We are continuing to share with you the opinions of 17 Bible prophecy experts concerning various questions related to the book of Daniel. You should find these interviews fascinating and very informative. The interviews were conducted at a national Bible prophecy conference that was held in the Dallas, Texas area.
The fifth question is based on the fact that people normally think of the book of Daniel as being only a book of prophecy about the First and Second Comings of the Messiah and about the Antichrist and the Tribulation. But, the book also contains some great principles for victorious living. It's also a book that tells a fascinating story about a young man taken into captivity to a foreign nation where everything he believed was challenged.
So the question for our experts is this:
#5. What is the fundamental non-prophetic message of the book of Daniel?
Tim LaHaye, Tim LaHaye Ministries
The fundamental non-prophetic message of the book of Daniel is that God is faithful.
My mother was a godly woman. She was left at 28 years of age with an infant child seven weeks old, my sister was five, and I was almost ten. My father at 34 died of a heart attack. My mother had no one to trust but God. She hadn't even finished high school, and so she had to work in a factory. In fact, she started at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit folding sheets in the laundry just to keep us alive. When she died at 81 years of age after putting herself through night school at Detroit Bible College to become a Child Evangelism Director, she was just a great personal soul winner.
Just before my mother died, (and we knew she was going to because her blood got thick and it was before they invented Coumadin to thin out your blood, and I take it every day because I inherited it from both my mother and father), I asked, "Mom, what do want us to put on your tombstone?" Just like that she said, "God is faithful." Here's a widow woman with all those problems who could after all those years say, "I learned God is faithful." We ought to pay attention to that.
Dr. LaHaye, how did you get interested in Bible prophecy?
Actually, it happened at my father's funeral. I was three weeks away from my tenth birthday. My father was a gregarious, lovable, wonderful, personable guy and I loved him and he loved me. I grew up never knowing what it's like not to be loved. It's a true blessing from God.
Then, suddenly, my dad died of a heart attack at 34 years of age. At his funeral I remember being devastated. I had wept so much that I didn't have any tears left because I thought my world had come to an end. But, the preacher that day put his hand on the casket and he said, "The world has not seen the last of Frank LaHaye. The day is coming when Jesus will shout from heaven..." The minister, by the way, had led my parents to Christ. He continued, "...because he invited Jesus into his heart. The day is coming when he will be resurrected and all of us will be resurrected and translated in the Rapture of the Church."
It was an overcast Michigan day on the day of my father's funeral. I'd grown up in Detroit. After the preacher said those words, it just seemed like the sky opened up and the sun shone through into my heart and gave me a blessed hope. Now, here I am at 86 years of age and I still haven't lost that blessed hope. I anticipate the day when behind Jesus at the gates of Heaven there will stand my dad, and I will re-establish for ever and ever a relationship with him.
Dr. LaHaye, how did you get interested in writing books?
I was driven to the idea of writing my messages down because as a preacher I found out Sunday night, back in the old days when we had Sunday night services every Sunday night, we had crowds when other people didn't because I was preaching on Bible prophecy and people loved Bible prophecy. And so, I began to notice that when I printed my messages, even mimeographed them, and I look at them now and realize they were an excuse for publication, then when I gave them out I had a bigger crowd. Well, if that's what works, it works, and so I would print my messages.
Anyway, a lady in the congregation was rushed into the hospital to have surgery, and she asked that I would call on her on a Monday morning. I'd preached that Sunday night and her family came to church and took one of those messages on the Great White Throne Judgment. In the providence of God they had taken it to her and left it off before they went home. She'd given it to the lady in the bed next to her. So, on the Monday morning when I buzzed into her at Mercy Catholic Hospital, I rush in her room and she says to me, "Pastor, would you like to meet our latest convert?" And I said, "Yeah, I would." I looked at the lady in the other bed and she said, "She accepted Jesus last night." And so, we prayed with her and I gave her a little assurance.
After that visit, I kind of staggered out into the hall. I think I was 36 years of age at the time. I staggered outside and I leaned against the wall in a Catholic hospital. I ended up looking up at the crucifix of Jesus and all the memorabilia the Catholics have. I prayed, "Lord, is it possible that you could use my writing?" I hadn't thought about being a writer, and I'd never took a writer course, and still haven't taken one.
The long and the short of it is, God spoke to me and I yielded my pen. That's 80 books past! God has everywhere I go, and I say this to the glory of God, when people like at conferences where I have two or three people come up and say, "I want to thank you for leading my wife to Christ." I never knew them. I thought, "Gee, I wonder what their name is?" I never met them. They got saved through the books.
I just thank God for the ministry that He's given me to write books!
Dr. LaHaye, early on, you didn't have a publisher, did you?
Early on I realized that publishing is a special art, and I didn't have the gift to be both a writer and a publisher. And so, I prayed that the Lord would help me. At the time nobody would take my books. I was internationally unknown. To print them up, I had them mimeographed out.
When my kids were all in high school, I paid them (can you believe this?) ten cents to collate my books. I had them all stacked up in the garage in shelves. One day our youngest son, Lee, came into the garage and he got hot. He wanted to open a door, so he opened the garage door. The breeze came in and blew those papers all over. Everywhere! My wife just looked at me and said, "Honey, we've got to get a publisher." I replied, "I couldn't agree with you more."
In the eighteenth part of this series on the book of Daniel, the members of our panel of Bible prophecy experts will next answer the sixth and final question, "What is the fundamental prophetic message of the book of Daniel?"