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Understanding the Kingdom of God
By: Jay Antonic

Daniel's Interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's Dream

Much has been written about Daniel's interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream of a figure of a man (Dan 2:32-44) with:

  1. A head made of Gold
  2. His Breast and Arms made of Silver
  3. His Belly and thighs made of brass
  4. His legs made of iron
  5. His feet mixed with Iron and Clay

Many interpret these kingdoms as coming in the last days of the endtime. However, through careful and diligent research in the scriptures as well as of history, I have determined that the prophetic vision in Daniel has already come to pass and has been fulfilled. We need not look to the future to understand this vision. This is not to say that I wholistically adopt a preterist position on eschatology and much of Bible prophecy, but there are prophecies in the Bible, especially in the Old Testament, which should be interpreted as being fulfilled before the Advent of Christ. For in the Old Testament, Paul reveals in 2 Corinthians 3:13-16, that the Old Testament was read of the Jews as though they were veiled and did not have the full understanding of their doctrine, laws, and prophets, as their core was to reveal Christ.

Inasmuch as these things are now unveiled before the Church, the Holy Spirit reveals all truth in these last days. Most of the Old Testament Prophecies are tied to a dispensation of a covenant that has been fulfilled. Therefore the prophecies that deal with the end of the church age and the second coming of Christ are to be found in the New Testament which is the Gospel of Jesus Christ

That being said, let us examine the image in Daniel's Dream again:

  1. A head made of Gold
  2. His Breast and Arms made of Silver
  3. His Belly and thighs made of brass
  4. His legs made of iron
  5. His feet mixed with Iron and Clay
  6. Then a stone made without hands destroys first the feet and then the rest of the figure and the stone becomes a great mountain which fills the earth

The Bible declares that the interpretation of the vision is thus:

  1. The Head of Gold is the Babylonian Kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar
  2. The Following Lesser Kingdom (Silver) arises after Babylon
  3. The Third Kingdom of Brass will Rule over all the World
  4. The Fourth is Strong as is iron and will break other kingdoms
  5. The Fifth is the Same Iron Kingdom Divided in Two but the kingdom is partly strong and partly broken
  6. The Stone is a Kingdom set up by God that will not pass away, never be destroyed. It will destory the prior kingdoms and it has no end.

History reveals that:

  1. The Babylon was the first kingdom (Gold)
  2. The Medo-Persian Empire was the Second (Silver)
  3. The Greek Empire was the Third (Brass)
  4. The Roman Empire was the Fourth (Iron)
  5. The Roman Empire with Jewish Citizens was the Fifth (Iron mixed with Clay)
  6. The Sixth stone is Christ and His Kingdom which is not of this world.

Most Bible scholars agree on the first 4 items above. Notice that in the prophecy, Iron and Clay do not mix. As a series of world empires, each of these was truly built upon the prior. As one researches these classical civilizations one will find that each subsequent empire carried with it certain principles, values, religions, cultures, economies, industry, art, architecture, etc of the prior one. Greco-Roman Architecture and the the Greek and Roman Pantheons are fine examples of this.

My interpretation of the 5th Empire (Iron and Clay) is that the Clay was the Jewish people, and later Jewish Christians allowed to finally occupy a place in Roman Society. We see this illustrated in the context of Caiphas' dealings with Pontius Pilate concerning the administration of the Punishment and eventual Crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

What is profound here is that although the Iron Kingdom mixed with Clay, Christ was able to use this influence to actually destroy the kingdom itself. Clay in the bible is symbolic of a god-yielded person or group of people. Idioms like "clay in the hands of the potter" speak to this allusion. When the presence of Clay mixed into the Roman Empire, it ushered in its final demise.

It can be seen throughout history that each of these five kingdoms stood in opposition to the people of God.

  1. Nebuchadnezzar (conquered Jerusalem and led them captive into Babylon
  2. Darius (Issued decrees to Ban worship of God)
  3. Antiochus Epiphanes (destroyed the Jewish Temple and killed many Jews)
  4. Romans persecuted Jews and Occupied Palestine, later persecuting christians
  5. The Romans persecuted the Jews, and the Jews persecuted Christ, his followers, and later the church

Christ Coming to Jerusalem was the arrival of the Kingdom of God which has not ended nor will end, just as Daniel foretold while in Captivity in Babylon. Jesus declares in John 18:36, "My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence."

The kingdom of Christ (the stone made without hands) is the kingdom of true believers. The New Testament refers to the Kingdom of God 68 times, whereas it does not appear in the Old Testament. It refers to Israel, or Judah, but never as the Kingdom of God. He told the Chief Jewish Priests (Matthew 21:42-45) that he was the "stone" and the kingdom would be taken from them. The wealthy Ruling Jews certainly had alliances with Rome (Herod, Pilate, et al).

What is also very revealing is that Matthew 21:44 reveals that on whomsoever that the "stone" falls on will be ground into powder. Further he declares that when the kingdom of God would be taken from them, it would be given to a new nation. This "nation" is a spiritual nation build on the foundation of the 12 apostles. It is the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Heaven.

Revelation declares that New Jerusalem as a city will have as it's foundation stones the names of the 12 apostles. The kingdom of God is built on their doctrine, ministry, power, life, and mission-which is the mission of Christ Himself. Luke 16:16 declares "The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it." This Kingdom of God is told by Christ to be the final kingdom.

Luke 17:19-21 is a very interesting passage because the Jews are coming to Christ and asking him directly about the Kingdom of God. Jesus says that the kingdom is not one that you can see, but is the kingdom that comes to reside INSIDE the believer. The bible says that "Christ dwells in temples not made with men's hands." This provides additional reference back to Nebuchadnezzar's dream as the stone was hewn without hands, meaning not a kingdom established or built by man.

Examining the metaphor more fully reveals that the metals, Iron, Brass, Silver, and Gold are all ores that are refined and processed by man. That is, materials that man makes or modifies for his own use or his own purpose. By contrast, a rock is made by God through the fires and elements of His Creation. What a powerful image!

With the destruction of the Roman Empire that began with the advent of the ministry of Christ, Christ was able to topple the foundations and the legacies of all of the prior world governments and the Gospel spread like wildfire throughout the world. When Christ Died on the Cross, the veil of the Jewish Temple tore in two, manifesting to the priests that the power and presence of God had left them.

The Coming of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost was the transfer of the power and presence of the risen christ into the believers. Christ removed the presence of God from earthly institutions and established His place as Messiah King over the Kingdom of God. The Outpouring of the Spirit began this kingdom as the seal of entrance into the Kingdom of God. After this happened, the church grew like wildfire.

Although the Authority of the Kingdom of God had been ripped from the Jews, they continued in their practices and power although the High Priest had no intercession with God on behalf of the people. The Jewish leadership began to persecute the church (Ekklesia) so fiercely that it nearly destroyed it. Were it not for the fact that Christ intervened with Saul on the Damascus Road (Acts) the church body and its writings may have been lost to history. The conversion of Paul is probably, therefore, one of the most important events in all of Christendom. So much so that it has caused me to wonder whether, of the twelve names of the Apostles written on the foundations of New Jerusalem, we may find written the name of Matthias (chosen by lot) or of Paul (chosen by Christ). Time will provide the epiphany as we enter in.

Nevertheless,The Lord used the Iron of the Roman Empire to finally destroy the Temple which was the center of Jewish Economy, Religion, Culture, and Identity. In AD 70 Roman Emperor Vespasian totally destroyed and defaced the Jewish Temple. The Roman Historian Tactitus details the event with vivid depiction. The final element that triggered this collapse of the empires was the destruction of the Jewish Temple in AD 70 by Roman Emperor Vespasian. Once this was fully accomplished and the power of the Jews destroyed, the Roman Empire fell into a steady decline as it persecuted all Christians until the time of Constantine. After which only certain nominal trinitarians were counted as christian and the rest held as an anaethma. A terrible doctrine that exists to this day in Roman Catholicism.

In summary, the Kingdom of God is truly at hand. It is not found in earthly institutions, it is not made with men's hands. It is not made of gold, silver, brass, or iron. It is made up of the Spirit of the Risen Christ, Jesus the Son of God, the firstborn of all Creation.

When Christ Rose from the dead, he taught the Apostles for 40 days, proving Himself, and speaking of the Kingdom of God. (Acts 1:3).

Philip went forth to Samaria preaching "The Kingdom of God" (Acts 8) and Water-Baptised Believers into Jesus Christ which remitted their sins. (Acts 2:38, John 20:23) Peter and John (the Apostles) were sent to convey the Baptism of the Holy Spirit by the laying on of Hands (Acts 17).

This is how the church initiated people into the Kingdom of God as declared by Jesus in John 3, where he details that in order to be "born again" we need to be born of water and of the spirit. Further emphasised by Peter again in Acts 2:38 where Peter declares to repentant Jews that in order to "save themselves" from this "untoward generation" they should be Baptised (Immersed into water) into the Name of Jesus Christ and then they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

 

Mark 1:15
...The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

 

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Understanding the Kingdom of God
By: Jay Antonic
   
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