In our last two studies in Daniel 2, we have discovered that Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar about his dream. Then he started interpreting the dream for the king. Daniel tells the king he saw a large statue, and then a stone hit the feet of that statue. When that happened, the statue just disintegrated and became like chaff and was blown away by the wind.
As we have seen in our recent studies, the head of gold symbolized the Babylonian Empire. Actually, Daniel said, “It is you, O king,” referring to King Nebuchadnezzar. The chest and the arms were of silver, picturing the Medo-Persian kingdom. The waist was made of bronze and represented the empire of Greece. The legs were made of iron. That represented the Roman Empire. The feet and the toes are made of iron and clay. The actual Aramaic word for “clay” means “baked clay,” so it is not something that is squishy, it is clay that was hard. We learned in our last study that the ten toes symbolized ten kings, or an alliance of ten kings or ten nations. The kingdom that will be composed of ten nations will form a power base.
Plan For The Study
The Babylonian Empire was defeated by the Medo-Persian Empire. In turn the Medo Persians were defeated by the Grecian Empire, which was defeated by the Roman Empire. Then we are told the alliance of ten kings or ten nations will occur next. The question that we started exploring in our last study, and will continue to explore, is when does the alliance of ten kings occur? We discovered in our last study that the alliance of ten kings is immediately followed by God’s kingdom. Then God’s kingdom will extend into the new heaven and the new earth.
We are also going to be asking an important question, “When does the alliance of ten nations occur?” This is a continuation of the Roman Empire. The question that we are going to ask at the end of our study is, “Where are we in this timeline?” Do you think we are in the period that Daniel refers to as ten toes, an alliance of ten nations? Or do you think we are in God’s kingdom? That is the question we will ask at the end of our study. Now we want to lay out God’s plan.
Waiting For God’s Kingdom
In Matthew 24 Jesus is asked a question by His disciples. They asked Christ what are the signs of the end of time? How can we know when you are coming? Jesus’ explanation begins in chapter 24 and continues into chapter 25, providing a panorama of the rest of human history. Matthew 24:1 says,
Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him. Matthew 24:1 (NASB)
Apparently they are near a temple. Verse 2-3 says,
And He said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.” As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” Matthew 24:2-3 (NASB)
In verse 4 Jesus starts to answer the question. It was not just the disciples who were curious about when Jesus was going to set up the kingdom. If you look at Luke 1:32, it becomes apparent that Gabriel’s discussion with Mary reveals that Mary was interested in what was going to happen with Jesus.
Announcement To Mary
In Luke 1:32-33, Gabriel was talking to Mary and said,
He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end. Luke 1:32 (NASB)
It is very interesting that the angel Gabriel told Mary that Jesus is going to sit on the throne of His father, David. In verse 32, the angel said,
He will reign over the house of Jacob.
That is, Jesus will reign over the nation of Israel. The last part of the verse is really exquisite. The angel said,
His kingdom will have no end.
Now, why would the angel tell Mary about this? First of all, the angel’s announcement told her about the importance of the child who was going to be born to her. The angel was also answering the questions that she would have had. We know from history that the Jews were looking for their Messiah. The Messiah would be the one who would come and set up the kingdom. Israel would rule the world. I suspect that Mary would want to know who and when this would occur. I believe the angel Gabriel was answering her unspoken request. He told her that this child will be great and will reign on the throne of His father David over the house of Israel. But the important part of the two verses is that He is going to reign forever! Think about that! He is going to reign forever and there will be no end to His kingdom – an absolutely incredible statement!
2 Samuel 7:14-16 states that God gave a promise to King David that one would come and sit on his throne. Some people initially thought that has to be Solomon. But, it does not fit, because in that passage we are told that He will reign forever. He will reign forever! So it was not Solomon, because Solomon died. It is difficult to reign forever if you die. But it is true about Jesus Christ. Christ was the one. The angel Gabriel told Mary that Jesus is the one who is going to sit on the throne of David and reign forever in fulfillment of 2 Samuel 7:14-16. That is just an incredible statement.
Announcement To The Magi
Do you remember the magi who were searching for the location where Jesus was born? In Matthew 2:1-2, they came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is He who is king of the Jews?” For what were they looking? They were looking for a king. They assumed that someday Jesus would be ruling over Israel. They were right! In response to their question, the Jewish chief priests and scribes left and found an Old Testament prophecy in Micah 5:2. It refers to the fact that there would be One who would be born in Bethlehem. If we keep reading in the prophecy, we find that His days are from “long ago.” He existed long ago in the past. It is referring to the fact that He is deity, He is everlasting, having no beginning and no end.
Announcement To The Shepherds
Luke 2:8-11 states that there were shepherds near to where Jesus was born. An angel told the shepherds the baby born that night was the Christ. In John 1:41 we find that another title for him was the Messiah. He was the one for whom the Israelites were looking- the One who would sit on the throne and rule over Israel and the nations of the world.
Expectation of the People
Matthew 4:17 records an unbelievable statement that Jesus made. The Jews are looking for the Messiah to come and set up a kingdom. In Matthew 4:17 Jesus said this:
Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Matthew 4:17 (NASB)
What was Jesus saying? The phrase “at hand” really means “near.” What Jesus is really saying is that the kingdom of heaven is near. It is close. It is coming. About what kingdom was Jesus speaking? In Psalms 45:6 we find that God already has a kingdom and is sitting on a throne. Listen to the statement. Psalm 45:6 says:
Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
Psalm 45:6 (NASB)
Do you realize what Psalm 45:6 says about God? He is already ruling and already has a kingdom. His kingdom existed before Jesus was born into this world. God already had a kingdom even in the Old Testament!
So when Jesus said in verse 17, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near,” about what kingdom was He speaking? He is not talking about the one in the Old Testament because that one already existed. I would like to suggest that there are two aspects to this kingdom about which He is talking. First of all, there is a spiritual one. We know from the gospels that Jesus came to save the lost. He came to save sinners. Jesus made that point on a number of occasions. If you do not believe in Him, you will die in your sins. He is also referring to a physical kingdom, as we are going to discover. So there are two aspects of this kingdom. What He is really doing is telling the people, “Get ready. Get ready for the spiritual kingdom, and get ready for the physical kingdom, which is coming later.” He does not say that here, but that will become obvious.
In John 7:31 we read this:
But many of the crowd believed in Him; and they were saying, “When the Christ comes, He will not perform more signs than those which this man has, will He?” John 7:31 (NASB)
In other words, they were saying, “The Christ, when He comes, is going to set up the kingdom for Israel.” They were asking, “Will the Christ do more signs than what Jesus was doing?” The answer is “No.” This reveals that they were wondering when the Messiah was coming. They were looking for the king and the kingdom. Think about this now. Mary was interested, the disciples were interested, the people were interested, everybody was looking for the Messiah’s coming.
Verse 40 states,
Some of the people therefore, when they heard these words, were saying, “This certainly is the Prophet.” John 7:40 (NASB)
That is referring to Deuteronomy 18:15-16. Verse 41 says next,
Others were saying, “This is the Christ.” Still others were saying, “Surely the Christ is not going to come from Galilee, is He?” John 7:41 (NASB)
The people were trying to understand if Jesus the Christ was the Messiah. Was He the one who was going to set up the kingdom?
In Luke 17:20 we are told,
Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming . . . Luke 17:20 (NASB)
That is all you need to read. The Pharisees were asking Jesus, “When is the kingdom coming?” Mary, the disciples, the people, and the leaders were all looking and wondering, “When is the kingdom, and how are you connected to it?”
Let us go back now to Matthew 24. The people were wondering when the kingdom was coming. So there is a good reason why the disciples asked the question. So Jesus answered in verse 4:
And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many. You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name.” Matthew 24:4-9 (NASB)
We are experiencing some of that even today. We experience people hating us. We also experience the media hating Christians. Islam with many is the preferred religion. Christians are being persecuted in many countries today.
Verses 10-12 says,
At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. Matthew 24:10-12 (NASB)
We see that today. Look at verse 13:
But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come. Matthew 24:13-14 (NASB)
Jesus said that when the gospel of the kingdom has been preached to all the ends of the earth, then the end will come. That has not yet happened. So, it means that Jesus has not come yet. Remember the question was, “What are the signs of your coming and of the end of the age?” The gospel has not reached to every corner, every nation, every tribe yet. Wycliff Bible Translators and other Christian groups are translating the Bible into the different languages yet without the Scriptures. They do not think all languages will have the Bible until after 2025. They are hoping. They are praying that will happen.
Middle of the Tribulation
In verse 15 Jesus gave us another sign of the end of the time. He said,
Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand) . . . Matthew 24:15 (NASB)
Now I have a question for you. Jesus referred to the abomination of desolation mentioned in the book of Daniel. We are studying the book of Daniel. And you might ask, “Where does Daniel talk about the abomination of desolation?” That is in Daniel chapters 9 and 12. When we get there, we will expand upon this. But notice what Jesus said, “The abomination of desolation standing in the Holy Place.” The Holy Place was in the Jewish temple. That means the Jewish temple has to be in existence. It does not exist today. Only one thing is on the temple mount today, The Dome of the Rock. There is not a Jewish temple. So all of the signs of Jesus’ return have not yet occurred. That means that God’s kingdom has not yet occurred. Jesus made that really clear.
Verses 15-20 tell us how to respond.
Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains. Whoever is on the housetop must not go down to get the things out that are in his house. Whoever is in the field must not turn back to get his cloak. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! But pray that your flight will not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath. Matthew 24:15-20 (NASB)
Do you know what Jesus is saying? When the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION happens, run! He says, “Run! Just run!”
The Great Tribulation
Verse 21 adds:
For then there will be a great tribulation . . . Matthew 24:21 (NASB)
When Jesus said, “Great tribulation,” that is a very important phrase. We are going to find out that Jesus is actually describing the last part of what we call the tribulation period. Jesus called this period of time the Great Tribulation. The first part of the tribulation period will be a period of peace. The last part of the seven years is called the Great Tribulation. The Old Testament also calls it Jacob’s Trouble (Jeremiah 30:7). The tribulation period starts when peace is declared between Israel and all of its enemies. That is important. Recently, the United States has been working to accomplish that goal. Administration after administration keep trying to make that happen. The day that happens is the day for all of us to pay attention because that is potentially the beginning of the tribulation period.
Verse 22-27 then reports that Jesus said,
Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. Then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ,’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe him. For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told you in advance. So if they say to you, ‘Behold, He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out, or, ‘Behold, He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe them. For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be. Matthew 24:22-27 (NASB)
Do you realize what Jesus is doing? Jesus is answering their question, “What are the signs of your coming?” Jesus makes that clear at the end of verse 27 when He says,
So the coming of the Son of Man will be.
Now notice verses 28-29:
Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather. But immediately after the tribulation of those days . . . Matthew 24:28-29 (NASB)
Jesus defines the tribulation period once again. He refers to the tribulation. We will discover later when we arrive at Daniel 9 the tribulation is a seven-year period. Also in Daniel 9, we will discover there is first a three-and-a-half-year period of peace. The second half of three-and-a-half-years is trouble—lots of trouble, the Great Tribulation. So Jesus says,
Immediately after the tribulation of those days . . .
That is at the end of the seven years of tribulation.
Second Coming of Christ
Then verses 29-30 record more of Jesus’ conversation,
But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory. Matthew 24:29-30 (NASB)
Some people ask, “How will everybody around the world see the second coming of Christ?” We cannot state with certainty, but some have suggested, “All the TV cameras will be showing Him come.” There is also the power of the Internet. All we know is that God has promised that everyone is going to know He is coming. Everybody!
Then Jesus speaks about gathering the Old Testament saints.
And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other. Matthew 24:31 (NASB)
Now Jesus jumps ahead to the Judgment Day. There are some events that occur between verse 30 and verse 31. Then Jesus talks about the kingdom of heaven and describes the kingdom from verse 1 of chapter 25 through verse 30. In verse 31-46 He speaks of judgment. So, Jesus lays the chronology succinctly.
Jesus tells the disciples what the signs are of His return. When the gospels are read in chronological order, you would find in Luke 19:11,
While they were listening to these things, Jesus went on to tell a parable, because He was near Jerusalem, and they supposed that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately. Luke 19:11 (NASB)
The disciples still thought the kingdom was going to happen right away. People were looking for a physical kingdom to arrive. Now look at Acts 1:6. This is very important because there are those today who say that when Jesus was resurrected He set up His kingdom at that point. In verse 6 we are told,
So when they had come together . . . Acts 1:6a (NASB)
That is, Christ and the disciples.
. . . they were asking Him, saying, Lord, is it at this time you are restoring the kingdom to Israel? Acts 1:6b (NASB)
The disciples asked, “Are you setting up the kingdom now?” How does Jesus answer? Read verse 7:
He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority . . .” Acts 1:7 (NASB)
Jesus said, “It is not for you to know.” The disciples were looking for the kingdom to come, and Jesus said, “It is coming in the future, but you do not get to know when.” So it is obvious that the kingdom did not exist at that point. He just said, “It is in the future.”
In 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 Paul was writing to the Thessalonians. They were concerned about Jesus’ coming. In 2 Thessalonians 2:1, we are told,
Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . 2 Thessalonians 2:1a (NASB)
Did you catch that little phrase? Paul was speaking about the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ! Then he said,
. . . and our gathering together to Him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 2 Thessalonians 2:1b-2 (NASB)
Paul was trying to comfort the Thessalonians who are worried that Jesus had already come. Paul said that the second coming of Christ is yet coming. The writer of Hebrews said it is coming. James said it is yet coming. John the Apostle wrote about the second coming of Christ and the kingdom. The book of Revelation is all about the second coming of Christ. Yet there are those today who want us to believe the second coming of Christ and the kingdom were set up when Jesus died and came back to life. But the testimony of the New Testament is that the second coming of Christ and the kingdom has not occurred yet. The New Testament writers were all looking forward to that event.
We Are Waiting For The Kingdom
So I have a question. When will the second coming and the kingdom occur? Are we in the kingdom right now? There are some who tell us that we are in the kingdom right now. I want to give you four reasons why I do not believe we are living in the kingdom right now.
The Times of the Gentiles has not Ended
First, in Matthew 24:14, Jesus said the gospel had not yet been preached to all the parts of the world. In Matthew 24:15, Jesus said that there would have to be a temple in Jerusalem, because the abomination of desolation will take place in the Holy Place. In Isaiah 11:11-12 we are told that Israel must return to the land of Palestine. Has that occurred? Yes, it has. When did it occur? It occurred in 1948 after World War II. So one of the signs has taken place. In Daniel 12:4 the prophet tells us that knowledge will increase. 2 Thessalonians 2:3 tells us that the apostasy must come first. We are starting to see that. The apostasy is people turning away from the gospel, turning away from Christ.
In Luke 21:24, Jesus was talking about the end times, and He said,
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. Luke 21:24 (NASB)
We pointed out previously that when Jesus talked about the time of the Gentiles, He was referring to the beginning of the Babylonian period. The Babylonian Empire conquered the land of Israel and took possession of the city of Jerusalem. That is clear in Daniel 1:1. The times of the Gentiles extends through the Medo-Persian Empire, the Grecian Empire, the Roman Empire, and all the way through the alliance of ten nations or the ten toes or ten kings. Jesus explained how you will know when the times of the Gentiles is over. Did you understand what He said? He said,
And they will be led captive into all the nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles until . . . Luke 21:24 (NASB)
He said the times of the Gentiles is when other nations are trampling the city of Jerusalem. What does that mean? They have possession of Jerusalem. Jesus said that the times of the Gentiles is defined by others trampling Jerusalem underfoot.
Now go to Matthew 23:37-38. Jesus was lamenting over the city of Jerusalem, and said,
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! Matthew 23:37-38 (NASB)
What was Jesus talking about? He was talking about the fact that Jerusalem was being trampled.
Verse 39 says,
For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!’ Matthew 23:39 (NASB)
Jesus said this is the way it is going to be until you see Me again. What does that mean? The second coming of Christ will bring the times of the Gentiles to an end.
The Alliance of Ten Nations Has Not Appeared
The second reason is that the alliance of ten nations has not yet appeared. Remember we were talking about the ten toes, the ten kings, or the alliance of ten nations? That has not yet occurred. If you were to read Revelation 13:1-2, you find out that it describes ten kings. It talks about a horn, which is the anti-Christ. The anti-Christ is a political leader who will rule the world in a one-world government. There will also be a one-world religion, led by a religious leader. I personally believe the one-world government may be an Islamic caliphate, with Islam being the one-world religion. That is just my idea. I could be totally wrong, but that is my current thinking.
Revelation 13 tells us that the false prophet and the anti-Christ are going to require that we all have a mark on the back of our hand or on our forehead that allows us to buy and sell. What is important when you think about Revelation is that Jesus does not return until Revelation 19. We have just been talking about events in chapters 13 and 17.
God’s Earthly Kingdom Has Not Occurred
The third reason why I do not believe God’s kingdom has yet come is that the events of Revelation 19 have not occurred. Look at Revelation 19:14. It is a description of Jesus’ return. Verses 11-14 say,
And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. Revelation 19:11-14 (NASB)
The people in white linen are the Christians, forgiven, holy, blameless. They come with Christ. This is the second coming of Christ. Verse 16 describes the King of kings and Lord of lords. Verses 17-19 describe the destruction of the world armies. Zachariah 14 says that when Jesus returns, He will descend on the Mount of Olives. Zachariah tells us the Mount of Olives will split in half. Question: Has that happened yet? Has the Mount of Olives already been split? No.
The Kingdom Is Not Yet In Existence
So what are we doing? We are waiting for the second coming of Christ, waiting for the kingdom. Revelation 20:4 tells us what the kingdom is going to be like. If you look at the end of the verse, it tells us that Christ will reign for 1,000 years. Now, that is not eternity. That is a reference to a literal earthly kingdom here on this planet. We are looking for the kingdom because it has not yet happened. It is in the future.
There is much more about which we could speak. One of the significant passages is Isaiah 2:1-4. It describes peace in the animal kingdom. It is just an incredible description of what the millennial kingdom will be like. It is difficult to agree with some who say that we are living in the kingdom today. We do not see the animals getting along with one another. Our back yard extends into a wash. Every once in a while we hear coyotes howling after they have captured prey. The animal kingdom is hardly at peace with one another today. But it exists in the millennial kingdom.
Where are we in the timeline in Daniel 2? Obviously we are not living in the time of the Babylonian Empire, the Medo-Persian Empire, the Grecian Empire, or the Roman Empire. We cannot be living in the alliance of ten kings, because that is the tribulation period. We have already learned from the book of Revelation that when Jesus returns, He will defeat the alliance of ten kings and set up His kingdom. The tribulation has not occurred yet because we do not have a peace treaty with Israel, and the temple does not exist yet in Jerusalem. So the question is, where are we?
We are in a gap in the time between the Roman Empire, which ended in 1453 A.D. and the alliance of ten kings, a continuation of the Roman Empire. The gap exists after the legs of iron in Daniel’s statue. The Roman Empire was not defeated from the outside. It decayed on the inside. We are in the gap. We are waiting for the apostasy to become full blown, and we are waiting for peace in Israel.
Why did God do this? Have you ever asked yourself after you have read a passage of Scripture, why did God include this in the Bible? I will tell you why He wrote it. He wants us to know the end times. He wants us to know His plan. He wants to comfort us by telling us what He has planned. Then we will know the future.
And I want to conclude with Revelation 22:17-20. It says this,
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost. I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book. He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. Revelation 22:17-20 (NASB)