Daniel, Babylon, and the Kingdom of God Part 3 – The Dream of the Kingdom

baby-jesusSo before I begin on this next part of the series, let me say that while I was correct that it has been an historic election, I was wrong in my prediction about the ultimate result. I agreed that there were Trump supporters the pollsters didn’t and couldn’t measure for various reasons, but I did not think it would have made that big of an impact.

The main point of the post, however, is still valid. In terms of the Kingdom of God, the election did not matter. Neither Trump nor Hillary can help, hurt, or hinder the Kingdom of God. And this week’s blog is the prime example of that.

So far, I’ve talked about the type of character and faithfulness that it takes to be God’s representative in a situation. If anyone had reason to betray their faith or believe God had betrayed them, it was Daniel and his three friends. Yet they did not. Standing for truth and God will always be counter cultural, to some degree, no matter how some paint or white wash their political views. We see that clearly with Daniel.

So what was the dream? Many have studied this dream, so I will simply summarize it for us and then make some points.

God told Daniel Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, and it was this:

“You, O king, were watching; and behold, a great image! This great image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome. This image’s head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.” – from Daniel 2

This was a powerful dream full of symbolism and meaning. Just as God gave Daniel the dream, he gave the interpretation. The statue represented kingdoms, empires. And Babylon was the first.

Now, to understand this imagery, we have to delve into a little language and cultural context. For the time, and Jews in particular, the “head” of something was the source of it. Yes, leadership and authority was involved, but that derived from an idea of the SOURCE of something. Biblical thinking was that the SOURCE of something was important, eternally important, even, and determined the end of it. Source determined end. To change the end, we must change the source.

There’s a lot to cover there, but as reference in the New Testament, when Paul talks about Jesus being the HEAD of the church or man being the HEAD of woman, he is talking about SOURCE, where it originated from. We could also reference the Old Testament ideas of building an altar from uncut stones, cut without human hands. Anything else was unworthy for sacrifice.

So Babylon is the source of worldly empires and kingdoms. We could argue the history of that, given Egypt and China and other powerful nations that were before or contemporary to Babylon. But Babylon was different, spiritually. It supplanted the Jewish nation as the power in that region, and if we follow that symbolism, then the rest of the empires after Babylon follow incredibly into place and the prophecy is amazingly accurate.

But the point of the dream is not the details of the empires, however. The point of the dream is that there is this other Kingdom that comes in (a stone uncut by human hands) and breaks into the scene after these other have had their time. This Kingdom’s impact is so great that all the others, despite the material which with they are made, are ground to dust by this Heavenly Kingdom and forgotten. It’s like they didn’t exist at all. Ever.

We could argue the details here, but we won’t. The message is simple. There is a Kingdom that is so powerful and transcendent that no other empire or nation can resist it. And this is because of the source of that Kingdom.

The source of the Kingdom is heaven, eternal, from God and the Spirit. As I’ve said before and will say again – temporal has no power over the eternal, the earth has no power over the heavenly, and man cannot stop God.

I love my country. I love America. I hope for the best. But it cannot compare or compete with the Kingdom of God. One day America will be a distant memory, or forgotten entirely. The Kingdom of God is all that will remain.

As we get into Christmas, this is what the birth of Jesus announced to the Jews who were looking and paying attention: the only Kingdom that will remain has come. The King Himself is here.

They were thinking of Daniel.

And in a world full of corruption and oppression and violence and division, this was great news. The best news ever, actually.

In a country that is full of violence and division and misinformation and political idolatry, it still is.

Peace.

 

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