Here’s Carly’s from last time, which includes the Bible project overview if you need a refresher.
Daniel, Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach) and Azariah (Abed-Nego) are some of the most baller guys in the Old Testament.
“Youths in whom was no defect, who were good-looking, showing intelligence in every branch of wisdom, endowed with understanding and discerning knowledge, and who had ability for serving in the king’s court.” (1:4)
“As for these four youths, God gave them knowledge and intelligence in every branch of literature and wisdom; Daniel even understood all kinds of visions and dreams.” (1:17)
“As for every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king consulted them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and conjurers who were in all his realm.” (1:20)
Right when you might think God only, exclusively uses the weak and foolish, He busts out these guys and uses them to influence kingdoms. Granted, they are still imported slaves from a plundered nation.
Daniel continues to be promoted, and primarily because of what God reveals to him in chapter two. He recounts Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and interprets it, saving his life and the lives of every magician in Babylon. He also gives us one of the most glorious prophecies:
“In the days of those kings [Rome] the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.” (2:44)
The stone (cut out without hands) that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.
The reaction of Nebuchadnezzar was to worship Daniel and promote him. He didn’t get to work worrying about the end of his kingdom, or what this ultimate kingdom will be, he was just amazed.
I wonder what Daniel thought about this prophecy. A kingdom filling the whole earth?
Even now, looking back and remembering what Jesus said about the Kingdom of Heaven, it’s hard to feel the weight sometimes. It doesn’t always seem like the Kingdom of Heaven affected the continued march of earthly kingdoms.
All I really learned in school was ancient history, and especially in Bible college (I didn’t attend all four years), focused on this Assyria-Babylon-Media-Persia-Greek-Roman succession.
From 2018, I get all excited about Jesus and the new kingdom and never stopped to wonder what people thought when the next empire after Rome, the Byzantine Empire, lasted 1,123 years! I would begin to think this was the everlasting kingdom! But then it fell to the Ottoman’s in 1453 and their slogan was “the Eternal State”.
A major part of me wants to delve into what the eternal kingdom of God beginning during Rome with Jesus is, but we can save that for when we cover the gospels. I want to focus on what this meant for Daniel and his peers. The God of heaven just revealed his next 500 year game-plan!
Nowadays, everything feels like the end of the world. Imagine what this would be like nowadays.
Mohammed bin Salman is the crown prince of Saudi Arabia. He’s the kinda guy who would definitely kill all his wise men if he thought they were lying to him. What if God came to him in a dream and told him what was going to go down in the next 500 years? We would all be like, that guy? Also, 500 years and the world won’t be over yet?!?!
Hopefully we’d eventually circle back around to trusting the LORD’s plan. How okay are we if we don’t see political hope in our lifetime? That was the saga most people in history lived out. What about Daniel?
If his hope was in the political restoration of Israel, he would have been disappointed alongside Jesus’s contemporaries. But I think Daniel might have been a guy who cared more about the victory of Heaven over the victory of his nation.
How did Jesus teach us to pray?
“Your Kingdom come Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”
What if my hope was hinged on the promise that the Kingdom of Heaven was filling the whole earth?
Just as Daniel and the other exiles in Babylon were told to get comfortable and seek the welfare of that country (it’s blessings would be their blessings) we get comfortable in our varied countries and seek its welfare. Our hope cannot be in our country, though. They are all temporary. Even shorter than they used to be (let’s hear it for term limits).
Consider with me today the Kingdom that is here now and is unearthly. How often do you rejoice in the now-ness of this kingdom as it fills the earth?