Our world is filled with more kingdoms now than ever before. Some of these kingdoms we knowingly contribute to, some kingdoms we unwittingly fear, but we are all involved in them and in their battles. Only one kingdom will ever stand, however – the kingdom of heaven.
Using what we learned of how to read prophetic literature, we will see the message of Daniel clearly, as God’s message to all of the kingdoms of men. Remembering that prophetic literature follows the pattern of asking us all to repent or be judged, face judgment, then receive A New Hope, we see God asking us all to repent and turn to His kingdom, or else face the judgement that all earthly kingdoms must face.
Daniel’s story resembles the story of Joseph, purposefully, and both Joseph and Daniel are men meant to point to the coming of the messiah. Both endure exile, false accusations, pits, then finally raise to the position right-hand of the king / Pharoah. Jesus will later come and be sent to death (exile), be buried in the tomb (going to the pit), and be raised to God’s right hand. (Both Daniel and Joseph are known for interrupting dreams.)
The book of Daniel is structured so that chapters 1-6 are pretense for chapter 7, and chapters 8-12 are visions attempting to explain chapter 7. However, chapters 2-7 are written in a different language than the rest of the book, putting the text itself in exile. Then chapters 2-7 are also written in a chiastic structure, meaning that chapter 2 is a reflection of the point of chapter 7, chapter 3 reflects the message of chapter 6, and chapters 4&5 reflect each other in the middle as the main point of the passage. So, chapter 7 is the point of the whole book, chapter 2 reflects the meaning of chapter 7 directly, and chapters 2 & 7 point the reader to chapters 4 & 5.
Chapters 4 & 5 are about the deaths of two powerful kings, making the central message of Daniel 2 – 7 about the falling of earthly kings.
Chapter 2 is the story of how Daniel interprets King Neb’s dream to him. Daniel told the king his dream, without having to be told the dream himself. The dream was about a statue made of gold, silver, bronze, and iron. Each metal represented a different kingdom of man. Then, in the dream, a rock came and smashed the statue. This rock represents what was made by God; the statue being man-made. God’s kingdom will always outlast!!!!
Note: Each sequent metal, in this vision, is easier to corrode but also harder in structure than the last. As we, and our kingdoms, become harder in our ways, we also become more brittle. A diamond is the hardest substance on earth but if one hits a diamond in the right spot with a hammer then the diamond shatters. Such are the kingdoms of men: we become harder, more stubborn, more selfish, and more obstinate until we are primed to shatter. The harder you are, the more brittle you become.
Such are the kingdoms of men: we become harder, more stubborn, more selfish, and more obstinate until we are primed to shatter. The harder you are, the more brittle you become.
Finally, in chapter 7, Daniel has a vision of four beats. One like a lion, one like a bear, one like a leopard, and one with seven horns, stronger than all the rest. These, too, represent different kinds of kingdoms of men. The lion is a kingdom of royalty and wealth. The bear is a kingdom with an appetite for expansion. The leopard is a war-kingdom. And the kingdom of the beast represents the strongest kingdom mankind will ever have.
A final picture painted in chapter 7 is when “the ancient one” (better read as “the one who endures”) comes to his throne and judges the earth with fire. This king then gives dominion to “the son of man,” who is understood to be the messiah.
Looking at these pictures as comic panels they tell a single story of many kingdoms coming and going except the kingdom of heaven which is ruled by “the one who endures” and His son.
Bringing this message to our times means looking at the kingdoms of today as passing fads. I’m a huge Star Wars fan, but I understand that this “nerdom” (as it is called) will pass. We must live only for God’s kingdom. That doesn’t mean we don’t have fun playing Star Wars: Battlefront but it does mean that we invest in God’s kingdom and only use these other things for breaks.
And it’s not just Star Wars, I read this article recently that showed how Apple and brands all over the world create a religion-like atmosphere. We are told certain brands are the best – like royalty (the lion). We are told to tell our friends about this show or store or whatever – expansion (the bear). And we are told not to buy from the competitors – like it’s almost a brand war (the leopard).
The kingdoms of men are more than just what we see in consumerism though. Evangelicals have become “Christian ands” as Wormwood would put it (The Screwtape Letters). We aren’t just Christians anymore; we are conservative, gun-loving Christians. Evangelicals have shown their belief that their Christianity is the only true Christianity – like royalty (the lion). We have shown a desire to make all America believe like us and live Christian and conservative lifestyles – going beyond spreading the news of the gospel and passing a line into having an appetite to expand even our own political agendas (like the bear).
Then, we fear the clear bad guys. ISIS is a terrorist kingdom – just another leopard – and their kingdom will fall just like all the others. Retaliating with war is what they want. ISIS is not a nation and it is not a religion. The Quran starts with an entire chapter on the mercy of God and a plea to be like Him. I do not consider ISIS Islamic, just as I do not consider Hitler a Christian. Like Hitler’s kingdom, ISIS will come and go. Only the kingdom of heaven will last, so fearing any other kingdom is foolishness.
What is the kingdom of heaven? As the movie puts it (The Kingdom of Heaven), the kingdom of heaven is a kingdom of consciousness. This is a kingdom revolving around God and His love: 1 John 4.
So, know and be comforted that only love will last through everything. Start with thanksgiving and prayer daily. And do not succumb to any kingdom that is only here for a season.
The point is: So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13).
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References / Reading List:
 Barton, John. The Oxford Bible Commentary. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2001. Print.
 Lewis, C. S. The Screwtape Letters. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1960. Print.
 Henry, Matthew, and Leslie F. Church. Commentary on the Whole Bible: Genesis to Revelation. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Pub. House, 1961. Print.
 Longman, Tremper. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary. Rev. ed. Vol. 8. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2006. Print.
 “Dr. Constable’s Expository (Bible Study) Notes.” Dr. Constable’s Bible Study Notes and Commentary. Web. 27 Oct. 2015.