God's Plan For World Conquest
Sermon preached on Sunday, September 23, 1962 by Dr. Alan Redpath.
Last month we saw that two world wars in this twentieth century began, in the judgment of all who were living at that particular time, by ushering in what was going to be the golden age. But those two world wars that have taken place have prepared the way in a most amazing way for the fulfillment of prophecy in two specific areas.
In the first place World War I released Palestine from the dominion of the Turk, and opened the way for the return of Israel, an event which you will remember took place just a few years ago, shortly after World War II. We studied a little bit in Ezekiel chapter thirty-seven in which we saw the trend of prophecy along the line of the gathering of the scattered Jewish people from all the nations of the world back into their home land. And as we saw for the first time since AD 70 there is now a nation of Israel.
One of the most amazing things in all history is the way in which the Jews have been preserved as a nation. This could never have happened to any other people, for any other nation, defeated, persecuted, scattered, beaten like Israel has been would have meant the extermination of their national life. Not so with the Jews. God has protected and preserved them.
And then again, these two world wars prepared for the emergence of two great world confederacies, which are clearly depicted in prophecy. The first of them, the northern confederacy, led by the Soviet Union, until World War I, was nothing more than a densely populated area of…people, who were a liability more than an asset to the allies in 1914-1918. But now a great power has emerged in Russia, and we have seen the amazing development of this great Northern Confederacy. From Ezekiel 38 and 39 we see quite clearly how Russia can never attain world dominion, and I suggest to you that the interest of Russia in America, the United States, which is very real, is not with a view to the launching of warfare. I do not believe that there will be war between Russia and America. I know it is very dangerous for any preacher to say that but I risk the prophecy. I am quite convinced, because Scripture teaches it that Russia’s interests are in the amazing wealth of the Middle East, Palestine, Iran, Suez, all these lands rich in resources, rich in oil, rich in minerals, and Russia watches.
Her concern for America, at this moment of course, is that America is too powerful for her to dare to take the risk and make a grab at the coveted prize, and so her goal, I believe, in the United States is to weaken this country from within. That is why she has got a very conveniently placed ally only a few miles off the shore of America. And all that Russia will seek to do is to weaken this country by moral collapse from inside, that when Russia makes the grab for Palestine, and she surely will as prophecy is fulfilled, she will take the risk at God’s moment. At that moment America will be so weakened that she will have no power to retaliate.
Previously we have considered the ultimate, inevitable, overthrow of Russia, because God is against her. And then also we considered a little bit in Daniel chapter 2, the other confederacy which prophecy tells us will emerge in the latter days, and that is the Western Confederacy, of which we suggest that NATO, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, forms the basic elements. We are going to look at various areas of prophecy, very simply, and I want you to follow me carefully and prayerfully. I am not here to tickle your ears or to give you some new theories, I am merely here, I trust, in the authority of the Spirit of God, to warn us and to prepare our hearts for things that must surely come.
In Daniel chapter two we have the account of Nebuchadnezzar’s amazing dream. His dream of this great image, with its different values in terms of its head, thighs, legs, and so on. And Daniel, giving the interpretation of this image to Nebuchadnezzar, indicated to him that Nebuchadnezzar had really unfolded to him in his dream a complete vision of world history, and he had seen the emergence of four kingdoms. His own kingdom was the first, Babylon, this was to be replaced by Medo-Persia, and Medo-Persia by Greece, and Greece by Rome, and there would be no more kingdoms until the Lord should come.
I want to look with you a little bit at this Western Confederacy because the indications and the teaching of prophecy are, that the Northern Confederacy, headed up by the Soviet Union, will be in direct opposition and direct conflict with the Western Confederacy which will be headed by the Antichrist, and which will be in shape a re-formed and revised Roman Empire.
The dream indicated that in the last days this empire will consist of ten kingdoms made up of the ten toes of this gigantic image. It will be ruled over by ten kings, by ten rulers, mixture of iron and clay, mixture of weakness and strength. A mixture of different philosophies and different forms of government, unified, one day by the emergence of this great political figure. Sometimes called the beast, sometimes called the Man of Sin. And one day, in the days of those kings of God of heaven shall set up a kingdom (Daniel 2:44). This is where God is going to intervene. He shall set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, in other words, there will be no more kingdoms. 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 forever. Let us pause to remind ourselves again of the amazing accuracy of prophecy that there only have been four world kingdoms since that time. It would naturally be supposed that with the collapse of the Roman Empire, another would emerge to take its place, but no other has. There have been many attempts on the part of many people to do so, and this is why I am very conscious of my need of care in speaking upon these subjects because I remember a book that was published during the war in Britain by an expert on this theme, which I confess I am not, but by a minister who was regarded as the outstanding prophetic preacher of our day. He proved quite conclusively, at least to his own way of thinking, that Mussolini was none other than the Man of Sin. You see it is very dangerous when you get involved in the details of this kind of situation.
Many people have imagined themselves to be the one who should emerge to control world power. But nobody has done it. “And in the day of these kings, the God of heaven, Himself, will set up a kingdom, which will never be destroyed: and this 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 knowest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, (that is without human ingenuity, or planning, or organization, or ability) and that it break 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 is sure.”
The stone cut out without hands. There could be no doubt as to the One to whom this refers, it must be the Lord Jesus. Many, many times in Scripture He is referred to as the Stone, the Stone of stumbling, the Rock of offence. The Stone upon which He will build His Church. The stone which the builders rejected has become the headstone of the corner—this is the Lord Jesus, there could be no possible misunderstanding here, and says the thirty-fifth verse, second chapter of Daniel: “The stone that smote the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.”
Man’s interests through the centuries have always been in the image. Every effort has been made by politics, by science, and in many areas, by religion, to keep this image on its feet. At any cost this great colossus must be kept standing. Everything must be done to keep world government stable. Now I am not given to attack people or things or situations or religious movements from the pulpit, I would rather be positive in my preaching than being against things. But one of the dangers of the ecumenical movement is its pronouncements along this line, and here is one of them. I quote, “The church’s responsibility, primary responsibility, is to consider the development of a productive, stable, and just economic institution.” I do not find that in my Bible. This is not the church’s priority task at all. Of course, I do recognize that the Gospel has social implications, and we are in great danger of neglecting it. But here, you see, is the teaching that every effort must be made, in order to keep this image standing. Man’s interests are in the image. God’s interests are in the Stone. Where are yours? And one day this Stone, cut out without hands shall cut into the image, not gradually bringing about its collapse, but shall cut into it, grind it to powder, smash its authority, and will assume total world government.
Now what is God’s program in order to bring this about? Do not let us get any fanciful interpretation here. As I have suggested to you, this is going to happen in a day when the Roman Empire is to be revived under the Antichrist. I have not time to go into this in detail, but the number of nations mentioned here in Daniel are found in three places, at least, in prophecy. Here they are in the dream, Nebuchadnezzar’s image. You find them again in the seventh chapter, which is a prophecy that falls into line with the second and deals with the beast who has ten horns, and you find the same thing again in Revelation chapter thirteen, where you have the picture of the Man of Sin with ten crowns. So here you see is the final form of world government, and Scripture tells us that there is nothing in this final form of world government that will honor or recognize God. Everything in it will honor and deify and recognize man.
I read from the thirteenth chapter of Revelation, and the sixteenth verse, this is what it says, “…he causeth…”, this is the Antichrist, this leader, this great head of final world government, “…he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” The whole philosophy of humanism will find its ultimate expression in the worship of man as God.
In 2 Thessalonians chapter two verse three we read, “Let no man deceive you by any means, for that day…”, that is the Day of Christ, “…shall not come except there be a falling away first and that Man of Sin be revealed, the son of perdition: Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” I repeat that the whole philosophy of humanism about which we see so much and with which we are constantly surrounded is going to be brought to its climax when one man having ten nations assumes the place of deity, and blasphemes the name of God, and declares that he is God.
The language of the second Psalm in this connection, I think is very significant. “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing. The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.” Here you see is open rebellion. Here is open war. Here is the human heart coming out into the light, and taking its place, the natural mind, enmity against God. Incidentally, you all know, I presume, of the existence of an organization called the Four A’s, the American Association for the Advancement of Atheism. This association operates under charter in New York State. Right now, you could find its office there in New York. A recent publication of this society says this, “We undertake to abolish public chaplaincies, to tax church property, to repeal Sunday legislation to abrogate all laws enforcing Christian morals, to stop bootlegging of religion into schools, to prevent the issuing of religious proclamations by government officials, to erase superstitious inscriptions which deface our coinage, for there is no God, and our supreme effort will be to free mankind from the fear of a nonentity.” This society operates in this country today under charter. Let us break their bands asunder. Let us cast away their cords from us, and so the rulers take counsel against the Lord and against His Anointed. And they seem to have plenty of confidence that they are going to do it.
There is only one thing that prevents the complete letting loose of hell on earth and that is the presence of the Church. Only one thing. When He that letteth, says 2 Thessalonians 2, when He that letteth, that hindereth, is taken away, then, hell will be literally loose. And it may well be that the confidence expressed in this second Psalm, by the raging of the nations, was inspired by the fact that at that moment, everything that hinders the outburst of total wickedness has been removed and taken to heaven. And therefore, it would almost seem that Satan has won the day. “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh.” That is a frightening word. What a contrast between the raging of world powers. God upon the throne.
No crisis in heaven. Unquestionably the war is on, and hell has declared war upon heaven, and in the day when Antichrist rules it will be fought to a finish. Why, asked the psalmist, why do the heathen rage and the people imagine a vain thing? Why indeed. Why, after all that God has done! Why, after all the demonstration in love. Why after a Cross and an empty tomb. Why after the coming of Jesus! Why do the heathen rage? What have they against Him? The answer is very simple. It is a desire on the part of man, at last finding unhindered expression, to have his own way about everything, and God’s way about nothing.
It is human nature inspired by the powers of darkness, literally expressing itself, and revealing the wickedness of the human heart. And he that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh. The laughter of God in the Bible is a very solemn subject. God only laughs in total derision. It is the laugh of absolute authority. It is the laugh of total confidence in ability to destroy all that totalitarian world power. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh. But He will not only laugh. Verse five, He will speak unto them in His wrath and vex them in His sore displeasure.
And one day the world is going to meet a God of judgment, a God who is determined by virtue of the holiness of His character to stamp out sin. A God who must do it if He be God at all. And at that day before Him every knee shall bow. “Yes,” says verse six, “have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.” I want you to contrast with me here at this point, the difference between His first coming and His second coming. When Jesus came to Bethlehem, to Calvary, He came to die in our place. When He comes a second time, He will come to judge the man who is unrepentant. When He came the first time He came to seek and to save that which was lost. When He comes the second time He comes to judge all who know not God, who shall be cast into a lost eternity. When He came the first time He came to be our representative before the God of grace and love. When He comes the second time, He comes to be God’s representative, before a race of rebels, whom He must condemn. When He came the first time, He came in great humility. When He comes again He will come in great glory. He came first as a lowly Nazarene. He will come again as King of kings, Lord of lords. He came first wearing a crown of thorns.
He’ll come again wearing a crown of glory. He came to be despised and rejected, He will come again and before Him every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that He is Lord. He came riding a lowly ass, He will come riding a great white horse and leading the armies of heaven in His train. He came that He might in humility, submit to earthly rulers. When He comes again He will compel the submission of every ruler to His authority. He came to shed His precious blood. He will come again as a mighty conqueror with His vesture dipped in blood. What a contrast between His first, and second coming! All these events—this tremendous unleashing of the power of Satan on the earth, headed by the Man of Sin, the antichrist; the great conflict that will take place between the Western and the Northern Confederacies, in Scripture known as the battle of Armageddon (when, without doubt, nuclear war will break out, though not between Russia and America, for that could never be. If Russia and America got in nuclear warfare there would not be any room for the fulfillment of any prophecies because that would be the end of civilization. God will not let it happen, but there will be war); the total explosion of what man really is by nature shown in this tremendous battle between the Northern and Western powers under the authority of the Man of Sin, (and at that moment the Lord shall be revealed with fire and with great glory)—will take place, I believe Scripture teaches, within a period of about seven years known as the Great Tribulation.
Nuclear war will only happen, I believe, in this world, in this total release, total explosion of what man really is by nature and this tremendous battle between the Northern and Western powers, under the authority of the Man of Sin, and at that moment the Lord shall be revealed from heaven with fire and with great glory. All of these events will take place, I believe Scripture teaches, within a period of about seven years known as the Great Tribulation.
But there is one other prophecy at which I must ask you to look just one moment as we see the unfolding a little bit of this program of God’s conquest. Because, the question is, where do you and I come in, in all this? And what is going to happen to us? And can we be sure? Turn with me again to the book of Daniel, my friend, will you, and to the ninth chapter. Daniel is a man who had some shattering dreams. He got very concerned about them, and worried about them at times. And here another dream of Daniel’s, and in the ninth chapter of Daniel and the twenty-first verse, we see something of what this man dreamed and how this dream was interpreted.
I will read a few verses to you. Daniel had had this tremendous vision, and it had baffled him, had forced him to his knees before God he did not understand it, and as he was praying and speaking in prayer, and confessing his sin, the angel Gabriel spoke to him. “…he informed me and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth…”, incidentally, now I must not regress, but is not that lovely, when Daniel began to pray, God began to work. “At the beginning of thy supplications, the commandment came forth.” How eager God is to speak to His people. “…and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision. Seventy weeks are determined upon they people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know, therefore and understand that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince, shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks…” sixty-nine altogether, “…the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after three-score and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary: and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”
Let us just look at this for a few minutes. Here is a man in great distress. He has prayed, and God has brought him an interpretation of his prayer. And God is revealing to Daniel, what is His plan for His people Israel, and He says there will be a time of seventy weeks to be given to them, verse twenty-four, when all His dealings and all of prophecy will be completed. Seventy weeks. That is, seventy periods of seven years. Now if it be seventy periods of seven years, this is a period four hundred and ninety years, over which God is going to deal with the Jews, and is going to finish all prophecy, and the consummation of the age. A period of four hundred and ninety years, and this is going to commence, you will notice, at the command, from the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem. That means at the very moment when the king of Persia Artaxerxes, gave the command for the Jewish people to return to their land and rebuild the wall, sixty-nine weeks, says Daniel will be fulfilled, and then the Messiah will be cut off. It was exactly four hundred and eighty-three years from the giving of the command by Artaxerxes for the Jew to return from their Babylonish captivity, from that moment of issuing that command until the day that Jesus died on a Cross, was exactly four hundred and eighty-three years.
At that time the Messiah shall be cut off. From that date named in history, until the moment that He was crucified was the exact period that Daniel foretold. That means therefore, that there was another seven years with which God was going to deal with His people Israel. If you interpret the whole Scripture together on this point, you will understand that between the conclusion of that sixty-ninth week and the opening of the seventieth was to be a lapse of time, what the New Testament calls the times of the Gentiles, the period of the Church, the time in which you and I are engaged, in which the Jew momentarily is set aside, because of unbelief, and God, no longer dealing with Israel, holding them for a moment aside is now not dealing with the world by nation, but He is dealing with men and women one by one, on the basis of the blood that was shed on the Cross, and the redemptive power of Jesus Christ. That in these days He might call out from every nation, every kindred and every tribe a people to His Name. This is what God is doing. This of course, Paul understood perfectly clearly. This was the theme of Romans ten and eleven. How that for a while the Jew has been set aside, as we enter upon the age of the kingdom of heaven, when God is dealing with His people. How long it will be, between the moment when Jesus was cut off and God again takes up His dealings with the Jew at the period of that great tribulation we do not know.
But this much we do know that the end of this age, this Gentile age, will be marked by a great climax, and that climax will be the coming again of Jesus personally for His people. That He might gather out, from all who live on that day those who have trusted Him and loved Him. There is only one reason why He should keep the Church out from that period of tribulation because He bore our sins on the Cross. He says in Revelation chapter 3 and verses ten and eleven, “Because thou hast kept the word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation that shall come upon the world to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold I come quickly, hold thou fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.”
And I believe that with the rapture of the church as Scripture teaches which shall mark the climax of the age in which we live, as it were, this intermission period in which God has set aside His chosen people because of their rejection of Him, and has opened the Word and the plan of salvation to every nation and every king in all the earth, that this Gentile age will terminate with that great climax. The trumpet shall sound, and the dead in Christ shall rise first, and afterward, we which remain shall go with them, and shall be caught up together with them in the clouds and shall meet Him in the air, and we shall be forever with the Lord. And that is the signal for our deliverance, from this civilization, which is rotten. And it is the signal too for the emergence of that final world government which a few years later extending, as Scripture teaches, into the very half of that tribulation period. It will be the signal for the Lord to come with His angels, with His people, and cut into the age, and bring world dominion to an end and Jesus shall reign.
The Scriptures said of the Jew, on that day they will look upon Him whom they have pierced, and they will mourn because of Him, and He shall pour upon them the spirit of grace and supplication, and the Jewish nation at last will recognize their Messiah.
I repeat, in conclusion, God’s interests are in the Stone, cut out without hands. Man’s interests are in the image keeping it on its feet. I want to ask you where are the interests of your hearts and of your life. As we think of the tremendous drama unfolding before us, that no prophecy, as far as I am aware in Scripture yet remains unfulfilled to permit the Lord to come for His people. That these things are at our very door, and the whole civilization in which we live is taking this final shape which Scripture said it would. Are your interests in propping up the image, or are your interests in the Stone? There is one thing that God wants you to do my friend, I will tell you, get out of the image, get into the stone and cut back into the image in the name of Jesus and that demands a cessation of your interest in a tottering civilization, except with one objective—to save men from a lost eternity. And if I am ever on a sinking ship, which I hope I never will be, but I tell you I would not spend two minutes polishing on the brass, I would not spend a couple of minutes giving anybody lectures on seamanship, if I was on a sinking ship my one job would be to save life. And my concern for every one of my dear readers as well as for my own heart is has there been a moment in my experience when I have cut out the image, deliberately cut out of it, that my interests are not there any more, and I have been put in as a living stone into Jesus, that I might cut back into that stone in Jesus’ name, and rescue souls that are perishing—for the glory of God?