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Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Quote of the Day (10)

From David Cambell’s Illustrations of Prophecy, 1839
Students of prophecy make reference to a future geopolitical entity described in detail in both Daniel and Revelation. In scripture it is called the “fourth kingdom”. Some Bible students also refer to it as the “revived Roman empire” because it will be the spiritual and political reanimation of ancient Rome.

Neo-Rome is consistently depicted as being comprised of ten divisions or kingdoms. Nebuchadnezzar’s dream image in Daniel 2 has ten toes. The fourth beast of Daniel 7 has ten horns, as does the seven-headed monstrosity energized by Satan’s power that John saw in Revelation 13, and the beast on which the great prostitute rides in Revelation 17.

This ten nation confederacy is said to “devour the whole earth, and trample it down, and break it to pieces”. So, you know, fairly significant stuff, at least to those of us who believe these things are still to take place in our world.

Some Christians find themselves unable to resist the temptation to look around the world of their day and impose the existing political landscape on their prophetic studies. Hal Lindsey, for example, saw the countries of the European Common Market as likely candidates to fulfill the prophecies of Daniel and John. In 1970, that didn’t seem such a crazy notion to his readers, who made The Late Great Planet Earth a bestseller. In 2015, with the Eurozone teeming with Muslim immigrants and looking increasingly precarious, Lindsey’s scenario seems much less plausible.

121 years ago, Sir Robert Anderson published The Coming Prince in a world yet to experience global conflict. In 1894, there was no “nation of Israel” in Palestine and a very different set of “world powers” that did not include the United States or China. After exploring what Daniel says about the ten nation confederacy of the future, Anderson prudently resists the temptation Lindsey could not:
“To the scheme here indicated the objection may naturally be raised: Is it possible that the most powerful nations of the world, England, Germany, and Russia, are to have no part in the great drama of the last days? But it must be remembered, first, that the relative importance of the great Powers may be different at the time when these events shall be fulfilled, and secondly, that difficulties of this kind may depend entirely on the silence of Scripture, or, in other words, on our own ignorance.”
That second point is loaded with wisdom, and not just where prophetic study is concerned. 

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