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2.7.3 - The Eternal Kingdom of Messiah

In contrast with the temporal Gentile kingdoms, the book of Daniel predicts a coming eternal kingdom ruled by the Messiah. This eternal kingdom differs from the Gentile kingdoms in its righteous nature, but especially in its everlasting dominion (Dan. 2:44+; 7:13-14+, 27+).1

The eternal nature of God’s kingdom also finds emphasis in the testimony of both Gentile kings: Nebuchadnezzar and Darius the Mede (Dan. 4:3+, 34+; 5:26+). The kingdom is said to be God’s, but the book also indicates it will be ruled over by a representative of man, the Messiah, God’s own Son (Dan. 7:13-14+ cf. Mat. 24:30; 26:64; Mark 13:26; 14:62). This occurs at the second coming of Christ, whereas at His first coming, “Messiah the Prince” is predicted to be cut off as predicted by Gabriel in his message to Daniel (Dan. 9:24-27+). The global dominion of the eternal kingdom of Messiah is also emphasized, especially in the way it will bring to an end and supersede all previous earthly kingdoms (Dan. 2:35+, 44+; 7:14+, 27+).

Daniel also emphasizes the person and work of the Messiah as Jerome recognized centuries ago. In the Son of Man figure (Dan. 7:13-14+), the seventy sevens passage of chap. 9+, and elsewhere in the prophecy, Christ is set forth. Both his first and second advents are referred to, with particular attention directed toward the latter.... Finally, eschatology is a prominent theme in Daniel’s prophecies, particularly the tribulation of the last days and the subsequent new world. Someday the Messiah will appear and establish a kingdom that will bring earthly regimes to an end.2

A significant passage in chapter 7 relates that the kingdom “shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High” (Dan. 7:27+), contributing to the doctrine of the co-rule of the saints in the Messianic Kingdom (Ps. 45:16; Dan. 7:27+; Rev. 2:26+; 3:21+; 5:10+; 20:6+; 22:5+). This truth is especially relevant during the difficulties the saints face prior to the arrival of the kingdom.3

The permanence and eventual global control of the eternal Kingdom of Messiah is at odds with man’s attempt to establish a kingdom independently from God of similar characteristics:

“Men always try to reestablish the kingdom of Babel. Every major political leader, whether you’re talking about Nebuchadnezzar, Alexander the Great, Caesar or you come up into more modern times with Napoleon and Adolph Hitler, every major political leader in human history has tried to reestablish the kingdom of man and to bring the entire world under one governmental system. Why? Because man wants to control his destiny independent from God; he wants to set up a society and all the structures in society, from education, politics, economics, law, he wants to set everything up completely free from divine interference. And what we see in this is the seed of the Biblical critique of human culture, that man tries to continuously establish his social structures, his intellectual, his political existence independent from God and free from the authority of His Word, but God is not going to allow that to happen and it continuously fails.”4

A major theme of the book of Daniel is the contest between the kingdom of man (originated in Babel) and the kingdom of Messiah—and the ultimate victory of Messiah’s kingdom as the only eternal kingdom.

Notes

1 “Two statements in chapters 2 and 7 might express the theme of Daniel: ‘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 itself endure forever’ (2:44). ‘I kept looking . . . and behold . . . One like a Son of Man was coming. . . . His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away, and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed’ (7:13–14).”—Les P. Bruce, “Discourse Theme and the Narratives of Daniel,” in Bibliotheca Sacra, vol. 160 no. 638 (Dallas, TX: Dallas Theological Seminary, April-June 2003), 177-178.

2 Stephen R. Miller, “Daniel,” in E. Ray Clendenen, Kenneth A. Mathews, and David S. Dockery, eds., The New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 1994), 51.

3 “The place of the saints in God’s everlasting kingdom is also supported by the historical episodes. The saints will be promoted to positions of responsibility within His kingdom. The servants of God, participants in the narratives in chapters 1–6, illustrate that principle. . . . Believers can live with the conviction that they are part of a greater kingdom in which they have rights and responsibilities. Believers in various political regimes may face persecution and hardship or even martyrdom.”—Bruce, Discourse Theme and the Narratives of Daniel, 182-183.

4 Robert Dean, Lessons on Daniel (Spokane, WA: Ellen Kelso [transcriber], 2006), 2-22.


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