Daniel Shows Us That The Kingdom Of God Is The Church

It is written:

And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. (Daniel 2:44)

Many people that I have studied the Word of God with have been taught that the kingdom of God (prophesied about throughout the Old Testament) will not be established until after the Second Coming of Christ. They are quite surprised to learn that the New Testament teaches the kingdom of God was established shortly after Jesus’ First Coming:

Mark 9:1-And He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power.”

Colossians 1:13-He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,

Revelation 1:9-I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

How could the kingdom have been established in the first century?

The Prophet Daniel provides the answers.

In the seventh chapter of Daniel, the Prophet has an incredible vision. Let’s study part of that vision together:

“I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. 14  Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:13-14)

Notice several things.

First, the passage is about “the Son of Man.” This was Jesus’ title used throughout His personal ministry. Indeed, there are at least 82 references to Jesus being the “Son of Man” in the Gospels! The phraseology implies that they “Son of Man” is not merely human, but a reminder of Jesus’ Divine Nature as well. This observation is very eye-opening when we consider that the people which “serve” the Messiah do so in a way that implies they view Him as God.

“We should note that there is at least one biblical text that speaks explicitly of people “serving” Jesus Christ. The book of Daniel contains a vision in which people of all nations, tribes, and languages “serve” someone who is “like a Son of Man” (Dan. 7:13 NASB). In the New Testament we learn that Jesus Christ, of course, is that Son of Man (e.g., John 9:35-38; Rev. 1:12-18). In the Septuagint version of Daniel, the word translated “serve” is latreuo, which is also used in the Rahlfs edition of the Septuagint and in other critical editions of the Greek Old Testament. In the Greek version of Daniel produced in the late second century A.D. by Theodotion, the word translated “serve” is douloo, a far more common Greek word that has a broader range of meanings. Whichever Greek translation one chooses to follow, the underlyingAramaic word (Daniel 2:4-7:28 was originally written in Aramaic, not Hebrew) is pelach, a word that is always used to refer to rendering religious service or performing religious rituals in honor of a deity.6 In other words, latreuo is an excellent Greek translation of pelach. That is why all extant ancient Greek versions of Daniel usually use latreuo elsewhere in Daniel to translate pelach (Dan. 3:12, 14, 18, 28; 6:16, 20 [6:17, 21 in Greek] ).7 In the earlier chapters of the book, Daniel and his Jewish friends had refused to “serve” the image of Nebuchadnezzar or to “serve” Darius, identifying themselves as those who “serve” only their God, the living God (3:12, 14, 17, 18, 28; 6:16, 20). In this setting, the vision of people from all nations “serving” the Son of Man presents ents a startling contrast. The “service” that Daniel and his friends refused to give to Nebuchadnezzar’s image or to Darius, Daniel envisions all nations giving to the heavenly Son of Man. Daniel’s reference to the Son of Man being “served” implies a divine status for the Son of Man, not merely because of the use of that one word, but because cause of the context in which it is used. The universal sovereignty attributed to the Son of Man is earlier attributed to Daniel’s God by the Babylonian and Persian kings. The signs and wonders that the Most High God has worked for me I am pleased to recount. How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his sovereignty is from generation to generation. (4:2-3, emphasis added) When that period was over, I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me. I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored the one who lives forever. For his sovereignty is an everlasting sovereignty, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation. (4:34, emphasis added) I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people should tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: For he is the living God, enduring forever. His kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion has no end. (6:26, emphasis added) This language of a kingdom that will not be destroyed and that will endure forever is then applied to the kingdom of the Son of Man. To him was given dominion and glory and kingship, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting ing dominion that shall notpass away, and his kingship is one that shall never be destroyed. (7:14, emphasis added) Within this larger context, the reference to all peoples “serving” the Son of Man is confirmed as an expression of religious devotion. The One whom you regard as the Ruler of your entire universe for all time is by definition your God, and it would be the height of folly not to render religious devotion or service to him.’” (Robert Bowman & J. Ed Komoszewski, Putting Jesus in His Place: The Case for the Deity of Christ, 636-658 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan; Kregel Publications)

Second, this Messiah is said to approach the “Ancient Of Days” when He receives the kingdom. The Ancient Of Days is a reference to God the Father, depicting His eternal Nature (cf. Psalm 102:25-27).

Third, the Messiah goes to the Lord with the clouds of Heaven.

Fourth, when the kingdom is then handed to the Messiah, it is arranged for all peoples and nations to serve Him.

Finally, when the kingdom of God is then established, all nations will serve Him.

Amazingly, all of these prophecies of the kingdom have been fulfilled. Please notice the following passages of Scripture:

Acts 1:9-Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.

Acts 2:5-And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven.

Acts 2:6-12-And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. 7  Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? 8  And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? 9  Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10  Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11  Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.” 12  So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?”

In these passages, we read of Jesus (the Son of Man) ascending to the Ancient of Days (God) with the clouds of Heaven. Then people from all the nations are gathered together (in Jerusalem), and the Apostles of Christ begin to speak in tongues (the languages of other nations which they had not previously studied).

Daniel 7:13-14

Son Of Man (Jesus)

Going To The Ancient Of Days (God)

With The Clouds Of Heaven

All Peoples And Nations And Languages Serve The Messiah

Kingdom Established

Acts 2:1-47

Son Of Man (Jesus)

Going To The Ancient Of Days (God)

With The Clouds Of Heaven

All Peoples And Nations And Languages Serve The Messiah

Kingdom Established

Now, here is where the point of identification comes in: the second chapter of Acts is discussing the establishing of the church. Thus, we see that the “kingdom” prophesied in the Old Testament is “the church.” Notice that Jesus uses the phrases “church” and “kingdom” interchangeably (Matthew 16:18-19).

The mistake many people make is in assuming that the kingdom of God was supposed to be a military and political kingdom. This simply is not true.

“Jesus’ refusal to permit Himself to be made king clearly establishes the nature of the kingdom He offered the Jews. Following the feeding of the five thousand some wanted to take Him “by force to make him a king” (John 6: 15), but He would not permit it. Had Jesus planned to establish a political kingdom among the Jews with Himself as king, that was His chance. Christ’s refusal to jump at this opportunity is strong evidence that the kingdom He came to establish was not a political one. Advocates of a future political kingdom of the Jews usually lay great stress on the refusals of the Jews to accept Christ, but strangely enough this particular incident is ignored by such advocates. Had Christ offered the Jews a political kingdom, they would have accepted Him and it. The Jews were well aware that Christ offered them a spiritual kingdom, rather than a political one, and this is the very reason they rejected His offer. Christ taught that His kingdom was spiritual in nature. The Pharisees very pointedly asked Jesus when the kingdom of God would come (Luke 17: 20). Since they looked for a political kingdom, Jesus knew they would not be satisfied with a statement to the effect that it was already established. He had given them such a statement in Matthew 12: 28 and they had not received it. Therefore, He attempted to explain to them the spiritual nature of the kingdom He came to establish. He said, “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation.” The NEB translates, “You cannot tell by observation when the kingdom of God comes. There will be no saying, ‘Look here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ ” Then, regardless of whether the translation is “within” or “among you,” Jesus affirmed that the kingdom He came to establish was at that time a reality.” (Everett I. Carver, When Jesus Comes Again, 329-341 (Kindle Edition); Prestonsburg, KY; Reformation Publishers)

Why not become a citizen of Christ’s kingdom today?

Acts 2:41, 47-Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them….praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.

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