Home   About Us   Holiness Library   Bible Prophecy   Listen to Sermons  History of the Holiness Movement   Early English Bibles   Bible Studies   Links







You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. (Daniel 2:34–35, NKJV)


The stone cut out without hands is clearly the kingdom of God under the kingship of its head, the Lord Jesus Christ. The kingdom of God came with the first advent of Christ; there is no waiting for a future millennium for the kingdom. Christ came into this world during the time of the Roman emperors. This was 146 years after Rome defeated the Greeks and 457 years prior to the dividing of the Western Empire into the barbarian kingdoms.

The kingdom of God is essentially the same as New Testament salvation, since it is entered by means of repentance and faith in the gospel and being born again. Millennialists have a different conception of the kingdom of God; they see it, not as a spiritual kingdom but as a political kingdom. Amillennialists see the kingdom of God as a spiritual kingdom. Henry Thiessen in his Lectures in Systematic Theology mentions that “Amillennialists do not accept a literal millennium; rather, they see the millennium as either the disembodied state of believers who are with the Lord awaiting the resurrection, or the present spiritual reign of Christ in the hearts of believers.” Where Thiessen writes “millennium” in his statement, think “kingdom of God,” because the two are virtually interchangeable in the context. There are several theories of the kingdom held by millennialists, but for the sake of brevity I will mention only two.

The first theory is one that is not too common nowadays. This theory accepts the fact that Jesus came to set up the kingdom at His first advent as the gospels clearly show. In their thinking, this kingdom of God is a political kingdom that was to have been set up in Jerusalem; however, the kingdom did not get set up because Satan intervened and thwarted God’s plan. Satan inspired the crucifixion and had Christ killed so that He could not set up the kingdom. Because the kingdom was not established, God substituted the church age until such time as Christ would return and set up the kingdom with its headquarters in Jerusalem. This theory gives Satan more credit and more power than God ever permitted, and it makes the church and New Testament salvation an accident, or a plan B for God since He was not able to carry out His original plan.

The more common theory is along dispensational lines. It holds that Jesus did come to usher in the gospel dispensation and set up the church but He did not set up the kingdom of God at the same time. God’s plan was to initiate another dispensation after the church age, call it the Kingdom Age, in the millennium. One of the foundation texts for this teaching is Luke 19:11–12.


Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately. Therefore He said: A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. (Bold added for emphasis.)


Please notice that what Jesus says here is a parable; it is a story that teaches a spiritual truth. The truth He brings out concerns salvation, not a literal kingdom of God on earth. Jesus had just met with a man by the name of Zacchaeus, who had just accepted Him as Messiah. Jesus said that “salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.” Because Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem the people thought He was headed there to set up a political kingdom of God. The Jews were expecting a Messiah that would defeat the Romans and reestablish the Jewish kingdom. The parable speaks of the true nature of the kingdom of God; it is spiritual, not political or literal. The parable was not given to define or predict literal events. In the story, the nobleman receives a kingdom and returns to learn how his servants handled their gifts while he was away. The lesson is that the servants of Christ are to use the graces of salvation and the gifts of the Spirit to further the kingdom of God.

Jesus set up the kingdom of God at His first advent. According to Daniel’s interpretation of the dream, this kingdom strikes the image at its feet, totally destroying it. There is a sense in which Christianity was victorious over the Roman Empire but that is not what is pictured in the dream. The kingdom of God strikes the image at its most vulnerable point: the feet of mixed iron and clay.

The image in the dream represents four world-wide political kingdoms that ruled over the then known and civilized world. The particular emphasis in the prophecies of Daniel is how these kingdoms relate to Israel, the people of God. Their strength was in their political and military power. The dream shows how this power was broken and the people of God set free. The various metals seen in the image depict these political and military powers. Each succeeding metal is stronger but less precious than the one preceding it. The Roman Empire is pictured as iron because it was the strongest of them all.

The strength of political kingdoms is in their military might and the political power they hold over their subjects. The feet of the image have this strength but they also contain clay, which is an emblem of an inherent weakness in the kingdoms of men. We read in Genesis 2:7 that “God formed man of the dust of the ground.” The word “dust” is the Hebrew word “aphar.” Dr. H. C. Leupold in his Expositions of Genesis explains, “Aphar, rendered ‘dust,’ does not refer to dry pulverized earth only. Here, without a doubt, a damp mass of the finest earth is under consideration.” In other words, God made man out of a lump of clay. God also gave man the breath of life from which man became a living being. Man is two-fold in that he is both body and spirit.

Earthly kingdoms can rule over the bodies of men, but they cannot rule over the spirits of men. The fact that man is a spiritual being is a weakness to any political rule. The evil in the spirits of unregenerate rules causes them to be cruel, ruling their subjects by force. Those under such rule have the ability to reach out to God to sustain them under such rule, causing them to be free even though they may be slaves.

Christ’s kingdom was not a political kingdom; it was a spiritual kingdom that spoke to the spirits of men regardless of their political situation. Christ first ministered to the Jews, which is consistent with the first principle of Daniel’s prophecies, and through the church He extended the kingdom of God to all people.


The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17, NKJV)


Political kingdoms may rule the outer man and control what he can eat and drink and all manner of his physical life; but, the kingdom of God is an internal kingdom of the spirit that gives man an inner peace and joy regardless of his external condition. Political kingdoms may break and control the bodies of those under their rule, but they can never break and control their spirits. There is a sense in which the redeemed are already in heaven no matter where they are on earth.


There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28, NKJV)


There are no distinctions of nationality, race, social status, or gender in the kingdom of God. All in the kingdom are equal and treated equally by the King. There is a unity among believers that is not dependent upon political power to enforce. The bond among the subjects of the kingdom of God transcends the countries in which they live or the political and economic conditions that control their lives. Unity in Christ draws diverse peoples together in a bond of love that weakens the bonds of political control.


The Scriptures say that no one who has faith will be disappointed, no matter if that person is a Jew or a Gentile. There is only one Lord, and he is generous to everyone who asks for his help. (Romans 10:11–12, Contemporary Christian Version)


The stone hits the image at its weakest point. It did not come to the barbarian tribes, as some imagine the ten toes to be; it did not come to the political power of Rome; it came to the people through the humble Christ child, the itinerate teacher, and the cross of execution. People, regardless of their nationality, are enslaved to sin and only salvation can break that enslavement. People with salvation may be enslaved to a political government but they are no longer enslaved to sin. Political kingdoms dived and separate people, but salvation from sin unites people of all races, ethnicities and social standings.


For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:26–29, NKJV)


Daniel explains that the stone becomes a great mountain filling the earth. The kingdom of God and its work through the church is universal; it is not limited just to certain countries. It fills the earth because it is everywhere on earth.


For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:13, NKJV)


There is only one body, one church, for all people of the world regardless of nationality or social status. It is universal also because people in the kingdom of God all have the one Holy Spirit of God. As God is everywhere, so is the kingdom, the church, and the redeemed of God. The earth is filled, as Daniel said.


They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:9, NKJV) For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. (Habakkuk 2:14, NKJV)


Isaiah saw the holy mountain filling the whole earth with the knowledge of God Habakkuk echoes the words of Isaiah so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established (Deuteronomy 19:15). There is no place on earth where God cannot be found or where people cannot be drawn into the kingdom of God and saved from sin. So, how does the whole earth get filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord? How does the earth become full of the knowledge of the Lord? This is the work of the church as Jesus commanded in Matthew 28:19–20:


Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. (NKJV)


So ends the dream of Nebuchadnezzar. “The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure.” (Daniel 2:45, NKJV)