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Rock of Ages

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
July 9, 2020 8:00 am

Rock of Ages

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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July 9, 2020 8:00 am

Taken captive and marched off to another country, Daniel and his friends have some amazing adventures in Babylonia. But through it all, they are faithful to God. As you enter into their story, you'll learn more about: the sovereignty of God, and why we must be holy and Christian living in a secular culture. In the latter half of this book, Daniel's own visions are recorded, and--in them--we catch glimpses of the future. How are these visions relevant to our lives?

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Welcome to the Bible studio reviewing punitive ministry of the alliance of convincing evangelicals featuring the Bible teaching of Dr. James boards.

For more information please contact us by calling toll-free one 804 88 18 and now the alliance is pleased to present the Bible study our bearing you to think and act biblically book of Daniel is a great story about this young man and his friends is the triumph of their lives living in the midst of a pagan and hostile environment. The environment of ancient Babylon, but it's also something else with the booklet contains prophecies form of dreams or visions of things that were to happen in the immediate and also in the distant future. Because of these prophecies because they're so explicit that Daniel has been subjected to such harsh treatment by the higher critics of the Old Testament higher critics have a very hard time understanding how God could tell his servants in detail things are going to come and have those things actually happen. So they have tried to re-date the book. Nevertheless, that's what Daniel contains and in the second chapter in the matter of this dream that God gave Nebuchadnezzar and in the interpretation of it, that he gave to Daniel, we have the first of the great revelations of the future that are given in this prophecy is or had dreamed this spring but forgotten. Apparently Adams when Daniel and his friends prayed, God revealed a dream to Daniel and so he went to the king, and it's the point in the chapter to which we come now to remind the king of what the dream was then to explain it to him running to Daniel Levin and Esther had seen a great statue which he describes as enormous, dazzling, also an appearance was made up of different kinds of metal. The head of the statue was made of gold. The rest of arms of the statue were of silver metal portions of the statue were Bronson, then the lower portion legs, feet, toes were made of iron but in the case of the feet and the toes. It was iron mixed with brittle clay. I noticed Daniel went on to explain what happens. Nebuchadnezzar had seen rock which is described as a rock not made by human hands came and struck the statue and its speech, causing the statute tumble over and break into pieces and then wind came and blew the pieces away so nothing was left just as the wind blows away traffic rushing time that rock which had destroyed the statue grew until it became a great mountain that filled the entire earth that was the dream and then Daniel began to interpret. Daniel said that's the vision of the statue stands for four world empires beginning with the Empire of Nebuchadnezzar.

He was the head of gold. Interesting that the vision begins at this point remarkably accurate. It begins there. Of course, because that was the kingdom that existed at the time of Nebuchadnezzar was still living, but probably it's more profound even than that. We know from the Bible's perspective on Babylon. Praxis is also verifiable from history that liable under the area. Babylon was the first historically all the world's great empires is reflected in the early chapters of Genesis and chapter 10 chapter 9 where we are told of the kingdom established by Nimrod. The first world Emperor and one of the sites of his kingdom was Babel and we have the story of the Tower of Babel, where for the first time in history, according to the account in Genesis men banded together in an organized way to set up society which was opposed God. That's what Babel represents God judged by the confusing of their languages and the scattering of the people… Babel. Apparently Babel and had always been great, but there's no doubt that it had reached special zenith of splendor and magnificence under the rule of Nebuchadnezzar. This is the place. By the way, where the famous hanging Gardens were located. One of the great wonders of the ancient world. Interesting that when Daniel begins to explain this portion of the vision, Nebuchadnezzar. He doesn't modify reference to Nebuchadnezzar's own achievements as one might expect of a servant of such a great and powerful king, but rather by reference to the power of God, who actually established Nebuchadnezzar on his throne was way in which God or a pronoun standing for God occurs is the subject of each of the sentences, the God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory your hands he has placed mankind in the beast of the field and the birds of the air where they live. He has made you ruler over them. You are that had all the emphasis is upon God's sovereign power in raising up as we are going to see also bringing down the great rulers of this world. This is the point of Nebuchadnezzar is going to contest going to see that this is what the third and fourth chapters of Daniel are all about Nebuchadnezzar is going to say I am more powerful than God and God is going to show good answer. That is simply human arrogance. Nebuchadnezzar is going to say I raised myself this great position of power and God is going to show that he had raised him up and he's going to demonstrated by bringing him down until finally in the end Nebuchadnezzar is going to acknowledge that his kingdom that is God's kingdom is an eternal dominion does as he pleases the powers of heaven and peoples of the art lattice had a goal. Daniel went on to interpret this vision. The second portion of the statue.

The rest of arms silver must be representative of the Empire of the Medes and Persians, which supplanted lack of Nebuchadnezzar's Bible Darius himself occurs later on in the book we find them at the very end of chapter 5 Daniel deeds serve very Babel and under the reins of a number of successive King. The third portion of the statue portion that is made of bronze is generally taken as referring to the Empire of the Greeks established by Alexander the great. Alexander was an amazing man in the military genius was born in Macedonia on the death of his father, Philip, and 336 BC crossed the Hellespont what we call turkey but which at that time was an extension of the Persian Empire. He fought a battle at Granik this where he defeated the armies of the frontier governors then later in 333 BC he fought a decisive battle at Isys against the armies of Darius the third himself. This left battery of the world open to him do all the small empires of the Eastern Mediterranean and eventually marched on to the east of the Indus River where we are told he wept because he had no more worlds to conquer.

This is Empire represented by the bronze portion of the statute and finally there's the iron portion of the statue.

This portion represents wrong and it's most perceptive, most descriptive about the strengths and weaknesses of the Roman Empire. Daniel speaks about it, beginning with verse 40. Finally, he says there will be 1/4 kingdom, strong as iron iron breaks and smashes everything and is iron breaks things and pieces so it will crush and break all the others.

Just as you saw the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom yet. It will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed clay toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle, just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united anymore than iron mixes clay is a remarkable prophecy as I say this is one of the reasons why the higher critics and such trouble with this book judged it impossible.

God could reveal history in such close and accurate detailed anyone observance may have. As I said tried to retake the book of Daniel moving it closer to our time in history that is closer to the events that purports to prophesy. Yet even with the latest of the day. Things are possible by the higher critical methods, Daniel still stands hundreds of years before some of the events it prophesies this as I say, is a remarkable thing and it's one of the evidences for the Bibles inspiration reflected God speaking through his prophets can tell what is to come.

Something else about these prophecies is also worth considering. Not only are they evidence of the Bibles inspiration layer also proved of the fact that the God of the Bible is the true God but himself. Axis arguments in the 41st chapter of Isaiah where we have a section in which she presents a challenge for the so-called gods of the time. He challenges them to do something to tell the future to do anything he says do something good, something bad just to something he said in order that we may know that your thoughts are coarsely camps because they are no God of all, here's the way God puts at present your case set forth your argument since Jacobs King bringing your idols to tell us what is going to happen. Tell us what the former things were so that we may consider them or know there final outcome that is the future or declared was the things to come, tell us what the future holds so that we may know that you are God's something, whether good or bad, so that we will be dismayed and filled with fear.

You are less than nothing. Your works are utterly worthless. He who chooses you is detestable. I say when we consider these great prophetic passages out of the Old Testament, many of which are found in Daniel, we have evidence but only that the Bible is God's book, but that the God of the Bible is the true God. Now, secondly, let me see something about the pattern of historical development that these portions of the statue represent as before we go on to the climax of the vision, which concerns the rock destroys the statue and grows to become a great mountain.

When we look at the sequence represented by metals of the statue. We obviously have portrait of decline that is a decline in splendor. Daniel himself uses the word inferior silver is inferior to the goal goal being the more precious of the two metals and brass in the same way is inferior to the silver and iron that most base all the metals is inferior brass decline in splendor and no doubt that was true historically. Certainly would be hard to imagine anything more glorious terms of the wealth and magnificence of some of these ancient kingdom, particularly when measured against the normal standard of life of people living in those days the same time, there seems to be an increase in strength. Let's not altogether surprising because any Empire that replaces another Empire must in some measure be stronger than the one that came before it, and so silver is stronger than gold bronzes stronger than silver and iron is the strongest of all, there's no doubt that the Roman Empire, which is suggested by this prophecy was the strongest of all the empires that it existed on the face of the earth. Up until that time you notice this, even the strength which is great, was an illusion because the Empire suggested by two legs of the 10 toes was divided as we know historically happened Roman Empire divided into East and West eventually fragmented separate kingdoms overall in strength was unable to hold itself together. I say this is important in terms of the view of history that many people hold today because it is the Bibles perspective on what we might contrast, generally regarded as an inevitable view of human progress.

The pure doctrine of progress says that progress is always occurring in all areas at all time course that's not true setbacks as well as advances in certain modified forms of the doctrine of human progress.

Say today.

While it is true there are setbacks but the gains are greater than the setbacks they would say that strength is again use the parallel of the vision and that splendor is something that can well be yielded up what the Bible is saying here is that even our imagined gains in the area of strength for an illusion. It's easy to apply that the nations of our day America United States of America is stronger today militarily than it was 30 years ago and yet who can deny that it is morally weaker. We are declining, and even the strength is not as absolute as it was because strength is challenged by that of other nations, Russia being among them that same principle holds true for virtually any modern nation increasing power that is military might, but declining internally. What the Bible is saying is that the only way to progress the only way to move ahead in areas that really count this as Daniel and his friends.

That is by walking and God's way and therefore going on from faith to faith and from strength to strength, which is a pattern of God's saints swallow that is in the first part of the vision of the second part has to do with this stone is rock that strikes the feet of the statue destroys interpretation of this is both easy and hard easy part is to note that it obviously refers to Jesus Christ, we would suspect that just from the way the vision itself is written. It's stone not made with human hands. That is a divine stone so ruler who has divine origins.

But even if we miss perhaps we find that if we began to look up this image of a rock in other portions of Scripture's governors. We do discover. If we do that it refers again and again to God's anointed one, the Messiah, even Jesus Christ.

The key passage for all of this is that 119th Psalm verse 22 says the stone the builders rejected has become the capstone of that particular verse in Proverbs that it embodies has a history when the great Temple of Solomon was being built. The stones for the temple were minted or quarried at the distance from the temple was done in that way so that there might not be any sound of metal instruments. Chisels are stone cutting tools on the temple site. The stones were all very carefully shaped at the quarry. According to the blueprints of the architects and then they were transported to the temple site and assembled silently early in the building operations a stone came up to the temple site from the quarry that the builders couldn't fit. I thought it had been a mistake.

So they laid it aside, and eventually the stone was forgot. I went on with the building they came years later the completion of the structure to the capstone and sent down to the quarry asking for that stone to be set up. People are cutting the stone said well it already been sent.

So they began to search around for it. Discover the stone that rejected years ago they brought it forward. They put it in the temple, and if it perfectly and so this little proverb stone the builders rejected has become the capstone entered in two. The traditions of Israel. Now this is something Jesus picked up a lot in his time.

Each of the Gospels, with the exception of John refers to this Matthew saying in one place quoting Jesus. Have you never read in the Scriptures, the stone builders rejected has become the capstone orders done this and it is marvelous in our eyes. Isaiah 2816 is a mother verse where the image appears. See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, precious cornerstone for a sure foundation, the one who trusts will never be dismayed. Peter and his letter takes both of those passages is the one from Psalms and the one from Isaiah, and even adds 1/3 from the other portion in Isaiah and puts it all together in the past that speaks of Jesus as the raw foundation upon which the church is constructed Scriptures as whites. Peter see, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone of the one person it will never be put to shame. Now do you believe the stone is precious but those who do not believe the stone the builders rejected has become the capstone and a stone.

The causes men to stumble in a rock that makes them fall these passages and many others make quite clear.

That's why I say that this is the easy part of the interpretation of the vision that this great raucous Jesus Christ of the mountain roads up his price kingdom. This is something Nebuchadnezzar and ourselves very much need to hear. That's easy part. The difficult part has to do when this kingdom is going to appear in human history and how it's going to come.

Generally speaking, are two points of view where this is concerned. And like most visions of interpretation where prophecy is concerned, there are both pros and cons on each side. One view is that the mountain which represents the kingdom of Christ is the church and that that is being built or growing or filling the whole earth in our day. The other view is that this kingdom of Christ doesn't deny that the church expanding throughout the world in our day, but that the kingdom referred to here the mountain fills the earth as a millennial kingdom of Christ.

That is kingdom that is to be established through Christ first coming which we have already seen, but through his second coming, which is obviously also prophesied in Scripture out which of these is to be preferred strength of the first position is in its clear historical sequence. If these first parts of the statue represent the kingdoms that I have suggested, they do represent is the kingdom of Babylon, Persia and Greece and Rome, then it's natural to think that when Jesus appeared as he did in the days of the Roman Empire that this is the next step and a rock that grows up to become a great mountain begins there that just seems to be the easiest way to interpret the other hand, it's not quite as easy as that. The vision itself suggests the division in the Roman Empire represents the Roman Empire division into two parts.

That is, the two legs and in the 10 toes all that spelled out very clearly in Daniel's interpretation of the striking thing is a Jesus Christ did not appear at the time of the division of the Roman Empire. But when the Roman Empire was its strength. These things happen. The Roman Empire did the Biden did decline but all of this was after Christ's appearance, or again at interpretation suffers from the way in which this vision and perhaps other portions of Scripture speak of the catastrophic advents of the kingdom of God according to the vision.

There is a rock that strikes the statue and breaks in pieces and scatters it to the winds might happen with the world's kingdoms and strove that the church has grown up to infiltrate and expand throughout the world, but it is not destroying the world's kingdoms very much in evidence, very strong, and one wonders on that basis. That's the way it should be taken of the other view is that the kingdom represented his spots the church but Christ millennial rule is that Jesus is coming back and when he comes back is going to establish a rule on earth that satisfies the catastrophic element that satisfies what could be perceived as the historical situation. It may be future, but one can imagine the future day division what used to be the old Roman Empire into a number of different national states, and the coming of Christ which it one blow overthrows all those kingdoms and the rule of Christ is established, literally, physically, historically, not merely spiritually in the world that much.

Of course, is easy difficulty without interpretation is that it doesn't account for the intervening years of church history. Have a long period of history between the first coming of Christ to suffer by rise again in the second coming of Christ in power and great glory. How do you handle that.

Usually those who have dealt and believed in this particular interpretation speak of a gap in prophetic fulfillment or sometimes it's done this way. They say the prophecy as we find it in Scripture has to do almost exclusively with Israel and Israel's place in the world sitting what you have at the present time is what Jesus referred to as the times of the Gentiles in sort of a break in the normal picture of prophecy. Sometimes interpreters and said you have a stopping of the prophetic clock to the time of the Gentiles is fulfilled, and after that his prophecies I say that's a significant vision. My own view on the basis of this vision as well as other prophecies and statements is that the second of the two is preferred. I do not regard the church is the kingdom of God in the sense that this vision speaks about it though, it certainly is an expression of God's kingdom.

But the point I want to make is that Daniel as he interprets his vision is not particularly telling us when that is going to happen or how it's going to happen, but on the contrary, he's stressing that it is going to happen saying saying very clearly is that the kingdoms of this world will be for the kingdom of God's anointed one, even Jesus Christ, the kingdoms of this world was about before Christ and as evidence that the People's of this world must bow for Christ also, I think Daniel's point is the point of the second song.

You know how the second song begins. It describes what is said cosmic rebellion against the authority of the Lord and his anointed kings of the article it says take arms against the Lord and his anointed, saying let's break their pamphlets cast off their fetters promise other words, we want to be sovereign and rule events and circumstances for ourselves.

God responds and that Solomon, God's response is not a responsive terror response is not even a responsive uncertainty or questioning is not assigned all, how my going to handle this great rebellion beginnings of this earth. On the contrary, God's responses to one half those who thus arrogantly set themselves against this is the only place in all of Scripture regardless of the laugh, it's not mirthful, happy laugh, it's so laugh of scornful derision. You sits in the heavens says will laugh at, say, instead behold, I have sent my king, my anointed one on Zion before him every day about this is what the Bible tells us in a variety of ways and in many which books you and I we buy in the culture views of the world will find ourselves saying, well, this world is where it's at.

The kingdoms of the world and their glory asked what I believe in. That's what I look to for help.

Asked where I got my sense of well being. Bible says you if you think that way all of that is an allusion. All those great powers all that glory, that you see that fills your mind that you think is so wonderful. All that is only there because God himself permits that God sets up kings and God brings them down. All of them eventually are brought down all will bow before Jesus what the Bible says to us is that we are alone wise now.

This day we bow our day before I one was the king of kings, and portable.

The end of the second Psalm says kiss the son lists he be angry and you perish in your way. That is to kiss him in humble subjection and devotion that son son of God or Jesus Christ is presented to us for our worship, faith and adoration.

Even now, now we think of him as the Jesus God God for us rose again one day is coming in power. Those who about before trust will rule with praise of his most glorious grace right our father, we thank you for this and other portions of the word of God, which, though they are often hard for us to understand. Nevertheless, in their own magnificent way glorified your son the Lord Jesus our father granted he might be glorified in us.

Granted, he might have his way with us, we might buy your grace become members of his kingdom and faithful servants of his granted as we speak of him, worship him and serve him that he might be more widely known.

Those who are about us and that through our witness. Other names I file. We pray these things in anticipation of what you will do name glorious night Jesus, our Savior. You have been listening to the Bible study our production of the Alliance of confessing Evangelicals plans of confessing Evangelicals exist to promote a biblical understanding and worldview.

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