THE DEATH-THROES OF WORLD-POLITICS
By D. M. PANTON, B. A.
Holy Spirit has cut down through the geological strata of human history so as
to lay bare, centuries before, the course of world-empire; or (to vary the
figure to His own) He has laid a gigantic Man prone through three thousand
years, dissecting him into the Empires to which the Most High has given the
right of world-rule. The head - Chaldea, the breast -
[* That Rome (though unnamed) is the Iron cannot be challenged for the prophecy covers all Empire until the Second Advent, and Rome succeeds the three earlier empires and is the greatest of all.]
last world-empire is iron. "Iron breaketh
in pieces and subdueth all things; and as iron that crusheth,
shall it break in pieces and crush" (Dan. 2: 40). Law, irresistible law, enforced law both good and bad, has been the characteristic of
Simultaneously there appears, side by side with the iron an element fragile, friable, sharply distinct. "Whereas thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay, they" - the iron kings and dictators - "shall mingle themselves" - shall study to amalgamate - "with the seed of men" - the proletariat - "but they shall not cleave one to another." The word rendered ‘men’ is employed in Hebrew and in Chaldean to denote men of an inferior class - the lower orders, the common herd - in contradistinction from the more elevated and noble classes, represented by another word (see Isa. 2: 9; 5: 15; Prov. 8: 4).* Clay can be hard (that is, despotic) like iron; but it is a political system which, resting on a myriad minds, is inherently unstable, and can crumble in a moment.
[* Barnes. “This is fatal to the
theory that the Clay is
the political world is watching two enormous developments, of which the first
is the world-wide revival of the Iron. "In the old days,"
says the Prime Minister, "when revolutions broke out, it was crowns that fell, but in
recent years a modern revolution brings down democracy." In all nations the Iron is re-asserting
says Sir Ch. Petrie (Spectator,
Jan. 10, 1931), "State after State has turned its
back upon Democracy, with the result that the older forms of government, which
men deemed had been completely superseded, are once more coming into favour."
And it is
other political portent the world watches with still greater anxiety is an
incredible intensification of the Clay. Democracy rapidly ceases to be an
ordered party in the State, and becomes a social disintegration, a bitter
class-war, a world revolution. The
Throne Room of the Romanoff’s in the Kremlin has become the headquarters of the
Third International; and as
Now the outstanding fact is that so deeply are these violently contending forces embedded in the body politic of every nation that they are set in a death-struggle, so that the last phase of world-politics is precisely that foretold - dominant Iron mixed, but never blended, with insurgent and irreconcilable Clay. A studied attempt is made by the autocratic forces to unite with demos - "they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men; but they shall not cleave one to another": the two are for ever irreconcilable while it is not in power to exterminate either.* So then, "there shall be in it" - the Corporative State - "of the strength of the iron" - strength hard, destructive, autocratic; imperialisms wielding vaster armies and more potent navies than the world has ever known: yet "the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly brittle"; for the iron of Imperialism, forcibly blended in every State with the clay of Communism, is constantly checked and curbed and the State endangered. The Hebrew for divided (ver. 41) "always signifies unnatural or violent division arising from inner disharmony or discord " (Keil): not always open civil war, but a State so much a compound of irreconcilables as to be constantly threatened with disruption.
The Nazis’ official title is the National Socialists; Mussolini, an
ex-Socialist, has introduced a "
Now upon exactly such a world the Advent bursts. "And in the days of those kings" - not kingdoms: the ten kingdomless kings (Rev. 17: 12) who embody the last autocracy vainly attempting to consolidate itself with democracy - "shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed." The descending Stone shatters both Iron and Clay because all classes from the throne to the slum, impregnated with sin, when entrusted with supreme power, at the last, make of all government an awful miscarriage. The Divine Kingdom, on the contrary, is in the hands of the Perfect Man, with, as subordinate kings, tested saints from all dispensations:* all that is noble in the Iron - inflexibility, efficiency, strength - together with all that is noble in the Clay - love of the poor, care of the oppressed - constitute the Divine State: above all, the unutterable abomination of wickedness meets its doom. "With righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked" (Is. 11: 4).**
[* "Simple rock is furthest removed from metallic homogeneousness: the grains that compose it, unlike the chemical atoms of the metal, are visible to the naked eye" (J. E. H. Thomson, D.D.). The Stone is cut out of earth ‘without hands’ - a resurrection from divinely riven tombs, beginning with Christ, and accompanying Him in His descent, expanding into an Empire of the world.
** If the Stone is the mystical Kingdom, the Church, the Dream is false, for the First Advent smites the Image before the Empire of Rome, as an empire, existed. The whole conception of the Church smashing the great world-powers is grotesque and deeply anti-Scriptural; but no imagery could more exactly define the Second Advent than the rush of the Stone through the air, crashing downwards, and shattering the Image at Armageddon. Cromwell’s Ironsides and the ‘fifth monarchy men’ - regenerate souls whose aim was this, very, Fifth or Divine Empire - attempted what must always be a failure out of the hands of Christ. The complete reversal, by events, of the ‘conversion of the world’ theory supposed to be in the Dream - for the Stone "fills the whole earth" - will be an earthquake shock for a faith tragically built on an exegesis transparently false.]