DANIEL 2 AND THE HOPE OF ISRAEL
In a previous study, we compared the prophecy of Daniel chapter 2, with the vision of the prophet described in Daniel chapter 7. We saw that chapter 7 describes the beast-nations as having their dominion extended for a “season” and a “time” amounting to a thousand years. Chapter 2 however, brings us to the end of the Millennium, when those kingdoms will also cease to exist, and the earth in all it’s entirety shall be filled with God’s kingdom. This is the language of chapter 2:
“thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth” (Dan. 2:34-35).
The metal man, standing uprightly as a symbol of man’s dominion is to be finally “broken to pieces”, and the stone grows to become a replica of that from which it was derived.
This language echoes the words of other prophets concerning the perpetuation of Israel, and the eventual destruction of all other nations. Jeremiah 30 describes a prophecy towards Israel:
“… I am with you, saith Yahweh, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished” (Jer. 30:11)
Notice the theme: the destruction of nations, and the perpetuation of Israel. Sometimes this verse is misquoted, as being applicable to the Babylonians, the Medo-Persians and the like: great empires which today cease to exist. But the passage states that God will make a full end of “all” nations amongst which Israel were scattered. What about Germany—the scene of terrible persecutions against the Jews. What about Britain, to which many Jews were scattered in exile? The wording of Jeremiah 30 here indicates something on a much larger scale than what we might recognise: the “full end” of all nations upon the face of the earth—except Israel.
Isaiah chapter 45 is also helpful in it’s teaching on this point:
“Israel shall be saved in Yahweh with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed or confounded world without end” (verse 17).
Notice the language: Israel shall exist “world without end” having an “everlasting salvation”. But notice the verse which follows:
“For thus saith Yahweh that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am Yahweh; and there is none else” (Isa. 45:18).
These two verses together demonstrate how it is the purpose of God to establish a single nation in the earth: Israel, redeemed and glorified.
ISRAEL AND THE GOSPEL
The disciples of Messiah, having received a 40 day period of instruction about the coming kingdom enquired: “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel”? (Acts 1:6). Though they knew not the time, they understood that the kingdom to come is essentially an Israelitish kingdom restored. The Apostle Paul was held in chains for “the hope of Israel” (Acts 28:20). And Jesus himself taught “salvation is of the Jews” (Jno. 4:22).
The ecclesia of God, being founded upon the covenants of promise given to Abraham and David, are described in Galatians as the “Israel of God” (Gal. 6:16). Being the seed of Abraham through faith, they are Jews indeed, circumcised in the foreskin of their heart: “for he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly: neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God” (Rom. 2:28-29).
The Gospel then, is the “good news” concerning the kingdom that will be restored to Israel, a kingdom which shall grow to be world-wide to the eventual exclusion of all other kingdoms.
The way in which this growth is described in Daniel 2 is most interesting. The Stone which strikes the image at his feet is described as being “cut out of the mountain without hands” (Dan. 2:45), but itself grows to become “a great mountain, and filled the whole earth” (Dan. 2:35). That is to say, the Stone becomes a replica of that from whence it came. This, in essence, is the principle of what we call “God Manifestation”.
Elsewhere in Scripture it is stated that:
“the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of Yahweh, as the waters cover the sea” (Hab. 2:14).
“blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen and Amen” (Psa. 72:19)
“… Holy, Holy, Holy is Yahweh of Armies: the whole earth is full of his glory”
The consistent testimony concerning Yahweh’s Purpose with the earth is that the entire globe shall be “full of his Glory”. In the prophecy of Daniel 2, as we have shown, the Stone becomes an image, or replica of that from whence it was derived. Putting these things together then, we see that the Son of God shall establish a global kingdom which will ultimately see all of the earth being filled with those individuals who show forth his moral qualities: i.e. his “glory”.
PULLING THE THREADS TOGETHER
In the above, we have considered many parallel principles, which it would be profitable to bring together before we proceed any further. All of these principles are to do with the earth being filled:
- Daniel 2 the earth is filled with a mountain from a stone that originated from a mountain itself
- The combined testimony of the prophets is that Israel only will remain after all other nations are broken in pieces
- Scripturally, the “Israel of God” is comprised of those individuals whose faith is based upon the promises made to Abraham and David
- The Testimony of Scripture is that ultimately all that will remain in the earth will be “his glory” i.e. the glory of Yahweh, elsewhere described: “that God may be all in all”
Pulling these points together, we see the Hope of Israel taught very plainly in the prophecy of Daniel 2, in its description of a single worldwide kingdom replacing the fractious kingdoms of men. That Kingdom is Israel restored and magnified, and as our hope is vested in that coming kingdom, we, like Paul, share “the hope of Israel”.
THE REVEALED MYSTERY
Having shown the connection between Daniel chapter 2 and the gospel of the coming Kingdom, it is highly interesting to note the similarity with which each of these messages were given.
The circumstances of Daniel 2 are all about the making known of a “secret”, or mystery. Nebuchadnezzar was shown certain particulars in a dream, and no-one in his kingdom knew either what those particulars were, or what they represented. The challenge by the king to the wisest and mightiest men of his dominion was to both reveal the dream, and explain what it meant:
“but if ye will not make known to me the dream, there is but one decree for you: for ye have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me … tell me the dream, and I shall know that ye can shew me the interpretation thereof” (Dan. 2:9).
The wisest men of Babylon could not reveal the dream, and were hence condemned to death. The captain of the guard went forth to slay all of the wise men of the kingdom “and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain” (Dan. 2:130. The situation looked bleak: Daniel, his friends, and the wise men of Babylon were under a sentence of death, from which they needed redeeming.
This latter aspect is important to note, for in this chapter we have the stated reason for the dream being made known through Daniel. Verse 18: “that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon”. Again, verse 30: “this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living but for their sakes that shall make known the interpretation to the king, and that thou mightest know the thoughts of thy heart”.
We find then, that the purpose of the secret being revealed was to effect salvation for God’s people, who were under a sentence of death.
Compare these details with the description we have in 1 Corinthians regarding the making known of the Gospel message. Verse 22 of Daniel 2 speaks of Yahweh: “he revealeth the deep and secret things”. And 1 Corinthians 2 describes the principles of the Gospel: “God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea the deep things of God” (1 Cor. 2:10). Moreover, the same chapter speaks of this mystery: “which none of the princes of this world knew …” (1 Cor. 2:7). Just like the wise men of Babylon, the professors of this world do not know the deep things of the Spirit. Again, 1 Corinthians speaks of those through whom the message came: “God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things that are mighty” (1 Cor. 1:27): the application of these words to Daniel and his friends is striking.
So it is, that in the revealing of the Gospel through men of Yahweh’s providing, the wisdom of the wise was brought to nothing, being exposed as folly (1 Cor. 1:19-20), and the humble who embraced it in hope become exalted: elevated to ultimately be set on high in joyful unity with the glorified Son of God.