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Prophecies were not written merely as milestones to the kingdom of God. While the church may find joy in measuring the distance still to travel on the highway of time, by noting how many milestones have been passed and how many more there are yet to pass before the coming of Christ, it should be emphasized that this is not their greatest purpose. The prophecy of Daniel, chapter two, was given to teach that the rise and fall of empires is not due to the fluctuating fortunes of monarchs and dictators, but to the overruling providence of God (Dan. 2:20-22); that nations are overthrown when they oppose and hinder God's moral purpose in the earth; that because men are selfish they cannot build a lasting empire; that God will establish a kingdom made up of people who have learned to obey the will of God. In Matt. 21:44 Jesus applies this prophecy in connection with the individual who either accepts or rejects the gospel. Our Lord does not employ this prophecy to declare that the fourth of the kingdoms (represented by the legs of iron) had come, therefore the end must be drawing near, but He did apply the setting up of the kingdom of stone - His own everlasting kingdom - in relation to the present and applied it to the moral choice of the individual.

Daniel, chapter three, shows the conflict between the kingdoms of God and of Satan. The king of Babylon, under Satan's leadership (see Isa. 14:4, 12), sought to frustrate the fulfillment of the prophecy given by Daniel recorded in the previous chapter. In his efforts he endeavored to compel the Hebrews to break God's moral Law. The book of Revelation applies this moral conflict between the law of the king of Babylon and the Law of God in connection with the present and in connection with the individual. The people in literal Babylon were to "worship the golden image" that Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, had set up. This fact is stated six times - Dan. 3:5, 7, 10, 12, 14, 18. In the Revelation, God's warning against worshipping the beast and his "image" is mentioned six times Rev. 13:15; 14:9, 11; 16:2; 19:20; 20:4. "If any man worship the beast and his image."

God's care over His loyal children is illustrated by the fact that He "delivered His servants that trusted in Him" (Dan. 3:28). Daniel, chapter six, reveals the plottings of men and demons to turn people from their allegiance to the Law of God, and the testing and the triumph through God's power of those who remain loyal to Him. Again, the emphasis is placed upon the deliverance of those who serve God "continually." (See Dan. 6:14, 16,20-27.) The deliverance mentioned in Dan. 12:1 is not unrelated to the other deliverances mentioned earlier in the book of Daniel; but, rather, the previous deliverances illustrate the deliverance mentioned in Dan. 12:1. The purpose for which the last, long prophecy of Daniel was written was not to point to a supposed gathering of nations to Palestine for an "Armageddon" which has nothing to do with God's moral purpose (a war between nations has no moral significance for the Christian's own experience). Actually this prophecy says absolutely nothing regarding a supposed conflict of nations in Palestine; it says nothing concerning a military "Armageddon," but it does point to the deliverance from death at the hands of spiritual Babylon of those who have obeyed the Law of God.

The time of trouble mentioned in Dan. 12:1 occurs at the time of the outpouring of the seven last plagues of Rev. 16. When Jesus ("Michael") stands up He ceases to mediate on man's behalf; no longer will His intercession hold back the winds of strife and world-wide commotion and trouble. To-day Jesus intercedes on behalf of those who are seeking Divine aid in the development of character. This prophecy warns of the time when Jesus' intercessory work will cease. It is to this great decisive event that Dan. 12:1 points us. The eternal destiny of all the human family will then have been decided. Surely this is a most solemn moral reason for giving this prophecy. When Jesus completes His heavenly ministry the seven last plagues of Rev. 16 fall upon those who have rejected Christ's last-day Message; they fall upon people because they have worshipped the beast and his image (Rev 16:2), and because they have planned the death of God's people (v.5, 6, etc.). They fall upon "the seat of the beast and his kingdom" (v. 10); they fall upon "Babylon" (v. 19). To interpret the sixth plague in connection with purely military matters is distinctly out of harmony with God's clearly-stated moral purpose for sending the plagues. The plagues are poured upon the devotees of a false system of worship; upon those who worship the beast and his image; upon those who, by following that false system of worship, are found living in disobedience to the Holy Law of God. The plagues are definitely said to be Babylon's plagues. (See Rev. 16:19; 18:4, 8, 10, etc.)

In the first chapter of Daniel we see demonstrated the fact that eating good food is important in the life of the Christian. Clean, wholesome foods affect clean living and clear thinking. The Christian needs all the mental and spiritual strength he can muster in the great battle of life. In Daniel, chapter one, God shows the moral connection between food and religion; He indicates that the deep prophecies of Daniel will be better understood when care is observed in eating the best available foods.

In the other chapters of Daniel (which in this brief outline we have not directly discussed), their moral purpose is surely patent to all who have adequately studied them. In chapter four, pride is humbled. Chapter five teaches nations and individuals that there is a limit to sin and blasphemy beyond which they are not permitted to pass. The close of spiritual Babylon's probation to which we are directed in Dan. 12:1, is illustrated by the close of literal Babylon's probation mentioned in Daniel, chapter 5. The downfall of literal Babylon by armies from the east (Isa. 41:2; 46:11) occurred after their probation had closed (Dan. 5:27-30), just as the downfall of spiritual Babylon by armies from heaven appearing in the eastern skies (Rev. 16:12; 19:11-20) will occur after their probation has closed (Rev. 15:6-8; 18:4-8).

In the seventh chapter of Daniel we trace the onward course of the controversy between Christ and Satan from literal Babylon, the center of Satan's kingdom, down to spiritual Babylon, which is now the center of Satan's kingdom. Satan's kingdom succeeds in persuading people that the Law of God has been changed (Dan. 7:25), but the Judgment sits (Dan. 7:9-18) and Christ's kingdom will be eventually established and peopled by those who remain loyal to the moral law. (Dan. 7:14, 22, 26, 27.)

In chapters eight and nine the moral purpose of prophecy is conspicuously manifest. The emphasis is upon God's true system of worship and Satan's counterfeit system of worship. Verses 23-25 of chapter eight depict the work of both pagan and papal Rome; pagan Rome's depredations were against the literal Jews; papal Rome's depredations were against the spiritual Jews. Once again papal Rome, which is the center of Satan's kingdom - spiritual Babylon of the book of Revelation - is connected up with ancient Babylon. The 2,300 days of Dan. 8:14, and the 70 weeks (of this time period) which were cut off upon the literal nation of Israel (Dan. 9:24) were to commence with the decree enabling the Jews to return to Palestine from their Babylonian captivity. The Babylonians had destroyed their temple and their beloved city, Jerusalem (2 Chron. 36:19; Dan. 9:16-19), and the providences of God enabled them to go out of Babylon and return to rebuild and restore the temple and Jerusalem and their national life. (Dan. 9:25.) Subtracting the 70 weeks or 490 years, allotted to the Jews as their probationary period, from the 2,300 days or years, leaves 1810 years. Many expositors have seen that this long prophecy terminates in or about 1844. But how do they apply this prophecy and in what connection? They apply it in connection with the return of the literal Jews to Palestine, and their eventual national rehabilitation. In this way they lose sight of the moral purpose of prophecy in connection with the present spiritual kingdom of our Lord. The coming out of Babylon by the ancient people of God is applied in Rev. 18:4 in connection with the moral choice of people who heed the call of Christ to serve Him and to leave spiritual Babylon, the place of false worship. In the New Testament, the "temple" is applied in connection with the moral condition of a group of people (the church) or of each individual. Thus the national application of events to transpire at the terminal of the 2,300 days' prophecy forsakes the moral application employed in the New Testament. Today, God's people are coming out of spiritual Babylon and are returning to spiritual Jerusalem, and are repairing the breaches in the wall of the city of our God, and the temple service of true worship is being rebuilt.

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