Let’s open our Bibles to the book of Deuteronomy, chapter 17, verses 16-17. And if you are here for the first time we have started a series of studies on the kingdom, the Kingdom of God, which really takes you into the whole Bible. In the book that I wrote we’re basically in chapter 5 but as I mentioned before the book I wrote really isn’t supposed to be the authority, that book just organizes biblical data, so the Bible is the authority in the study. We’re just doing a topical study on the whole subject of the kingdom. And the first major section of this study is what does the Bible say about the kingdom because in a lot of people’s vocabulary, as I said in our first session, you hear this word “kingdom” thrown around a lot today. Ministries say they’re building the kingdom or growing the kingdom and all these kinds of things and what people are not doing, for whatever reason, is going to the Bible to figure out what the kingdom is.
So from that vantage point we’re really starting in Genesis and going all the way through Revelation and I’m taking you through the high points concerning the kingdom. And on the bus so far we’ve made three stops; our first stop was the Garden of Eden and that’s where God set up the kingdom that He wanted over the earth where He was governing a man, Adam, and Adam and Eve together were governing creation for God. And you see that whole structure coming into existence in Genesis 1:26-28.
[Genesis 1:26-28, “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’  God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.  God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”]
And what Satan did right at the beginning of human history is he subverted that office. The fancy name for it is theocratic administrator, or somebody who governs for God. So Adam and Eve, rather than ruling over the animals for God started listening to the animals; in particular they listened to a talking snake. And the moment Adam and Eve started listening to the animals and in the process rebelling against God is the moment the kingdom was lost to the earth. And who became the god of this age? Satan!
So what starts to happen really fast in the Bible is prophecy starts to be given concerning how God is going to restore this office. So the whole point of the Bible really, and we’re part of it because we’re going to be ruling and reigning with Christ one day in this kingdom, is how God’s authority over the present earth gets restored. And one of these days God the Father is going to rule again, not over the first Adam but the last Adam, and He will govern creation for God; the last Adam would be Jesus Christ. Satan will be evicted and this structure has to come back so God wins, in essence. So He has to reassert authority over what was lost in Eden.
So as you move into the Bible the second stop on the bus is the covenant that God made with Abraham and this is where God creates a nation, the nation of Israel. He calls Abraham out of the Ur of the Chaldeans, tells him to walk by faith and He begins to unfurl promises to him. These promises all pertain to this earth; He’s given earthly promises and things of that nature. So God then has purposed to bring His kingdom to the world through this nation, the nation of Israel. And that’s really the significance of the Abrahamic Covenant, as we’ve studied it.
And the Abrahamic Covenant gives the nation of Israel ownership over three blessings; remember what those are? Land, seed and blessing! And that’s the foundation and then God just goes through the Bible and just develops those promises, really all the way through the Old Testament.
The next stop on the bus is the Mosaic Covenant, and the Mosaic Covenant at Mt. Sinai introduces if/then language, which we saw last time in Exodus 19:5-6. [Exodus 19:5, “Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine;  and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel”]
If the Abrahamic Covenant gave Israel ownership of her blessings the Mosaic Covenant gives her enjoyment of her blessings. So in other words, you can be an owner without enjoying what you have; you can be owner without being a possessor. So I could own a beach house in the Hamptons but I’m so busy working I never really enter in and enjoy or possess what it is I own. See that?
So the Abrahamic Covenant unconditionally gives to the nation of Israel land, seed and blessing, but whether a generation of Jews actually enjoys what they own is contingent upon their response to the Mosaic Covenant.
And we saw last time that the Mosaic Covenant points ultimately to Jesus; remember we looked at those verses last time, Deuteronomy 17:15, John 5:45-47. [Deuteronomy 17:15, “you shall surely set a king over you whom the LORD your God chooses, one from among your countrymen you shall set as king over yourselves; you may not put a foreigner over yourselves who is not your countryman.” John 5:45-47, “How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God? [John 5:47, “Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; the one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope.  For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me.  But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”]
And essentially when Israel becomes the owner and the possessor, she’s already the owner but once she possesses what she owns by complying with the Mosaic Covenant, which points towards Christ, is the moment the kingdom comes to the earth. So since the Mosaic Covenant points towards Jesus Christ, as long as the nation of Israel is not a Christ-accepting nation the kingdom is not in a state of cancellation, God can’t cancel the kingdom because of which covenant? The Abrahamic Covenant. But the kingdom remains in a state, not of cancellation but of postponement. And that’s the condition of the kingdom today. It’s all riding on Israel’s response to her Messiah and you see that spelled out in the Mosaic Covenant and I showed you several verses on that last time. So Eden is the original structure, the covenant with Abraham is ownership, the covenant with Moses is enjoyment. Are you guys with me on that so far?
The next stop on the bus is what’s called the divided kingdom. This was the original structure that God had originally set up in Eden; God was going to govern Adam and Eve and they were going to govern creation on God’s behalf. When they started listening to creation instead of governing creation that’s the moment the kingdom was lost, the theocratic kingdom was lost to the earth.
And remember last time we saw that very peculiar statement that Paul makes in Romans 5:14, “Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses…” so the time period from Adam to Moses is a very dark and difficult time because the theocratic arrangement is on planet earth and it’s not until the covenant with Moses, around 1446 or so, the date of the Exodus, that you see this word kingdom, it’s right there in Exodus 19:6, it says, [5b] “…for all the earth is Mine;  and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation’” So at this point the word “kingdom” is used really for the first time (relative to the nation of Israel) in the whole Bible, in the whole Old Testament up to this point.
And so I believe that at this point the office of theocratic administrator returns to the earth, not over the whole earth the way it was set up in Eden but over this tiny nation called Israel. So God purposed to use Israel as sort of a microcosm, if you will, to give the inhabitants of the earth a taste of what life could be like with the reign of God and the office of Theocratic Administrator restored to the entire earth. So this is the arrangement; God now is governing through an agent, the first one would be Moses and then He governs through other agents. Who followed Moses as God’s leader? Joshua. Joshua then becomes the theocratic administration, not over the earth but over Israel. And then the era of Joshua is followed by the Judges so they become the theocratic administrators. The era of the Judges is then followed by the Kings and so all the way through 1 Kings into 2 Kings, all of these kings become the theocratic administrators of God. And some kings did well, some didn’t, most didn’t. But God designed this to be sort of a foretaste of what the kingdom could be with someone governing God’s people on God’s behalf, something that Adam and Eve were doing over the earth, this is happening now imperfectly through most of Old Testament history.
And who were the first three kings of the nation of Israel? The first guy is Saul, the second guy is David, and the third guy is Solomon. Each king governs for about forty years. Saul reigns from about 1051-1011 B.C. And then after Saul would come David who would reign from about 1011-971 B.C. And then after him would come Solomon who would reign from about 971-931 B.C. So this takes us into what I would call the divided kingdom because prior to Solomon leaving the throne the first three kings of the nation of Israel governed over what’s called the united kingdom, the kingdom was never divided during the reigns of those first three kings.
Now in the Mosaic Covenant, which gives to the nation of Israel, not ownership but possession or enjoyment, there’s a clause here related to how the kings are supposed to function. Notice if you will Deuteronomy 17:16-17, it says, “Moreover, he” that’s the king, “shall not multiply horses for himself, nor shall he cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, since the LORD has said to you, ‘You shall never again return that way.’ He shall not multiply wives for himself, or else his heart will turn away; nor shall he greatly increase silver and gold for himself.” So this is actually a very advanced legal principle where the king is actually under the law of God. In the Ancient Near East the way it worked is the divine right of kings the king did whatever he wanted because he was a god. But not so in the land of Israel, there was a law given and the king was to be under God’s law. In fact, the king, when you study Deuteronomy 17, was to write out the Law of God by hand in the presences of the priests (plural), to be sure he did the job right, so that he would know what principles he was to be governed by. And I think that’s a good rule, don’t you think, for some of our politicians today; I think we should make them all write out the United States Constitution by hand so they know what’s supposed to be governing them.
But Solomon woke up one day and if you go over to 1 Kings 11:1-8 it’s almost like Solomon woke up one day, he’s the third king of the united kingdom, and it’s almost like he looked at Deuteronomy 17:16-17, which was written about 400-500 years earlier, and he just decided to do the exact opposite. What does he do? If you look at 1 Kings 11:1, “Now King Solomon loved many foreign women” now didn’t the principle say the king should not multiply wives and it mentions all of these foreign women that he loved, Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Hittite women, and then it says  “from the nations which the LORD had said to the sons of Israel you shall not associate with them … for they will turn your heart away after their Gods.’ Solomon held fast to these in love.” And it goes on, it says,  “He had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines, and his wives” plural, there’s a lot of them here, “turned his heart away.  For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been.
And it goes on here talking about all these things that Solomon did, how he burned incense and did all these detestable practices. [5, “For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians and after Milcom the detestable idol of the Ammonites.  Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and did not follow the LORD fully, as David his father had done.  Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable idol of Moab, on the mountain which is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the detestable idol of the sons of Ammon.  Thus also he did for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.”]
And beyond that he multiplied wealth for himself. So everything the law of Moses said don’t do about 400, 500 years later Solomon did the exact opposite. Now remember the Mosaic Covenant, see the section I’ve got underlined there, there’s blessings for obedience and what, curses for disobedience. That was the type of arrangement that God put the nation of Israel under. And the curses, you can find in Deuteronomy 28:15-68, these are very real curses. Does anybody recall the height of the curses? What’s the ultimate thing that’s going to happen as the nation of Israel persists in unbelief. Exile! Over in Deuteronomy 28:49-50 it says there, remember Moses is articulating these things all the way back in the 15th century, “The LORD will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as the eagle swoops down, a nation whose language you shall not understand,  a nation of fierce countenance who will have no respect for the old, nor show favor to the young.”
So the ultimate curse that God would bring against His own people as an act of discipline would be an invasion by a foreign power. So these are spelled out in Deuteronomy 28:15-68, it’s part of the Mosaic Covenant. They’re also spelled out in the book of Leviticus, chapter 26, verses 14-46. And if you wanted to understand Israel’s history in advance these two chapters have been called the spine of the Old Testament because they graphically depict everything that happened to this nation, Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28.
So Solomon is in disobedience to the Mosaic Covenant, he’s the third king of the United Kingdom. God has to bring discipline against His own people because of this Mosaic Covenant, which as we mentioned before is not like the Abrahamic Covenant. This is a bilateral covenant. You want to be cursed, disobey; if you want to be blessed and enjoy what you possess then obey the covenant.
So what does God do? Right after Solomon left the throne He brings His first wave of discipline which happened around 931 B.C. You’ll find a description of it in 1 Kings 12 where God divided the kingdom. So the division is between the ten northern tribes that took on the name Israel throughout the rest of the biblical Old Testament history. And does anybody know where their capitol was located? The ten northern tribes? Samaria. And then down south you have the two remaining southern tribes, Benjamin and Judah; the southern kingdom takes on the name Judah because that was the more dominant tribe and their capital was in Jerusalem. So you go all the way through the Old Testament and what you start to see is this divided kingdom and this is actually an act of discipline by God, I believe against Solomon for his gross violations of the Mosaic Covenant.
The northern tribes, Israel, they continued on into apostasy and idolatry. So what God did is He ultimately brought discipline against the north. He had to do it because of which covenant? The Mosaic Covenant. And didn’t God say in Deuteronomy 28:49-50 I’ll bring a pagan power against you. So the northern tribes were taken into discipline, they were basically scattered, in the year 722 B.C. by the Assyrians. And the key chapter that describes this is 2 Kings 17. And again this is a very real form of discipline that was just as real as what God implemented there against Solomon.
So God is taking very seriously what He said in this Mosaic Covenant. He told them exactly what would happen, at this point about 700 years had passed, which is a long time when you think about it, the United States of America has only been here for what? 240 years, something to that extent. So this would be the United States of America a little more than two, almost times three. And so God was very patient with the north but they went so far that God finally had to make good on what He said He would do, they wouldn’t listen to the prophets. So here come the Assyrians in 722 B.C. and it’s at this point the north is scattered. So the ten northern tribes at this point are scattered.
Now wouldn’t you think that the remaining two southern tribes would have learned their lesson? But they didn’t. Now one of the things I want to bring up here is God showed more grace to the south than He did to the north and there’s a reason for that. He showed them more grace because the south was not scattered the way the north was but they were taken into captivity. So he gave them a little bit more grace. He also allowed them to exist for an additional 136 years. So the south was really not taken into captivity until 586 B.C. so thy lasted at least 136 years longer than their northern counterparts.
And beyond that, the north has 19 kings as you study the books of 1 Kings and 2 Kings. How many good kings do you have in the north? Zero, so they went 0 and 19; that’s quite a season isn’t it, your team going 0 and 19, that’s not a very good year. The south on the other hand had 20 kings and at least they had 8 of the 20 which were good. And even those which were considered good were really partly good, they did some good things but they weren’t perfectly good because they committed sins as well. But at least in the south you got 8 good kings and so what you see from this, by the fact that the north is scattered and the south is taken into captivity, the north has no good kings, the south at least has 8 and the south lasts 136 years longer than the north. What you see is God dealing in more grace with the south than with the north.
And the question becomes why did God extend more grace to the south than He did to the north. The answer to that is Genesis 49:10 which prophecies that a ruler, who is ultimately the Messiah, is going to comes from which tribe? The tribe of Judah. Benjamin and Judah are not in the north but they’re in the south. So that’s probably the primary reason why God preserved the south, at least in the captivity, in Babylon, and allowed them to come back into the land because He’s got to make good on His promise here in Genesis 49:10.
Now remember the Abrahamic Covenant gives to the nation Israel land, seed and blessing and the seed is developed in which covenant? The Davidic Covenant. We’ve studied 2 Samuel 7:12-16 where we learn that there’s coming a descendant from the lineage of David who’s going to bring in an eternal dynasty. And we know that figure is ultimately Jesus Christ.
Now where did these kings coming from David’s line, where did they reign? Did they reign in the north or did they reign in the south? They reigned in the south. So what you see is God giving more grace to the south than He did the north, because of two Scriptures that He has to fulfill; God can’t lie, Genesis 49:10. Messiah has got to come from the tribe of Judah, and 2 Samuel 7:12-16, the Davidic Covenant, because there has to come one from the lineage of David whose going to fulfill all of these promises.
[Genesis 49:10, “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes, And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.” 2 Samuel 7:12-16, “When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom.  He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.  I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men,  but My lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you.  Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.”]
So God is showing a little extra grace to the south than He did the north. And you would think the south with her blessings and seeing what happened to the north would learn her lesson, but she didn’t. And that’s where Ezekiel 23 becomes such a big deal. Ezekiel 23 talks about two sisters. Remember Ezekiel is prophesying in the days of the Babylonian captivity for the south. There’s two sisters, Oholah is sister one, that’s the older sister, Oholibah is sister two, that’s the younger sister. So Oholah represents the northern kingdom in Ezekiel’s prophecy here, and Oholibah represents the southern kingdom. And he’s talking about these two sisters and the older sister, Oholah became very promiscuous, and she was brought into discipline by God in Ezekiel’s parable here or prophecy in Ezekiel 23.
And Ezekiel says you would think Oholibah, the younger sister would have learned her lesson and not imitated the detestable patterns of her older sister so she would not be brought into discipline as her older sister had been brought into discipline. But he says the younger sister actually became worse than the older sister. She became… whatever sins were committed by the older sister the younger sister compounded and expedited those sins and she became wildly promiscuous. So if you want to read some, what I would call Christian pornography, and I say that because this chapter is very… now everybody is getting out their Bible, where is that again… it’s very sexually graphic and it’s being used as a parable to describe the spiritual sin committed by first the northern tribe and then the southern tribes. So I call this actually Christian pornography, it’s borderline pornographic what it says here.
And another chapter that’s like that in the book of Ezekiel is Ezekiel 16. So Ezekiel 16, which describes Jerusalem’s sins, comparing them to sexual sins, and Ezekiel 23, are used by the prophet Ezekiel to describe from God’s vantage point what the sin of, first of all the north, the south, felt like to God’s heart because the nation of Israel is God’s what? Wife! See, the church is the bride of Christ, we haven’t even gotten to the subject of the church yet. Israel is the wife of Jehovah so when Israel wandered off into all of these sins it was akin to adultery as far as God is concerned. That’s why He’s using all of this type of imagery to describe what was happening here.
So the south, Benjamin and Judah, actually become worse than the north according to Ezekiel 23. So what does God have to do? Ultimately He’s got to bring discipline; He can’t discipline the north and then let the south off the hook. Right? The discipline is spelled out in which chapter of the Bible? Deuteronomy 28, and which verses depict a pagan power coming against God’s people? Verses 49-50. [Deuteronomy 28:49, “The LORD will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as the eagle swoops down, a nation whose language you shall not understand,  a nation of fierce countenance who will have no respect for the old, nor show favor to the young.”]
So the identical pattern that Moses said.. now this would be about 800 years in advance that Moses is saying this, the identical pattern that happened to the north now happens to the south and the south is taken off into captivity in Babylon in the year 586 B.C. And the key chapter that talks about that in the Bible is 2 Kings chapter 25. And it is at this point that the office of theocratic administrator, which was established in Eden and lost in Eden and then restored in a very limited sense in the time of Moses and governs Israel all the way from Moses to Joshua to Judges to all the Kings, it’s at this point in history that the office of theocratic administrator completely disappears from the earth. And that is the significance of the Shekinah glory of God departing from the temple. That is what the prophet Ezekiel sees happening in Ezekiel 8-11.
So prior to the instrument of discipline, Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, prior to him destroying the temple that Solomon built, going all the way back to 966 B.C. the Shekinah glory of God which entered the temple, remember, in the days of Solomon, 1 Kings 8, 7, 6, right in there, talks about it, that Shekinah glory entered the temple and now that Shekinah glory leaves the temple. And what you have to understand about the book of Ezekiel is it’s a symmetrical book. Chapters 1-24 are counterbalanced by what’s going on in chapters 33-48. So in the first part of the book Ezekiel’s mouth is closed; in the last part of the book, chapters 33-48 Ezekiel’s mouth is opened. The first part of the book Ezekiel prophesied judgment on Judah, but in chapters 33-48 he prophesies blessing of the future upon Israel. In the first major section of the book the Shekinah glory of God departs from the temple. In the last section of the book what happens with the Shekinah glory of God in the millennial temple? It goes right back into it.
So the time period when the Shekinah glory of God is gone is the time period when the office of theocratic administrator is vacated from the earth. And what counterbalances those two major sections, chapters 1-24 and chapters 33-48 is God’s judgment on the surrounding nations, which is the fulcrum which you find in chapters 25-32. I know that’s a lot of information, I’ll go back to that but the point I want you to see is the removal of the Shekinah glory of God. And this happens at the beginning of the Babylonian captivity, actually just prior to the Babylonian captivity. And Ezekiel has all of these visions about what these priests are doing in this temple and it’s just outrageous what they’re doing, they’ve got all these idolatrous paintings all over the walls and all of these things and the sin got so bad that God finally couldn’t look the other direction and He brought discipline on the south just like He did on the north.
So people say are we in the kingdom now? No, because the Shekinah glory of God is not in the temple. It will go back into the millennial temple and that’s when the office of theocratic administrator is restored to the earth. So we’re living in a period of time now where the office of theocratic administrator, which existed in Eden, was lost from Adam to Moses, restored in a limited sense at the time of Moses , with the Mosaic Covenant, governed Israel in a limited sense all the way through Zedekiah, the last reigning king on David’s throne. That office of theocratic administrator disappears from the earth and we’re not going to see it again until the millennial temple is rebuilt in the millennial kingdom and the shekinah glory of God returns. So that’s the whole significance of the divided kingdom. That’s what happens to God’s kingdom program with the kingdom’s division and the subsequent discipline on the northern tribes first, in 722 and then the southern tribes in 586.
So now Israel enters a time period, and this takes us to number 5 where we’re trying to trace the kingdom program through the Bible, it takes Israel into a time period called the times of the Gentiles. And if you’ve been tracking with us on Sunday morning this should kind of ring a bell. Does that ring a bell at all to anybody? Okay, because we’re studying Daniel right now and Daniel is raised up to give the prophetic picture of God during the times of the Gentiles when the office of theocratic administrator is absent from the earth.
There’s a prophecy in the book of Hosea, Hosea is one of the earlier prophets, and Hosea says in Hosea 3:3-4, “Then I said to her, ‘You shall stay with me for many days. You shall not play the harlot, nor shall you have a man; so I will also be toward you.’” And then it says in verse 4, “For the sons of Israel will remain for many days without king or prince, [without sacrifice or sacred pillar and without ephod or household idols.”] And I believe Hosea is making a prophecy, if you will, that one of these days the office of theocratic administrator is going to disappear and Israel is going to go through a whole season where she doesn’t have this office of theocratic administrator any longer. And that is a time period that Daniel calls the times of the Gentiles. Actually Daniel never uses the expression “the times of the Gentiles,” that’s an expression used by Christ, you might want to jot down Luke 21:24 because that’s where Christ uses the term. [Luke 21:24, “and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”]
And I think there’s a reference to the final forty-two months of the times of the Gentiles in Revelation 11:2. [Revelation 11:2, “Leave out the court which is outside the temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months.”] But what are the times of the Gentiles? The times of the Gentiles is the period of time when there is no king reigning on David’s throne and the nation is being trampled down by various Gentile powers. Nebuchadnezzar, in Daniel 2, has a dream about it because he’s the first king in the times of the Gentiles. And as we’ve studied Daniel 2 on Sunday mornings you know that Daniel was given the task of both revealing this dream and interpreting it, which is only information he can get from who? From God!
So Daniel interprets the various body parts on this metallic statue that Nebuchadnezzar saw, and then Daniel saw, as empires that would trample down Israel during the time of the Gentiles. First you have the head of gold, then you have the chest and arms of silver, then you have the belly an thighs of bronze, then you have the legs of iron and then you have the feet of iron and clay. Then and only then does the stone cut without human hands which is the kingdom, shatter the statue and then the stone cut without human hands grows and grows and grows until it fills the whole earth. And as we’ve studied Daniel 2 on Sunday morning you know that the head of gold was the first empire during the times of the Gentiles, which was Babylon, which trampled the nation of Israel down from about 605 to 539.
The chest and arms of silver was the next empire to come to power and does anybody remember when that next empire comes to power in the book of Daniel? The handwriting on the wall chapter, Daniel chapter 5. That’s where Daniel himself sees his own prophecies come to fruition, a few decades later, because that’s the beginning of the Persians overthrowing the Babylonians and the Persians trampled down the chosen people from about 539 to about 331.
And then you have the belly and thighs of bronze and that would represent the third kingdom in the time of the Gentiles; that would be who? Greece. And they trample the chosen people down from about 331-63 B.C. And then Greece would be followed by who? Rome; Rome is the two legs of iron because we know historically there was an Eastern Roman Empire and a Western Roman Empire. And that Empire is the empire that crucified our Lord, as you know. And that tramples the chosen people down from about 63 B.C. and actually pushes them out of the Promised Land in 70 A.D. So here are the empires: Babylon, and I have the Scripture verses where you can see these as different aspect of the statue, followed by Medo-Persia, followed by Greece, followed by Rome.
Then you get to these feet of iron and clay, and I believe it’s at this point that Daniel’s prophecies flash into the distant future, into something which is still future from our point of view and this is the empire of the antichrist. Sometimes people call that a Revived Roman Empire; I call it Rome Phase II, but what you have to understand is in between the ankles and the feet is the time period of at least 2600 years or more, we’re still waiting for the feet of iron and clay to materialize and we see semblances of it coming together through a one-world government system that excludes God.
And the reason I put this into the future is the ten toes represent ten kings; Rome never had a ten kingdom federacy, ancient Rome. So the feet have to be talking about something future. And that empire is overthrown in an instant by the stone cut without human hands. When you study the fall of the ancient Roman Empire what you discover is Rome was not overthrown instantaneously but deteriorated gradually, so if you were to read Edward Gibbons, The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, where he historically tracks how Rome went out of existence, he doesn’t talk about a cataclysmic sudden instantaneous overthrow; he’s talking about a general petering out of existence as the weakening of the Roman culture and morals took hold.
So therefore this ten king confederacy that’s overthrown instantaneously can’t be something yet past if you take this literally, which I do. It’s got to be something yet future so people think this is kind of a strange way of interpreting the Bible, how can you put 2600 years or more between the ankles and the feet? Well, the reality of the situation is you do this all the time, you just don’t realize it probably, because we just celebrated Christmas, didn’t we? And on our Christmas cards didn’t most of us have Isaiah 9:6? Have you read what Isaiah 9:6 says, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us,” is that the First Coming or Second Coming? That’s the First Coming. Then it says, “the government will rest upon His shoulders.” That’s the Second Coming. And it goes on and it says, [verse 7] “There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it….”
See what Isaiah has done here right in the middle of verse 6, he’s put two prophecies in a back to back fashion and he hasn’t revealed (because he didn’t know about it because God didn’t disclose it to him) a massive gap of time between those prophecies. So this method of interpretation I’m giving you is really not that strange; you’ll see the Holy Spirit doing this quite frequently in some of the most popular prophecies of the Bible.
So the Old Testament prophets were kind of looking at two mountains in the distance. And if the further mountain is raised above, a little bit higher than the nearer mountain what do you really see in the distance? You see these two mountains but what don’t you see? The valley between the mountains. That’s what Isaiah never got to see, that’s what Daniel didn’t see. And this is why these prophets were frustrated with their own prophecies.
1 Peter 1:10-11 says, “The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this. As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries,  seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow.” I mean put yourself in poor Isaiah’s shoes, once second the Holy Spirit gives you a prophecy about a suffering Messiah, like Isaiah 53, the next second another prophecy, like Isaiah 11 or Isaiah 2 or Isaiah 65, you get a whole different picture of the Messiah ruling and reigning, and Isaiah is saying to the Lord what’s going on here? I mean, is He going to be a suffering Messiah or is He going to be a ruling and reigning Messiah, and how could He be both.
So many times, and we’ll see this on Sunday mornings when we’re in the book of Daniel, Daniel wanted to know the meanings of his own prophecies but he’s told very expressly by God, through the angels that gave Daniel the prophecy to go his way. You’ve done your job Daniel, you’ve written down what I’ve told you, the meaning is not going to become clear till a distant generation. And here we are, little ole us in the year 2017 with a completed canon, and the hindsight of history, hindsight is always what? 20/20. We understand it, we understand that the First Coming he suffers, the Second Coming He rules and reigns and in the interim is this vast expanse of time called the age of the church that we’re in now, because we have the vantage point of Paul’s epistles which go into detail. Daniel, Isaiah, none of these prophets of old had this vantage point.
So what is happening here with the statue, going back to Daniel 2 is you’ve got about 2600 years or more between the ankles and the feet. One of these days the empire of the antichrist will rise to power; I think that will happen after the rapture of the church because the antichrist can’t come to power until the restrainer is gone, 2 Thessalonians 2:6-7 talks about that. [2 Thessalonians 2:6-7, “And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed.  For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.”]
And don’t make me prove this or we’ll be here till midnight, this will be a Eutychus sermon, you don’t want that, but I believe the restrainer is the work of the Holy Spirit through the church. What the Lord is doing through His church right now, the body of Christ, worldwide is preventing Satan from bringing forth his man of the hour, the antichrist. But one of these days the church will be gone through the rapture; the restraint will be gone, I think Satan has always had a man waiting in the wings, that’s why so many people in history look like they could be a great antichrist because Satan doesn’t know when this event is going to happen but he’s always got somebody prepped. You know, some of these world leaders, the way they act it’s almost like they’re auditioning for the role of antichrist. But Satan is not omniscient and he doesn’t know when this restraint will be removed so he’s always got somebody ready and but one of these days the restraint is removed, the rapture of the church will take place, the antichrist will come forward, he’ll bring forth his kingdom which is called in Daniel’s prophecy the feet of iron and clay. The good news is it only lasts for 42 months, Revelation 13:5, the second half of the tribulation period. [Revelation 13:5, “There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him.”]
And then this giant stone cut without human hands, which represents the kingdom of God, will strike the feet of the statue causing the whole thing to crumble, the pieces will lie on the floor as Daniel describes it and the winds will drive the pieces away and this stone cut without human hands will grow and grow and grow until it fills the whole earth. The stone cut without human hands is the restoration of the office of theocratic administrator to the earth. It’s what God original set up in Eden, so it will one day come back and this time God is not reigning over the first Adam, He’s reigning over the what? The last Adam and that’s why Ezekiel predicts what returning to the millennial temple? The Shekinah glory of God. See how the whole things fits?
So we’re, as I’ll be explaining in this series, in a very unique period of time now which is not that kingdom; God is at work today through the age of the church but it is not this kingdom program. And that’s where people are getting confused because they’re taking these prophecies that are yet future and just willy-nilly ignoring the rules of grammar and context and applying them to the church through a method of interpretation called allegorization which is not a right way to approach Bible prophecy because all of the prophecies about Christ’s First Coming were fulfilled what? Not symbolically or allegorically but literally. Was Jesus literally born in Bethlehem? Yes, check, got that one. Was He born of a virgin? Yeah, check, that literally happened. Were His hands and feet literally pierced? Yeah, check, that happened. Was He buried in the tomb of a rich man? Yeah, Joseph of Arimathea talks about that. See, all these prophecies I’m rattling off here I’m getting from the Old Testament, and I could go on and on.
So if the First Coming prophecies were all literal why would the Holy Spirit switch horses in midstream and say oh, by the way, the Second Coming prophecies aren’t literal. That wouldn’t make sense, would it? But most of the body of Christ, by way of denominational affiliation, believe that these prophecies yet future are non-literal. If you believe they’re non-literal you can just make it sound like they’re happening today. But the more you become a consistent literalist the more you start putting these off into the future and you start to see that this age of time that we’re in now is not the kingdom. God is clearly at work doing some wonderful things but it’s not the kingdom that’s prophesied.
Now on Sunday mornings we’ve talked about a chiasm; Daniel 2-7 is organized like a chiasm, which is a literary structure; it kind of looks like an X which is the Greek word kai, X. So that’s why it’s called a chiasm. And we know that Daniel 2-7 is an independent literary pattern because unlike the rest of Hebrew Bible which is written in Hebrew Daniel 2-7 is written in Aramaic. So in a chiasm the information in chapter 2 is restated in chapter 7, and you move into the chiasm the theme of chapter 3, civil disobedience is restated in Daniel 6. You move in the inner section of the chiasm and the information in chapter 4, God’s revelation to a Gentile king, Nebuchadnezzar, is restated as God reveals Himself to another Gentile king, a man named Belshazzar. So in the intersection of the chiasm God is revealing Himself to the first king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, Nebuchadnezzar, the first king in the sense he was the first king on the throne to trample down Israel. And then God reveals Himself through the handwriting on the wall to the last king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire. So in chapter 4 He deals with a king through grace; in chapter 5 He deals with a king through judgment. But you see how it’s the same theme restated?
So if this chiastic structure is accurate, and all the scholars see this here, it’s not something I’m just making up, I mean, you get into the literature you’ll see that almost every scholar out there that I know of sees this as a literary pattern. So the information in chapter 2 is restated in chapter 7. What’s the information in chapter 2? It’s the statue which reveals the various empires during the times of the Gentiles. What’s the information in chapter 7? The exact same theme but it reveals the times of the Gentiles as various beasts. So what you’ll discover is in chapter 2 it looks like a beautiful statue; in chapter 7 it looks like four disgusting beasts. Why the difference? In chapter 2 who originally receives the vision? Nebuchadnezzar, he’s the one doing the trampling. So to him it looks like a great time period, doesn’t it? Chapter 7 who receives the vision? Daniel, he’s being trampled on so to him these various empires that will trample down Israel look like four disgusting beasts. Do you see that? So chapter 2 is the Gentile perspective on the times of the Gentiles; chapter 7 is the Jewish perspective on the times of the Gentiles.
So one of these days the empire of the antichrist is going to run its course according to both chapters 2 and chapter 7, and ultimately be replaced by God’s coming kingdom. So Merrill Unger writes this; he says, “Hence, the iron kingdom with its feet of iron and clay and the nondescript beast of 7:7-8 envision…the form in which it will exist after the church period,” see that? “when God will resume His dealing with the nation Israel.” And notice what he says? “How futile for conservative scholars to ignore that fact and to seek to find literal fulfillment of those prophecies in history or in the church,” which is what most of the body of Christ is doing today, “when those predictions refer to events” what? “yet future” because we’re taking them what? Symbolically or literally? Literally, “and have no application whatever to the church.”
What he’s saying is this stone cut without human hands is not something that happened in the first century; it’s something that’s going to be fulfilled in the Second Advent. And see, what we’re dealing with is what’s called amillennialism, which is the belief that we’re in the kingdom now. And people are trying to argue that this stone cut without human hands is being fulfilled now.
To do that you have to take it not literally but allegorically. See that?
Let me ask you a question, all of those empires that we marched through, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, were those literal empires? Yes! Did they reign for a literal period of time? Yes! Did they reign over actual land or real estate? Yes the did! Did they have borders? Yes! Did they each have capital cities? Yes! Okay, then why would I switch horses in mid-stream and make the stone cut without human hands something different? Do you follow me on that? The stone cut without human hands is just as literal; it’s going to reign over an actual land, it’s going to reign for a particular time, John in Revelation 20 calls it a thousand years, it’s going to have actual borders, some of the borders are described in the Abrahamic Covenant, “from the river of Egypt to the Euphrates,” and it’s going to have a capital city called the city of Jerusalem. So why would I interpret most of the statue here with one method of interpretation and then switch horses in midstream and interpret the stone cut without human hands with a totally different method of interpretation? That’s a totally inconsistent approach to the Bible.
And what we promote here is what’s called not just a literal approach but a consistent literal approach, where I’m not free as an interpreter to take parts of it literally and parts of it symbolically. Do you see that? And that’s really the difference between our way of thinking and what’s called amillennialism or replacement theology; they just switch horses in midstream and take some prophecies one way and some prophecies a different way. The word “literal” is great but you have to have the word “consistent.” We strive not just for literal interpretation, of course taking into account figures of speech and things like that when you’re self-evident but we strive for a consistent literal approach.
So did this stone cut without human hands, was it fulfilled in the first century? Did Christianity or the church suddenly fill the whole earth in the first century? Not the way it’s described in Daniel 2. It took decades for the gospel to even reach Rome according to the book of Acts. Did Christianity destroy Rome in the first century? Christ did not destroy Rome, Rome continued on for several centuries after Christ left the earth. Were there ten simultaneous kings in the time of Christ that He overthrew? No. Was Christ a smiting stone in His first coming? Now He was a cornerstone and a stumbling stone but He’s never called a smiting stone till His Second Coming. Did Christ destroy all the kingdoms of the world when He came the first time? Obviously not, Satan and his world system continued on right to the present day after Christ left the earth through the ascension.
And beyond that the church is not a political kingdom. I mean, we’re the church, the body of Christ spread out throughout the world—do we have a capital city? No! Do we have borders? No! So the church is a work of God to be sure but it’s of a different character than the way the kingdom is described.
So what I’ve tried to labor today is to continue our discussion of the kingdom from the Mosaic Covenant through the divided kingdom and through the times of the Gentiles. And what all of this is teaching is do not expect the kingdom to materialize on planet earth until after the rapture, until after the antichrist kingdom, the feet of iron and clay runs its course, and then, only then, when Jesus returns at the end of that time period, then He’ll set up His kingdom. See that? So if you understand these prophecies you’re not falling for the propaganda that we’re in the kingdom now, we’re bringing in the kingdom, we’re doing kingdom work. No, because the Old Testament reveals not just how but when the kingdom comes. Are you with me? The kingdom cannot come until this whole statue, including the feet of iron and clay runs its course.
Now next week I’d like you to read chapter 6 of the book because what the prophets start to do as the kingdom is not in cancellation but what? postponement, they start to lay out a beautiful portrait of what the kingdom will be like. That’s why Peter calls the prophets as like a lamp shining in a dark place; the world is dark right now because the kingdom is not here but the prophets function as a light or a lamp shining in a dark place, giving us a description of what the kingdom is going to be like once it materializes.
So I think you will enjoy chapter 6 and next week because we’ll get into the specifics of what those prophets say as they give us a beautiful portrait of the coming kingdom. Well, it’s complicated stuff, I hope I haven’t lost everybody but I’ll stop talking at this point and we’ll let people go to pick up their kids and if you have any questions I’ll try to answer those for a few minutes, those of you that want to stick around for Q and A.