Daniel’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream for his future which was given about 3,500 years ago may be the most clear detail of the Kingdom of God arriving on earth. The 4 Kingdoms are almost unanimously agreed to be 1st) ~ Babylon, 2nd) ~ Medo-Persia, ~ 3rd) Greece and 4th) ~ Rome. The only discrepancy appears to be the “10 toes” of the 4th Empire and it’s timing. (see the picture above)
My point is to attempt to explore the idea that this prophecy has been fulfilled by Jesus already because these prophecies was directed towards Israel’s near future and not the entire world.
Without being extremely exhaustive; Daniel’s prophecies detail a “tree”, and a statue that clearly represents the 4 Empires mentioned above. This prophecy depicts Israel’s near future because these 4 Kingdoms are also decisively referred to in Dan.7 where they are described like “Beasts” that come up out of the “earth” and they all reign over the land of Israel. The Hebrew word “ara” for “earth” is only used 15 times and is exclusive to the Book of Daniel.
The way that Daniel consistently used this word in his prophecies should be how we determine the word’s true meaning. Consider~
Dan.4:1 ~ “King Nebuchadnezzar to all peoples, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth (ara): Peace be multiplied to you!”…4:10,11 ~10The visions of my head as I lay in bed were these: I saw, and behold, a tree in the midst of the earth (ara), and its height was great. 11The tree grew and became strong, and its top reached to heaven, and it was visible to the end of the whole earth (ara).”
Although Nebuchadnezzar was a powerful king that dominated his lifetime like a huge tree; he never ruled over the “entire earth” but, only over the “entire inhabited world”. It’s important that we recognize the difference to consistently handle the Scriptures and be able to discern the truth of Daniel’s prophecies.
Daniel also used this same word for inhabited earth (ara) in the prophecies of the Statue (representing 4 “world-wide” Empires) and the same 4 empires as “Beasts”.
I am going to intertwine these 2 prophecies because it is almost unanimously agreed that they convey the same story.
The “Head of Gold” Kingdom, Babylon lasted until 530’s BC, Medo/Persia was the “chest of silver” until around 320’s BC when Alexander the Great conquered the “world” with the quickness of a winged leopard who died just as quickly. During much of this time (early 500’s BC), the Roman Republic was growing and expanding until it officially became 4th Kingdom known as “The Roman Empire” in 27 B.C.
*Note the flow of the prophecy. All 4 Empires succeed each other. It’s one after the other; not one after the other and 2,500 years in between!
It is overwhelmingly agreed that this “Iron Beast” (the 4th beast) was Rome but, we cannot overlook important details! Dan.7 ~
23“Thus he said: ‘As for the fourth beast, there shall be a fourth kingdom on earth,which shall be different from all the kingdoms, and it shall devour the whole earth (ara),and trample it down, and break it to pieces.”
Did Rome devour the “whole earth” or did it devour the “entire inhabited earth”? Just as Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon did not rule over the entire world; so Rome did not and will not ever. Daniel used the same word every time and it must indicate their rule over the entire known world at the time. (More uses by Daniel of “ara” meaning ~ “inhabited earth” and not “entire world”. ~ Dan.4:20 & Dan.4:22 & Dan.6:25 )
Unless Daniel was wrong (which he wasn’t) or he neglected the Islamic empires, Nazi, British, American, etc…and skipped over 2,000 years of history (or more) to foresee a completely different Roman Empire that rules over the entire world (a concept they had no gauge for 3,500 years ago) or many of us have been unintentionally misinformed.
It’s practically unanimously agreed that the 3rd Kingdom is the Kingdom of Greece because it was the 3rd Kingdom (after Babylon and Medo-Persia) and did get divided into 4 smaller kingdoms (Dan.7:6 & Dan.8:8 & Dan.8:21-23) after Alexander the Great died at a very young age. It’s interesting how accurately Daniel described this future King in 8:8 ~“Then the goat became exceedingly great, but when he was strong, the great horn was broken…”by using Alexander’s own title, “Great” twice!
It was said of this Kingdom of Greece in Dan.2: “39Another kingdom inferior to you shall arise after you, and yet a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth (ara).”
The problem with the use of the word “earth” from the perspective of “the entire world” is that it does not align with history or Daniel’s intentional use of a word different than the entire world God created. However, Alexander did rule over the “known world” or “inhabited land” which, seems to be Daniel’s meaning when he prophesied.
Consider that every time this word “ara” is used to represent “inhabited world at that time” in Daniel’s prophecies it would be consistent with history, the Bible and therefore Daniel’s intentional use of a word that represents something less than the “entire world”!
Consider that Daniel was in exile with the Jews in Babylon and after this amazing revelation he searched the Scriptures, seeking the Lord and praying about the restoration of their literal Temple and City of Jerusalem which came in the generation after him! His prophecies were specifically about the next 490 years; the Kingdoms that would reign the “ara” (entire inhabited world at that time) and most importantly to them, Jerusalem!
Jerusalem and the Temple were the center of their civilization and worship but, Jesus brought a New Covenant, different age and The Kingdom of God where we can all “worship in spirit and truth”! There is no separation in the 70 weeks of Daniel in his prophecy except that Jesus, The Messiah was killed and His Covenant and Kingdom were rejected by the Jews! The 70th week is not some future event, it happened almost 2,000 years ago!
Concerning the 4 Kingdoms of men in Daniel ~ 34“You continued looking until a stone was cut out without hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and crushed them.”
44“In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, andthat 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. 45“Inasmuch as you saw that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold, the great God has made known to the king what will take place in the future ~ Daniel 2
After the 4 “Beasts” were defeated, Daniel prophesied ~
“13“I kept looking in the night visions,
And behold, with the clouds of heaven
One like a Son of Man was coming,
And He came up to the Ancient of Days
And was presented before Him.
14“And to Him was given dominion,
Glory and a kingdom,
That all the peoples, nations and men of every language
Might serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
Which will not pass away;
And His kingdom is one
Which will not be destroyed.”
Jesus has already received his dominion. He is simply waiting for us to receive it and then enforce it!
“he told me and made known to me the interpretation of these things: 17‘These great beasts, which are four in number, are four kings who will arise from the earth. 18‘But the saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come.’
The saints must believe the Kingdom has arrived before they can receive and possess it! God is never forcing anything on us. We have the choice (but not the right) to reject His Kingdom and His righteousness or seek it with all our being!
18And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. ~ Matt.28:18
20which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, 23which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. ~ Eph. 1:20-23
It’s time to fulfill our part in history and expand God’s Kingdom on earth.