Although we often use the words earth and world interchangeably, they do not always mean the same thing at all. In this volume, the word Earth capitalized specifies our physical planet only whereas earth not capitalized is interchangeably with the word world. In this latter sense, either earth or world correctly designates man’s way of life on his native planet –his institutions, his values, his worship. That is why the language of the so-called Lord’s Prayer is “Thy will be done in earth as it is (done) in heaven” (Mt. 6:10). On Earth would have designated physical location merely; in earth designates the same thing as the word world. Inherently, the Earth as a physical planet belongs to the Lord God who created it. In the meanwhile, man has an Earth-Lease Divinely signed, so to speak, which makes it temporarily his. And how he has abused God’s property! The world, by contrast, belongs inherently to man although ultimately it, too, will be God’s when “the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ” (Rev. 11:15). The day is nearing when man’s Earth-Lease will expire and the Almighty will reclaim His property; the day is equally nearing when He shall make the world His as well as the Earth! That is really what the soon coming Millennial Kingdom is all about. And it is surely what the coming redemption –renovation of the Earth is all about.
To say it differently, the mess we call modern civilization is the product of unregenerate men developed on the property which the Almighty leased to humanity for a limited time only. That time is now almost up! Man’s world and Earth today! God’s world and Earth tomorrow!
Starting Proof That This Is Man’s World
It is startlingly significant that the empire –kingdoms of the world are illustrated in the Eternal Scriptures with the image of a man! No other imagery known even to Divinity would suffice; strange, sobering proof indeed that this is man’s world. Beginning with world empires where the Lord God begins in His Prophetic word, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonian fame was typified by the man-image’s “head of gold” (the vision of which is recorded in chapter two of Daniel). The world power destined to conquer the Babylonian Empire was that of the Medes and Persians, usually called the Medo-Persian Empire. It was, historically, of two-prolonged authority, precisely as represented by the chest and two arms of silver of the man-image. Its successor was prophetically revealed to be Alexander the Great’s Grecian Kingdom, represented by the image’s abdominal area of brass. That great kingdom, in turn, was destined to fall before the ruthless might of Rome, which was to have an Eastern and Western division represented by the two iron legs of the mighty man-image. Iron bespeaks brute strength, inflexible authority, the merciless slaughtering of everything in its path like some mighty bulldozer-tank plowing through barehanded defenders. Down with all resistance! Let mighty Rome rule the whole world forever! That element was decisively the chief characteristic of the Roman Empire which endured, by iron-fisted fury, longer than the three preceding world kingdoms combined. This ruthless Empire called its capital the Eternal City – mighty Rome – beyond Babylon, beyond Nineveh, beyond Athens, beyond Jerusalem, beyond any city on Earth in grandeur and might and power. Such an empire had to be represented by the two legs of iron for as iron speaks of merciless strength, so do the legs represent stability and inflexibility. A man’s legs are the most muscular, stable, movable strength of his body. Man’s world indeed! What further proof is needed?
All that is now factual history, prophetically portrayed in advance. It all began in 604 B.C. (the year of Nebuchadnezzar’s actual enthronement following the death of his reigning father Nabopolazzar) and continued to 476 A.D., considered by historians to be the dissolution point of the Roman Empire. (The image-vision, incidentally, was Divinely given in the “second year” of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign as emperor (Dan. 2:1), with no reference whatever to his preceding career as military general under his father’s command.)
The Full Story Is Not Yet Told!
World political dominion between the collapse of the Roman Empire and the yet-future beginning of the Anti-Christ kingdom, is not represented by the great man image vision. That period in human history is prophetically silent, even as the present Church Age was not a subject of ancient prophecy. Yet, the final world kingdom of the diabolical Anti-Christ is graphically portrayed under the imagery of the ten toes of the image-vision. This representation is clearly Scriptural and is virtually a universal acknowledgement among Biblical scholars. Beginning with the head and continuing to the toes, all of man was Divinely used to represent all of man’s world!
The toes are ten; the final kingdom under Anti-Christ’s brutal command will be a ten-nation world alliance. The toes were apparently made of more or less equal parts of iron and clay, an “unmixable mixture” of fatal weakness, as sawdust and concrete of equal parts would build nothing but a bridge or building destined to collapse into massive debris. The mighty Anti-Christ empire, composed of the iron of ruthless communism and the clay of freedom – loving Democracy, cannot long endure. When that coming world empire has had its brief and furious heyday – only seven frightful years – the coming King Jesus will topple the whole structure of man-made might into the dust of nothingness. That is to be the fulfillment of the “Stone cut out without hands which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the Stone (King Jesus) that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth!” (Dan. 2:34-35).
There, then, is the story of man’s world fully told! This is God’s Earth and yet man’s world! The time shall soon come, however, when the Almighty can tolerate man’s colossal mess no longer and will crush the whole structure of world power and sweep the dust into the wind. Then the Millennium; then God’s Government on Earth; then God’s Earth shall witness the glory of God’s world! Wondrous anticipation!
Man’s World Is both Winding Down and Speeding Up!
Imagine a spacecraft tumbling uncontrollably through the heavens, crippled by its whizzing control gyroscopes slowly winding down from loss of power. Imagine that same spacecraft, caught helplessly in the iron grip of gravity, plunging back toward Planet Earth at an ever increasing frightening velocity. Control mechanisms winding down and blurring speed hurtling the helpless craft toward destructive impact! That is the imagery which best describes the condition of the whole world at this present time in human history. The world is indeed gyrating out of control. And who under all heaven knows how to bring under control a frightening variety of destructive problems? Who has the answer to the dark threat of economic collapse, appearing so unexpectedly like a frightful specter out of nowhere? Who can bring into balance the exploding population of the planet and its dwindling food supplies? Who can stop the monumentally senseless armaments race that has already brought the whole world to virtual bankruptcy? Who can turn off the hatred and bitterness among nations? Who can stem the tide of rampaging godlessness? Who can cool down the “hot spots” of the Earth to avoid outright war with all the savagery and hell of modern nuclear capability? Who has the formula for survival? In a single disturbing statement, who under heaven, individually or collectively, can bring the world, tumbling and plunging so dizzily toward destructive impact, under sensible control? The answer, using the unerring Prophetic Word as a basis for knowledge, is alarmingly clear. The “control gyroscopes” are winding down and the stability indicator of the whole world is flashing with insistent warning, “critical!” If that sounds alarming, it is so intended.
(Extracted from From NOW till Eternity)
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