When Did the Stone Strike?
“Thou sawest till that a stone was cut without hands, which smote the image upon its feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them in pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken in pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, so that no place was found for them, and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole world.”—Daniel 2:34-35.
The Image is the symbol of the world-power in its whole future development and of its final destruction. The transfer of political power from Judah, now a captive of the nations, to the Gentiles is also indicated by it. The image measures the duration of the times of the Gentiles.—Luke 21:24.
The stone is symbolic of a super-natural power, “not made with hands,” heavenly, divine; the mountain is the Messianic kingdom; all is symbolic of Messiah and His kingdom.—Genesis 49:24; Isaiah 2:1-4; Matthew 21:44; Luke 20:17-18.
The toes of the image correspond to the ten horns of the Beast of chapter seven, i.e., the horns are kingdoms, the toes are kingdoms.
Now, when did the Stone strike?
I. The Stone struck when there were feet and toes to be struck.
There were no feet in the Babylonian day, none in the Medo-Persian, none in the Graeco-Macedonian, and none in the Roman, when the iron legs of a Western and Eastern Empire did not yet exist in a divided form; in other words, toes and feet of iron and clay must be looked for at a time later than the twelve Caesars, and nearer to a time when the iron of imperialism and the clay of democracy in vain try to cleave together; and not until then does the Stone strike.
It is evident, therefore, the Stone cannot have struck at the birth of Christ, nor at Pentecost, nor at the destruction of Jerusalem, nor at the edict of Constantine, for there were no feet or toes of ten kingdoms to strike.
II. The Stone struck when the whole image went to pieces “together”; i.e., suddenly and simultaneously.
It did not strike repeatedly, but once, and so shattered all together. The image did not decrease gradually, but “together”’ all became like chaff, and was swept away that no place was found for them.
Such total and final ruin of all the kingdoms that once composed the Roman Empire or succeeded it did not overtake them when Christianity began to be preached, or since; the world-power of the Gentiles is still a reality, and will be until the Stone falls and grinds it to powder.
It is, therefore, evident that such a crushing, annihilating blow, is utterly unlike the peaceful power of the Gospel.
III. The Stone struck before it began to grow, and not while it was growing into a great mountain.
It would seem incredible that such a notion could ever have been drawn from this prophetic vision, but this is the popular idea that the Stone is growing while the kingdoms are shattering.
In a certain volume of “Messianic Prophecy” by a “Higher Critic,” it reads: “The living stone rolling down from the mountain, growing as it descends in strength and power, is a simple but appropriate symbol of the Kingdom of God.”
This is even worse, for here the Stone is said to be growing in strength and power before it strikes.
Daniel says the Stone grew after it struck, and then covered the place once possessed by the kingdoms.
There is not the least hint that as the Stone increased the Image decreased. The two are not seen side by side, the one gradually encroaching upon the other’s ground; but with mighty blow on its brittle feet, the colossal form crushes into shapeless ruin, and is swept away like the chaff of the summer threshing floor, and for it no more place was found.
It is therefore evident that if the world-power disappears in one simultaneous and sudden ruin, the Stone Kingdom has not yet begun to grow and the mighty Stone is yet to fall.
In another prophetic language, “the times of the Gentiles” are not yet fulfilled; Jerusalem is still trodden under foot of the Gentiles; their God-defying and man-deifying governmental power is to meet its crisis and catastrophe in a day still future; the nations are yet to become angry against Jehovah and His Christ; the wine-press of the wrath of God is yet to be trodden, and not till then will the Son of Man set up His kingdom.