The Mystic Stone
December 22nd, 1996
THE MYSTIC STONE
Dr. W. A. Criswell
Daniel 2: 34-35, 44-45
12-22-96 Sunday School
One of the strangest providences of life is illustrated this morning. We have read, from the second chapter of the Book of Luke, the beautiful story of the visit of the incarnate Son of God, born in a manger. Well, we are going to look at the same thing, only as God prophesied it and wrote about it six hundred years before the Lord was born. So, the title of the exposition is The Mystic Stone, The Mystic Mountain. And if you’d like, for a moment, turn to the second chapter of the Book of Daniel and we will read the thirty-fourth and thirty-fifth verses, Daniel 2:34 and 35:
Thou sawest, a stone that was cut without hands, which smote the image upon its feet,
Then was the clay, and the iron (and all the rest) broken in pieces… And the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.
Then let’s add to that verses 44 and 45 – Daniel 2:44:
And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed,
Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of mountain without hands, and that it break in pieces the iron – and all the rest of it – the great God hath made known to the King what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain and the interpretation thereof is true.
Now, as you know, Daniel is divided in two parts: the first six chapters and then the last six chapters. And so, they follow the same course, the same imagery. So let’s read about the same thing in chapter 7. In chapter 7, verses 9 and 10, chapter 7, verses 9 and 10:
I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool: his throne was like the flaming fire, and his wheels as burning fire.
A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: and thousands and thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: and the judgment was set, and the books were opened.
Then let’s turn in that same chapter 7 to verse 13 and following:
I saw, in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought Him near before Him.
And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve Him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and a kingdom which shall not be destroyed.
Then let’s turn to verse 27: "And the kingdom and the dominion, and the greatest of the whole kingdom of the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominion shall serve and obey Him."
So it says that all of this is created without hands. There are influences in the universe other than human. There are things that come down from above. Not rise from the earth but come down from heaven. You look at this: Human science, so haughty, is the modern untouchable sacred cow, beyond reproof or criticism. They’re just in the glory of their own. "He’s a professor, he’s a scientist!" But it drops from a cow, beyond reproof or criticism, from one of great boasting into an abject confession of know-nothingness, when confronted with a man with an explanation of the ordinary, the ordinary sequences of life.
You never saw, in your life, a figure more limp and drenched through with invisible rain, bedraggled and poverty-stricken, than a Science – capital S – when it comes to the mysteries of common existence. No undertaker, overwhelmed by a great deluge outside a pauper’s funeral ever cut a less imposing appearance than science when it seeks to explain things done without hands.
Just look for a minute. The sun shines in the morning without hands; the earth turns through the day without hands. The least, littlest, flower warms itself by the great fire of the sun, lifting its little head without hands. Little faces of the pansies are painted without hands. God dips His brush in the colors that brighten the rainbow without hands. Butterfly wings are decorated – one time I looked at those things under a microscope, and no two of them are alike; and they are perfect. I looked at the paintings of men, one time, under a microscope. And when they are magnified they are the beatenest things you ever saw in your life. But you look at a butterfly wing under a microscope. And though it is magnified a thousand times, it is, every line, just perfect; and every color, just pure. I just couldn’t believe such a thing. So of human souls and human life, convictions, impressions inspirations, urgings that you can’t explain – they are without hands.
Now of the wicked, judgment is written on the wall without hands. You know that story of Belshazzar – that hand up there? For the righteous, God’s servants are preserved without hands – Daniel in the lion’s den. In 2 Corinthians 5:1 we read of "a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." That’s our home up there, without hands. This earthly tabernacle – you – were made without hands. The sacred parts of David’ anatomy is described in Psalms 139 – it’s unbelievable how he writes that – made without hands. And our heavenly tabernacle is made without hands. It is the creation of God, this new body that the Lord will give us when He raises this old decrepit and decaying house from the grave. Thus, the Lord builds the house; thus, the Lord keeps the life; and thus the Lord ministers to us.
Now, that stone that we read about in Daniel 2 and Daniel 7, it became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. That stone is the climax of the visions that are revealed to us by the prophet Daniel. It’s just a rock; it’s just a stone; but it grows, this mystic mountain, this mystic stone, until it fills the whole earth. So I just copied out of the Bible things that are written in there about that stone without hands:
In Genesis :24: "The hands of the Almighty God, the stone of Israel."
In Psalms :22: "The stone which the believers received has become the head one of the kingdom of God."
Isaiah 28:16: "Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion a foundation stone, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation."
In Matthew 16:18: "I say unto thee, Thou art petros – a stone, a rock – and upon this petra – the great foundation stone – I will build My church; and the gates will hell shall not prevail against it."
In Acts 4:11: "This (Jesus whom ye crucified) is the stone set at naught of you builders, but it is become the head of the corner."
And in 1 Corinthians 10 and 4: "All (Israel) drinks of that same spiritual drink: for every drink of the spiritual rock that followed them: and that rock was Christ."
And 1 Peter 2:4, 5-8: "Coming (to Jesus) as to a living stone, built up a spiritual house, acceptable to God as written in the scriptures, Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone; blessed, precious: and he that believes on him shall not be put to shame."
So all of that by prophecy – so that coming into this world is in the language, the nomenclature of Holy Scripture is just a stone, but it comes to be a great rock and a mystic mountain. So Jesus, the Messiah, Christ, here appears: In His birth, no human agency, in His resurrection, no human hands. And only in Christ the symbol in Daniel 2 and 7 is realized and verified.
Well, we look at the time of His appearing. After the course of empires had passed away and we are down into the end of the vision, in the ten toes of iron, of clay – never a universal kingdom again. The most powerful ever nearest to successful, of a kingdom empire, was Napoleon’s alliance with Austria and Spain and Europe. Europe seemed to be prostrate at his feet. The cup of universal dominion was raised to his lips; but God expressly had revealed in 600 BC, that there would be no-ever another world kingdom, another world empire.
So when we read the Book of history, the waters of the Borodino engulfed his invincible battalions. And this is the beatenest that I could ever think for. You remember Napoleon sent his hundreds of thousands of soldiers, his battalions, into Russia? Remember that? And man, they conquered Moscow and everywhere except St. Petersburg. It was an amazing thing; the battalions of Napoleon conquering mighty Russia. And you remember the story? In the wintertime – when they were in the midst of their battle of conquest – in the wintertime, there came falling down little soft pieces of snow; just quietly, just softly coming down from heaven. And the whole vast army was destroyed. In wintertime those little soft pieces of snow destroyed that vast army. So the bones of the rest of his army lay bleaching and lay buried on the plains of Waterloo. He who fell asleep a monarch, with six hundred thousand bayonets bristling to protect him, died a refugee in exile on the rise of tomorrow’s sun. God said there’s not going to be another empire. And that’s a good illustration of how the Lord’s words come to pass.
Then it says that rock, that stone, that grew to be a great mountain, smites the earth on its ten toes when it’s broken up into iron and clay. So the focus of the revelation in chapter 2 is on that stone of the latter day. It is a future consummation. Not a smiting on the time of that golden head and breast and all, not a power introduced in the Roman Empire that should spread; but the stone is to strike that down there in the history of the world when the world is broken up into all of these different nations.
Now, let’s look according to the prophecy at the character of the appearing. Daniel, chapter 2, verses 34 and 35 says that it comes and the affect of it is as the scattering of the chaff of the threshing floor. Now you look at this: When Christ comes, when the Stone appears and fills the earth, it is a destroying and annihilating power. The stone crushes, it is not a converting power.
In Matthew 24 and 29, it speaks of the sun an imperial power. Revelation 1:7 and in Matthew 24, there it speaks of the moon, a satellite power. Spoken of in Revelation 18 and in Matthew 24 it speaks of the stars, the rulers in these local precincts. And this tremendous coming of the Lord, in the times of the Gentiles, by a kingdom set up on earth by the God of heaven and an eternal kingdom.
You look at the illustration in the Bible: The system of government Nebuchadnezzar knew is to be completely and certainly abolished, supplanted, by one of an entirely different character. The new kingdom that fills this earth is to be supernatural: supernatural in origin, in purpose, and in providence. The kingdom is a manifestation of the presence and the power of God. And that’s one of the astonishing doctrines of the Scripture: When the Lord in heaven came to establish that kingdom which was a little rock to begin with and it filled the earth.
In Isaiah 9:6 and 7, he prophecies: "Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given (and he shall be the Lord of all the earth)." And when that prophecy came to pass, it was a little Baby in a manger. Well, the Child grew, little boy in a little town – it’s a nice little piece of town now, but at that time it was a little bitty village. And He grew up in that village. Remember when He was twelve years old He visited the temple in Jerusalem? He was a little boy. And He left the little village when He was 30 years old and began a ministry.
And the beatenest thing that I could ever run into in visiting Israel, He was up there on the north of the Sea of Galilee; up there – there is Capernaum, there is Bethesda, there is Chorazin. And right down to me is just a little pond or lake. It’s no more than just a little place – nine, ten miles long and about four miles wide – just a little thing. When I think of a lake, I think of Lake Superior and all of those glorious bodies of water. It was a little bitty thing. Tiberius is down there on the south part of it. Tiberius was the seat of the Roman administration and it was built by the Roman government. And the Lord was never in it; He never visited it. And it wasn’t, oh, maybe five miles from where He ministered to those throngs to which He preached. I just can’t believe such a thing. The ministry of our Lord was very, very, very small in expanse. And He finally was crucified, as the Bible says: "Cursed is everyone that dies on a tree." Now, that is how the Lord began the tremendous kingdom that is to fill this whole earth. But it is a glorious movement from heaven. It is a restorational power in itself. It is a restoration.
May I talk a moment to tell you what I think, which is just the opposite of what practically everyone else says? The twenty-first chapter of the Book of Revelation says that I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old, first heaven and the old, first earth were passed away. All right, all of these expositors, and all of these preachers, and all of these ecclesiastics, and all of these homiletitians, they read that and they say, "This world is going to pass away. And these heavens are going to pass away. The whole universe is going to pass away. And God is going to create a new earth and a new heaven for that old earth is destroyed and passes away. And the new heavens are going to be made by the hands of God. New!"
I don’t think there’s a syllable of that that is true. I believe that matter is eternal. It cannot be destroyed; and will never be destroyed. I don’t care what you do – you can burn it, you can blaze it, you can bury it – I don’t care what you do, you’re not going to destroy God’s creation. You’re just not going to do it. And God’s not going to do it. What that word "new" means there is it’s going to be a renovation. God’s going to take this old whole and make it glorious.
I preached a sermon one time that heaven is here. Heaven is here – this earth – heaven is here. "I saw the new Jerusalem coming down from glory above to this earth." This is our home forever and ever – this earth. And when it says God is going to make a new heaven, it’s a restoration. God’s going to take all of those burned up and burned out planets and He’s going to recreate them. And I think we’re going to live in all of them. I think we’re going to have the whole earth and the whole heavens as our home. I think we’ll be able to go to place, to place as rapidly as in mind you can from here – "I’m here now in Dallas and now I’m in Paris. Dear me, and I’m over there in Hong Kong." I think we’re going to be able to move that way. The Lord could just be here and then just be there; I think we’re going to be like that. And the whole universe is going to be ours.
They’re going to be cities on those planets and some of us will be directors and governors of ten cities. Some of us will reign over five. Oh, dear, and I’m asking God already for a planet of my own. Yes, sir! Just give me one of those planets of my own. And you’ve heard me add to it. I’m going to get me a soap box and put it down; and I’m going to stand on the thing and I’m going to preach the glorious grace, and goodness, and love of God forever and ever. Amen! Right now any time I preach, I got to watch that crazy clock – not even going to have a calendar up there, just forever and ever, forever and ever.
It’s a wonderful thing what God is preparing for those who love Him. As I say, it is a restorational power. The judgments of God will break the kingdoms of this world to make room for the eternal kingdom of the Lord. Remember that word in Browning? "God’s in His heaven, all’s right with the world." When he should have said: "God’s in His heaven and will right the world." God is going to do that!
So it says in Daniel 2:45 that this Stone is cut out of the mountain, out of deity. It is cut out without hands by divine instrumentality. And it filled the whole earth. It stands forever! That’s what Daniel 44 and 45 say. It’s a glorious coming, the thing that lies ahead with His people. So it is our longing and our waiting for God’s giving to us that eternal kingdom.
Do you remember the cry of Isaiah in chapter 64, verse 1? "Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence."
Dear me, what an unbelievable glorious appearing at our Lord. And as I say, the Jews will be gathered to their own land. That’s theirs forever. And Jesus, the Messiah, the reign on this earth; He will shine in glory before the whole creation. The dead will be raised for the trumpet shall sound. And those that sleep, God will bring them to life – will awaken them. And as the Book of the Revelation says: "There will be no more tears, and no more sorrow, and no more pain, and no more death for these things are all passed away." [Revelation 21:4]
In Isaiah 66 verses 1 and 2:
Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool,
For all these things hath My hand made, For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before Me, saith the Lord, so shall you and your name remain before Me forever.
Dear me, I just can’t imagine such things as I read these prophecies in the Bible. Could I be there? And could I be one of those subjects? O God, it’s beyond my thinking and my imagination. So it’s revealed to us the eternal kingdom of our Lord. Man creates armies as means of creating peace. But God, armies and navies are useless. He creates peace in His own hands. Man prepares to reform society by reforming the circumstances. God changes society by changing man himself. We’re going to be new creatures up there; and all these things that you see in the earth – the confrontations with evil and nations – all of that is gone because God has recreated us.
Man begins at the circumference and works inward – out there somewhere and then down. God begins in the heart. He works outward, from a revelation, from a reformation on the inside. Man seeks to give man something he has not. God seeks to give man something he is not. Man seeks to give the patient a softer bed. God seeks to cure the sick man himself. Our Lord and Savior comes and, with Him, the new heavens and the new earth. When He comes the whole thing is recreated. And all of these prophecies we read about in the Bible come to pass.
So we’re going to read in closing what the Book says about the glorious return of our Lord. You want to look at it with me? Turn to the book Revelation, turn to the Book of the Revelation, chapter 1 and let’s start at verse 10. Revelation chapter 1, verse 10:
I was in the spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,
Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last – verse 12
And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;
And in the midst of the seven candlesticks was one like the Son of [man], clothed with a the garment down to the foot, and gird about His breast with a golden girdle.
His hair and His head was white like wool, as white as snow; and His eyes were as a flame of fire;
His feet were like unto the brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and His voice as the sound of many waters.
He had in His right hand seven stars: and out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and His countenance was as the sun shining in its strength.
And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as one dead. He laid His right hand upon me,
Isn’t that something now? A little tiny detail, because it is true, is pictured in the Bible. He laid his right hand, not his left,
He laid His right hand upon me, saying unto me don’t be afraid, Fear not; I am the first and the last:
I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore; and I have the keys of hell and of death.
Think of it: Our Lord, there He is before us! And in His hands are the keys of all eternity and all existence – when He comes, when He comes!
Now, let us turn to one other here in the twelfth chapter of the Book of Revelation. Wait a minute! Let’s turn to the eleventh chapter of the Book of the Revelation. You know, isn’t it strange the Book of the Revelation is exactly like the Book of Daniel. Daniel is divided in two equal parts. And the first part comes to a great – the sixth chapter is a glorious triumph. And the twelfth chapter is a glorious chapter in Daniel. The Revelation is the same thing. It is divided in two equal parts. And it reaches a great climax in the eleventh chapter and it reaches a glorious climax in the twenty-second chapter.
All right, we’re going to look at the Word in chapter 11, verse 15: "And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign forever and ever."
That is the glorious consummation of the kingdom of Christ when He comes. O Lord, and we’ll all be there. If it comes in our lifetime, we’ll be transformed, transfigured in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, at the sound of the last trumpet. If He delays His coming until we also fall asleep, as these that we buried, we’ll be raised from the dead and quickened into life; and we will inherit the glorious kingdom of our Lord. Dear me, these things are just beyond my imagination.
THE MYSTIC STONE
Dr. W. A. Criswell
I. Without hands
II. Stone, the climax of the vision
III. The time of His appearing
A. After the course of empires have passed away
B. Smite the feet
IV. The character of His appearing
A. Destroying power
B. Restorational power
C. Eternal power
V. Our longing and waiting