Daniel-Wayne Barber/Part 8
By: The John Ankerberg Show
|By: Dr. Wayne Barber; ©2006|
|Have you ever been reading a book and you get so excited about the book you couldn’t stand it and so you skip from the chapter that you were on to the end of the book and you read the last chapter? Now you know how it ends, now you know how it finishes, but if you don’t go back and read the whole book, you’re going to miss a lot of details on how you get from where you were to the end of that book.|
He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands (Daniel 2:28-47)
Turn with me to Daniel 2. Now if you have a little statue in your bulletin, you need one of these for the message. You are going to need this as we get a little further into this chapter. So keep it handy and hopefully you’ll have a pencil or pen that you can jot some things down on it.
I want to preach this morning on the title “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.” I love that song and I’ve loved it for years because it’s easy to sing. It just repeats itself: “He’s got the whole world in His hands.” You can sing that in the shower and not have to hum part of it. I mean, just keep singing it over and over again. But it’s not just a song, it’s a truth. He has the whole world in His hands.
Have you ever been reading a book and you get so excited about the book you couldn’t stand it and so you skip from the chapter that you were on to the end of the book and you read the last chapter? Now you know how it ends, now you know how it finishes, but if you don’t go back and read the whole book, you’re going to miss a lot of details on how you get from where you were to the end of that book. Well, it’s kind of that way in chapter 2 of Daniel and in our Christian life, because God reveals through a dream to Nebuchadnezzar what’s going to take place in the latter days. This is very, very important. This chapter will lay the groundwork for what we’ll get in to in chapter 7 and following as we study through the book of Daniel.
Now go to verse 28 very quickly and let’s notice something in verses 28-29 that’s important. And if you have your pencil you might want to underline this or circle it. Now Daniel has come back to Nebuchadnezzar, God having given him the interpretation of the dream, and now he’s standing before the king, and look what he says in verse 28. He says, “However, there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will take place [now notice the next phrase] in the latter days.” You might want to circle that phrase. “This was your dream and the visions in your mind while on your bed.” Verse 29, “As for you, O king, while on your bed your thoughts turned to what would take place [notice the next phrase] in the [what?] the future.” Now underline that. “And He who reveals mysteries has made known to you what will take place.”
Now Daniel’s trying to get across to Nebuchadnezzar that it is God who has caused him to have these dreams, and God wants him to understand these dreams. Verse 30 says, “But as for me, this mystery has not been revealed to me for any wisdom residing in me more than in any other living man.” Daniel doesn’t take any credit. Daniel is trying to say to King Nebuchadnezzar, “King, listen. God has a message for you. He’s using me to interpret it, but I’m not any better than any other man. God has an interpretation here that’s very important for you to understand.”
Then he says, “but for the purpose of making the interpretation known to the king, and that you may understand the thoughts of your mind.” You see, Nebuchadnezzar had a problem. He was a pagan and had many gods, but did not know the true God. He was thinking he was doing all these things. He thought he was powerful enough to have conquered all these lands, in particular Judah. And so God wanted him to understand who was in control, but in doing so gives us a picture of what’s going to take place in the latter days.
Now, here’s the dream. We haven’t seen it up until now, verses 31-35, and Daniel recites it back to Nebuchadnezzar. Verse 31, “You, O king, were looking and behold, there was a single great statue; that statue, which was large and of extraordinary splendor, was standing in front of you, and its appearance was awesome. The head of that statue was made of fine gold, its breast and its arms of silver, its belly and its thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. You continued looking until a stone was cut out without hands [Oh, I love that part] and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay, and crushed them. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed all at the same time, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.”
Now what in the world does this mean? Well, he’s going to interpret it for us. But first of all, take your little picture here of the statue and take a pencil and write beside the head, put a line out and say “gold.” It was a head of gold. We’ll explain to you what that head was as Daniel interprets it for us in a few moments. The head of gold. Then from the folded arms up, that’s your upper torso: your arms and your upper chest. That is silver; draw a line out and put “silver.” Head of gold, upper torso of silver. Then the belly and the thighs right down to the bottom of his skirt, draw a little line out and put “bronze.” That’s the third part of the statue. The legs and the feet now are the fourth part. They’re both included together, but on a little line from the legs put “iron.” You’ve got gold the head, upper torso silver, your belly and thighs bronze, and then you have iron. Then a line from the feet, put “iron and clay.” That’ll get us started this morning as Daniel interprets what this is all about. So you have gold, silver, bronze, iron, and then iron and clay. By the way, the word “clay” there refers to baked clay, and we’ll see some things about that.
Alright, verse 36. Now we’ve caught up. Verse 36, “This was the dream; now we shall tell its interpretation before the king.” So let’s get started. First of all, let’s look at the head of gold. What does that represent? What is he talking about? Alright, verses 37-38: “You, O king, are the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the strength, and the glory; and wherever the sons of men dwell, or the beasts of the field, or the birds of the sky, He has given them into your hand and has caused you to rule over them all. You are the head of gold.”
Now, we’re talking about kings and kingdoms. When you mention “kings,” you can substitute the word “kingdom.” When you put a “kingdom” down, you can actually substitute the word “king.” So the first kingdom. Look at verse 40: “Then there will be a fourth kingdom,” so we’re talking about kingdoms here. So the first kingdom on the statue is the head of gold, which is Babylon. It existed at the time of the dream, Nebuchadnezzar being the king of Babylon. This was part of his dream. Now, if you want to put a date there, let’s do this because it’ll help us later on, particularly those that are interested in any kind of history that we’re looking at.
Babylon existed in power like this from 612-538 or 539 BC. Now some people will vary a year: 612 BC to 538-539 BC to give you an idea of the time frame there. Now, why is it a head of gold? Well, we don’t really know. I wish the Bible was a little clearer on why, but we have some ideas that come from history. Now, history does not back up the Word of God, the Word of God backs up history. But at times it lends some help to us as we go back and look, because here we’re going to see that God is the God of all history.
One thing we know about Babylon was that in the days that it was in its power it was called “Golden Babylon.” As a matter of fact, it used gold to build the temples to their false gods. Marduk, one of their gods, was called the “god of gold,” and all the things of history, even the historians tell us that it was his gold that was always attributed to Babylon. And so we see the head being of gold. Perhaps that’s why he called it a head of gold. I don’t know, but we do know that was Babylon. That was the first kingdom.
Now it gets interesting, because Nebuchadnezzar is the king of Babylon. That’s going on in his time. No problem so far. Watch the second kingdom, look what he says in verse 39: “And after you there will arise another kingdom inferior to you.” Now what kingdom is that? Well, history tells us, and so does Daniel. The next kingdom that moves in and conquers Babylon is the Medo-Persian Empire. That’s silver on the statue; the upper torso would be the second kingdom and he’s speaking there of the Medo-Persian—the Medes and the Persians—the two kingdoms that came together that conquered Babylon. Matter of fact, look over in chapter 5, I’ll preempt a little of it. Chapter 5 the last part. This is when Belshazzar, the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, takes the golden and silver vessels that were used over in Judah in the temple, and took those vessels and had a drunken orgy one night and drank wine out of those vessels and a ghostly hand appeared upon the wall. We’re going to get into some good stuff!
Now, look what happened: verse 30; “That same night Belshazzar [who was a Babylonian] the Chaldean king was slain. So Darius the Mede received the kingdom at about the age of sixty-two.” And so we see then Cyrus, Darius, they come in, two people that work together, the Medes and the Persians, the two kingdoms that conquered Babylon. And so what he’s doing here before it ever happens, he’s telling him what King Nebuchadnezzar has dreamed.
And why would it be a kingdom of silver? Again, we don’t know. However, we do know from history that they had a tremendous financial organization. As a matter of fact they would build roads, not for the convenience of the people, but so they could get to the people to tax the people. They had an incredible taxation system and maybe that’s why they were called the kingdom of silver. Why would it include the two arms? Well, the Medes, the Persians, you see, two kingdoms there. And why would it be the upper chest? We don’t know all the answers to these questions, but this is the second part of the statue.
And let me give you some dates. It started about 538-539 BC, conquering Babylon, and it went to about 331-332 BC. It says in verse 39 that it was in inferior kingdom. Why would it be considered an inferior kingdom? Well, we’re going to see in chapter 7 that here the Medes are more powerful that the Persians. They’re mentioned first. But we’re going to see, 100 years later over in the book of Esther, where it was reversed: the Persians were more powerful than the Medes. You have two kingdoms. Never, when you put two entities together trying to make one, is it as strong as when you have one in itself as a totality. All right, it’s stronger that way. So maybe that’s why it was inferior.
So, the head: gold, Babylon. The upper torso: silver, Medo-Persian Empire. Now we really get to the interesting part. Oh, the liberals hate this part. They can’t stand it. They like to see Daniel translated within the book of Daniel: they don’t understand it’s the latter days. They don’t understand it’s in the future. They can almost buy the Medo-Persian Empire because it does take place in the book of Daniel, but they can’t swallow this one: what’s the third empire?
He says in verse 39, “And after you there will arise another kingdom [that’s the Medo-Persian], then another third kingdom of bronze, which will rule over all the earth.” Now if you’re an historian, you can jump up to your feet right now and tell me what that kingdom was, because you know from history who it was that moved in and defeated the Medo-Persians. Who was it? It was Greece! And this is the part that the liberals don’t like, because at this time it was so far removed from anything they could understand. How in the world could Greece ever move in and take over all the earth? But they didn’t reckon on the fact that God was going to raise up a man by the name of Alexander the Great, one of the greatest generals that ever lived on the face of this earth. And how quickly he moved, like a leopard and that’ll come back to you in chapter 7, how he moved swiftly and quickly to devour his prey. And how beautiful the picture we’re beginning to see here.
You see, Greece was the kingdom of bronze. That was your belly and your thigh. Now it’s interesting to me why that part of the body. Well, we don’t know, again. But there are some things that give us a little bit of help. Why, first of all, was it bronze? Well, we don’t know that either, but history tells us they were the first country or empire to make weapons out of bronze. Isn’t that interesting? And they became noted for that. Not only that, we know that when Alexander the Great died an untimely death, four kings came in to take over his kingdom, it was so vast. Alexander the Great, when he was living, made a decree. He said, “You must worship me as the king of all the earth.” Out of his very mouth came those words and that’s exactly what is said right here: “which will rule over all the earth.” Known to them that day.
But when those four kings took over the kingdom Alexander left after he had died, only two of them ever became powerful. Maybe that’s why it moves into the thighs of the upper legs, because there’s a kingdom here, there a kingdom over here. Syria, Egypt, they begin to become the strong powers that emerge out of those lands that Alexander the Great had conquered. Some dates on that: it started in 331 BC and lasted until 146 BC. And this is why I love Scripture at this particular point. I love it all the way through, but especially for skeptics that are just strictly historians. Man, I just want to say, “Put that in your craw and swallow it.” They already know that this took place, and boy they don’t like the fact that God told a boy by the name of Daniel, hundreds of years before it ever happened.
So we see three kingdoms. We see the head of gold which was Babylon, we see the upper torso of silver which was the Medo-Persian Empire, and you’ll see that in Daniel. Then we see the belly and the thighs which are bronze, which was Greece. Now, watch, and be very careful. Observation is the key to understanding Scripture. Observation, interpretation, application. Now, let’s observe what it says. Don’t grab a commentary too quickly. Let’s look at see what the Bible says for itself. It’ll tell you something about this fourth kingdom.
Verse 40, “Then there will be a fourth kingdom as strong as iron.” Now, again, an historian who would be here would just want to jump and shout because you know exactly what kingdom it was that defeated the Greeks. It was Rome. And we know that from history. You don’t have to go back and figure anything out. It’s already documented for us. This has already been lived out. Now when Daniel told him this, it hadn’t. But we have the advantage of looking backward. He had to look forward to what was going to happen in the future.
We know the dates of Rome would be about 146 BC all the way up to about 500 AD. You talk about a kingdom, friends, and look what it was called: it’s “as strong as iron.” Why were there two legs there that were iron? I don’t know, but there was an eastern and a western division of Rome. Rome was so large that it had to be divided into two divisions. It was such a vast kingdom and it’s noted as iron to show you the strength of this kingdom. They made their weapons out of iron which would pierce the weapons of bronze which the Greeks would use.
Look at verse 40 again: “Then there will be a fourth kingdom as strong as iron; inasmuch as iron crushes and shatters all things, so, like iron that breaks in pieces, it will crush and break all these in pieces.” So, on your little line right beside the legs that says “iron,” make sure you put “Rome” right there.
But I want to make something very clear to you. He also talks about the feet. Is that another kingdom? No sir! Only four kingdoms are spoken of in this dream. You have to be very careful here. Don’t make the feet another kingdom. So if it’s not another kingdom, then it must be another time in Rome’s history. It must be another phase of this kingdom. The legs are strong, they’re iron, they’re solid, they’re unified, they crush, and they break. But look what he says. He’s not concerned with the legs; he’s not concerned with the period of time from BC 146 to AD 500; not at all. He’s concerned with the latter times of this fourth kingdom. This is when it starts getting exciting.
Look at verse 41, “And in that [he doesn’t even mention the legs] you saw the feet and toes,” now watch careful now; careful observation. Look in verse 42: “And as the toes of the feet.” See, Daniel is not concerned with the legs of iron. He’s not really concerned with the feet of baked clay. He moves it all the way down to the toes. Verse 33: legs, feet; verse 41: feet, toes; verse 42: the toes of the feet.
Now we know that after Rome fell, that over and over again people tried to put it back together: Napoleon, Charlemagne, people tried to reunify Rome so that they could have a power over there in Europe. But they could not do it. All efforts have failed. So as a result, Rome has become divided through the centuries into the seed of men. Just read verses 41-43. It explains itself.
“And in that you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron.” Now potter’s clay is base clay, and iron and base clay do not jell, they’ll not adhere. “It will be a divided kingdom. But it will have in it the toughness of iron.” There will still be strength, but not like it used to be, “inasmuch as you saw the iron mixed with common clay. And as the toes of the feet [now this is very important] were partly of iron and partly of pottery, so some of the kingdom will be strong and part of it will be brittle. And in that you saw the iron mixed with common clay, they will combine with one another in the seed of men.” And this has been the history of what happened after Rome fell. It began to intermarry and all the different nations began to inbreed with it and after awhile it became a very weaker kingdom, a much weaker kingdom. But he’s not talking about just one phase back after it begins to be divided. He’s waiting to the latter time of it, to the toes. You start at the head of a statue and what’s the furthest point of that statue that you can go? It’s the toes. That’s the extremity of that statue. And he points to those toes. It has to be in the latter days. It has to be in a time the world has not yet seen.
How many toes do you have on your feet? Now if you don’t have ten, don’t you say a word. Normally we don’t have to count them for you to tell you: there are ten toes. Five on one side, five on the other side. It appears to me that there’s going to come a time in Rome’s history that has never happened on the face of this earth. This is latter day prophecy, folks, when Rome will be united but really divided. In other words, there will be divisions, ten of them to be specific, of Rome, yet it will be one in a sense of its power. It’ll still have a toughness of iron, but it will be divided at least into ten different parts.
And look at verse 44. This to me brings it home. He says in verse 44, “And in the days of those kings.” What kings? I still believe just from simple observation that he’s talking about the kings of those toes, those ten kingdoms in the day that Rome is divided into ten different fragments. But those ten different countries, entities in themselves, cohere together to a point. They don’t really mesh into one—they’re ten different, distinct countries—and yet they form a coalition and they become one. In those days is what he’s talking about in verse 44.
Man, I tell you what, you won’t be able to sleep after awhile when you start realizing that this has never happened in all of history. Can anybody today ever stand up and say, “Yes, sir, I know a time when there were ten kings and yet there was one governing power. All of them together, but not secure as if it was one?” Never has there been a time on the face of this earth. This is your latter days. He saw future, but he also saw latter day prophecy of what was going to take place. We need to be watching what’s going on, folks, because in the days of these kings—how many?—ten kings, ten nations that come together. You’re going to see in chapter 7 of the beast that there are going to be ten horns, and you’re going to be able to see the parallel of the two chapters.
I really have to apologize to you, but I’m reading part of chapter 7 into chapter 2, and I realize I’m doing that, but not all of you are studying through with me and some of you will never be back. I hope you will, but some of you won’t. So therefore let me go on and share it with you now.
In the days that there’s a kingdom over in Europe when ten countries come together to form some kind of power, for whatever reason, in those days of those kings, something is going to happen. Now look at verse 44. It says, “the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom,” by the way, hold it. There’s some people who spiritualize this and they say that’s the spiritual kingdom of grace and it’s speaking of the church. No way; because the kingdom of grace is a progressive happening. This is something that is instantaneous. It’s going to happen: Boom! It’s going to take place. You cannot spiritualize this passage. There are many people who do not believe in a millennial kingdom being set up on this earth: you’re going to have to explain to me better than what’s been attempted in verse 44 what he’s saying here. It’s going to be set up on this earth and God of heaven will set it up.
Now watch: “and that kingdom will not be left for another people.” Buddy, when that day comes, all the other kingdoms will go away as fragments into the wind. It’ll be crushed; the stone’s going to crush it. “It will crush and put an end to all of these kingdoms, but it will itself endure [how long?] forever.” So we haven’t seen the manifestation of God’s kingdom yet. Yes, it’s within us; yes, we’re His spiritual kingdom. Colossians 1:13, “We’ve been delivered from a domain of darkness, transferred [or translated] over into the kingdom,” His dear kingdom of His son.”
Friend, that’s not what he’s talking about here. It’s the manifestation on earth of a kingdom that God is going to set up. And in those days there will be no other kingdom. Now people say, “No, you’re wrong. That’s a spiritual kingdom.” Then you explain to be why there are other powers on this earth. You explain to me why righteousness has not yet prevailed on this earth. It has not. And in this day, it will. Watch, verse 45, “In as much as you saw that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands.” Who is the rock? The real Rock? The Lord Jesus Christ. And He’s cut out of a mountain made without hands and He was born of a virgin. There was no seed of man that caused Him to be born, friend. He was virgin born on this earth: a stone that is cut out of the mountain there. The word “mountain” usually refers to a nation. Of course, He came out of the line of Judah from David. And look on what it says, “without hands, and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold, the great God has made known to the king [Nebuchadnezzar] what will take place in the future; so the dream is true, and its interpretation is trustworthy.”
You know the thing that grabs me about this? I get so excited about it! Somewhere, in all of this prophecy, is the church. You think Daniel knew about the church? No way, friend. This was a mystery only revealed to the saints in the New Testament, and we have scripture to back that up. Abraham only understood that Jesus was coming. He understood the day that Jesus would come. He “saw it and was glad,” John tells us that. But as far as your Old Testament prophets, they had no earthly idea of what the church was all about. It’s not even in this. This has to do with God’s people, Israel, down the road.
Where are we in all of this thing? When God comes to set up His kingdom on the earth, what’s taking place with the Christians? “Oh, I believe in the rapture of the church.” Now, you may not and we don’t have time this morning to get into all the scriptures to back that up, 1 Thessalonians 4 and other places. But folks, if you don’t believe it, I still love you in Jesus, and I know you think I’m wrong. But when I go with the first bunch, you send me a postcard and tell me how it’s like back down here! God’s going to take the church out. Why? Because He’s not finished with His nation Israel yet and when He’s done with His nation Israel, which was the everlasting covenant He made with Abraham, when that’s over with, sealed and delivered and they have finally bowed down as the Old Testament prophets tell us, and they say, “It is You we have wounded,” and they come to that day of atonement, then He’s going to come. And when He comes, He’s going to crush any kingdom on this earth and He’s going to establish His kingdom right here on this earth, planet earth, some day in the future.
Now that’s what he reveals to Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 2. Wouldn’t you like to have been a skeptic back then? You think you’re having fun being a skeptic now, what about back then? They hadn’t even seen the Medo-Persians yet. They didn’t even know that Greece was around. They were the king over all the earth. Friend, listen. We’re looking way back now when we look at Daniel. All down through the years we see that this prophecy stands in front of us.
Well, how did King Nebuchadnezzar handle all that? “Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face and did homage to Daniel [bless his heart], and gave orders to present to him an offering and fragrant incense. The king answered Daniel and said, ‘Surely your God is a God of gods and a Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, since you have been able to reveal this mystery.’” Well, he received what was said to him. Now, again, I am not the authority. Do you understand that? Don’t go home and have a “Wayneology.” The Word of God is the final word. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong. We’re all students of the Word. You get in there for yourself and let’s see what the Word of God has to say. Let’s learn it together. I’ll immediately apologize if I get off. We’re trying to let the scripture defend its own self. We’re not trying to take Hal Lindsey or somebody else and read it into scripture. However, some of the things that some of those folks are saying make a whole lot of sense to me. There’s no way in the world we can prove this, but let me just give you a thought.
What could those ten nations be? We don’t know. We have no idea; well, we have an idea, but we don’t know. Anytime you come up with what you think is already signed, sealed and delivered, look out! There has never been a generation on the face of this earth that didn’t think that they lived in the days when that kingdom would be set up. Isn’t that beautiful? The Lord did it in such a way that even Paul looked forward to it; I mean, good grief, clean back to the New Testament. God has so organized history that no man can just sit down and put Him into a box. We’ve got some things going on our side in this century. At least that’s what they said in the last century.
Let me just throw something at you that you can chew on from Newsweek magazine. What does the secular world have to say? This is written November 20, 1989. They didn’t even know when this was written of what was happening over in Romania. They didn’t even know that because it happened over Christmas. “Europe, it’s already 1992,” now this is in Newsweek, “Berlin isn’t the only place where the map of Europe is being redrawn. West Europeans are also taking a big eraser to their ancient grudges and frontiers as they march toward economic union.” This makes sense to me. I wish I could document it, but I can’t. “Remember [now watch this], the technocrats of capitalism’s new age are following the precept that kingdoms and dictatorships make war but democracies makes money.” In other words, let me just throw something in here. Man, cannot put Rome back together, friends. God’s going to have to do it. But, do you know, one of the things He’s used many times to form many things on this earth is the greed in the heart of man, to accomplish His end. Isn’t that incredible? He takes what man’s doing for greed, turns in right around. He took Pilate, and Pilate didn’t know what he was doing: God did. He took it and used it to accomplish His very purpose of putting His Son upon the cross.
You watch this: “In 1992, the European Common Market will formally consolidate into a single trading unit. It will still be individual countries, but a single trading union. Monetary policies are thrashing toward unity. The fall of the Berlin Wall may open even more territory to the invisible hand of market economics. At this point in the ebb and flow of history, the new world [that us, America] is a junk bond and the old ancient world is a growth stock, and this is the old world. We always thought history centered around us. It did for awhile, but we went the way of Rome. So look and watch what’s happening in Europe.” Newsweek magazine, November 1989.
A lot of people wonder when those ten nations to form that common market come together, could that be, could that be? You know, I don’t know. I really don’t know. I’m not going to stand up here and say, “Yes! That’s right!” Nobody in here can say “Yes, that’s right. Yes, that’s what he’s talking about in Daniel.” Nobody can say that. But I want to tell you something else: nobody can say it’s not what he’s talking about. What if it’s right? Friend, if I understand it correctly, the rapture will take place before that kingdom is set up on this earth, which means we are ripe for the Lord Jesus to come again.
Bless his heart, the guy that wrote the book and fixed up the dates, I really feel for him because I think he got about as excited as I’m getting this morning. Except he went a step further and really acted dumb and put a date on it. You can’t put a date on it. It’s like the little boy whose daddy was leaving for awhile and he said, “Son, I’m going to be back in the fall.” Little boy was about three or four years old and said, “Daddy, what’s the fall?” Daddy tried to explain the seasons to him, and it was not getting through to the little boy. He said, “Okay, son, remember this: when the leaves start falling off the trees, Daddy will be home.”
The little boy kind of forgot about it. Several months went by and in the fall the leaves began to change and die and the colors—and by the way, that’s a beautiful spiritual principle, the beautiful color of the leaf is only in death. Same way when we walk dead to self is when the beauty comes out in our life. But anyway, the leaves. One night after a hard rain, the wind blew and blew them all off the trees. That little boy hadn’t thought about that in a long time. He came running out the front door the next day, he looked and saw all the trees bare and he said, “Mama, Mama, Mama, Daddy’s coming home?” She said, “Son, how do you know Daddy’s coming home?” “He told me when the leaves start falling off the trees.”
Now, folks, I don’t know how to say this, but the leaves are falling off the trees! “Oh, but Brother Wayne, He’s going to come like a thief in the night.” Yes! To the lost people! Not to the believers! We’re to be ready at any instant when the Lord Jesus comes. We’re not to be caught by surprise, to be looking at the signs all around us. He didn’t give us a day, He didn’t give us an hour, but He gave us enough signs and enough wisdom to know what to watch for. Folks, the leaves are falling off the trees.
You might be sitting here this morning; you’ve never received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. You’ve joined a church, but you’ve not joined Jesus. You know it and everybody in your family knows it. I am going to tell you something, friend. You will bow one day, and you will confess Him as Lord in your life. But my friend, it may be way too late; as long as your heart is beating and your lungs are breathing, He’s your Savior. And you have an opportunity right now. But, my friend, the day He comes again, He’ll be your Judge, not your Savior. You will bow, but you may be in hell when you do it. There are a lot of things to take place that Daniel’s telling us about. Where are you this morning? Are you ready for Him to take the church out of here so He can get to the business of chasing His people who have rejected God, rejected Christ, and even rejected the Holy Spirit? And yet He’s not through with them because He made an everlasting covenant with Israel. They’re not done with yet. The church is going to be taken out before He deals with them. You ready to go? Oh, friend, there’s some days in my life I didn’t want Him to come because I had too much invested in this world. “Lord, don’t come yet! Got too many interests down here.” Oh, boy, I’ve got so much on me this morning; I’m so full I can’t seem to get it all out.
Let me just squeeze one more little thought. Think about old Paul standing in front of Agrippa. You think he wasn’t ready to go? “To me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” He said, “I’m in a dilemma. My heart wants to go on, kill me, get rid of me. Man, I want to go.” Old Agrippa stood before him. He couldn’t take anything away from him, because he didn’t own anything. He couldn’t humble him, because of all men he was the most humble. He couldn’t embarrass him, because he’d already lost all of his pride at the cross. Agrippa looked at him in total perplexity. And said, “Paul, you almost make me want to become a Christian.”
Now there’s a man who’s ready to go. He’s not scared to death the stock market is going to drop tomorrow, because all of his investments are in heaven. Well, if you’ll think about the anxieties of this world, exactly what they are—anxieties of this world.