God's vision for the future
Students at Canbera's Macquarie Primary School were asked to close their eyes and imagine the year 2020 then write what they say. Their ideas could be as weird as they wanted. What they wrotr was published in the Spinning Tree, the title poem of which reads: "We are based upon one tree,/ All my friends are me./ The wind is blowing strong,/ I'm not lasting long, the dying tree is red,/ It's spinning in my head./ Time is going fast./ I know I'll never last."
Teacher Craig Dent says what he found disturbing in the children's work was that they wrote and worked on their own, but a lot of their imager was similar: "What they're writing about is very apocalyptic. They're not sure about where they are going....I think a lot of them are really afraid of what's going to happen to the earth."
Pretty heavy stuff for primary school students!
The Bible also has a lot to say about where we're going and “what's going to happen to the earth” in the near future. An amazing prophecy given to Daniel 600 years before the birth of Christ presents an outline of world history from Daniel's time to our own and beyond. God gave Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, a dream of a great statue composed of four metals, which was eventually smashed by a stone that grew and filled the earth.
Following is Daniel's interpretation.
An Amazing Prophecy
1. What did Daniel tell the king the head of gold symbolised?
Daniel 2:37, 38 “You, O king, are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory.... You are that head of gold.”
Babylon, referred to by historians as “the golden kingdom,” dominated her world from 605 BC to 539 BC.
2. What does the silver represent?
Daniel 2:39 “After you, another kingdom will rise, inferior to yours.”
The Medes and Persians overthrew Babylon (Daniel 5:25-31) in 539 BC.
3. What occurs next?
Daniel 2:39 “A third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth.”
Greece, led by Alexander the Great, overthrew the Persians at Arbela in 331 BC.
4. What is symbolised by the iron?
Daniel 2:40 “Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron ... it will crush and break all the others.”
After Alexander's death, his empire fell to the Romans in 168 BC at Pydna.
5. What would happen to the Roman Empire?
Daniel 2:41-43 “Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom ...people will ...not remain united.”
During the fifth century AD, barbaric invaders from the north attacked and divided the decaying Roman Empire. This amazing prophecy is sure evidence that God has a divine plan for this world and that there is hope for the future.
The Fifth—Kingdom Of God
6. What is the meaning of the stone that smashes the statue?
Daniel 2:44, 45 “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed.”
The kingdom of God has two phases—the kingdom of grace and the kingdom of glory.
7. When did the Kingdom of Grace begin?
Mark 1:15 “The time has come.... The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”
Jesus was born and ministered when Rome ruled the world (Luke 2:1)
8. How do we enter the kingdom of grace?
Romans 5:8; Ephesians 2:8, 9 “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no-one can boast.”
We become citizens of heaven when we accept Jesus as our Saviour (see Philippians 3:20).
9. What event brings in the Kingdom of Glory?
Matthew 25:31-34 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne.... All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another.... Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.”
10. What significance did Jesus give to the stone that struck the image?
Luke 20:18 “Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.”
We must choose to fall on the Rock Christ Jesus, surrendering our will to Him, or lose eternal life when God eliminates all that is not Christlike from the universe.
Says Eckersley in Youth Studies Australia, “My concern is that The Spinning Tree poems ...reveal a fundamental failing of modern western culture: the absence of a shared ideal or vision of our society and its future, a vision that nurtures and nourishes the individual and helps to hold a society together.”
Daniel has given us a vision of our society and its future that can nurture and nourish individuals and provide hope for the future.