There are certain important conclusions to be drawn from our consideration of these Bible prophecies.
If the Bible has proved to be so right in its predictions about events in human history - the fates of Babylon, Egypt, and Israel, as well as the rise and fall of empires, and the state of the modern world - is it not just as likely to be right in its predictions of events which have not yet come to pass?
Take that image vision in Daniel, for instance. We have not so far commented upon the final development: the stone, "cut out of the mountain without hands", smote the image on the feet, destroyed it, and then itself "became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth" (Daniel 2:35). Now the general sense of this is plain: a new element not part of the image empires and kingdoms, destroys them and takes their place in the earth. And since "without hands" must mean "without human hands" the stone must represent no ordinary human power.
But Daniel tells us himself what it means:
"In the days of those kings (that is, the various kingdoms that followed the Roman Empire) shall the God of Heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed . . . it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever" (:44).
The present governments and powers of the world are to be removed, in a sudden dramatic event, when God intervenes and sets up His own government. To avoid misunderstanding it should be said that it is not the populations of the earth who are to be destroyed: it is the power and authority of their human governments, to be replaced by the new Kingdom of God. Many other prophecies tell us of the nature of this Kingdom; the uprightness of its rule, the truth of its teaching, and the peace it will at last bring to mankind through their recognition of "the God of heaven". Read for instance Isaiah 2:1-4 for a clear and striking picture of the nations in that age to come.
But how exactly is this great change in the earth to be accomplished? The New Testament tells us. In fact Jesus himself tells us in that prophecy of times of trouble and fear for all nations. His next words are these:
"Then shall they see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory" (Luke 21:27)
He is saying that he will come back himself. The return of Christ to the earth is a frequent theme in the teachings of Jesus and the apostles in the New Testament. They agree completely with the prophets. Read Psalm 72 for a picture of his reign.
Now this surely is what should concern us: if the prophecies of the Bible about nations and empires have proved so true over a period of more than 2000 years, are not those other things they predict also likely to come to pass? Is it not unreasonable to say: "Well, I accept that the prophets were right in their predictions in these historical matters, but I can't believe what they say about the future for us." Why not? They have given evidence that they were setting out not their own ideas, but the very purposes of God. Whatever else they say must surely claim from us all the most careful attention.
THE VITAL ELEMENT
But of course there is more. These remarkable prophecies are found in the Bible, and nowhere else in the world. There are no other writings, no other books, no other human pronouncements which can even begin to compare with the Bible. But the Bible tells us that Jesus was the Son of God; the things he said are preserved for us in the Gospels of the New Testament. Together with the teachings of his inspired apostles Peter, John and Paul, they reveal to us truths we cannot know otherwise. They warn us of the reality of death; they explain why the Gospel is "the good news", "the power of God unto salvation" (Romans 1:16). They encourage us with the promise of a lasting life in the new order which Christ will establish when he comes. That is why we ought to be reading the Bible. It can make the vital difference to us between the hopelessness of death and the confident hope of everlasting life.