revived Roman Empire. That’s the prophecy of the four horns and the four smiths. Its conclusion is the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
That means then that we need not worry about the Russians becoming world emperors they shall never do it. Some years ago I heard Carl Armerding say, that he was speaking on this subject one place and Mr. Roosevelt was just about to be elected for his fourth term and after the message a woman came up very excited and said to him, “But Dr. Armerding if Mr. Roosevelt is elected to the fourth term he might go after a fifth too and become a fifth world empire. Dr. Armerding said, “Don’t worry Roosevelt cannot live forever.” This person very excitedly replied, “But what about Eleanor?” [Laughter] We need not worry about any other human empire but the last form of world dominion.
Now, then the man among the myrtles then has emphasized the fact that Israel’s history is the history of affliction but ultimate restoration. While the world is very concerned about its power politics and our politicians are fiddling away the time in the white house and the Kremlin and the various other places throughout the world, God’s hourglass of the times of the Gentiles is moving. The time apparently has become relatively short for the nation is moving back toward the land, and when the nation moves back toward the land preparations it seems are being made for ultimate restoration. That means the times of the Gentiles may be running short.
It’s rather significant to me that in 1917, when the Battlefield Declaration was signed and you have a word regarding it in the bulletin today. That was the year that Oskar Spengler wrote his decline of the West. It’s kind of interesting, then he went on or we went on to the Second World War and Europe has been dwarfed and Israel has continued to go back to the land. In other words, it appears that God is moving the affairs of nations so that he may fulfill the prophetic word.
Now, this panorama of history is fixed by God. Zechariah over again and again has said, “The Lord of hosts says, the Lord of hosts says, the Lord of the armies.” He’s going to bring it to pass. Daniel when he gave his particular dream and the interpretation stated that the dream was certain and the interpretation was sure.
Now, sometimes the world has more sense than the Christian have. Bismarck said, “The statesman must try and reach for the hem of the garment, for the hem when the garment of God wrestles through the events of this earth.” In other words, even the statesman must recognize that God works in the affairs of men.
Now, it is the responsibility of a Christian who should be wise as a serpent but harmless as a dove to recognize the things that are happening in the world and order his life accordingly. We have great comfort, we know what’s coming we know that we shall be victorious. Bernard Shaw said, “Although we crucified him on the stick somehow, he managed to get hold of the right end of it.” And he did for our Lord Jesus Christ has won the victory, he has overcome and we who are believers in him we have him who is to be victorious, but in the meantime we are responsible for getting out the word concerning him. And if the times of the gentiles are drawing to a close we may not have so long, because you see the rapture of the church precedes even that period of Great Tribulation which winds up the times of the Gentiles upon the earth.
This morning it may be that you’re in this audience and you never believed in the stone that was cut out without hands. You have never realized that in the word of God the prophets as well as, the New Testament apostles have written about one who is the stone the tried foundation stone and that whosoever believeth upon him shall not make haste. Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Have you believed in him? Have you put your trust in him? Are you one of his?
Now, secondly, do you understand the word of God its prophetic teaching? And are you ordering your life in accordance with it? Is this really practical truth with you or just something that tickles your intellectual imagination and interest and curiosity? God wants us to be comforted; he also wants us to order or lives in accordance with his prophetic word. May God help us to do it, shall we stand for the benediction.
[Prayer] Our gracious God and Heavenly Father we thank thee for the great revelation of the future, which is contained in thy word. We thank thee for the panorama of Gentile history and we thank thee for the sure and certain interpretation given the prophet Daniel. We thank thee also for the insights into the future of Israel. And we thank thee Lord most of all for the stone who was crucified for us and through whose death we have live for he took our sins.
And now, O Father we pray that in the days in which we live our actions shall be governed by the knowledge that we posses and the truth of God, enable us to be useful to thee in the time that we have and to glorify thee. Now, may grace mercy and peace be in abide with all who know him in sincerity until Jesus comes we ask in his name. Amen.