Participants: Clifford Goldstein
Series Code: CFTF
Program Code: CFTF000011
00:21 Hi Cliff Goldstein, and I want to welcome you to the Program
00:24 Contending for the Faith
00:26 During the fall of 1979
00:31 under the looming shadow of my twenty-fourth birthday
00:37 I had a dramatic, life changing experience
00:41 For two and a half years I had been writing a novel
00:44 This novel was my god. I mean characters in the book
00:48 controlled my life more than I controlled
00:50 the life of the characters. Then that evening
00:53 one evening the Lord Jesus Christ came to my, in my room
00:58 and He said, Cliff you've been playing with me long enough
01:02 if you want me tonight burn your novel.
01:06 Just like that. Now this all didn't happen in a vacuum
01:11 There was a whole lot of background to this
01:14 things that happened that took me from being an agnostic or an
01:17 atheist to someone who knew there was something out there
01:21 ok? But then suddenly I was sure at that moment
01:26 what that was. Now the problem was simple.
01:30 The novel was my god. The Lord showed me that I must, you have
01:34 no other gods besides me, and so if I wanted the Lord,
01:39 if I wanted truth, the book had to go.
01:42 Then after couple hours or whatever you might call divine
01:48 human wrestling and knowing nothing about salvation
01:52 nothing about the Three Angels Message
01:55 nothing about myself as a sinner
01:58 I took this manuscript, two and a half years of my life
02:02 everything that I had, and I burned it on a small hot plate
02:07 in my room. And that was the night I became a born again
02:12 believer in Jesus. Now my exper- ience that night was just that.
02:21 It was an experience. It was personal, it was subjective
02:26 it was interior. I think anybody standing in the room
02:30 wouldn't have heard or seen anything
02:32 and in one sense there was really nothing logical
02:35 nothing scientific, nothing that could be explained
02:39 from any other common academic disciplines
02:42 I think psychologists might have had a hard time
02:45 trying to explain it, or a fun time trying to explain it
02:49 But it meant nothing to me. What happened to me that night
02:53 it was mystical, it was supernatural, it was beyond
02:59 rationality. Kinda like Saul's little road trip to Damascus.
03:04 as seen in the book of Acts.
03:06 Read the story of Paul again and tell me how logical how rational
03:12 how scientific that was. Anyway the next day
03:18 in a health food store I had my first Bible Study ever
03:24 And we went through Daniel 2. And we went through the sequence
03:29 of Kingdoms. Babylon, Medo Persia, Greece, Rome
03:33 and the breakup of Rome. And when they came to the feet and
03:37 toes of iron and clay in the statue,
03:40 and the text says they shall mingle themselves
03:43 with the seed of men but they shall not cleave one to another
03:47 even as iron is not mixed with clay. In Daniel 2:43
03:52 all that's symbolic of modern Europe.
03:55 I burst into tears. And I remember I looked at them
04:01 and I said "it's all true. It's all true."
04:05 I mean here, for the first time in my life
04:09 was powerful confirmation. Not just for God
04:13 but for His foreknowledge and His sovereignty
04:17 Here on the page before me in that store
04:20 was logical, objective and public evidence for belief.
04:24 With Daniel 2 my experience of the night before
04:30 was now underpinned on a platform
04:33 a platform that remains as solid, as faith affirming
04:37 and as rational now as it was for me over 34 years ago
04:44 in that, in that room and in that Health Food Store.
04:48 And that's what I want to talk about today.
04:52 Because you know, experiences fade.
04:58 Experiences fade, and there, and you can forget
05:04 and you go on and on and on
05:08 And some days I don't have good spiritual experiences
05:12 Some days I feel empty inside, I feel spiritually empty
05:18 But no matter how I feel, no matter what bad experiences
05:23 I must be happening, I might be having,
05:27 Daniel 2 is always there. Never changing and remains solid
05:33 and logical, rational reasons for faith and for belief
05:38 that can come in quite handy when you might not necessarily
05:43 feel so full of faith, feel so strong in your belief.
05:49 But no matter how I feel, I've always got Daniel 2.
05:54 And that's what I wanna look at
05:56 You know for starters, there's no question
06:02 that the narrative story itself of Daniel 2
06:05 isn't exactly brimming with rationality
06:09 I mean, come on. A king has a dream that he can't remember
06:13 And so he demands the wise men to tell him the dream
06:17 And they can't tell him the dream so he's gonna tear
06:20 their houses down and rip their limbs off.
06:23 Well when they can't do it y'know, they're
06:25 you know looking in sheep livers and all that
06:28 isn't going to cut it for them so he orders everyone
06:31 killed. Then Daniel goes back and tells his friends
06:35 and Daniel prays and God gives him the answer to the dream
06:38 They interpret it and it saves the day.
06:41 Hardly the logic of geometry to be sure!
06:48 However, on the other hand logic and reason exude
06:54 from the prophecy itself.
07:09 Without supernatural interven- tion how could he have
07:12 gone through the ages, through millennia even
07:16 and so accurately depict the rise and fall of those empires
07:21 as he did? Daniel almost 600 years before Christ
07:26 lays out the history of the world that comes after him
07:31 Babylon, Medo Persia, Greece, Rome, the breakup of Rome
07:36 into the divided nations of modern Europe today
07:40 Again, the man was writing 5-600 years before Christ
07:45 We're not talking about some theoretical phenomenon here
07:50 A few girls claiming to have been visited by the Virgin Mary
07:56 or someone given magic goggles and enabled them to interpret
08:01 sacred books, supposedly sacred books
08:05 We're talking about reality as firm, as public an unchanging
08:12 as world history. What firmer broader and more immutable
08:17 foundation, the history of the world could God have used
08:23 to give us to build an edifice of faith?
08:27 I mean the whole world can blow up tomorrow
08:30 but there'll have always been a Babylon a Medo Persia a Greece
08:37 a Rome. It's a foundation rooted in the past
08:40 and even God can't change the past
08:43 That's what God has given us to help ground our faith
08:46 and it is powerful. It's so powerful
08:51 in fact that people want to try to get around it.
08:54 The logic and reasonableness of Daniel 2
08:57 has been so strong for so long that people try to undermine it.
09:02 I mean if you don't believe in God,
09:04 if you don't believe in the supernatural
09:08 If you don't believe in God of the Bible
09:10 you're gonna have to come up with something to explain this
09:13 prophecy because it presents on the face of it
09:16 powerful and logical evidence for the God of the Bible.
09:21 You know I once read something or someone tried to say
09:23 "well how did Moses get the Ten Commandments?"
09:26 They said he was on drugs that's how he got the 10 Commandments
09:30 They had to explain the story somehow!
09:33 So some folks have tried to find a way to explain
09:37 Tried to find a way to explain away Daniel 2
09:41 Now the most entrenched attempt
09:45 remains the so called Maccabean Hypothesis
09:49 Which claims the book wasn't written when it says it was
09:52 But was written centuries later after the events themselves
09:56 This idea was first promulgated by a philosopher Porphyry
10:01 who lived about 234-305 AD
10:05 who argued that Daniel had been written in the second century
10:09 by the Jews under the Seleucid Greeks
10:13 Today this view infects most of Christendom
10:18 including a majority of commentaries.
10:22 The book of Daniel, millions believe
10:25 was written about 167-164 BC towards the Maccabean revolt
10:34 against Antiochus Epiphanes you know which Jews celebrate
10:39 that today as Hanukkah, the feast of lights.
10:41 Growin up in a Jewish home we weren't very religious
10:44 but I remember we did celebrate Hanukkah.
10:47 I liked it. We used to get the Hanukkah gilt.
10:49 It was chocolate, candy made up like coins and so on.
10:54 The point is, the point in all this is that
10:58 they said that Daniel was written vaticinium ex eventu
11:02 a Latin Phrase for "written after the happening took place"
11:07 in short what they're saying is though Daniel dates himself
11:12 to the 7th-6th century BC that's not true.
11:15 It was really written hundreds of years later
11:19 Ok. Now, the Maccabean hypothesis has always been flawed
11:25 for a lot of reasons even though people still adhere to it.
11:30 Words that were supposibly be used around the time of Daniel
11:35 were said to be there. They said Daniel used words that
11:39 weren't supposed to be there in his time.
11:41 Well that has proven to be wrong. They have discovered
11:44 other things from that time where those words were used
11:48 Supposedly he made mistakes in the name of a king.
11:51 That's wrong. Turned out he was right after all
11:55 Inclusion in the dead sea scrolls.
11:57 How could Daniel have been in the Dead Sea Scrolls?
12:00 They consider the dates that the Dead Sea Scrolls were found.
12:04 Now, not everybody has accepted it. The Maccabean hypothesis.
12:10 But the vast majority of the Christian world has
12:14 And yet, I believe the prophecy itself shows how ludicrous
12:20 the Maccabean hypothesis is. Let's assume ok, let's assume
12:26 for argument's sake ok? Let's assume that Daniel
12:30 was written in 160 BC ok? I totally reject it.
12:35 But here's the thing. How could anyone,
12:38 living more than 150 years before the birth of Christ
12:42 predict with such accuracy this dismantling of the Roman Empire
12:47 into the smaller powers of Europe
12:49 that would not cleave one to another
12:54 even as iron is not mixed with clay.
12:58 You know I live in the Washington DC area
13:01 and I have friends in the Intelligence community
13:05 and I remember when I asked one of my neighbors during the
13:07 as the Soviet Union was collapsing,
13:09 I asked one of my neighbors who worked at NSA,
13:13 he's one of these NSA people you know,
13:14 they never tell you what they do only after you wheedle it out
13:17 or at least find out where they work
13:19 and I remember as the Soviet Union was collapsing
13:23 I asked my NSA friend, did you people have any idea
13:28 of this and he said, "we're looking at this
13:31 with our jaws dropping," ok?
13:34 Here you have the most sophisticated
13:36 spy agency in the world. They probably knew every time
13:40 Gorbachev burped. They were following the Soviet Union
13:44 and yet even up to a year and a half before they had no idea
13:50 that the Soviet Union was going to collapse.
13:53 so how could somebody like Daniel, a 160 years
13:58 supposedly 160 years before Christ so accurately predict
14:03 what was going to happen? The whole point of the Maccabean
14:07 hypothesis was to deny the supernatural.
14:10 Was to deny predicted prophecy. Yet, Daniel 2's prophetic reach
14:15 was so great that it overwhelms this pathetic human attempt
14:21 to nullify it. The hypothesis fails to denude
14:25 the book of Daniel of the one thing the hypothesis
14:29 tried to denude it of and that was the supernatural element
14:33 of Daniel itself. Now think about this too.
14:39 The power of Daniel was so great that this guy Porphyry
14:43 writing in the 3rd-4th century AD
14:47 was so scared of the book, he was so scared that he
14:50 tried to denude it of prophecy. So he concocted the idea
14:54 that it was written later than it was. This was 1800 years ago.
15:00 Now think about this. If 18 centuries ago the power of
15:05 Daniel's prophecies were so strong that somebody back then
15:09 tried to undermine it. How much more powerful should the book be
15:13 for us today? With so much more history has unfolded
15:18 than had in Porphyry's time. And a simple point worth considering
15:23 if Daniel was so accurate about the future,
15:26 isn't it logical and reasonable to trust him on something
15:30 easier than making predictions 100s, 1000s of years in advance
15:34 and that is on the dates that he himself gave for the book.
15:41 Now there's more. The King's dream in chapter 2
15:48 was of a statue, world history symbolized in sculpture
15:52 The common interpretation, the gold head Babylon,
15:56 the silver arms and breast Medo Persia,
16:02 the brass belly and thighs Greece,
16:05 the legs iron, Pagan Rome and the feet and toes
16:10 part iron and part clay, the divided nations of Europe.
16:14 This is not uniquely Adventist.
16:17 Millions of Christians and Jews have understood it this way
16:23 for centuries. But now, catch this point
16:27 because this is important. Unlike the first three kingdoms
16:32 whose metal stopped at their demise,
16:35 the iron of the 4th kingdom, the iron that comes after Greece
16:40 it starts in the leg and it goes all the way down in the feet
16:44 it goes all the way down to the end.
16:47 See, in other words, the 4th kingdom which arose after Greece
16:53 though changing form extends all the way
16:57 into the end of the world it extends all the way down
17:00 into the feet. These facts help identify
17:04 it helps definitely identify because what world power
17:09 arising after Greece extends to the end of time.
17:14 There's one and only one. It's Rome. Pagan and Papal.
17:21 What other power arises after ancient Greece
17:25 which extends in the centuries before Christ? Started then
17:29 and extends to the end? Daniel 2 in this outline forms
17:35 with this forms a basic outline for the rest of the prophetic
17:39 chapters in the book. This is especially clear
17:44 in Daniel 7 and Daniel 8 which all put, have the same sequence
17:50 Babylon, Medo Persia, Greece Rome. Only they give more detail
17:55 And the point is if you lined up Daniel 2, Daniel 7 and Daniel 8
18:00 you would have Babylon, Babylon you wouldn't have Babylon
18:04 in Daniel 8 because it's fading by then. But you got Babylon
18:07 you got Medo Persia, Medo Persia Medo Persia
18:10 you got Greece, Greece, Greece
18:13 And then you got Rome all the way through.
18:16 In Daniel 7 the four beasts parallel to 4 metals in Daniel 2
18:21 and in Daniel 7 the 4th kingdom, the one that arises after Greece
18:26 though changing form continues to the end of the world.
18:31 It's the same four powers given in more detail as in Daniel 2
18:38 ok, the iron, again the iron the 4th beast the last earthly power
18:43 arises after Greece and goes down to the end of the world.
18:49 Again what could that be but Rome? Daniel 7, after Greece
18:54 you got a power coming up after Greece, that beast power
18:59 the emphasis then becomes on the little horn which is then
19:03 destroyed at the end of time but it is still the same power
19:07 after Greece extending till the end. In Daniel 8 the same
19:12 sequence but the final power, the power that arises
19:17 after Greece though changing some characteristics
19:21 endures to the end as well. So you have this sequence
19:25 in all these chapters. Babylon,
19:28 though it's not mentioned in Daniel 8 but you've got Babylon,
19:32 you've got Medo Persia, you've got Greece and you've got Rome.
19:36 Now here's the point. Here's the point ok? In all 3 chapters
19:44 In all 3 chapters, don't miss this. The power that arises
19:49 after Greece's fall, in the century before Christ
19:54 remains until the end. Daniel 2 Daniel 7 and Daniel 8.
19:59 This one power arises after Greece and goes all the way
20:03 through to the end of time. Though in one case though,
20:08 at one point it changes form. Again, what the only power that
20:15 could be, it solely, totally only will.
20:19 You know many people shy away from this because it's not
20:23 considered a politically correct interpretation.
20:26 Or some people they get caught up in current events.
20:29 I can remember 30 some years ago reading some people
20:32 in a magazine and they were dissing all Oh we're wrong
20:36 the Adventist interpretation everybody knows
20:38 coz if you look at it, the only possible power that could be
20:42 that end time power could be, the only possible thing
20:45 it could be was the Soviet Union. Well they got it wrong.
20:50 And now people are saying it's Islam.
20:52 I'm sorry Islam didn't come up right after Greece
20:56 and go all the way down. It doesn't fit.
20:59 This power, the only possible thing it could be
21:03 coming up after the fall of Greece going through to the end
21:07 is solely, totally and only Rome
21:11 We're on solid ground with this.
21:14 Solid as the history of the world itself.
21:18 But anyway I don't want to just focus on the past now
21:22 only on decayed and dead kingdoms
21:25 because the hope the chapter presents is a future hope.
21:29 From us, for our perspective today
21:32 how Daniel handled what came before our time
21:37 should make us trust him for what comes after.
21:40 I mean Daniel was right on all those other chapters
21:43 ok, all the other kingdoms that came
21:47 why don't we trust him? Why should we trust him on the one
21:50 kingdom that hasn't come yet? Ok could you see the point?
21:55 Daniel says eventually all these earthly kingdoms
21:59 you know Daniel predicted all these kingdoms would come and go
22:04 You know I remember when I was about, I grew up in Miami Beach
22:09 and when you turn 18 there's a rite of passage
22:13 you go to the race track, the dog track
22:17 Well I was only 17 but I looked older so I went to the dog track
22:22 And I walked into the dog track
22:26 I'm gonna gamble, gonna make it big and rich
22:31 And I walk into the dog track
22:33 and something catches my attention
22:37 And I'm lookin, and I said there's something here
22:41 there's something speaking to me here but I'm not sure what it is
22:45 Then it hit me. Then it hit me. There were 12 ticket windows
22:53 12 ticket windows. 10 of the windows took your money
23:01 Two of the windows handed out winnings.
23:05 And right there in my precious 17 year old innocent mind
23:10 I suddenly saw not only was this illusion proposition,
23:15 but I knew exactly what the odds were
23:19 The odds were 5:1, I was gonna lose.
23:22 Now it just so happened today that I put 5$ on a dog
23:25 I can make 35$. So I happened to win that day
23:27 But I realized in the end what a losing proposition this was.
23:32 But now look at Daniel. Daniel was right. Medo Persia came and
23:37 went as predicted. I mean, Babylon came and went
23:41 as predicted. One for one. Medo Persia came and went
23:45 as predicted. Two for two. Greece came an went as predicted
23:51 Three for three. Pagan Rome came and went as predicted.
23:56 The breakup of the nations of modern Europe
23:59 as predicted. From our historical stand point
24:03 the only kingdom that hasn't come yet is the final kingdom.
24:08 But we're here. We can look back We could see Babylon
24:11 we could see Medo Persia, we could see Greece
24:13 We could see Rome and the break up of Rome.
24:15 He was right on all these others. You will have to be a
24:18 a fool. The numbers alone the math alone, the statistics alone
24:24 show us that we could trust Daniel on the fifth
24:31 and final kingdom. The one kingdom that hasn't yet come.
24:35 But you know we have even a better reason
24:40 A better reason for believing in this final kingdom
24:45 which Jesus establishes when He comes
24:49 And the best reason I have for believing in the second coming
24:55 of Jesus is the first coming. I mean, think about it.
25:01 Without the second coming, I hate to say it,
25:05 but Jesus wasted His time at the first coming
25:09 What good does the first coming do for me,
25:12 does the first coming do for me without the second coming for me
25:16 Without the second coming He wasted His time
25:18 Jesus should've stayed in heaven and never bothered to come
25:21 to begin with, because we're gonna be stuck here
25:24 Well you say Christ left us a good example
25:26 on how to live and that's fine and I appreciate that.
25:29 But Martin Luther King, Gandhi left us a good example
25:33 Captain Kangaroo left us a good example.
25:36 But I don't know about you. My situation is too desperate
25:40 I need more than a good example
25:43 I need a Savior. I need right- eousness credited to me
25:47 that I don't have. I need a substitute, I need a Redeemer
25:51 I need someone paying a price that I myself can't pay
25:56 More than anything else I need someone who can take this corpse
26:04 this body of mine which is one day gonna be in the ground
26:10 In other words I need more than someone who could tell me to
26:13 turn the cheek, go the extra mile
26:16 I need someone who's going to raise this corpse
26:18 from the dirt. Who can clothe our mortality with immortality
26:23 Who can change this corruption into incorruption
26:28 Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Captain Kangaroo can't do that for me.
26:33 Only Jesus can. So as sure as I am about Christ
26:38 and what Christ did for me at the first coming
26:42 That's as sure as I could be that He will return
26:46 and that fifth and final kingdom will be established.
26:51 I still remember my first Bible Study of Daniel 2
26:56 34 years ago. It was so far in the past in one sense
27:03 but what is 34 years but just a faint little breath
27:07 amid the harsh winds of history
27:10 as depicted by the metals of that prophecy.
27:13 And what are those empires of gold and silver
27:17 and bronze and clay? What are they compared to
27:21 God's fifth and final kingdom?
27:23 A kingdom which shall never be destroyed.
27:27 And the kingdom shall not be left to other people
27:30 But it shall break the kingdoms in pieces
27:33 and consume all these kingdoms.
27:35 And it shall stand forever!
27:39 Whoo! That's the promise.
27:43 The promise of a kingdom and a city which has foundations
27:48 whose builder and maker is God.
27:52 And I leave you with this.
27:54 I leave you with this coz in one sense it's so simple
27:58 it's so logical, it's so reasonable
28:01 Because Daniel was so right about the first four kingdoms
28:06 How rational and reasonable then to trust him on the fifth.
28:12 The one that lasts forever.
28:14 The one that is guaranteed us through the blood of Jesus.