- This Bible study shows the power in prophesy, the continuity of the Old and New Testaments, and the excitement of finding the kingdom of God on earth.
- One of the most central themes in Jesus’ teaching was the kingdom of God. Many people enthusiastically followed Jesus because they had been waiting for the kingdom for years!
26 The king asked Daniel (also called Belteshazzar), “Are you able to tell me what I saw in my dream and interpret it?”
27 Daniel replied, “No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, 28 but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come. Your dream and the visions that passed through your mind as you were lying in bed are these:
29 “As Your Majesty was lying there, your mind turned to things to come, and the revealer of mysteries showed you what is going to happen. 30 As for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because I have greater wisdom than anyone else alive, but so that Your Majesty may know the interpretation and that you may understand what went through your mind.
31 “Your Majesty looked, and there before you stood a large statue—an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance. 32 The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, 33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay. 34 While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were all broken to pieces and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.
36 “This was the dream, and now we will interpret it to the king. 37 Your Majesty, you are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory; 38 in your hands he has placed all mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds in the sky. Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all. You are that head of gold.
39 “After you, another kingdom will arise, inferior to yours. Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth. 40 Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron—for iron breaks and smashes everything—and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others. 41 Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay. 42 As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. 43 And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay.
44 “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. 45 This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands—a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces.
“The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy.”
- Nebuchadnezzar was king in Babylon during the sixth century B.C. and Daniel was a Jewish prophet that lived in captivity there. Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that haunted him and he came to Daniel.
- v.28 God has shown the king what will happen in the days to come – God is revealing to Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar (and us) when His kingdom would come and what is would be like.
|v.32, 37-38||Gold||Babylon||626-539 B.C.||King Nebuchadnezzar|
|v.32, 39a||Silver||Medo-Persian||539-332 B.C.||inferior kingdom (to Babylon)|
|v.32, 39b||Bronze||Greek||332-63 B.C.||rule over whole earth|
|v.33, 40-43||Iron & clay||Roman||63 B.C.-476 A.D.||partly strong, partly brittle, divided|
|Would come during the Roman empire.|
Smashed other kingdoms, huge mountain, filled the whole earth, never be destroyed.
- v.39 After you, another kingdom will arise, inferior to yours – In 539 B.C. the Persian army took Babylon without a fight by diverting the water coming into Babylon from upstream. The soldiers marched under the walls through the empty water canals.
- v.39b Next, a third kingdom will rule over the whole earth – In 332 B.C., Alexander the Great from Greece conquered Persia. He expanded his kingdom “over the whole earth.” As he conquered foreign nations, he brought Greek culture, language, and religion. (This process of bringing Greek influences became known as Hellenization.)
- This prepared the known world to speak a common language, Greek.
- v.40 Finally, there will be a forth kingdom, strong and divided – The Roman empire was powerful but often in conflict from within. Comprised of both Romans and Jews, there was constant tension both ethnically and politically.
- v.44 In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom– This prophecy tells us that in the time of the Roman Empire, God’s Kingdom would be established on earth.
- v.44b The God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed…it will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.
- This is the promise the Jews were waiting to see fulfilled.
- Finding this kingdom and being part of it would bring eternal life!
WHEN DID THE KINGDOM OF GOD COME?
- We have already seen that the kingdom would come during the Roman empire. (The Roman empire was founded in 27 B.C.)
- Jesus was born during the Roman Empire under the reign of Herod, king of Judah (Luke 1:5).
- Jesus preached that the kingdom of God had come near (Mt 3:1-2).
20 Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, 21 nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.”
- Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come – The religious leaders of Jesus’ day were busy looking for the kingdom’s coming. How did Jesus respond?
- The kingdom of God is in your midst (The 1984 NIV translates this “within you” which does not make sense in context. Jesus is not telling his opponents, the Pharisees, that the kingdom was within them. The 2011 NIV translates it “in your midst.” The HCSB translates is “among you.” The ESV translates it “in the midst” of you.) The kingdom was in their presence.
- Like an army invading another country the Kingdom arrived in waves.
- Wave 1 – Jesus begins his ministry (Mt 4:17)
- Wave 2 – The Church is established (Acts 2)
- Wave 3 – The Church expands its influence to the Gentile (Non Jewish world) (Act 10)
WHO IS IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD?
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
- Not everyone who says to me, ‘LORD, LORD’ – Being religious does not mean we are part of God’s kingdom.
- Only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven – God’s kingdom contains those people who wholeheartedly follow God’s will.
WHAT IS THE KINGDOM OF GOD?
- The kingdom of God is where God rules and reigns.
- The people that are part of God’s kingdom have chosen to subject themselves to his LORDSHIP.
HOW SHOULD WE RESPOND TO THE KINGDOM OF GOD?
Q: How should we feel about this news?
44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
- The kingdom of God is a treasure. The kingdom of God is like a fine pearl.
- When we find it, we should be willing to give up everything we have to enter it!
- Q: What will be the greatest challenges for you to give up to enter the kingdom?
- Q: Are you excited and willing to make the necessary sacrifices?
31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
- Do not worry – When we consider making radical steps of sacrifice for the kingdom, we can feel fearful. God tells us that we should not worry.
- Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness – God expects us to seek his kingdom and righteousness first and he will take care of us.
HOW DO WE SEEK THE KINGDOM OF GOD FIRST?
- We desire above all else to enter, participate in and spread the news about God’s reign on earth.
- Let’s see what this looked like in the first century…
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
- Devoted themselves to the teaching – We should aggressively pursue learning the Bible.
- Devoted themselves to the fellowship– We should meet with fellow believers constantly (see v.46) for Bible study, church services, and relationship time.
- All the believers were together and had everything in common – Our lives and cultures will blend into more of a “kingdom culture.” We now have a common purpose.
- The LORD added to their number – This news must spread to those around us!
- Q: What changes do you need to make in your life to seek the kingdom first?
Q: Are you ready to prioritize church services, Bible studies, and spiritual fellowship?
- The Jews waited for six centuries for the kingdom of God.
- Jesus opened the door for us to be able to enter the kingdom.
- We should be willing to give up everything to enter the kingdom of God.
- Seeking God’s kingdom should be the top priority in our lives!