The Mandate of Heaven--Final
Mar 16, 2012
By this time it should be apparent that the Mandate of Heaven is bound closely to the calling of Abraham. All authority comes from God, Paul says, and this is well established in Gen. 1:26-28, when God gave man authority in the earth. This authority became part of the Birthright, which I traced more fully in my book, The Struggle for the Birthright.
After Israel occupied Canaan, the nation began to forsake the law of God, and so God "sold them" to other nations (Judges 3:8; 4:2; 10:7). Israel's sin was reckoned as a debt that they could not pay, so God sold them into slavery by the law of Deut. 28:68.
This meant that God gave the Mandate of Heaven to another nation as a temporary measure in order to judge Israel for its sin. This lawful decree shifted the responsibility of the Mandate to other nations, one by one, and when those other nations failed to fulfill their responsibility, God judged them as well.
Some centuries later, Israel lost its Birthright when God divorced them (Jer. 3:8) and put them away, sending them out of His house to Assyria. A century later, God gave Judah's Mandate of Heaven to the king of Babylon and put Judah into captivity as well.
As I have already shown, the Babylonian captivity was longer than just the 70 years foreseen by Jeremiah. Daniel prophesied a much longer captivity to four beast empires and a "little horn" extension of the final "iron" kingdom.
God saw to it that each of these beast empires came to the point where they acknowledged the Creator as having the highest dominion. This was--and still is--a very important issue with God. He will not rest until all nations recognize His right to rule over that which He created.
Daniel 4 tells how God brought King Nebuchadnezzar to this point of revelation. In the beginning, he was a proud king, thinking that his own hands had built his kingdom. God brought him low for seven years and revealed that he was just a beast apart from God. In the end, we read in Dan. 4:34, 35,
(34) But at the end of that period, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever; for His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom endures from generation to generation. (35) And all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, but He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and no one can ward off His hand or say to Him, "What hast Thou done?"
Here the King of Babylon acknowledged the God of Heaven (Jesus Christ) as the highest Sovereign over Babylon.
In Daniel 6 we find God bringing the King of Persia to a similar conclusion (5:26, 27). The main difference is that King Darius' decree was made by the law that could not be revised or revoked. Persia declared itself to be subject to the Creator and part of the Kingdom of God.
The history of Alexander the Great, of the Grecian Empire, is prophesied by Daniel in various places, but it occurred during the interim between Malachi and Matthew. So the history is not recorded in Scripture, but it is found in other histories of their time. In those days, the Judeans still understood the prophecy of Daniel, and the high priests instructed the people to submit to Alexander's rule.
The priests dressed in white linen and lined the road leading into Jerusalem. The high priest met Alexander and pointed out Daniel's prophecy about him. Alexander gave honor to the high priest, and when an officer named Parmenio asked him why, he replied:
"I did not adore him, but that God who hath honoured him with his high priesthood; for I saw this very person in a dream, in this very habit, when I was at Dios in Macedonia, who, when I was considering with myself how I might obtain the dominion of Asia, exhorted me to make no delay, but boldly to pass over the sea thither, for that he would conduct my army, and would give me the dominion over the Persians; whence it is, that having seen no other in that habit, and now seeing this person in it, and remembering that vision, and the exhortation which I had in my dream, I believe that I bring this army under the divine conduct..."
Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, XI, ii, 5.
Alexander then entered the city.
"And when he went up into the temple, he offered sacrifice to God, according to the high priest's direction, and magnificently treated both the high priest and the priests. And when the book of Daniel was showed him, wherein Daniel declared that one of the Greeks should destroy the empire of the Persians, he supposed that himself was the person intended..."
Here is where the Grecian Empire recognized the source of the Mandate of Heaven. By making sacrifice to God in Jerusalem, He showed himself to be in submission to the will and law of God. However, after his death, the empire was divided among his four generals, as Daniel 11:4 indicates. Two of these (Seleucid from Syria and Ptolemy from Egypt) fought for control over Judea. At one point, the Seleucid king, Antiochus Epiphanes, desecrated the temple in Jerusalem and so lost the Mandate of Heaven for a full century (163-63 B.C.)
This was the final century that God had originally allotted to the Grecian Empire before the rise of the fourth empire--Rome. In 63 B.C., Rome took Jerusalem, and Judea began serving a new beast empire. If Antiochus had not abused his position so badly, he would have retained the Mandate of Heaven for the full term.
Rome was the next empire that ultimately came to recognize the God of Heaven as supreme when Constantine came to power (306-313 A.D.). This started with the Edict of Toleration that was issued 40 rest years after Jesus' earthly ministry. As for the precise timing of the Christianization of Rome, see chapter 14 of my book, Lessons from Church History, Vol. 4.
The power of the "little horn" of the papacy began to rise when the Empire was Christianized. Finally, in 476 Rome itself disintegrated, and Papal Rome filled the vacuum. In 529 the entire body of Roman law was replaced by Christian law, marking the legal beginning of Church supremacy. This lasted 1,260 years, when the French Revolution began to eclipse the power of Rome in 1789.
Nine years later the Pope himself was taken captive by Napoleon, and the papacy seemed to be doomed. The "fatal wound," however, was healed, as prophesied in Rev. 13:3. Even so, a new power had arisen, the power of money and banking.
In each case, the sovereignty of God was established over each of the four beast empires. The only one that has (to this date) continued in its rebellion has been the banking beast. In November of 2009, Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs did say that he was "doing God's work," but it is doubtful if he knew what he was saying.
Nonetheless, it may be considered to be a prophecy of true confessions yet to come. In this case, "God's work" is to bring judgment upon the Church for its lawlessness. The head of gold will eventually acknowledge the sovereignty of God, as the Mandate of Heaven is passed to the overcomers and to the kings of the east.
This is the final part of a series titled "The Mandate of Heaven." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones