The Bible is full of stories of God's intervention in the
affairs of men. He spoke to His people through dreams, visions, impressions,
audible voices, strange events, and sometimes even through animals.
Our story for today is an amazing account of how God used an
odd event, a strong impression, a voice, an animal, and a dream to speak to
various people all for the sake of saving one man from certain disaster.
While Captain Jarvis was fast asleep in his own warm and
comfortable Victorian bed, two men got into an argument in a tavern in a country
town many miles away. One man, after being badly beaten by the larger and meaner
man, vowed that one day he would kill him. Even though everyone in the tavern
felt the same way about the detestable character, he laughed at the poor man's
revengeful statements and walked out.
A month later Jarvis was in Plymouth for an overnight
business trip. He had had a long and tense day, could not sleep, and walked
around to look at the closed shop windows, the park and the famous Plymouth
courthouse clock. Since the clock sounded off the hours with an unusual gong, he
decided to wait around another few minutes to hear its memorable sound.
As he stood near the decorated marble base, he noticed
another man staring at its peak.
"I'm going to hang around till it shakes this whole base
with twelve loud gongs," the stranger said.
"I've never heard it strike, much less twelve
times," Jarvis replied. "I'm sure that from the size of those bells it
must really make quite a noise. I wonder how the poor folks near here can get
used to it."
Just then the first striking of the clock began. One, two,
three, four... Jarvis had to move away from the base somewhat as the vibrations
in his ears began to resound again after each note ... eight, nine, ten, eleven,
and twelve. But before he could move away from his listening place, the
strangest thing happened. The clock struck one more time. The clock struck
Jarvis went over to the other man and asked him if he had
heard anything unusual.
"I was just thinking about coming over to ask you the
same thing, but I was afraid that you might think I was a little loony,"
the other tourist said with a big smile. "You heard it strike thirteen
times, too, didn't you?"
"Yes, I did," Jarvis said. "And I thought that
I might get laughed at if I told you I heard it go one more time."
They both laughed, discussed the most unusual incident, and
then departed their separate ways.
Jarvis told a number of friends about it shortly after
returning home. But, as things happen, the cares of business and his heavy
involvement in his beloved church work and personal witnessing for the Lord, he
soon forgot the clock that struck thirteen.
Several weeks passed and Jarvis found himself unable to
sleep. All through the night the scene of the clock striking that extra time
passed languidly through his mind. Then, before dawn he felt a deep impression
that he was to go outside his house. The impression came to him, three, four,
five times again. Each time there was a greater urgency pressed on him to go
downstairs and out the front door.
"Why should I get out of this warm bed, get dressed, and
go outside at this unearthly hour?" he asked himself.
Again an impelling force tried to move his mind to accept the
fact that he was to go outside. "It's pitch dark out there," Jarvis
told himself, "If I do go outside, what could I see?"
But as the feeling did not decrease but continued to greatly
increase, he got up, put on his clothes, and went downstairs. And when he opened
the front door there stood his groom with his horse, saddled and bridled, ready
to be mounted!
"What's this?" he asked after he had momentarily
gotten over the shock. "What are you doing out here with my horse at this
"Sir," the faithful, long-time servant replied,
"I know that you will find this very strange to accept, but I could not
sleep. All through the night and up until an hour ago, I kept hearing some kind
of mysterious voice telling me that you would be wanting the horse very early
this morning. Since you had not given any orders like that, I had a real hard
time, trying not to pay any attention. But, Sir, the strange sensation in my
ears was like a human's voice and there was no one in the room. I turned on the
light and looked. I sure do hope that I haven't done anything wrong."
"Oh, no, you haven't done anything wrong at all."
Jarvis said to console the worried groom. "As a matter of fact you did
exactly the correct thing- The thing I'm going to do. I'm going to obey those
same "voices" you've been listening to."
Jarvis mounted the horse, but before moving an inch or giving
the first command, he prayed out loud. "Lord, Some very strange things have
happened in the last few weeks. First that clock striking thirteen-, then my
impressions this night to get outside; and the good groom's instructions to get
the horse saddled and bridled for me to ride. I cannot dismiss this as some
passing fancy or freak of mind. I believe that You are telling me to do
something very important. Now, since I do not know where to go or what it is You
want me to do, please let the horse lead me there."
And with this said, he let loose of the reins, gave the horse
a gentle nudge in its side and the horse started off at a healthy pace. It was
strange to be sitting up on top of the gaiting animal, and not holding on to his
reins. As they moved away from their house, it seemed as if the horse was
heading down towards the riverside.
"If he's taking me to the riverside then this is all a
mistake. There is only one ferryboat down there and the first run doesn't start
until after sunrise. No one would be there for another two or so hours."
But the horse made its way directly to the ferryboat. And
standing on the ferryboat was the conductor himself!
"I can't believe this!" Jarvis said to himself.
As he approached the ferryboat, he saw that the ramps had
been lowered for passengers to board.
"I can't believe my eyes! What are you doing down here
so very, very early when I've heard you say so many times that you love to stay
in your bed to the very last minute, then quickly dress, and run out of the
house eating your breakfast as you run?"
The ferryboat conductor told Jarvis another bewildering
"You're mighty right, mate, when you said that I love me
sleep. Well, I had a terrible time sleeping. It seems like around the midnight
hour I had a dream where I had to run down and ferry a man and his horse across
the river. I dream about taking people across the ferry all the time and I still
get me sleep. But this dream was different. It was like if I didn't get down
there something terrible was going to happen. I woke up and I had been really
sweating. I tried to get back to sleep, but sleep just wouldn't come. I kept
feeling more and more like that wasn't any dream. So, I decided that if I got me
down here and there wasn't anyone with a horse waiting to go across, then it was
a supernatural thing. So, I had no choice but to come. And I just got here about
a minute ago."
Jarvis led his horse up onto the ferry. And as the ferry
slowly made its way across the river, he prayed even harder for God to give him
the wisdom and strength to handle whatever his job was, wherever it would be.
Mounting his horse on the other side of the river, Jarvis
once again let the horse go his own way. Soon the horse was off at an even
faster pace. After what seemed an eternity, they approached a large country town
where it seemed that not much was going on.
Approaching a man walking away from town, Jarvis stopped and
talked with him. "Sir," he inquired, "is anything of real
importance going on in this town today?"
"Well, I guess some folks think it's important,"
the man answered. "There's a trial going on in the courthouse. Don't mean
much to me, tho."
"What kind of a trial?" Jarvis asked.
"Oh, some no-gooder shot and killed another no-gooder,
Captain Jarvis went to the courthouse, hitched the horse, and
walked in just as the judge was addressing the prisoner. The courtroom was
crowded and Jarvis slipped in the back and stood up against the wall.
"Have you anything to say for yourself?" the judge
asked the prisoner, anything at all?"
The prisoner's back was to Jarvis and he could not see his
face. The prisoner quietly answered the judge, "Your honor, I have nothing
to say except what I've said before. I'm innocent of these charges. It's true
that I disliked that old sot, and hated him something fierce when he beat me up
like that in the tavern. A lot of people told you that they heard me tell him
that I was going to one day kill him for what he did, but I was mad, hurt and
ashamed. I had to say something. But, honestly, judge, I didn't kill him."
The courtroom was hushed. It seemed as if everyone was on the
accused man's side. Then the prisoner added something that shook Jarvis
"Your honor," the prisoner said. "I was not
here the night of the killing. I was on my way home from over beyond Plymouth.
There is one man who can prove that I wasn't here at midnight of the killing
'cause we stood and talked together about the Plymouth clock striking thirteen
The courtroom rocked with laughter, and the judge rapped his
gavel on the desk to quiet things down.
"You say that you can prove that you didn't kill him
because you were in Plymouth the night of his death, and that you can prove it
if some man who talked with you there when the clock struck thirteen (the
audience laughed again at this) instead of twelve would come up and attest to
that. Well, all I can say is…"
"Just a minute, your Honor," Jarvis said as he
walked directly up to the judge's desk and chair "This man is telling the
truth. I would like to be sworn in as a witness and a friend of the court."
In a matter of thirty minutes the condemned man was proved
innocent, and was at once set free.
As Jarvis and the liberated man talked together outside the
courthouse, the stunned man asked him what brought him to the trial-
"Well, my friend," Jarvis answered , some time back
I came to know the Lord as a personal Saviour and friend. He redeemed me at
Calvary. Now, through His mysterious intervention in the affairs and minds of my
servant, a good ferryboat conductor, my old faithful horse, and myself, He has
given you redemption from a death sentence."
As the two men spent the remainder of the day discussing the
plan of Salvation, the freed man vowed to look into his becoming a Christian,
Two months later, Jarvis received a small note from the happy
and most appreciative man. It simply read, "Redeemed Twice!"
How amazing to know that God could be so interested in us.
"Nothing that in any way concerns our peace is too small for Him to
notice.... No perplexity is too Difficult for Him to unravel. No calamity can
befall the least of His children ... of which our heavenly Father is
unobservant, or in which He takes no immediate interest." (Happiness Digest
How thankful we can be that God will still reveal His secrets
of the future to us just as He did to Daniel in today's Bible Lesson.
Have you ever wondered why, from the days of the Pagan Roman
Empire until now, there has never been a united Europe? It is not that no one
has wanted it so indeed, many ambitious and talented men have tried to do so.
There was Charlemagne who tried to do so in the eighth century, Charles V in the
sixteenth and Napoleon in the nineteenth.
The answer to that question is simple. God has decreed that
it will not happen. In today's lesson, you will find that through His prophet
Daniel, God foretold the future kingdoms of this world. A strange image made up
of different kinds of metals symbolized the progression of the ancient world
empires. The feet and toes, however, were different. Daniel 2:42,43 states:
"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".
For many years the royalty of Europe attempted
conscientiously to assure permanent peace by means of intermarriage. At the
outbreak of the first world war almost all the ruling houses of Europe were
interrelated. Yes, at the outbreak of the first world war! The words, "They
will not adhere one to another" even though they did "mingle with the
seed of men" proved only too true.
Napoleon declared, "I wanted to found a European system,
a European code of law, a European court of appeals". There would have been
but one people throughout Europe. Europe would have become one nation.
The Kaiser Wilhelm II and Adolf Hitler tried in the twentieth
century. Millions still living remember Hitler's piercing voice as in seemingly
endless harangues he portrayed the Nazi goal, "Germany over all!
[Deutschland fiber alles!]." But the seven simple words "They will not
adhere to one another" were shown to be true in his case also.
C. Mervyn Maxwell was fourteen when Hitler violated Poland's
Danzig Corridor. His family hovered around the radio listening to Britain's
declaration of war as the short-wave came in, successively loud and soft, clear
and garbled. The future was dark, but they had been brought up on Daniel 2, and
were sure that sooner or later Hitler would be defeated by the Allies or by the
second coming of Christ.
Hitler's Panzer divisions swept across Europe. Hitler, like
Belshazzar, defied the God of Daniel. In March, 1941, Hitler boldly declared,
"See my people? We do not need anything from God! We do not ask anything
from Him except that He may let us alone. We want to fight our own war, with our
own guns, without God. We want to gain our victory without the help of
God." His tank divisions swept across Europe.
The Allied forces had their
backs to the wall at the English Channel. At that stage of the war, it appeared
that, in a few days, Hitler would conquer all of Europe. He had every military
advantage. His generals carefully studied the weather patterns. They attacked at
a time when the weather was pleasant, to enable the tanks to move swiftly
against the Allied forces, and to keep the British from evacuating their trapped
army from the shores of Dunkirk.
At this time, and after the fall of France, some students of
prophecy cautioned young Mervyn's father, Arthur S. Maxwell, editor of Signs of
the Times, not to continue writing editorials on Hitler's future defeat.
"How do we know that the prophecy of Daniel 2 will apply in this
case?" they asked. Maxwell replied by dedicating his next issue to this
interpretation of Daniel 2 and inviting his readers to preserve their copies!
"This prophecy is the only one in the Bible," he
wrote buoyantly, "to which the words 'certain' and 'sure' are both attached
[Daniel 2:45]. If for no other reason, with these two seals upon it we can
surely trust it with complete confidence. It cannot fail."
One night, when the Allies seemed hopelessly trapped, a
strange fog settled in. Winston Churchill, in an emergency broadcast, appealed
to the British civilians to assist in an evacuation. Power boats, family boats,
yachts, barges, anything that floated was sent over under the cover of fog to
rescue the trapped Allied troops. The Allied forces rescued and regrouped, went
back, finally to win the war. Hitler had said, "We don't need anything from
God! ... We want to fight our own war." But seven words of Bible prophecy
"They will not adhere to one another" forbade such a takeover.
Arthur S. Maxwell, the beloved 'Uncle Arthur' to many
children around the world loved to tell his children of the important part that
the prophecies of Daniel played in his life. When Arthur was fourteen, in
England, an evangelist's sermon on Daniel 2 attracted his widowed mother to the
study of the Bible. It did not at first attract him to study the Bible. More
than once young Arthur locked himself in the upstairs bathroom to escape the
evangelist's house calls, then climbed to freedom down the outside English
At the age of sixteen however, he gave his heart to Christ.
Two years later, World War I began. During the terrible conflict he watched
Kaiser Wilhelm II match his might for four years against the image of Daniel 2.
Arthur S. Maxwell's confidence in the impregnability of the prophecy was
confirmed. Maxwell's faith was ready when Adolph Hitler took his turn.
The toes of that great image hold special interest for us
today. We can see that if the image represents a timeline, we are at the end of
it. Rome no longer rules the world. There is no a single ruling power today. We
are living in the time of the feet and toes of iron and clay that will not
adhere to one another. The next event as you see in today's lesson cannot be far
in the future. Friends, Jesus is coming very soon. Wouldn't you like to get
ready for Him?