Daniel means “God is judge” or “God is my judge.” We need to think about the titles of the books in the Bible: In many cases, the title is God’s specific purpose statement for the book. That is certainly the case in the book of Daniel.
The Laodiceans don’t want to think about God as a judge. They know in the back of their minds that they are not being measured by God as they should be.
God gave the Laodiceans awe-inspiring knowledge. They were excited and inspired. But then they gave it up so easily when they were tested by Herbert W. Armstrong’s death—unlike Daniel and his friends. The Laodiceans looked to men to judge them—not God. Even the name Daniel unlocks why the Laodiceans failed.
To the very elect, the name Daniel is filled with meaning: “God is my judge.” They know they and all of God’s people are being judged by God, and they are thankful for it. If we understand the name Daniel, it shows us who the very elect are today!
Each one of God’s people is being judged now (1 Peter 4:17). Understanding the name Daniel keeps God always in the picture. Daniel never ceased looking to God as his judge—even in the most extreme trials. And the same is true of his three friends.
Daniel endured some shattering trials and tests. He knew he was being judged by God. His friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, also understood this deeply. Because of that, these men had the courage to stand up to the most powerful kings on Earth! Even in the midst of some of the worst trials anyone has ever faced, they had the attitude, No matter what you say, we’re not going to bow down to you and your gods, because the omnipotent, Almighty God is our judge.
When you face a fiery furnace or lions’ den, it’s much harder to say God is my judge. It’s easier to say, as the Laodiceans do, Where is God? Why isn’t He delivering me? When major disasters strike this Earth, that is how people tend to respond: Why didn’t God stop this from happening? They blame God, not themselves and their sins!
They talk of “love, love, love” and reject God as their judge. So they fail to understand when God punishes in love. They don’t understand either God’s judgment or His love.
It takes a lot of faith to put your life in God’s hands, particularly when you are facing and even thrown into a fiery furnace or a den of lions. Yet that is the whole theme, or motif, of Daniel: God is my judge. In every chapter, God promises vindication: He assures us that He will deliver His people if they are faithful. This book is also filled with most impressive examples of how God vindicates His people in trial. God fulfilled His promise every time—never once did He fail. He always came to the rescue. It’s true that God does sometimes allow His people to be killed, but in the first six chapters of Daniel are some of the most spectacular trials in the Bible—and some of the most spectacular deliveries from trials!
We need to learn a deep lesson from this history!
Daniel and his friends received rewards on this Earth because they believed God and resolutely said, God is my judge. They proved by miracles, before mighty Gentile kings, the identity of the true, living God!
If you look to God as your judge, you too will absolutely be rewarded—in this life and, most of all, in the life to come. That is an absolute.
A Tremendous Test
Daniel and his friends dedicated themselves to God in a special way. Chapter 1 shows that when the king tried to feed them his delicacies, they refused. For 10 days, they restricted themselves to a special vegetables-and-water diet. At the end of that period, they were healthier than all the men eating the king’s food.
These extraordinary young men let the king and all the palace know that they were different: There was a law, and they obeyed it! They obeyed their God no matter what!
Because they obeyed God, Daniel and his friends were highly promoted within the Babylonian palace—but they also made some strong enemies there, who started to plot against Daniel and his friends. Those in the palace were the most prestigious people on Earth at the time, the way the world would view it.
A tremendous test came when Nebuchadnezzar made a golden image for everyone to worship. These enemies went straight to the king and informed him that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who were faithful to God, were not worshiping the image (Daniel 3:12).
Nebuchadnezzar was in an intense rage and called the youths before him. He directly challenged them, saying, I’ll give you one last chance! If you worship the image, fine—but if you don’t, I’ll throw you into a burning, fiery furnace. And then he taunted, “[A]nd who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?” (verses 13-15). Quite a challenge!
Those young men were very bold: “O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up” (verses 16-18). In other words, God is my judge. If you want to cast me into the fiery furnace, that’s OK, they said. We’re putting our lives in God’s hands.
This answer enraged the king even more! He was so furious, his face became distorted (verse 19). He was astounded that they would dare defy him and refuse to bow down! He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter, to intimidate them all the more. That was a lot of pressure on these men! Imagine being in their position—they were human, just like us!
God says this book is for the end time! He had this recorded in His Word for us today. It is end-time prophecy for the people of God! We need to learn this invaluable lesson about dealing with trials. There is no way to tell what the future holds for each of us.
Nebuchadnezzar commanded his mightiest soldiers to bind Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them in the fire. The furnace was so hot it killed the soldiers as they carried out the king’s command (verses 20-22).
Then something extraordinary happened!
The Fiery Furnace
The king’s anger began to turn to astonishment as he peered into the flames. “Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” he asked his counselors. “True, O king,” they answered (Daniel 3:24). He responded, “Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God” (verse 25).
These men were thrown in! Obviously they had faith—but God still allowed them to be plunged into the fiery furnace!
We not only need faith before we’re thrown in the furnace—we need faith while we’re inthe furnace! We must know that God is with us in our trials just as surely as He was with those men in the furnace. God did not remove the trial, even though they were faithful—He led them through it.
Then Nebuchadnezzar came toward the furnace and called out, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither” (verse 26). The three men obeyed, and came back out. The whole court could see that they had been completely unharmed by the fire.
Notice what Nebuchadnezzar said: “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort” (verses 28-29).
Nebuchadnezzar really uttered a prophecy of what will soon happen when the saints of God rule with a rod of iron! If people don’t bow down to the true God, they’ll be cut in pieces—and much worse! Nebuchadnezzar recognized that this was the way it had to be: He could see that no other god was as strong as this God—the same God who leads the Philadelphia Church of God today.
This is an end-time book! We must learn the lesson in the last hour.
The whole world will have to learn what this Church knows: that only the true God, and nobody else, is our judge. As long as we are in God’s hands, we have nothing to fear—no matter what the trial may be.
It takes faith of the most spectacular and superb kind to realize that.
Notice something inspiring: The fourth figure didn’t come out of that fire. There’s another Being in those trials and tests with us—no matter how hot they get. He will lead us through every trial if we never forget that God is our judge.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego knew God was their judge, and they weren’t about to bow down to another god. They looked to God and stood up to perhaps the most powerful king ever on Earth. Look at the outcome of their faithfulness: “Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon” (Daniel 3:30). As these men trusted God, they kept getting promoted!
How about us? If we don’t receive blessings, something is not right in our lives. Perhaps we aren’t passing our tests and trials.
These men were promoted to the heights within the king’s palace. That is a type of our reward in God’s temple! That is the way God prepares His kings and priests. God’s royalty will rule over Nebuchadnezzar and all the royalty of this world. We will rule over the kings of today, directly under the King of kings.
If we know that God is our judge, He will walk beside us. That is the kind of attitude that will get you promoted. Submitting like that will propel this Work to its successful completion. God is training us to rule the world and to teach people to look to Him in every way—never to a man or to any other god! The more we endure trials and let God judge us, the more we’ll be promoted. We must trust God and not look to men. That is easier said than done.
We must be willing to let God judge us, rather than sitting back like the Laodiceans and asking, Where is the God of judgment? They have rejected God as their judge, but He is still judging them. They will not be taken to a place of protection. Instead, they will be plunged into the Great Tribulation—the worst time of suffering ever, which becomes their fiery furnace.
Even then, only 50 percent of them will repent and accept God as their judge.
What awesome rewards God gives to those who accept Him as their judge today.
The Most High Rules in the Kingdom of Men
God sent Nebuchadnezzar another troubling vision in order to teach him a lesson. Here is part of that vision: “Let his heart be changed from man’s, and let a beast’s heart be given unto him; and let seven times pass over him. This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know thatthe most High ruleth in the kingdom of men,and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men” (Daniel 4:16-17).
We shouldn’t be too impressed by leaders of this world. God rules them and sets up whomever He will in order to fulfill His master plan. Sometimes even the basest of men rule, because God put them there or allowed them to be there in order to fulfill His purpose. He allows all kinds of things to happen, but everything occurs in the context of His master plan.
The Daniel 2 image didn’t just evolve! How did these great world-ruling kingdoms from the time of Nebuchadnezzar down to the time we now live in take shape like that image? The only way that is possible is if God shaped and molded it—to prove that He rules in the kingdom of men!
That image teaches the greatest lesson mankind could possibly learn.
God has given man 6,000 years to rule his own way, but He still makes certain that all events are shaped by His master plan. He forces events to shape the Daniel 2 image and work out His plan—He rules in the kingdom of men today.
God is teaching men even as they rebel. They are learning that man cannot rule himself—only God can bring men peace, prosperity, happiness and joy.
God gave us that Daniel 2 image to humble people and help them fulfill their potential. This truth should humble the most arrogant men of this world—as it did Nebuchadnezzar. However, they will have to suffer as Nebuchadnezzar did before they learn. The Tribulation and the Day of the Lord are coming soon to get the world’s attention. Every person on Earth will be judged by God or die in the lake of fire—in the final judgment.
Daniel and his friends were revealing this truth to the world—and before long, we will be teaching it to the world. All mankind will see how everything came to pass just as Daniel said it would! The most highly esteemed kings of this world don’t amount to anything in the face of the great God. Every word of His prophecies will come to pass! In the end, Christ will smash the toes, and the whole image will become chaff. This world will never see it again, because the Most High rules in the kingdom of men!
Daniel told the king what his dream meant: “That they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will” (Daniel 4:25).
Nebuchadnezzar had to suffer until he knew that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men. So will the mighty of this world. People will have to be pounded by disasters until they know the Most High— God the Father—rules. The world doesn’t know that today.
God the Father wants a family. He loves the people of this world deeply. He wants to give them life—but they won’t accept it! God knows that, for most of them, it will take a lot of correction before they’ll recognize His plan for them and accept an invitation into His Family.
This book and the whole Bible is about God’s family plan—ruled by “the most High,” the Father who is Head of His Family.
God’s lukewarm people don’t honor their Father (Malachi 1:6). Already they have lost God’s family plan, which is the gospel!
They don’t see God’s family plan in the book of Daniel or throughout the whole Bible. What blindness! They have lost everything. What a massive tragedy!
Nebuchadnezzar’s vision unfolded to the detail. He was given one year to repent. At the end of 12 months, he walked into his palace in the kingdom of Babylon, and he said this: “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?” (Daniel 4:30). Even after a year of mercy, this king didn’t get the message! He still didn’t know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men.
“While the word was in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee” (verse 31). Nebuchadnezzar was perhaps the greatest earthly king this world has seen—yet God stripped everything from him and magnified his suffering to teach him the most fundamental lesson. This is a lesson that God is about to teach all the kings and leaders of this world—the Most High rules in the kingdom of men.
Mr. Armstrong used to cringe when people gave him credit for building God’s Work. He would think of Nebuchadnezzar. Mr. Armstrong knew that the Most High rules.
I think it’s interesting that the wcg ministers who spoke so much about Daniel’s prophecy didn’t really talk about this lesson Nebuchadnezzar had to learn. I’m sure they thought they were humble men and that there was no need to address the issue, but every one of them rebelled against God.
Human nature is not humble; it is self-willed, and we all have it! Don’t kid yourself! We don’t realize how self-willed we are, so God has to show us! God knows how to humble the proud. Sometimes He has to get out His paddle and correct us. He tries and tests us, because He is shaping and molding—He wants us to rule the world. We must respond to that correction in the right way. We want to be like Daniel and say, God is my judge.
We had better be humble people. Those who walk in pride, God is able to abase. In fact, we should regularly ask God to humble us in His mercy.
If God rules in the kingdom of men, He surely rules in His Church! You might think He doesn’t when you see 95 percent of His people turn away from Him—but God isn’t finished with them. What Nebuchadnezzar went through was small compared to what they will have to endure!
Just the fact that such a high percentage of God’s people have turned away from Him should frighten us and help us realize that we need more humility! We all need to get over our “Nebuchadnezzar complex.”
Most of the wcg leaders ended up being harder than Nebuchadnezzar—and they had God’s Holy Spirit! It appears that many of them are headed for the lake of fire. Can you and I see our Nebuchadnezzar pride?
God’s ministers are instructed to use authority in love, but God is also very concerned with how well they submit to God’s loving authority. The person who walks in pride God will abase—period! We all must submit. I must submit. If someone else is right and I’m wrong, I have to submit—that is the only way God’s government will ever work.
After this correction, Nebuchadnezzar finally became humble and submitted to God’s rule (verses 34-37). He concluded, “Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase” (verse 37). That is what Nebuchadnezzar learned. That is what this whole world is going to learn.
That is what we must learn now.
Nebuchadnezzar wrote part of the book of Daniel, including these verses. Sir Henry Rawlings, a famous historian, found a document by Nebuchadnezzar where he recorded this exactly as Daniel did.
People in this world should know a lot more about Daniel and the Bible, but they refuse to. So God must punish them until they repent.
Nebuchadnezzar finally understood that God rules in the kingdom of men. This pictures the ultimate surrender of all of the Gentile rulers in these fast-approaching “times of the Gentiles.”
We saw that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego faced a real trial by fire. Now let’s look at what Daniel had to endure.
Daniel had been promoted to the third most powerful position in the kingdom. He was right under Belshazzar, Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson (though Scripture calls him his “son”). That is quite a promotion for a Jew!
In the middle of that reign, Belshazzar was killed, and Darius of the Medes took over the kingdom (Daniel 5:30-31). That was the end of the head of gold in the Daniel 2 image, and the beginning of the breast and arms of silver—the Medo-Persian Empire. The two arms symbolize that it was a two-part empire—Medo-Persian.
Darius put 120 princes over his kingdom, with three presidents right at the top. Daniel was the top man among all of these (Daniel 6:1-2). “Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm” (verse 3). Again we see a man of God receiving tremendous promotions.
But notice: “Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him. Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God” (verses 4-5). These men were watching Daniel closely and they couldn’t find any fault with him!—they only saw that he set a terrific example of keeping God’s law.
The leading men plotted against Daniel and got the king to unwittingly sign a decree that would condemn Daniel to death in a lions’ den for praying to God (verses 7-9). Once that was signed, it could not be reversed. So when they then came to the king accusing Daniel of praying three times a day, in violation of the decree, Darius was bound to follow through (verses 13-15). “Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee” (verse 16). Darius supported Daniel. He had heard of all the other miracles and had a certain measure of faith in Daniel’s God.
Just like his three friends, Daniel was plunged right into the trial. In the midst of the den, the angels of God shut the lions’ mouths (verse 22). A lion could rip you apart with its jaws, but these lions couldn’t even open their mouths! Another miraculous deliverance by God.
This marvel impressed Darius, the Gentile king. He made a decree that everyone throughout his kingdom should “tremble and fear before the God of Daniel” (verse 26).
“So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian” (verse 28). This great man of God prophesied about the successive world-ruling empires. Then, because he looked to God, he prospered under those empires! He was promoted by Nebuchadnezzar of the Chaldean Empire, and then under Darius and Cyrus of the Medo-Persian Empire.
Daniel worked in the king’s palace under two of the empires depicted by the Daniel 2 image. He was taken into slavery, but he trusted God and was promoted. I doubt that Daniel felt extremely prosperous the moment he was cast into the lions’ den—that would have been stressful to anybody. But Daniel said, If a lion eats me, it eats me. You have to be impressed! He said that God was his judge. Not Nebuchadnezzar! Not Darius! And not Cyrus! He didn’t fear Nebuchadnezzar or Darius or Cyrus. He feared God! He never, ever looked to those men; he never caved in. That kind of faith, regardless of the trials that may come, will end up prospering and promoting you! You can see why, with that level of faith, Daniel will undoubtedly be ruling over the Gentiles in God’s Kingdom! Daniel and his friends have been prepared and are ready to rule over the Earth.
Is there a better book in the Bible regarding trials than Daniel? These men were consistently tried and promoted, tried and prospered—it was an endless cycle. We too are being tried and tested, and we prosper and are promoted. God is judging us, grading us, evaluating us. God wants us to learn to let Him judge us and to totally put our lives in His hands, as Daniel did.
The Jewish names of Daniel and his three friends carry special significance. The letters in their names can be assigned specific numeric values: Daniel, 95; Hananiah, 120; Mishael, 381; and Azariah, 292. Those numbers all add up to 888. Seven is perfection. But 888 is above perfection—which is what God is!
Men are prone to look at the men and events in Daniel’s prophecy. But this book is not just about these men and events. It’s about the God who is above perfection.
The Laodiceans rejected God as their judge. Then they failed to endure their trials. I believe this is the best book in the Bible on how to handle your trials—even better than Job. These men experienced some horrific trials and God delivered them every time. God judged them as resounding successes.
All of us are being graded much like college students. We must pass our tests without cheating. And we can if we look to the Most High God who is beyond perfection.
If you are facing a fiery furnace, or you are going to put your life in God’s hands some other way, you need to know that this God, who is above perfection, is your judge. He is the one who will promote you and prosper you—He is the one who will reward you in the Kingdom of God. He is preparing you to be a king-priest in the World Tomorrow. You can trust this God in your worst trials!
God’s Work has always emanated from His temple, or house. Anciently, the Israelites did their sacrificial work from the physical temple. In the New Testament era, God’s temple is spiritual. The Church is the temple—spiritual Israel, or God’s house.
So today, God’s Work flows from His spiritual temple—comprised of God’s people. That temple is there to do God’s Work.
So why would God want a physical house of God today? Because it is a type of God’s spiritual house. This physical building helps reinforce in our minds that we are called today for one purpose: to do God’s Work—which declares His message. Otherwise, we would be called after Christ returns like all the rest of humanity.
Today, we are the small firstfruit harvest to help God with the great fall harvest of all humanity.
This is the understanding that the Laodiceans—95 percent of God’s people—never did get. Or if they really got that message, they lost it.
So you can see that we need all the help God can give us to remember why we are called today.
We must bring God and His Work onto center stage. God always established His temple—physical or spiritual—to do the continual. God’s Work must be continued.
If we have a physical and spiritual temple combined, it’s like a double emphasis on finishing God’s Work.
In 2004, the Philadelphia Church of God purchased two candelabras that had been housed in Ambassador Auditorium, the crown-jewel structure of the Worldwide Church of God headquarters in Pasadena, California—which Mr. Armstrong called “a house for God.” These beautiful works were commissioned by the shah of Iran in 1971 to celebrate the 2,500-year anniversary of the reign of Cyrus at the beginning of the Persian Empire.
The significance of Cyrus’s reign to God’s people is spoken of in the book of Ezra: “Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house [a temple] at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem” (Ezra 1:1-3).
God rules in the kingdom of men! He put it into this Gentile king’s mind to build a temple for God. That is astounding.
Cyrus also had Jerusalem rebuilt. The main commission here was to rebuild the temple. Why was God’s primary concern building His house, or the temple?
The success of Judah and Israel always revolved around getting the people’s minds on God and His Work, emanating from the temple. This is how God led these ancient Israelites.
It’s also how He leads His Church today. We must keep our minds on God and His Work today.
“The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts” (Haggai 2:9). The Church is God’s spiritual temple, or house, today. This “latter house [spiritual] shall be greater” than Solomon’s physical temple.
Notice there is a spiritual and physical house mentioned in this verse. The expression “in this place” refers to the physical house.
God also had Herbert W. Armstrong build a physical house to help keep His people’s minds on Him and His Work. That house has now been polluted, and God is having us build another physical house.
It’s very important to God that we keep our focus on Him. Since we are physical, God also gives us a physical house of God to help us keep our minds on Him.
If the physical house is polluted, so are God’s people. There is a direct connection.
God is going to rebuild the world through us, but only if we keep our eyes on Him and remain totally committed to His Work.
As Ezra wrote, Jeremiah had prophesied of this happening (e.g. Jeremiah 25:12; 29:10). Daniel also specifically prophesied, in Daniel 9:25, of the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the temple. So this event was very much in the prophecies, and God caused it to come to pass just as He had said it would.
God said of Cyrus: “He is my shepherd” to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple (Isaiah 44:28). God also called Cyrus “his anointed,” a century or so before he was born (Isaiah 45:1).
The Jewish historian Josephus said that Cyrus was induced by the prophecies of Isaiah.
Herodotus, called the father of history, also had a great deal to say about Bible-related miracles in Cyrus’s life.
Daniel prospered, and kings Darius and Cyrus knew he was a man of God. They knew of God’s power, demonstrated through Daniel (Daniel 6:25-28).
So Cyrus, a carnal-minded king, played a significant role in biblical and secular history. Cyrus is mentioned in four books of the Bible: Isaiah, Daniel, Ezra and Chronicles. So the history of Cyrus also ties in to Bible prophecy.
I believe it is interesting that, just a few years after that 1971 celebration, Iran’s shah was overthrown by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. I’m sure Satan was enraged by the Iranians celebrating Cyrus, who had a history with God and building the temple of God, and within a short time, he kicked the shah off his throne!
God allowed this to happen. He rules in the kingdom of men. Today, the regime started by the Iranian Revolution is trying to take over the whole Arab world! The old Persian king is rising up again, and this time it is going to fulfill a different end-time role that Daniel prophesied of: the king of the south (Daniel 11:40-41). It’s about to achieve nuclear status, and other nations are too weak to stop it!
Iran will keep pushing the West until it gets a fight. Jordan is alarmed by what Iran is doing. Here is an excerpt from Courcy’s Intelligence Review, December 16, 2004: “Last week Jordan’s King Abdullah warned U.S. President George W. Bush that Iran was interfering in the Iraqi election with a view to establishing a ‘Shia crescent’ in the region, extending from Iraq to Lebanon. … What is startling … is the degree of fear of Iran that has revealed itself in Jordan following the publication of the king’s remarks. [This helps us see more clearly who the king of the south is.] …
“But Jordan’s fear of a Shia-dominated Iraq is compounded by the close association between Iraq’s Shias and Iran, which Jordan sees as the historic enemy of the Arabs. Iran, Jordan argues, takes every opportunity it can to exploit Sunni-Shia divisions to undermine pan-Arabism and to promote Iranian interests in the Gulf states, Iraq and Lebanon. Jordanian strategists also argue that Iran wants nuclear weapons not in order to help liberate Palestine but to increase its influence over the Arab world.
“A commentary published … in the Jordanian newspaper al-Rai, supporting King Abdullah’s remarks, provides an accurate reflection of the level of Jordanian fear of, and animosity toward, Iran. Amongst other things, this is what the commentary said: …
“‘Jordan and all the Arab brothers realize the danger that Iran posed and continues to pose toward their Arabism and their homelands.’
“‘Since Iranians have a long history of stirring seditions inside the Arab homeland, cautioning in a loud and clear voice against the Iranian role in Iraq is the individual duty of each Arab, each Sunni Muslim and each Shia Muslim who refuses to wager his Arabism and sell it to anyone who harbors deeply rooted hatred.’
“‘It is noteworthy that Iran’s possession of nuclear weapons means an Iranian nuclear capability to strike us, for the Iranians have no enemy but the Arabs. The notion that Iran is preparing its forces to liberate Palestine is a ridiculous illusion. The utmost that the Iranian regime has offered the Palestinian question is the building that was occupied by the Israeli Embassy and is now occupied by the Palestinian Embassy!’
“The commentary concluded: ‘The problem with Iran is that it does not deal with us as Muslims whose one religion ought to unify them and close their ranks. Iran’s problem will remain that we are Arabs and they are Persians. … All cards are now revealed and the Iranian regime has lost its balance and proceeded toward overt and covert alliances that seek to divide up Iraq, destroy it, slaughter Iraqis, and encourage sedition and internecine fighting ….’
“King Abdullah has not been as outspoken as this, and Foreign Ministry officials have since tried to play down the significance of his anti-Iranian remarks. But there can be no hiding Jordanian (and wider Arab) fears of Iran now that Iraq is no longer the bulwark against Iranian influence that it was under Saddam Hussein. …
“On the face of it, resurgence of interest in the Palestinian-Israeli peace process might also look like a negative for Iran, particularly as it appears to be supported strongly by Egypt. Relations between Iran and Egypt had been improving for a while, but they have now suffered a double setback as a result of Egypt’s apparent rapprochement with Israel and the eruption of a spy scandal. (An Egyptian citizen is under investigation for having spied for Iran—or rather for the Iranian [Islamic] Revolutionary Guard Corps (irgc), which in turn is accused of recruiting and training extremists in Hezbollah camps in Lebanon and of plotting terrorist attacks in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Sources in Cairo say that relations between Iran and Egypt are now ‘back to square one.’) [Prophecy in Daniel 11:42-43 indicates that Egypt will swing back toward Iran, which would make it more an enemy of the king of the north.]
“Interestingly, however, sources in the region say that Iranian officials are actually not overly concerned about the new push toward a Palestinian-Israeli peace settlement. At least some Iranian officials take the view that renewed U.S. and European interest in the peace process will absorb a huge amount of Western diplomatic energy and divert attention away from Iran.
“In the meantime, Iran will continue to extend its influence in Iraq, which in turn should further increase its influence in Syria and Lebanon. King Abdullah’s fears are by no means misplaced …” (emphasis mine).
So we can see that the old Persian Empire is rising again. But this time it will be a bitter enemy of biblical Israel (especially America, Britain and the Middle East Jews).
Like the king of the north, or the European Union, Iran—the king of the south—is telling its people to “remember your roots.” However, Iran doesn’t want the focus on Cyrus, the Persian king whom God used to bless Jerusalem, the temple and the people of Israel.
Today, hatred of biblical Israel is used to motivate Iran. It wants the Persian Empire to be resurrected, but not the Cyrus version.
There is often a strength if you “remember your roots.” What a dramatic difference it would make if spiritual Israel—the Laodiceans—and the nations of Israel would remember their roots, their history with God! Only they have roots worth remembering!
However, the Persians will not rule the world as they did anciently. The king of the north, or the European Union, will soon conquer them.
Our candelabras were used to honor Cyrus and the Persian Empire. They point us all the way back to the time that God’s house was built in Jerusalem with Cyrus’s blessing. We received those candelabras from God’s house in Pasadena, and they are housed in God’s house—our new auditorium—in Edmond. They have a strong connection to God’s house. Those candelabras tie directly to some of the most dazzling history and prophecy in the Bible.
God gives us candelabras and His physical house to remind us who we are and to help us remember our history with God. Through these candelabras and the physical house, God is trying to impress on our minds that we are going to rule the world! Christ and His saints will do a far better job than Cyrus did.
As the Prophet Haggai said, far more glorious than any physical house on this Earth is God’s spiritual house—the very elect of God. We are God’s royalty! We will rule over Nebuchadnezzar and the kings of this world. God’s people must focus on the throne we’ll be sitting on and God’s palace. We are already kings and priests who outrank every king on Earth!
Do you want to compare Daniel with Nebuchadnezzar? Nebuchadnezzar ended up eating grass in the field, and Daniel ended up in the palace!
God Watches Upon the Evil
Daniel 9:13 says, “As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the Lord our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth.” Notice that: Evil comes upon us when we break God’s law as revealed in the Pentateuch.
“Therefore hath the Lordwatched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the Lord our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice” (verse 14). Some people say they want to know God’s will. Well there it is: God tells us that He is watching upon the evil and bringing it upon Israel because of our sins.
This important passage helps to unlock the first five books of the Bible. Daniel’s words are prophetic—they are intended for us in this end time, and they point us right back to Moses. Mr. Armstrong always said Moses’s books were prophetic.
The scholars of this world have a mountain of excuses for not obeying Leviticus or Deuteronomy. At best, these books are looked upon as history, but here Daniel says that we need to obey these books in this end time! If we don’t, then “all this evil is come upon us”! Daniel also wrote that Moses’s books are prophetic—for this end time. The troubles will not stop until people repent!
Now notice something very prophetic that Moses wrote: “But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee” (Deuteronomy 28:15). People must hearken to “the voice”of God. Where is that voice? Who is speaking for God today? That voice is being trumpeted by the Philadelphia Church of God today.
“Because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things; Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the Lord shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee. The Lord shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand; A nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor shew favour to the young: And he shall eat the fruit of thy cattle, and the fruit of thy land, until thou be destroyed: which also shall not leave thee either corn, wine, or oil, or the increase of thy kine, or flocks of thy sheep, until he have destroyed thee” (verses 47‑51). God warns biblical Israel in this end time that sinners are going to be reduced to cannibalism and other unimaginable atrocities (verse 53).
Who sends these enemies to destroy us? God does it because of our vile sins!
“And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land: and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates throughout all thy land, which the Lord thy God hath given thee” (verse 52). The Holy Roman Empire will besiege modern Israel in all our gates and then destroy us.
You can already see this prophecy moving toward its fulfillment; the European Union is moving into South America, making trade agreements that are taking business away from the United States. Venezuela, which has exported oil to the U.S. for years, now wants to award those contracts to China instead. Why would Latin America, which is right on the doorstep of the only superpower left in the world, go all the way across vast oceans to find alternate business partners? We are entering the “times of the Gentiles.” Russia, China, Japan and the EU are forming alliances against the U.S. and biblical Israel. The U.S. is being besieged!Deuteronomy 28 is being fulfilled right now! Soon America will find it impossible to import oil and other necessities—just as Moses and Daniel said. Britain and the Jews in the Middle East are suffering a similar fate.
Ezekiel 5 shows that one third of the people within modern Israel will die before we’re even attacked! In America alone, that is 100 million people! Why do one third die? Because when we are besieged, our nations will begin to develop all kinds of problems from within. Then, when the attacks come, another 100 million will die! Only a 10th of the people will be left when it’s finally over.
We must believe and act like this is going to happen, because it is right there in God’s Word.
The Overview of Prophecy
The Daniel 2 image gives an overview of history and prophecy like nothing else in the Bible. It is the main tool God uses to unlock the book of Revelation! We all need to etch this image into our minds. It is extremely important, and I believe we haven’t put enough emphasis on it in the past.
I read an article some time ago about how well the students in Singapore perform in mathematics. American teachers imported their textbooks to see what was working so well for them, and they learned a system for teaching math that visualizes the math problem. When the American students began to get a picture in their mind of the problem, not only did their academic performance increase, but they actually started to enjoy math!
The point is, God has given us the Daniel 2 image to help us understand Bible prophecy like nothing else in the Bible! It gives us a picture of Bible prophecy. This world is hopelessly confused, certainly about Bible prophecy. But if we etch that image into our memories, we can hold on to the big picture. Then Bible prophecy becomes powerfully vivid.
It is truly astounding what God reveals through this image! It shows us history and prophecy from the time of Nebuchadnezzar all the way to the end. You can follow the image down through the centuries—to the legs, then the feet, then the toes—then Jesus Christ returns! If you follow that image from the head to the toes in faith, thenyou knowChrist is about to return! Prophecy shows that we are about to see the 10 toes—and if we keep this whole picture in mind, we know that this world, and this phase of God’s plan, is just about over!
Not only does that image give us the historical and prophetic overview, but it brings God into the picture—when He smashes the toes and the whole image falls apart! We must understand the Daniel 2 image better than ever so we can understand all of the Bible’s prophecies more effectively.
The whole world is hopelessly confused about Bible history and prophecy. Understanding the Daniel 2 image could clear up most of that confusion.
Without this overview, it is easy to get obsessed with a certain area of prophecy and not see the big picture. What does prophecy really mean if you don’t have this image in mind? You must always have context! You must be able to see where a specific prophecy fits into the overview, or you’ll get lost in prophecy.
Daniel 2 unlocks Daniel 7. And several of these prophecies within Daniel unlock the book of Revelation. Both Daniel and John are heavily focused on the fourth system—the Roman Empire.
Daniel was on the scene when Nebuchadnezzar conquered Judah. God sent someone during the time of the head of gold to reveal the whole image. If you understand the head, it’s much easier to understand the whole system—it is Babylonian all the way through. God tells us today to come out of Babylon and the confusion of this world.
God Reveals Secrets
When Daniel explained the image to Nebuchadnezzar, he said: “But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days” (Daniel 2:28).
Daniel repeated statements like these over and over. He wanted to make sure everyone knew whorevealed the secrets! Don’t give me any credit, he said. Don’t think I’m somebody special—God reveals secrets, and nobody else! Not Herbert Armstrong, not Gerald Flurry—only God!
We must always bring God into the picture. Daniel and his friends brought God into the spotlight. That is why God could use them so powerfully.
God gave men ample opportunity to go their own way. History unfolds man’s way, but within the context of the Daniel 2 image and God’s master plan. If you don’t see the Creator of the image, then you can get titillated by prophecy and lose sight of the God who rules in the kingdom of men!
We must get beyond seeing mere human beings. Of course God uses human beings. Here He revealed the vision to Daniel—one man; He didn’t give it to Daniel’s friends directly. But the image came from God! He revealed it, and shaped and molded it, and if we don’t see that, we don’t really see.
Revelation comes only from God! And how much God has given us!
Daniel was used by God to deliver God’s message to Nebuchadnezzar. God didn’t give His message directly to the king. God chose Daniel as His prophet and revealed only to him.
Daniel did not understand his own book (Daniel 12:4, 9). Today God has given a deep understanding of Daniel through Herbert W. Armstrong and myself. God reveals His truth for the Church only to apostles and prophets (Ephesians 3:5). Then those who support God’s true leaders help deliver the revelation to this world. All of God’s very elect are kings and priests in embryo, getting ready to rule this world. The kings of this world are about to be replaced.
The Laodiceans knew about the Daniel 2 image, but they didn’t really know the God who revealed it to them. They did not give God credit for all His prophecy as Daniel did. The Laodiceans began to scorn God’s prophecy and say, “prophesy not.”
They bowed down to the Nebuchadnezzars of this world. God’s truth was “cast down” and His Work destroyed.
Look at Daniel’s attitude: “As for thee, O king, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter: and he that 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” (Daniel 2:29-30). Daniel left himself totally out of the picture. He didn’t even take credit for the prayer!God filled his life! That’s why he could trust God and know that everything would work beautifully.
If the Laodiceans went through something like what Daniel and his three friends endured, would they survive it? Of course not! The question is, would we? Can we let God judge us and know that every detail is looked after? God will never, never, never try us beyond what we are able to take—and that’s a promise (1 Corinthians 10:13). How could God even make such a promise if He didn’t thoroughly know your capacity—if He didn’t know every thought in your mind?
Daniel said, “Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible” (Daniel 2:31). Yes, these great world-ruling empires are terrible! Elsewhere Daniel describes the same power as being “dreadful and terrible” (Daniel 7:7). They act like hungry beasts of prey to weaken nations. They enslave, kill and shock the world with their grotesque deeds! A Worldwide Church of God publication, The Holy Roman Empire, said the beast power was like a wild animal. That is an attempt to water down the truth! A rabbit is a “wild animal”! This is a dreadful andterrible beast!
“This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass” (Daniel 2:32). The breast and arms of the image were made of silver; the arms represented the Medo-Persian Empire—two empires that are one. As these empires progress, the metals get stronger but degenerate in quality. History proves this true: The earlier Gentile empires had more culture and dignity than the succeeding ones. This shows the reverse of evolution.
“His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay” (verse 33). The Roman Empire has always had two legs: Constantine divided it at the beginning because it was easier to administer, and it has been that way ever since. It will be this way to the end.
“Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces” (verse 34). The clay represents some of the lost tribes of Israel, and God wants to shape and mold them (e.g. Jeremiah 18:6). Yet Israel refuses. Here, in this beast power, Israel is mixed right in with the Gentiles. They are able to come together in an emergency, but the unity won’t last. It is a divided empire.
Now see how it all ends: “Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; 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” (Daniel 2:35). We are living during the time of the toes—and the Stone that shatters them is about to fill the whole Earth! Jesus Christ is going to smash the great image—break it into pieces. Then the image becomes as chaff left from the wheat and is blown away. Everything not a part of God’s Family has this deplorable end. It’s all about establishing the God Family on this Earth. This is what we live for.
Fill the Church With God
The beautiful thing is that Daniel always brought God into the picture. We need to do the same, because we are nothing without God!
The Laodicean ministers always talked about the beast. They had tremendous knowledge about it. I was amazed at how much they knew about Daniel and Revelation and how little they knew about God! The problem is, even when you have studied this image from head to toe, if you don’t see what came before it, and what comes after it, you’re missing the point!The whole purpose of the image is to try to bring people into the Family of God! If we don’t understand and pursue that goal, everything we do is in vain.
The ministers of the Philadelphia Church of God need to do all they can tofill this Church with God! All of God’s people must work to fill this Church with God.
Every time a minister says, This is what the people need, so that’s what I’ll speak on, God blesses it. He is pleased when a minister tries to feed the people what they need. He is pleased by the man who, rather than seeking to impress people with his speaking ability, simply wants to fill the Church with God! That should always be our goal: to bring God in. It’s wonderful to be a minister, but it’s a heavy responsibility.
At the Feast of Tabernacles we talk about ruling with God in the Kingdom of God. That should be the theme of the whole Feast. We need to be thinking of that constantly in our lives: Thy Kingdom come; thy will be done!
We all need to fill this Church with the faith to face the future. I don’t know exactly what will happen; in a few exceptions, God’s faithful people could get killed. However, we know that on the whole, if we are filled with faith, God will prosper and promote us. He promises the very elect a place of safety from the nuclear holocaust. That is quite a promotion, considering what people are going to face elsewhere in the world. For everyone else, there won’t be a hiding place: God says that even if someone went to the bottom of the sea, He would send a serpent down there to bite that person! We can’t escape God.
The wcg ministers understood so many details of the prophecies, but they didn’t talk about the Godwho shapes and molds the prophecies—the God who is going to destroy the whole Daniel 2 image! What will happen to the madmen who rule this Earth? God is going to break them in pieces!
“And in the days of these kings 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 consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, 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 sure” (verses 44-45). It is certain—it is sure!
A Sure Word of Prophecy
Luke 1:4 is a beautiful scripture that we don’t use much, but perhaps should use a lot more: “That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.” What I am talking about is certain—because it is in God’s Word! It will happen—it is absolute! God wants us to know it is certain.
“We have also a more sure [or certain] word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy [Spirit]” (2 Peter 1:19‑21). God’s prophecies are certain and sure!
The word sure in Daniel 2:45 is from the Aramaic word meaning trustworthy or faithful. It corresponds to the Hebrew word that means to be enduring, to make firm; it refers to a pillar or something totally reliable.
This Daniel 2 image shows the time sequence of prophecy from Nebuchadnezzar to Christ’s Second Coming. And that time sequence is so absolute, and the picture is so wonderfully clear, that anybody can see it!
“Then Daniel requested of the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel sat in the gate of the king” (verse 49). They really were promoted!
All of the firstfruits are about to be promoted into eternal Bride-level leadership.
The days of the kings of this world are almost over. The God of heaven is about to set up His Kingdom! It’s getting so close! Get this vivid picture of prophecy into your mind. It is more real than anything out there in the world! It is certain—it is sure—every word will be fulfilled! The 10 toes are almost here! The Daniel 2 image shows us where we are in prophecy. A new and wonderful civilization is about to burst upon the world scene. The time for God to return and begin to rid the world of suffering is here.
There are five world-ruling kingdoms. The fifth one will be ruled by God. And His is the one the Laodiceans and this world do not understand. They don’t know the God of heaven who is ready to break men’s rule to pieces and rule forever.
You cannot deeply understand the four world-ruling kingdoms, unless you understand the fifth world-ruling kingdom, but that kingdom is virtually invisible to most people.
The Daniel 2 image gives us a clear picture of prophecy, but it is our understanding of its Creator and successor which shows that we know God. It is this omnipotent God who sent Daniel and John that we must understand and know.
After the 10 toes, then comes “everlasting righteousness” (Daniel 9:24). If we have understood all of the image which preceded the 10 toes, then we know that Christ’s Second Coming is almost here! That is universe-shaking news! And the best news we could hear. This is where our hearts and excitement must be. Either we get wrapped up in this or we fail. There is no hope any place else.