The Church Foretold In the Old Testament
“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.” (Dan. 2:44)
Before God made man and established the foundation of the world, He devised a plan of redemption for him. In this wonderful plan God chose to save man in Jesus Christ and make that fact known through the church (Eph. 1:4; 10-11). After showing the need for the plan by the fall of Adam and Eve, God began to reveal the future establishment of the church, kingdom of God, through the prophecies of the Old Testament. How is the kingdom of God to be seen in the Old Testament, and how does it provide the foundation for the gospel which Jesus preached when He went around declaring “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 4:17).
Our text is a part of a very important event in the life of the prophet Daniel. While in captivity Daniel interpreted a dream for the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar. The dream pictured an image with a head of gold, breast and arms of silver, belly and thighs of brass, legs of iron, feet of iron and clay (Dan. 2:32-33). He also saw a stone cut out without hands which smote the image upon its feet and destroyed it. Yet the stone became a great mountain and filled the whole earth (Dan. 2:34-35). This small stone was a fitting object with which to convey certain characteristics relative to the church. Man would have nothing to do with the establishment of the church for it was cut out without hands signifying it would be accomplished by God.
Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar that he was the head of gold (Dan. 2:38). The breast and arms of silver was another kingdom which would come after his (Dan 2:39). This would be the Medo-Persian Empire. Anther kingdom after that would be the belly and thighs of brass and would be the Grecian Empire. The last kingdom, represented by the iron, was to be the Roman Empire while the feet or iron and clay were indicating that empire would be divided and have internal problems. The key verse is our text which tells us that in the days of this fourth kingdom God would set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed. Therefore, Daniel clearly prophesied that the kingdom of the Lord would be set up during the Roman Empire. The stone, the church, began on the Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus Christ with a small company of men and women who in time conquered and broke the great Roman Empire in less than five centuries. They accomplished this great feat not with physical might and military power but by the power of God through their sufferings and death for the cause of righteousness, having experienced ten violent persecutions over a period of three centuries.
Surely one can immediately see how thrilling it is to look at the way the prophets saw the church and described different aspects of the kingdom. Of the fourteen prophets who wrote, eight of them—Joel, Amos, Isaiah, Micah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, and Zechariah—were guided by the inspiration of God to see the church-kingdom hundreds of years before its establishment and portrayed the gospel age that would come after them. Prophecies and their fulfillment are one of the evidences that undergird our faith and show the mighty hand of God in shaping history so that in the fullness of time God would send forth His Son and establish His kingdom.
From Walking in Truth
“Daily Devotionals by Guy Roberson”
From Expository Files 22.6; June 2015