DREAM, PART 8
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)
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.
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
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy
in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17, NKJV)
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.
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)
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.
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
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.
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)
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.
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)
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
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)
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
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)
ends the dream of Nebuchadnezzar. “The dream is certain, and its
interpretation is sure.” (Daniel 2:45, NKJV)