It was just a small card pressed into the hand of a young man at his baptism. On one side was a detailed picture of the image described in Daniel 2, standing on top of the world. Not long after receiving the card, the eager Bible student typed explanatory notes on the back side of the card. Little did 20-year-old Franz Hasel realize the important role that card would play in future events.
Two decades later the Second World War broke out. Hasel, now 40 years old and married with three children, was drafted into the army of Adolf Hitler. As a Seventh-day Adventist conscientious objector, he asked to serve as a medic, but was instead placed on the front lines building bridges for Hitler’s war machine.
Determined, by God’s grace, to be true to his faith, Hasel brought his Bible, along with the little card outlining the prophecy of Daniel 2, into the battle with him. As the war progressed, Hasel faced many challenges but remained true, eventually winning the confidence and admiration of many of his fellow soldiers, including his company commander.
As the German front pushed east, Hasel and company eventually found themselves deep into the Russian territory of the Soviet Union. But in spite of the demands of military life, Hasel was faithful in reading his Bible daily.
Bible Study in a War Zone
One day he was summoned to the commander’s office and told to bring his Bible with him. Dutifully he arrived at the appointed time and was surprised to find his supervising sergeant and lieutenant there as well. Without delay the commander began asking questions regarding various Bible teachings. Patiently Hasel answered the commander’s questions, showing him answers from the Bible texts. Eventually the commander was satisfied and exclaimed, “So you do know your Bible inside and out!”1
Now it was Hasel’s turn to ask some questions. Knowing that in civilian life the commander was a history professor, Hasel stated, “The Bible contains some prophecies with historical content that were written around 600 B.C. . . . I have always wanted to check them out with an expert in the field. Would you be willing to let me present them, and then give me your feedback on the accuracy of the facts?”
The commander readily agreed, and Hasel proceeded with the intriguing study found in Daniel 2, explaining how the different metals of gold, silver, bronze, and iron represented the kingdoms of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome.
Astonished, the commander confirmed the historical accuracy of the ancient prophecy. He then asked about the meaning of the image’s feet. “Franz explained the 10 toes represented the 10 tribes of modern Europe. He described the characteristics of iron and clay that make it impossible for these two substances to stick together. With that, he brought the Bible study to a conclusion.”2
Fighting a Losing Battle
The commander was quiet for a moment, then asked, “What does it mean?” Praying for courage, Hasel explained, “The only conclusion a Bible student can come to is that the Führer cannot win this war. It will not be possible for him to unite Europe under his leadership and establish his 1,000-year Third Reich.” Pressing the point further, he added, “Sir, the Bible’s predictions have been proved accurate again and again. And if they’re accurate here, it means that we’re fighting a losing battle.”3
Everyone in the room was silent. Suddenly the commander stood up, announcing it was time for lunch, and asking to borrow Franz’s Bible. A week later the commander returned the Bible, telling Franz privately, “I appreciate what you shared with me. From now on we will no longer operate a third of our motorized vehicles. The gasoline rations thus saved I want you to store in drums and canisters so that when the end comes we will have enough fuel to get back home.”4
Based on the commander’s actions because of his belief in the accuracy of the interpretation of Daniel 2, and specifically of the image’s toes conveying the fact that Europe would never unite, the company had enough fuel for their retreat, saving the life of Hasel and several others, including the commanding officer who believed.
The Interpretation is Sure
Let’s briefly review the end of that magnificent prophecy in Daniel 2, which so accurately describes the history of modern Europe, followed by the second coming of Christ: “And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile. As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay. And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold—the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure” (verses 42-45). Friends, today we too are given the assurance that the “dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure.” The prophecies found in the books of Daniel and Revelation are absolutely reliable. By the accuracy of their fulfillment in the past, we can rest assured that what is predicted for the future will also be fulfilled. Let’s claim the beautiful promise given to us in 2 Chronicles 20:20: “Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.”
1 This story is adapted from Susi Hasel Mundy, A Thousand Shall Fall (Hagerstown, Md.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 2001), pp. 119-121. Used by permission.
Ted N. C. Wilson is president of the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church. Additional articles and commentaries are available from the president’s office on Twitter: @pastortedwilson and on Facebook: @Pastor Ted Wilson.
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