A Kingdom, Which Shall Never Be Destroyed

I am a teacher in my local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saint congregation. The following article summarizes some of my feelings on a chapter or two from the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament. This lesson was presented on 14 December 2014 and corresponds with lesson 46 in the Gospel Doctrine class.

Who is Daniel?

Today I’m mainly focusing on just one chapter from the Book of Daniel. In case you missed the reading assignment from last week, Daniel was one of the inhabitants of Jerusalem who was among the 10,000 high-class Judeans (along with the king Jehoiakim [Jeconiah] and Ezekiel) who were taken captive on 16 March 597 BC and sent to Babylonia.

He was a just a youth at the time, but because he was related to the royal family, he was probably was more educated than the rest. Furthermore, it sounds like he was also handsome, physically fit, and possessed unusual intelligence and wisdom.

Of course, that wasn’t necessarily a good thing. According to some Bible historians, including Josephus, it was traditional at that time for the Babylonians to take the smart, the athletic, the handsome, and the well-to-do, and castrate the males then place them in the king’s service.

Whether or not this happened to Daniel we do not know—the Bible is silent on whether or not he married and fathered children. What it does say—and this is the important part—was that Daniel was a prophet, and one of the most faithful, loyal, courageous, and honorable men in the scriptures. Daniel was a true hero.

In many ways, Daniel’s story parallels the story of Joseph who was sold into Egypt. But rather than being in the service of Potiphar and Pharaoh, he served the Babylonians. Like Joseph, he was a seer who interpreted dreams, demonstrated the gift of prophecy and revelation, and rose to the highest possible position of leadership in a foreign government. And like Joseph, he remained obedient even at the peril of his own life.

Unlike Ezekiel, who was called to labor among the captives, Daniel was called to work with his captors. In fact, because of the relationships Daniel established with the kings, he was instrumental in obtaining the freedom of his people and restoring the temple artifacts to Jerusalem. But that’s getting way ahead of the story.

In fact, we’re going to skip over 95% of the book of Daniel, including some really good stuff that deserves a better read. Things like the deliverance of Daniel’s three companions from the fiery furnace, the interpretation of the dream where the tree is hewn down, the writing on the wall at Belshazzar’s feast, and, last but not least, the night Daniel spent in the Lion’s den. Today, we’re just going to focus on one chapter. And that’s chapter two.

Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream

1 And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him.

So who was Nebuchadnezzar? Well, he was the king over the Babylonian empire for about 43 years from 604 to 562 B.C. According to many historians, he was the greatest of the Babylonian kings.

His father, Nabopolassar, established the Babylonian empire. Nebuchadnezzar was fighting the Egyptians when his father died. After making a hasty treaty with Necho of Egypt, he hurried back to Babylon to claim the throne. In case you forgot your “ancient worlds” geography, Babylon was about 55 miles south of Baghdad in southern Iraq.

After becoming King, Nebuchadnezzar conquered Syria, destroyed Jerusalem and took the surviving Jews captive, and conquered all of Egypt. And with all of the spoils of war and the piles of gold that poured in as tribute from the conquered nations, he decided to polish up his town. Ever since the whole Tower of Babel incident, things just haven’t been quite the same. And so he built the city of Babylon back up.

According to some descriptions, the wall around the city was 60 miles around, 15 miles on each side. The wall was 300 feet high, 80 feet thick and 35 feet below ground. Henry Halley, a notable biblical historian once wrote:

“Nebuchadnezzar’s Palace, where Daniel often went, was one of the most magnificent buildings ever erected on earth…. The south walls of the Throne Room were 20 feet thick. The north side of the palace was protected by three walls. Just north of them were more walls 50 feet thick. A little further on still more massive walls…. In the days of ancient warfare the city was simply impregnable!” (Henry H. Halley’s Bible Handbook quoted in Prophets and Prophecies of the Old Testament, p488)

Nebuchadnezzar is also known for building one of the “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World,” the terraced or hanging gardens of Babylon. It appears that this was a present to his wife, Queen Amytis, who came from a lush, mountainous region of Media (in modern Iran) and was homesick in the dry, flat plains of Babylon.

So that’s the background setting. Now let’s get back to the story.

2 Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to shew the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king.

3 And the king said unto them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream.

4 Then spake the Chaldeans to the king in Syriack, O king, live for ever: tell thy servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation.

5 The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, The thing is gone from me: if ye will not make known unto me the dream, with the interpretation thereof, ye shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a dunghill.

Okay, so the king had a dream and wanted an interpretation from his wise men. We’ve heard this story before back in Genesis with Joseph and Pharaoh. But, Nebuchadnezzar added a pretty significant twist to the plot. He decided he wouldn’t reveal his dream to the wise men at all. If they couldn’t tell him what he had dreamed and what it meant, then they and all of their “wise” friends would die! That’s a formidable task. I’m positive even the great dream interpreters like Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung would fail at that one.

His wise men cautiously said that the king was making an unprecedented and unfair request, but it didn’t do any good, and so, in verse 12, we see that the date for the execution of “all the wise men of Babylon” was set. Daniel and his friends included in that group.

When Arioch, the captain of the king’s guard, came to take Daniel away, Daniel asked if he could see the king one more time. Because of Daniel’s past behavior and good works, the king granted his request. Daniel asked the king if he could have the night to pray about it, and then he would return the next day with the dream and its interpretation. Nebuchadnezzar agreed and Daniel went home and called up his three friends, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, better known to us by their Babylonian names, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and they went back to their home and prayed that God would be merciful and reveal to them the dream and its interpretation. And, because of the faith of these four great men, that is exactly what happened. Let’s jump down to verse 19.

19 ¶Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.

20 Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his:

21 And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:

22 He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.

23 I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king’s matter.

Notice what Daniel did? After being charged with finding a solution to a life-and-death situation, rather than panicking, he went home, invited over some of his righteous friends, and together they humbly prayed for an answer. While Nebuchadnezzar turned to the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and all the wise men, Daniel turned to God.

  • Today, what questionable sources do many people turn to for wisdom?

Some people bury their heads in the sand and deny there’s a problem at all. Some just get angry or violent and blame other people. Some decide to give up and adopt the attitude that they should eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow they die. And some turn to politicians, scholars, talk show hosts, astrologers, members of the Church without the appropriate keys, and sometimes even apostates. Are we guilty of turning to wrong sources?

  • What keeps many people from seeking God’s guidance in such situations?

The Book of Mormon prophet Jacob told us it is because of pride that people don’t ask for God’s help. His counsel is found in 2 Nephi 9:28:

2 Nephi 9:28

When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.

But Daniel did the right thing. And as soon as he received an answer to his prayers—a revelation—we see him doing what every other person does when they receive a true revelation: they humbly acknowledge God and offer prayers of gratitude. They don’t say, “Look at me and see what I figured out.” They don’t think, “Gee, I’m smarter and better than everyone else.” They don’t brag, or strut, or display. They bow their heads and give credit where credit is due. And then they use that information to try to bless the lives of someone else.

Which is exactly what Daniel did. With the information he now had he could not only save himself, but his friends, and even those false “wise” men from death. It would even benefit King Nebuchadnezzar himself, who wasn’t exactly known for his righteousness. But the Great Jehovah is always there to give the Children of God—both within and without the covenant—second chances, and third chances, and as many chances as they need. And so, the next morning, Daniel, reports to his supervisor that he has an answer, and is quickly ushered into the presence of the king. Let’s pick up the narration in verse 26.

26 The king answered and said to Daniel, whose [Babylonian] name was Belteshazzar, Art thou able to make known unto me the dream which I have seen, and the interpretation thereof?

Now pay attention here. Daniel is about to be very bold, yet very humble—all while teaching Gospel principles.

27 Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king;

28 But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these;

29 As for thee, O king, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter: and he that revealeth secrets maketh known to thee what shall come to pass.

30 But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but for their sakes that shall make known the interpretation to the king, and that thou mightest know the thoughts of thy heart.

Notice how Daniel immediately takes himself out of the picture and explains that he is simply bearing a message from God—the same God who gave the dream to the king in the first place. Daniel admits he wasn’t wise enough to come up with the answer on his own, but that the answer has come from God. And here is the revealed vision, in verses 31 through 35.

31 ¶Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible.

32 This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass,

33 His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.

34 Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.

35 Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; 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.

That is a remarkable dream. I would even say it is rather unforgettable, which is why I think Nebuchadnezzar never actually forgot it, but was just testing the capabilities of his “wise people.” Or perhaps he actually did forget it; career politicians seem to “forget” things all the time. But, astonishing as the dream was, the interpretation is even more significant, because it reveals the rest of the history of the world.

Nebuchadnezzars DreamThe Dream’s Interpretation

36 ¶This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king.

37 Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.

38 And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold.

So Nebuchadnezzar and his Neo-Babylonian Empire (625-539 B.C.) is the golden head of the figure. Truly, at that time, in that part of the world, there was no greater empire. He has conquered the Assyrians, the Egyptians, the Judeans, the Phoenicians, the Arabs, the Scythians, the Cimmerians, and so on.

39 And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass [or bronze], which shall bear rule over all the earth.

So after a period of time, not many more years in fact, the Neo-Babylonian Empire would fall. And in its place would be the breast and arms of silver. This would be an inferior kingdom, and was probably referring to the kingdom of the Medes and the Persians from Iran which was established between 539 and 331 B.C. In fact, Daniel would become well acquainted with Darius the Mede, who was the temporary governor over Babylon until Cyrus the Great took over.

The third kingdom mentioned in that verse would be a kingdom that would rule over all the earth. It was represented by the belly and the loins. And what do we think of when we think of the birthplace of democracy and philosophy and many other things? Greece! Many people, including Spencer W. Kimball, believe that refers to the Macedonian or the Greek empire that climaxed under the rule of Alexander the Great. This empire would last from 331 BC to 161 BC.

40 And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.

According to Daniel, the fourth kingdom, the legs of iron, was a strong as iron. There is strong evidence to indicate that this is the Roman Empire, which ruled from 161 BC to approximately 476 AD. Remember there were two divisions of that empire. The left leg ruled from Rome and the right leg from Istanbul. So what comes next? The feet and the toes.

41 And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay.

42 And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.

43 And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.

The feet of iron and clay represent the variety of strong and weak kingdoms which formed after the decline of the Roman Empire. Elder Orson Pratt said this:

…the feet and toes were governments more modern to grow out of the iron kingdom [Roman Empire], after it should lose its strength. These are represented by the ten toes or ten kingdoms which should be partly strong and partly broken.” (JD, 18:337)

These kingdoms, no matter how hard they tried, despite their best intentions, would never be able to get along and mix well together. Iron and clay just don’t mix. There is no cohesion. As such, they would war with each other over and over again. In fact, there were actually ten nations which were most instrumental in breaking up the Roman Empire. They are the Huns, Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Franks, Vandals, Suevi, Burgundians, Heruli, Anglo-Saxons, and Lombards. Now-a-days, we’d call those countries by such names as Russia, Italy, Germany, France, Poland, Spain, England, and others. Of course, these countries have never gotten into war with each other over the past 100 years have they? Of course they have. Millions of their citizens killed each other on many occasions over the past 15 centuries. They were partly strong, and partly fragile.

Now-a-days, if you take a good hard look at the world, every nation on every continent is partly strong and partly fragile. Once it gets strong enough it fights a war until they are weakened. They either wage a war against their own citizens or against another country. That’s the nature of iron and clay. They just don’t mix. So, according to the dream the Lord gave to Nebuchadnezzar, we will always have wars and rumors of wars until each of these kingdoms—every single man-made government—is ultimately destroyed. And what will ultimately destroy them? The stone cut out without hands. Let’s read verses 44 and 45.

44 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.

45 Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.

  • When is the time of this kingdom?

According to this scripture, it begins during the time of the last kingdom of iron and clay, or during “the days of these kings.” Some Biblical scholars interpret this as a prophecy of Christ’s coming in the meridian of time. To do so, is to disregard the feet as a separate portion of the image. In fact, here’s what Orson Pratt said talking about this notion:

In those days there was no stone from the mountains, and there were no feet and no toes to be broken in pieces. Instead of the ancient Church fulfilling the prediction in breaking the image, events proved a state of things directly the reverse. Some of the governments forming the image made war with the Saints and overcame them, and the ancient kingdom of Christ was destroyed from the earth.” (JD, 7:219)

It is clear from the prophetic chronology that this last kingdom will be set up much later than the time of the Roman Empire.

  • What is the stone?

The stone is a kingdom set up by the God of heaven which shall never be destroyed. President Spencer W. Kimball said:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was restored in 1830 after numerous revelations from the divine source; and this is the kingdom, set up by the God of heaven that would never be destroyed nor superseded, and the stone cut out of the mountain without hands that would become a great mountain and would fill the whole earth. (Ensign, May 1976, pp8-9)

President Kimball’s successor, Ezra Taft Benson, said this:

Today The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is extending the heralded message of the restoration of the gospel to every nation which permits us entrance through its borders. This is a fulfillment of the vision and revelation received by Daniel, the prophet (see Daniel 2:34-35, 44).” (Ensign, May 1978, p32)

  • What does it mean that the stone would be “cut out without hands”?

In a very literal sense, the kingdoms that preceded this last kingdom were, in fact, cut out using hands. Earlier in this lesson we talked about the magnificence of Babylon. The stone used in its great buildings and walls was cut out by men. Rome and Greece were known for their great buildings, many which still stand today. Look around Europe and you will see castle after castle. These were kingdoms and empires built by men and literally cut out by the hands of men.

This last kingdom would not be “cut out” with hands. Though men are involved in the building of this kingdom, the essential building blocks came through heavenly messengers under the direction of God himself.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie said:

Here we have seen the kingdoms of this world, kingdoms drenched in blood and held together by the arm of flesh, one following another until the set time for the great latter-day restoration of all things. Then a stone is cut out of the mountain without hands and a kingdom is set up by the God of heaven. It is a new kind of kingdom. The arm of flesh plays no part in its creation. It is created without man’s hand. It comes from God. It is established by revelation. It is the Church and kingdom of God on earth. (Millennial Messiah, p131)

It is not possible for men to set this kingdom up on their own. Since the great apostasy, many men (most well intentioned) have attempted to set up the kingdom of God. But this kingdom would not be “cut out” with hands.

For example, have you ever seen a stuffed deer hanging on a wall as a trophy? It looks like a deer. If you touch it, it feels like a deer. And if you get up real close it even smells like a deer. But there is no life in this deer any more. Can you make this deer come alive? No. Only God can restore life to that deer. That’s the way it is with God’s kingdom or church: only God can put life in it. Many well-meaning men and women have tried to make their church look like God’s church, but none have succeeded because only God can give it life.

Verse 35 mentions that the stone “became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.” Consider the following statistics regarding the growth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

2013 Church GrowthIs there any question that this ancient prophecy is in the process of being fulfilled?

Verse 44 says this kingdom “shall never be destroyed.” All other kingdoms in Daniel’s prophecy would eventually meet their end. This will not happen to the kingdom set up by God. President Benson said:

This work will prevail in spite of all the opposition which might be mustered against it. This work will prevail! It will never be thrown down (Daniel 2:44; D&C 138:44). God’s kingdom has been established upon the earth for the last time in preparation for the second coming of the Master. We have the word of Jesus Christ whose name this Church bears to that effect. (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p394)

In verse 44 it says, “the kingdom shall not be left to other people.” As we look back at the history of the great kingdoms mentioned in Daniel’s prophecy, we see that they not only met their end, but were taken over by another people or government. Even the kingdom established by our Lord in the meridian of time was taken over by other people. Such will not be the case with the “stone…cut out of the mountain.”

Again, verse 44 says “it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms.” Elder Bruce McConkie said:

And what of the other kingdoms? This eternal kingdom, this kingdom which shall never be destroyed, this kingdom which is the new and everlasting kingdom, shall break in pieces and consume all kingdoms. It shall make a full end of all nations; they shall vanish as the chaff before the summer breeze and shall not be found on earth. And the new kingdom shall not be left to any other people; never again will there be a general apostasy; the Church of the God of heaven will be set up on earth to stand forever. (Millennial Messiah, p131)

Heroes and Scriptures

Isn’t that a marvelous chapter? And its only one chapter from a marvelous book in a marvelous collection called the Old Testament. If we look carefully, dig a little deeper than what we find on the surface, we will find some amazing and inspirational stories, stories that teach us more about the character of God and His dealings with His children while illustrating how to live Celestial lives on a Telestial planet. The scriptures are absolutely inspirational! In my opinion, nothing can top them!

Now we could probably come up with some other stories, or more entertaining stories, or even some stories that may seem more relevant to our modern time. Stories where the good guys win out over the bad guys. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that we have many true heroes around today. Or, if we do—and I think we do—they definitely aren’t in the spotlight or in the headlines. Modern heroes seem to be deliberate individuals who quietly do good things almost every single day. Some are even in this room right now.

But because we can’t readily see evidence of true heroes, and our modern problems are so big that they boggle the mind and seem impossible to solve, we invent super heroes—bigger than life beings like Frodo Baggins, Katniss Everdeen, Luke Skywalker, Captain America, and even Superman. Superheroes that can be counted on to rush in and save the day. But we have to remember that these are fictional beings. They are stuff of pure fantasy. While they might entertain or even motivate those of us living in the present or in the next 50 years, I’m not sure they have much relevance to those who haven’t lived in the last 50 years.

You see, while I love a good story, and have read more than my share of books and seen more movies than is probably healthy, I’m not sure they always help me become better. Not like the characters and stories from the scriptures do. You see, those are real characters and real stories. Yes, some of the Bible stories may have been translated incorrectly, or there may be some historical facts that now appear to be inaccurate, and some writings have clearly been tampered with—but that doesn’t negate the fact that the Bible is largely filled with the Spirit of God! Learning about these scriptural heroes and heroines, and then trying to apply the lessons they learned to my life—that is what makes me a better person. That is what recues me from the exceedingly real danger which threatens my spiritual life.

Besides, learning about the people and the stories from the scriptures helps me to be a better missionary. And I’m not just talking about the people in my present sphere of influence. Someday, you and I will be called on a mission in the Spirit World. And there we will find millions of people who have never heard of our modern fictional “heroes.” I doubt they care who won the Hunger Games. However, I bet you dollars to donuts that many of them will be familiar with stories from our scriptures. In fact, they may even remember the actual people from those stories! This is one of the reasons we learn these Bible stories over and over again. Scripture study just isn’t for our own profit and edification—it is for the profit and edification of those we serve and those we teach!

Still, some would say that the scriptures just aren’t relevant to our modern problems. Well, if I may be so bold, in my opinion, those people are simply wrong! They haven’t looked closely enough. The scriptures are every bit as relevant as you want them to be!

In the Book of Mormon, the prophet Nephi, in 1 Nephi 19:23, commanded us to “liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning.” So as I wrap up this lesson, let me do a little likening in one of the chapters of Daniel and see if we can see or hear anything that applies to us today. Let’s turn to Chapter 9.

In fact, to make it a little easier, I’m going to substitute the word “King” with the word “President,” and I’ll swap out “Princes” for “Congress, and replace “Israel or Judah” with the “United States of America.” Now let’s see if this scripture still makes sense in our day and time.

In this chapter, Daniel, who is probably in his 90s, is praying on behalf of his people. This is what all prophets and good people do. The Jews have been in captivity to the Babylonians and Persians for about 70 years now and Daniel is more concerned about others than about himself. So this is what the prophet said, starting with verse 4, with my substitutions in place:

Daniel 9:4-15

4 And I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;

5 We [the People] have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments:

6 Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our [President], our [Congress], and our [local leaders], and to all the people of the land.

7 O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces [or shamefacedness], as at this day; to the men of [this nation], and to the inhabitants of [Washington D.C.], and unto all [Americans], that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee.

8 O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our [Presidents], to our [Congress], and to our [local leaders], because we have sinned against thee.

9 To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him;

10 Neither have we obeyed the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets.

11 Yea, all [America] has transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him.

12 And he hath confirmed his words, which he spake against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil: for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon [Washington D.C.]

13 As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the Lord our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth.

14 Therefore hath the Lord watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the Lord our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice.

15 And now, O Lord our God, that hast brought thy people forth out of the land of [our captors] with a mighty hand, and hast gotten thee renown, as at this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly.

It is my opinion that this scripture is just as relevant today as it has always been. For surely, we are captives in a strange land, where too many people worship false gods and commit all manner of wickedness and abominations. One day—one day soon—God will deliver us and establish His kingdom on earth, just as He has in heaven. May we have the humility, the faithfulness, the loyalty, the integrity, the wisdom, and the courage of Daniel as we face our challenges so that we will be worthy to be an eternal citizen of the greatest Kingdom of all!

I conclude today’s lesson with a beautiful testimony by one of my favorite, modern-day heroes, Gordon B. Hinckley. This is what he said back in 1985:

This Church is true. It will weather every storm that beats against it. It will outlast every critic who rises to mock it. It was established by God our Eternal Father for the blessing of His sons and daughters of all generations. It carries the name of Him who stands as its head, even the Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. It is governed and moves by the power of the priesthood. It sends forth to the world another witness of the divinity of the Lord. Be faithful, my friends. Be true. Be loyal to the great things of God which have been revealed it this dispensation.” (Ensign, Sept. 1985, p6)