WHAT SAITH THE SCRIPTURES?

by Harrell Davidson

 

I have received the following question by way of the Internet. I write a column in The Gospel Preceptor (http://www.gospelpreceptor.com) where this question was submitted. It is a thought provoking question (hdd).

The question is: "In Daniel 2:36 begins the interpretation of the king's dream of the great image. Question: does this dream foretell that there shall be no world empire after the di≠vided Roman kingdom/empire?"

 

Answer

 

We must remember the dream of King Nebuchadnezzar wherein he dreamed of the monstrosity of a being, but he could not remember the dream and he did not know the interpretation. Daniel was a prisoner in Babylon at the time and his name was taken to the king explaining that he (Daniel) could tell what the dream was and give the interpretation of the dream. Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar of five (5) kingdoms. Yes, we are aware that it is normally said that there were four (4) kingdoms, but that is incorrect.

The first four kingdoms were all similar, but had some peculiarities. In these four kingdoms the strongest kingdom would be Babylon. A lesser kingdom would rise up and conquer Babylon and that kingdom would be the Medo Persian kingdom. After this kingdom, really under the rule of Persia, there would arise a weaker kingdom that would overtake and conquer it. The third kingdom was that of Alexander of Macedonia (the great). Alexander would begin to rule the world in about 331 B.C. The fourth empire that would start to rule over the world was the divided Roman Empire. Each of these was similar in that each was weaker than the one that was conquered. They were peculiar in that each ruler reacted somewhat differently.

The background is that Israel and Judah had gone into captivity never to return as the mighty force they once were. They would never be a nation again because they had failed to glorify God.

The fifth kingdom that Daniel saw was the kingdom of the Lord that would have itís be≠ ginning in Jerusalem (cf. Isaiah 2:3; Acts 2). The first four kingdoms were physical the latter is spiritual. Under the power and sway of the Roman Empire our Lord was born and was crucified under Roman law, but His kingdom, nonetheless began under the rule of the mighty Romans. They could not stop it. The physical Roman Empire tried to destroy Christianity and totally failed though, by some accounts, two million Christians perished while Rome tried to stamp out the Lord's people. When we walk through the Catacombs in Rome we are told that there are six hundred miles of tunnels under the city where Christians lived and were buried as they were persecuted. It is also said that Nero would light the streets of Rome at night with the bodies of burning Christians. Poly carp, a convert of and disciple of John was burned at the stake and could have saved his life if he would denounce Christ. He refused and died at the stake without a blindfold because he refused it. He was not ashamed of the Gospel and was willing to die for it. This kingdom did not take up arms and fight a physical battle.Christianity, the Lord's church will stand forever until it is delivered up to the Father (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:24). The "stone" that Nebuchadnezzar saw (cf. Daniel 2:45) would grow into a mighty bedrock that could not be destroyed by any empire or earthly kingdom.

Daniel's prophesy did not indicate that there would not be other empires or kingdoms. The United States defended a rather small empire a few years ago known as Kuwait. Other kingdoms or empires exist, but the main point is, that in the end of time all the empires or kingdoms of men will have fallen, but the Lord's church will continue until the end of the world. The answer to the question obviously is no since we have had and do have other empires and kingdoms pres≠ently in our world. This being the case, if Daniel had said that no other empires/kingdoms would exist then his prophecy would be false and he would be found to be a false prophet.