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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. (Daniel 2:44–45, NKJV)


We have seen that the legs and feet of the image in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream represent the Roman Empire. Differences of opinion exist as to how the Roman Empire fits into the prophecies of Daniel, many of which have to do with a future millennium or with certain events in the history of the Church. Such opinions violate the first principle of Daniel’s prophecies, which is that the prophecies concern four worldwide kingdoms and their involvement with the Israelites to the time of Messiah. These issues will be addressed at a later time and, in particular, how the stone cut out of the mountain without hands strikes and destroys the image in the dream.

Most commentators agree that this stone is the kingdom of God; the disagreement concerns when the kingdom of God comes to earth. Daniel says the stone is a kingdom that is set up by the God of heaven that will never be destroyed. We see that this kingdom breaks down and consumes the four political kingdoms, but this kingdom is not a political kingdom.

Before there can be a kingdom, there must be a king. A king and his kingdom are often considered to be one and the same. Daniel said of Nebuchadnezzar, “You are this head of gold.” Even though other kings followed Nebuchadnezzar, he and the Babylonian kingdom are said to be the same thing. So, it is reasonable to believe that the stone kingdom, the kingdom of God, is to be identified with its king.

The New Testament teaches that Christ is the king in the kingdom of God. “For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.” (Colossians 1:13, NASB). “The son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness.” (Matthew 13:41, NKJV). It is obvious there is a kingdom and Christ is the king in this kingdom. It is also very clear that this kingdom is a spiritual kingdom that is best explained as salvation from sin. As sinners, people are held in the darkness of the god of this world. “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:3–4, NASB). Through salvation, Christ delivers people out of that darkness and brings them into His kingdom. In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus speaks of a gathering at the end of this age, or the end of the world as it is rendered in other versions. This end of the age is not a future millennium, it is the time of the gospel that began with Christ’s first Advent. Jesus identifies this time as the time of His kingdom. According to Jesus, in His kingdom there is a separation made between the righteous and those who practice lawlessness, sinners. There are no sinners in the kingdom of Christ, only people that have been saved from sin.

Christ is the stone, a rock, that is inextricably identified with the kingdom of God. “And all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.” (1 Corinthians 10:4, NKJV). This text refers to Israel’s sojourn in the wilderness in which a Rock followed them the whole way and sustained them. This Rock was none other than Christ, the Second Person of the Godhead. “Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense, and whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” (Romans 9:33, NKJV). The Apostle quotes Isaiah 8:14, which is a prophecy about Christ establishing the church of God in the New Testament. This stone, Christ, was and is a stumbling stone to the Jews, but to all who place their faith in Him, He is the hope of their salvation. “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone.” (Ephesians 2:19–20, NKJV). Christ is the corner stone that sets in order the household of God, which here is specifically the church of God. The foundation laid by the Apostles is aligned and set in order by the very person of Jesus Christ. The church was not built on Peter in Rome; the church is not a collection of different groups with different doctrines and fellowships; the church is that which is aligned with Christ through salvation from sin. Those in the biblical church are not strangers and they are not lawless or spiritually blind people under the influence of Satan. They are those that have been transferred into “the kingdom of His beloved Son.”

Daniel gives us to understand that the stone, this kingdom set up by God, was cut out of the mountain without hands. The expression “without hands” indicates that this kingdom was not brought into existence through human agency; it is a work of God—and only a work of God. The mountain to which the prophecy refers is Mount Zion. To understand how Mount Zion is involved in the setup of this kingdom we must trace it and the stone that was cut out of it through a Scriptural path.


Tell the daughter of Zion, Behold, your King is coming to you, lowly, and sitting on a donkey, a cold, the foal of a donkey. (Matthew 21:5, NKJV)


Matthew quotes Zechariah 9:9 and shows that Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday was foretold by the prophecy. Zechariah identifies the person in this prophecy as a King, which obviously is Christ who is the King in the kingdom of God. The prophecy is directed to the daughter of Zion. The daughter of Zion is a euphemism that specifically relates to Jerusalem and is used to represent Israel, the literal kingdom of God in Old Testament times. Prophetically, as used by Zechariah in relation to Messiah, the daughter of Zion is the kingdom of God as ushered in by Christ in the New Testament. It can also stand for the New Testament Church in the same manner as Jerusalem can stand for the nation of Israel.

Let’s have some background on Zion as presented in Ungers’ Bible Dictionary. Zion is the “rock escarpment on the ridge between the Kidron and Tyrpeoean Valleys of Jerusalem. Subsequently the term was widened to include the entire western ridge of early Jerusalem. Centuries later the term was applied to the entire city.” King David expanded the limits of Jerusalem on this ridge and built his palace here. The enlargement of the city became known as the City of David. “David acquired the threshingfloor of Auranah farther up the ridge. There he erected and altar and there Solomon built his palatial temple.” (Unger)

Dr. Unger expands his definition of Mount Zion to point out some eschatological differences of opinion concerning Zion. That Mount Zion has eschatological implications is clearly seen in its use in many of the Old Testament prophecies, and most theologians agree that these implications have to do with the kingdom of God in some way. He writes, “In a prophetic sense, Zion has reference to Jerusalem as the future capital city of the nation of Israel in the Kingdom Age.” This statement indicates Dr. Unger’s bias and the position of dispensational premillennialists among other millennial theories. These millennialists reject the thought that Christ set up the kingdom of God in His Messianic role and believe that the “Kingdom Age” will arrive with the millennium. Unger goes on to state the position of the loyal opposition, “Amillennial theologians deny this equation and spiritualize, rather ‘mystify,’ the term to mean the Christian Church of this age.” Yes, we believe that Christ set up the kingdom of God at His first Advent and we do believe it is a spiritual kingdom as opposed to a political kingdom. Dr. Unger’s use of the word “mystify” is a little uncharitable as it implies our position is not to be taken seriously compared to the position of millennialists. Christ built His church at His first Advent, and while the church is not the same thing as the kingdom, it is so closely related as to be indistinguishable. The church is made up of subjects in the kingdom of God and its mission is to do the work of the kingdom—preach the gospel. The word “mystify” perhaps explains the confusion of modern Christianity with all the different churches, denominations, and groups compared to the one biblical church built by Christ.


The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins. (Romans 11:26–27, NKJV)


The Apostle Paul quotes Isaiah 59:20–21 using this text to prove that both Gentiles and Jews are brought together in New Testament salvation. Isaiah wrote that the Deliver will come out of Zion. This is not the physical Zion of the Old Testament; it is nothing other than the kingdom of God. Christ is obviously the Deliverer; He comes out of Zion to take away ungodliness by taking away sins. It would be difficult not to understand this as New Testament salvation brought to us by Christ in His first Advent. Consequently, the Zion out of which He comes must be the kingdom of God. Mark writes in his gospel quoting Jesus, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15, NKJV). The gospel is the only remedy for sin; Christ, in the Great Commission, requires His church to preach the gospel to all peoples at all times in the coming history. When He said “to every creature” He certainly meant both Jews and Gentiles. Some might argue that Jacob in this text refers only to the Jews, but the gift of salvation is for all peoples, not just the Jews. “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12, NASB).

The New Testament does associate the prophetic use of the term Zion with the kingdom of God and the New Testament church.


For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest,  . . . But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel. (Hebrews 12:18, 21–24, NKJV)


The writer begins his thought in this chapter at verse 2 discussing Christ and the Christian faith, “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” In verse 28 he contrasts this faith with the experience of the Hebrews at Mount Sinai where God gave them the Law. He says that we have not gone back in time to Mount Sinai to revisit the Law; we are in the present where we have now come to the prophetic Mount Zion. In this passage, Mount Zion is described by many things, but specifically it is called the church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven. The writer claims that in addition to Mount Zion, the church, we have come to Jesus, whose blood cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:9). While Christ is the head of His church he is also king of His kingdom. We can see plainly that Mount Zion, the church and the kingdom are all related so as to be all but distinguishable from each other. Daniel calls this the stone that was cut out of the mountain without hands; a kingdom set up by God.

Daniel says this kingdom shall never be destroyed. This is a point about the kingdom of God that is made in other of the prophecies in Daniel. In Daniel 4:3, where King Nebuchadnezzar acknowledges the Most High God for delivering him from his spell of madness. He says, “His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and His dominion is from generation to generation.” In Daniel 7:27, the visions of the four kingdoms, after seeing the terror of the fourth kingdom, the Roman Empire, Daniel is reassured and encouraged by the promise of the kingdom that follows the put down of this beast empire. Under the rule of the Ancient of Days, Messiah, “His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him.”

But the truth of the everlasting kingdom is not limited to the Old Testament; it looks forward to Messiah’s kingdom as mentioned by the Apostle Peter, “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” His kingdom is not in some future millennium, it is present today and we know this because we have the possibility of making our calling and election sure through the salvation Christ purchased for us on Calvary. Thank God we can enter His kingdom today!