Daniel Forsees the Kingdom of God

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Daniel Forsees the Kingdom of God

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Daniel’s prophetic work began when Nebuchadnezzar had a troubling dream. This Babylonian ruler asked his magicians to tell him both his dream and its interpretation. God put it into Nebuchadnezzar’s mind to demand of them something that is humanly impossible—to require them to tell him what he had dreamed.

Daniel was not only able to describe the king’s dream but to explain its prophetic meaning.

What did Nebuchadnezzar see in his dream?

“You looked, O king, and there before you stood a large statue-an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance. The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay” (Daniel 2:31-33 Daniel 2:31-33 31 You, O king, saw, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before you; and the form thereof was terrible. 32 This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, 33 His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.
American King James Version×
, New International Version).

What did the statue’s parts, composed of various materials, symbolize?

“This was the dream, and now we will interpret it to the king. You, O king, are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory . . . You are that head of gold. After you, another kingdom will rise, inferior to yours. Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth. Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron—for iron breaks and smashes everything—and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others” (Daniel 2:36-40 Daniel 2:36-40 36 This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king. 37 You, O king, are a king of kings: for the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. 38 And wherever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven has he given into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all. You are this head of gold. 39 And after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to you, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth. 40 And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: for as much as iron breaks in pieces and subdues all things: and as iron that breaks all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.
American King James Version×
, NIV).

Students of prophecy and history generally agree that the parts of the statue refer to the four empires of Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome (Persia and Greece are even identified by name in Daniel 8:20-21 Daniel 8:20-21 20 The ram which you saw having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia. 21 And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king.
American King James Version×
). Daniel, in another vision in chapter 7, saw these kingdoms as wild beasts that devour other nations.

The four kingdoms dominated the course of events in the Near East during their rule. The Roman Empire ultimately grew to encompass most of the territory from the Near East through the westernmost parts of Europe. Rome grew infamous for its intense persecution of Jews and Christians.

Although none of these kingdoms controlled every part of the world, their ideas have greatly influenced civilization ever since. This is particularly true of Greece and Rome, whose cultures and ideas have shaped much of the governmental, educational, social and religious thinking and practices of the Western world.

What will happen to the kingdoms represented by the statue in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream?

“While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were broken to pieces at the same time and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth” (Daniel 2:34-35 Daniel 2:34-35 34 You saw till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image on his feet that were of iron and clay, and broke them to pieces. 35 Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.
American King James Version×
, NIV).

In Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, the whole statue crumbled when the “rock [that] was cut out, but not by human hands” struck and shattered its feet. Its tiny fragments blew away like dust “so that no trace of them was found.” The kingdoms of man operating under the influence and guidance of Satan will come to the same end. They are destined to be utterly destroyed and forgotten.

What will follow the destruction of this Satan-influenced civilization?

“In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever” (Daniel 2:44 Daniel 2:44And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
American King James Version×
, NIV).

The kingdom God will establish will transcend all human efforts. God will establish on earth His civilization, rejected by mankind from the beginning. The Interpreter’s Bible, speaking of this kingdom, says:

“Its standing ‘for ever’ is the universality of the kingdom in time (Daniel 7:14 Daniel 7:14And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
American King James Version×
) just as the mountain filling the earth was its universality in space. The term ‘for ever’ lifts the kingdom out of time into eternity. The world periods have ended and the timeless kingdom which has no ending is to be introduced. Each of those world periods was succeeded by another, but this kingdom will have no successors.”

Jesus Christ will replace the kingdoms of this world with the Kingdom His Father will give Him at His return—the Kingdom of God. This is the good news of Daniel’s prophecy and the same good news Jesus preached. This is what His gospel is about. This is the message He commanded His disciples to preach to the world.

How certain is the prophecy?

“. . . 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” (Daniel 2:45 Daniel 2:45For as much as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God has made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.
American King James Version×
).

Daniel’s prophecies about the Kingdom came at a critical time in the history of ancient Israel. The Israelites had lost their sovereignty through captivity. Yet in the midst of their calamity and ruin God revealed to them, through His prophets, that a restoration of the people and nation of Israel would occur under the rule of the Messiah (Jeremiah 23:5-8 Jeremiah 23:5-8 5 Behold, the days come, said the LORD, that I will raise to David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. 6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. 7 Therefore, behold, the days come, said the LORD, that they shall no more say, The LORD lives, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; 8 But, The LORD lives, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries where I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land.
American King James Version×
).