When ye, therefore, shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place (whosoever readeth, let him be understand), Then let them who are in Judea flee into the mountains. Matthew 24: 15,16
I arrived early at the church parking lot, but soon I saw Glen pull in and back his old blue van under a large sycamore tree.
He told me he always backed in because that is what he learned in the army. Back in and be ready to pull out if you have to leave in a hurry.
I said, "From a Bible class?" He said it was just a habit. He parked away from the entrance because he wanted to stay away from clusters of people who might want to talk.
"I come here to teach the Bible, not gab," he had told me. "I don't want to talk about some guy's damn car, or small talk of any kind. I like to stay focused on the subject at hand, and for me tonight it is the Book of Daniel.
"I don't get too close to people when I'm teaching. That stuff has its place, I suppose, but when I'm teaching I stick to the subject. Oh, once in awhile, I tell a story or something. It relaxes people.
"Women especially find it hard to stick to the subject. They are built to handle a bunch of things at once, better than a man ever could, but they get tired when you do two hours in a row like I do, non-stop.
"A lady asked me if I could shorten my classes. 'I get antsy sitting still for two hours,' she told me. I told her the class time was announced weeks ago, and that is how long it takes to cover the material. This isn't Sunday School, it's college as far as I am concerned, and most people like it that way.
"They take a whole evening off and get baby sitters and everything. That's why I time my classes to within 5-10 seconds, period. I don't hang around afterwards either. I say what I've got to say and I'm out of here. 'Who was that masked man?' is my approach."
Glen can sound gruff, but I know he is a kind and patient man. His no-nonsense approach is motivated by a deep desire to get the Bible message across the best way he can. He has done it for years and knows what he is doing..
He opened the double doors on his van to reveal boxes of books from the Oak Street Bible Shop, and a box of his printouts of charts and texts. He had assorted ring binders too.
"People forget to bring them and some can't afford them. This is a pretty rich church, but there is a man here who has been out of work for six months. Another guy has a hearing aid. He likes my classes he says because I write on the board a lot and I try to speak clearly and not too fast. To me that is just plain courtesy.
"Anybody can learn to frame their sentences just like they do when they're writing. You don't have to say 'ah,' and 'er' and hesitate. It's laziness, sloppiness. If you can't talk right your mind just isn't disciplined."
Glen did just what he said. I had heard him. He was smooth as silk. He never hesitated and never repeated his points. He said it ,and moved on.
"You got to keep moving", he told me. "Going over the same thing is boring. People get restless and start looking at their watches."
I was holding a box of his beloved books as he carefully slid out his poster of the Great Image of Daniel, chapter two.
"This is that foam core," he said. "It's light and strong. It doesn't bend. The pantograph really helped me enlarge a page from Larkin's book. I traced it in pencil then went over it with poster colors. I never did try that fixative stuff, so I gotta be careful not to rub up against it too much."
People were in little bunches, some around the door. They greeted him and he smiled, but kept on moving.
"This isn't about me," he told me. "I'm not here to be popular. I want to get people informed about this wonderful book. If I can do that I've accomplished my job."
I handed out the printouts. They were a short history of The Kingdom of David, and The Times of the Gentiles. I offered the ring binders, but people had brought their own, except for one man who shyly accepted one. I wondered if he was the unemployed man.
Then I handed out Lesson One. On page two was a smaller version of the poster, the Great Image.
Glen removed his watch and placed it on the podium next to his master copy of Lesson One. He glanced at the watch as people settled down and clicked their binders shut. At exactly 8 PM Glen bowed his head and asked God to guide us into knowledge of His Word.
He began, "Folks, we are going to explore the book of Daniel together, beginning tonight with chapter two. This amazing book is the greatest source in or out of the Bible on world Government. I don't mean politics." He almost spat out the word.
"We are talking about how the world is governed, from the second heaven, and someday from the throne of God. Daniel is the only book ever written that explains how the world is governed, and I don't mean only the names of countries and kings, but about the unseen heavenly forces behind what happens on earth.
"The focus of Daniel is world government, especially in relation to the nation Israel. This government is administered by unseen angelic forces through the governments we see. I will emphasize to you as forcefully as I am able, that if you do not know the book of Daniel you will never understand what is going on on this earth, no matter how much history you think you know or how many degrees you have.
"We will not just be studying ancient history, although that is where it begins. We will learn about the present world system and go right on through to the time when Jesus Christ returns to the Earth to destroy all the world kingdoms. I don't mean 'reform', I mean destroy. After Jesus returns there will not be even a trace of the world's kingdoms."
Several people showed anxiety over that last statement.
Glen was prepared. "I am not speaking of destroying people, I am talking about governments. The old organizations will be gone and Jesus will rule with a rod of iron. His saints will rule with him. Haven't we all seen too much sorrow and suffering? Jesus will come and destroy the sources of these evils forever. He is coming to rescue his people and put down evil. We should rejoice at this!"
"People will ask, 'What period of time does Daniel cover?' An excellent question! We can say it begins with the destruction of the temple by Babylonians in 586 BC. to the return to the earth of Jesus at the end of the Great Tribulation.
"So, you see, the time in which we live is covered by Daniel. We are in chapter two as far as time is concerned. When Jesus, in Matthew 24 foretells the coming tribulation, he begins with a reference to Daniel!
"When John, on the island of Patmos, was given the Book of Revelation, he received a schedule of events, down to the number of days they will take to unfold. That is based on Daniel chapter 9:24-27.
"Without knowledge of Daniel, you can never understand the great prophetic Olivet Prophecy given to the disciples by our Lord Jesus. Without the exact timetable of Daniel 9, you cannot understand the book of Revelation. Jesus referred to Daniel as he began his Olivet discourse. Shouldn't we honor His reference by studying the book he quoted from?
"And, folks, this is no idle study. Daniel is a battleground. Along with the flood narratives, Daniel is the most attacked book in the Bible! The Devil hates it, and so do a lot of people in this church. Does that tell you anything?
"We are in a battle, and these are some of our weapons." Glen picked up a book from his cardboard box, Daniel, Key to Prophetic Revelation, by John Walvoord.
"Take these books, please. I don't want to take any of them home with me."
People began to hold up their hands for the books. No one looked at their watch.