Notes on Daniel 2:34-35, 44-45
“Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.”
“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.” (Daniel 2:34-35, 44-45 AV)
The course of Gentile power is destined by God to climax in the destruction of antichristianity and the institution of another kingdom upon the earth—the kingdom of Christ, the millennial Kingdom. The Kingdom that follows on after the four great Gentile empires ought to be of interest to every Christian.
God has the final word in this earth! When human power has accomplished His purpose then He will set it all aside and bring in the Kingdom of Christ.
I THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST HAS A SPECIAL FUTURE DIMENSION UPON THE EARTH.
1. The earth is obviously in view here. The earth—and particularly that part of the earth that has been the seat of these Gentile powers—will be the focus of a fifth great empire that succeeds the fourth/Roman empire when it has divided into two and then into ten parts.
2. This is a Kingdom in which Christ has the central role. He is the stone. He will be the King! Cp Zech 14:9, Matt 25:31, 34. His saints will reign with Him, 7:22, 27, Matt 19:28, Rev 5:10, 19:11-16, 20:4.
3. The nature of this kingdom is of vital significance.
a) It is a kingdom referred to in the same terms as the preceding empires. It is an empire that exercises governmental control in the earth. This is the symbolic meaning of the stone becoming a mountain. Cp Ps 2:6, 110:1-2, Jer 23:5-6, Rev 11:15-18.
b) It is not the gospel/spiritual kingdom of God. That Kingdom is already in existence at the point of Daniel’s writing. Historically it was already in place even before this image began to be assembled! Cp Matt 21:43—the Kingdom of God was a reality for OT Israel. The gospel Kingdom does not destroy, nor usurp the place of civil government. Cp Rom 13:1-2, I Pet 2:13.
c) It is not a reference to the extension of the Kingdom of God to include the Gentile nations in the wake of Christ’s first advent. This kingdom is ushered in by judgement. Cp John 3:17, 12:47, 18:36.
4. The timeline of this vision shows it to be a future Kingdom. There is obviously an historical timeline here.
a) Clearly, Christ has not come in judgement and wrath to destroy and judge in the terms indicated by the vision. Cp Luke 19:11, 15, 27. The setting up of the Kingdom requires the coming of the King; the judgement of the saints; the destruction of the Antichrist and the wicked; the resurrection of dead saints, etc.
b) The Roman Empire has not yet resolved itself into ten toes. Cp v44. The division into the two legs is an historical fact—the last emperor to rule the united empire died in 395 AD. It has not yet been resolved into ten distinct yet connected kingdoms as it must before the Antichrist appears and before Christ comes again. Cp Rev 17:12-14.
II THIS IS A KINGDOM SET UP BY GOD HIMSELF UPON THE EARTH.
1. It is the direct work of God Himself. While God in sovereign power was at work behind the scenes as each successive empire rose and fell there were human instruments at work. The final empire on earth will be the direct result of God immediately at work in the affairs of men. This is the significance of the stone being cut out without hands, v45. Cp Acts 1:6-7—not even knowledge of the time in view belongs to men! It has ever been the case that God must work directly to establish His cause in the earth. Whether it is to establish His Kingdom in the heart of a sinner; or build His Church—the direct work of God in power is required to accomplish such a thing.
2. It is therefore a Kingdom that shall never pass away. It will never be destroyed nor pass into the hands of other men. The millennial phase of the Kingdom will climax in the great white throne judgement and give way to the eternal state in the new heavens and new earth, I Cor 15:23-25.
3. The events spoken of here are certain and sure because it is the revelation of God. Cp v45.
The Christian has a glorious hope, II Tim 2:12. Will you be part of that glorious Kingdom? You must be part of the Kingdom now to be part of it then!