Help for Today — Hope for Tomorrow
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[Darris McNeely] What if you woke up one day to a completely different world? You went to sleep in the United States, Canada, the EU, or wherever it is you live. But the next morning, your nation—your government—had been replaced by another. Everything had changed!
On Beyond Today, we talk a lot about the Kingdom of God—a very real, literal government destined to erase all the kingdoms of this world. It will come from God out of heaven, fill the earth and replace all the world’s earthly rulers.
This is the fifth kingdom described in the prophecies of the book of Daniel. The empires of Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome all rose and all fell. Yet their legacy continues with us today.
But, God’s new government will come from heaven. The return of Jesus Christ is going to usher in a time of peace that mankind could never have achieved—a time that will take away all hurts and tears that we’ve all experienced. God is planning on establishing a Kingdom that is more than a government—it’s a way of life. And here is the good news: You can have a part in that coming Kingdom, but you have to prepare now. Stay tuned and find out how.
Join us on this edition of Beyond Today as we conclude our series, Kingdoms at War and describe “The Fifth Kingdom.”
[Announcer] Join our host Darris McNeely on Beyond Today !
[Darris] God is preparing to send His Son, Jesus Christ to this earth. With Christ comes a Kingdom to replace all the present governments and rulers of this present world. You can have a part in that Kingdom if you accept God’s calling and begin to prepare now. That’s the message of the Scriptures. That’s the message of the book of Daniel. God has His heavenly realm in readiness for the return of His Son to this earth. And it will replace the misrule of the human kingdoms that have warred through the many generations of life on Earth.
Our series on Beyond Today, Kingdoms at War, has been going through the prophecies of the biblical book of Daniel. We have produced programs dealing with the compelling and fascinating story and history of the prophecies of the man called Daniel—a servant and prophet of God who lived in one of history’s most turbulent periods. The prophecies and scenes of the book of Daniel have captivated us for years. You probably remember as a child hearing the stories of Daniel in the lion’s den or the three friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, all being delivered from the fiery furnace.
But the key message of Daniel is found in two dreams, one by the great king of Babylon, called Nebuchadnezzar, and one by Daniel himself. It is a message of high importance to you today. Understanding the full meaning can change your life—giving you purpose and hope.
Let’s look at the famous dream from the second chapter of the book of Daniel. It’s set in ancient Babylon, which is the land that we know today as Iraq. Nebuchadnezzar is the king and he had a bad night. Vivid and disturbing dreams kept him from sleeping.
He called in his close counselors—which in Babylon were also men who engaged in sorcery, astrology and magic. The despotic king demanded that they tell him what he had dreamed. “I have had a dream, he said, and it deeply troubles me. I must know what it means” (Daniel 2:3).
Nebuchadnezzar’s counselors could not interpret the dream. They asked him to tell them what he dreamed. “Long live the king!” they said. “Tell us the dream, and we will tell you what it means.”
You see, the counselors were caught with nothing to say. They had no idea what the king had dreamed or what the dream meant. The king was furious. He said, “I am serious about this. If you don’t tell me what my dream was and what it means, you will be torn limb from limb, and your houses will be turned into heaps of rubble! But if you tell me what I dreamed and what the dream means, I will give you many wonderful gifts and honors. Just tell me the dream and what it means!” (Daniel 2:5; NLT).
The counselors again asked the king to describe the dream. Now Nebuchadnezzar knew they were stalling and talking among themselves hoping to get him to change his mind. He told them to give him the answer or they would be killed.
The astrologers replied to the king, “No one on earth can tell the king his dream! The king’s demand is impossible. No one except the gods can tell you your dream, and they do not live here among people” (Daniel 2:3-12).
This was too much for Nebuchadnezzar! He was furious when he heard this, and he ordered that all the wise men of Babylon be executed.
Now this is where the story involves Daniel. He and his friends were included in the death decree. When the commander of the king’s guard came to take Daniel, he displayed extreme wisdom. Rather than panic and fear, he went directly to the king and he asked for more time so they could pray and ask God for the insight they needed to interpret the dream. He urged them to ask the God of Heaven to show His mercy by telling them the secret, so they would not be executed along with the other wise men of Babylon.
That night, the secret was revealed to Daniel in a vision. The next morning when he woke, Daniel dropped to his knees and he gave God praise and credit for the wisdom of His answer. In his prayer, Daniel said something so profound and far reaching that it helps us to understand the entire history of the world.
Daniel’s prayer said this: “He…” speaking of God, “He controls the course of world events; he removes kings and [he] sets up other kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars. He reveals deep and mysterious things and knows what lies hidden in darkness, though he is surrounded by light. I thank and praise you, God…for you have given me wisdom and strength. You have told me what we asked of you and revealed to us what the king demanded” (Daniel 2:21-23).
Daniel was really saying here: God controls history. God determines the rise and fall of nations and empires, kings and leaders. Does history and world events seem dry and boring to you? It’s because you are missing the spiritual dimension of God guiding history according to His eternal plan and purpose. This is the key that unlocks the meaning of all human experience on this earth. God, the God of Heaven, knows “the end from the beginning” of all history.
Armed with this revealed wisdom from God, Daniel was then ready to stand in front of the great king and give the interpretation of the dream. When the king was told that a wise man from among the captives of Judah was waiting, the king ordered him brought into the royal chamber.
When he arrived, the king said to Daniel, “Is this true? Can you tell me what my dream was and what it means?” (Daniel 2:26)
Rather than taking credit for what he was about to say, Daniel acknowledged there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets. God, he said, “has shown the King “…what will happen in the future.” He said “it is not because I am wiser than anyone else that I know the secret of your dream [kingdom], but because God wants you to understand what was in your heart” (Daniel 2:28-30; NLT).
Now here’s what Daniel revealed to the king.
“In your vision, Your Majesty, you saw standing before you a huge, shining statue of a man. It was a frightening sight. The head of the statue was made of fine gold. Its chest and arms were silver, its belly and thighs were bronze, its legs were iron, and its feet were a combination of iron and baked clay. As you watched, a rock was cut from a mountain, but not by human hands. It struck the feet of iron and clay, smashing them to bits. The whole statue was crushed into small pieces of iron, clay, bronze, silver, and gold. Then the wind blew them away without a trace, like chaff on a threshing floor. But the rock that knocked the statue down became a great mountain that covered the whole earth” (Daniel 2:31-35).
This passage here gives us an overview of world history from the time of Daniel and King Nebuchadnezzar through the ages to our time today. It is a remarkable section. Using the elements of gold, silver, bronze, iron and clay, God lays out the development of major world systems, trends and events for more than 2,500 years in advance.
This prophecy describes Babylon as the head of gold, the Persian Empire as the chest and arms of silver, the Greek empire of Alexander the Great is the belly and thighs of brass. Legs and toes of iron and clay describe the Roman empire and its various phases through history into the modern world.
The rock cut from a mountain without human hands is God’s coming Kingdom. It will smash the image on the toes, toppling the entire system of man’s government that lives today, and it will grow to fill the earth. The Kingdom of God will never end.
Daniel’s prophecies give Bible critics much to consider in their effort to discredit the Bible. Daniel, as a historic person and the foretelling of history in this book, is a major stumbling block for critics who want to discredit God, the Bible and prophecy. Either Daniel was a man who lived when he did and by God’s gift of wisdom and revelation foretold the course of human history or he didn’t. And if critics are right then you cannot rely on the Bible to be God’s Word.
Jesus Christ believed Daniel was true. He believed Daniel to be a prophet of God. In this most detailed prophecy of Matthew 24, Jesus referred to a prophecy of Daniel and connected it to events in the end time prior to His second coming. Jesus Christ Himself believed Daniel to be true. Is Christ a liar? No, He isn’t. Scripture says, “Let God be true but every man a liar” (Romans 3:4). We should pay very close attention to what Daniel says. It has significance for us today. Let’s read on to see why.
Daniel gave the interpretation to King Nebuchadnezzar. It must have been an astounding and puzzling session for the king. He did reward Daniel and placed him in a more influential position within the kingdom (Daniel 2:28).
But the most important piece of information comes when Daniel describes this Kingdom cut without hands.
In verse 44 it says this: “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands—a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces” (Daniel 2:44-45).
Daniel describes four earthly kingdoms. Then, he describes a fifth kingdom—a Kingdom not of this world. This means that all the earthly kingdoms are replaced by the one from God in heaven, what the Bible calls in many places, the Kingdom of God.
But what we are told here is this Kingdom “will not be left to other people” and it will “endure forever.” There will no end to this fifth kingdom. And it will be composed of “other people.” (Daniel 2:44)
Here in this verse is one of the most amazing revelations of all the Bible!
Where every human government and kingdom has been created out of the nations and people who have not been of God, this Kingdom will be held by people connected to God by a divine calling. God has been carefully putting together a people throughout human history who will inherit this fifth kingdom—the Kingdom of God.
This verse is describing the Church Jesus established at His first appearance and is carefully molding and shaping today. Christ said to His disciples, “I will build my Church and [the] gates of the grave will not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). Christ’s description of His Church is something far beyond your modern idea of a church. You see, the church is not the building where you may go to worship. The Church Christ directs is a greater spiritual reality than most understand.
And you can be a part of this group here described. But you have to decide to turn away from the world created by these governments and turn toward the way of life modeled by this coming Kingdom. Can you do this? Would the promise of having a part in this coming Kingdom of God be enough for you today to turn from your present life and begin preparing for a role in the coming Kingdom of God? That’s what this story of prophecy is asking.
Let’s expand on this.
Let me show you another passage from Daniel’s prophecy. In chapter seven of Daniel, we have an expansion on the prophecy we just read. However, this is a dream that Daniel had and the interpretation again was given to him by God through an angelic messenger. We again have the four kingdoms described, but this time four beasts represent the earthly kingdoms. While Daniel focuses on the fourth beast, described as something dreadful and terrible, he is shown that in the days of this kingdom will be a time of distress upon the holy people of God but they will prevail. Notice what it says.
“Then I wanted to know the meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others and most terrifying, with its iron teeth and bronze claws—the beast that crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left… “(Daniel 7:19).
This is the same Roman empire described in chapter two by the legs and toes of iron and clay. It’s described as an empire that will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it. This earthly political power in connection with a religious system will speak against God and oppress God’s holy people.
But God will prevail!
Daniel watched “until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the holy people of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the Kingdom. “ Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him” (Daniel 7:21-27).
Daniel sees in his dream a scene describing a future event that goes beyond the headlines of kingdoms and nations engaged in political intrigue back and forth. It’s a vision of God giving to His Church the powers of the coming Kingdom of God. It is the culmination of an age-long process of preparing people to rule and to reign with Jesus Christ on this earth. The holy people are the saints of God, those who respond to God’s call through the ages. It is the Church and the work of God that you can become a part of today. If you choose, you can begin to prepare for this coming event.
Daniel’s prophecy deals with large themes of world empires led by kings and emperors. It is a most remarkable book of scripture. God lays out history in such amazing detail that it can be verified from history and archaeology. God who controls and shapes history predicted the rise and fall of the Babylonian, the Persian, the Greek and the Roman worlds. He shows the influence of these kingdoms on politics, religion and culture through the ages into our modern world. It’s not a good legacy.
The kingdoms of today’s world have waged war with occasional periods of peace. And Daniel shows there will be a final period of conflict to come upon the world before God intervenes to save all life on the planet.
When God sets His Kingdom upon this world, He will not rely on the same leaders who have created the world at the close of this age. The good news of the Bible is that a different group of people, called the elect or the Church, will be prepared to assume leadership under Jesus Christ in this coming age.
Let’s again read the two places here in Daniel that tell us this truth:
Daniel 2:44, “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will…endure forever.”
And again, in Daniel 7: “Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High.”
Here is described the key moment when the Church of God, the Church built by Jesus Christ, takes front and center at a moment in the plan of God foretold through the ages. Now you may belong to a church and you are a faithful church-going person, but do you really understand the purpose of the Church, your church, or any church for that matter? You may be one who has a firm anti-church opinion. You are suspicious of organized religion and “church” is something you want no part of.
But the Bible reveals the Church of God to be the spiritual body of Jesus Christ. Christ is the head of the Church. The Church of God is composed of those God has called through the ages of man to prepare for this moment when the saints take the Kingdom.
God will return to the earth and establish His Kingdom. Those called and chosen will inherit the Kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world. The Church is the spiritual body of Jesus Christ and God adds to the Church those whom He calls today, in this age, to salvation. The Church then is being prepared for union with Christ at His second coming.
It is the moment described by the apostle Peter in the book of Acts when he spoke of God sending Christ from heaven at the “times of restoration of all things,” that which God has foretold “by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:20-21).
Today, God waits for this event. The world and all creation waits for the time when God will restore order to the universe. God has been preparing for this event from the beginning of human creation on earth. From the time of righteous Abel, God has called and chosen people who would obey His teachings, yield their lives to His commandments and prepare for a place of rulership in the Kingdom of God. This is the essence of God’s purpose to bring many sons to glory.
In Hebrews chapter 11 it’s recounted a roster of the faithful who were convicted of the promises of God’s Kingdom and embraced a way of life, a way of godly righteousness in full faith. While living in their time they saw and were persuaded of the age to come—the Kingdom of God. They decided to live by the teachings of that Kingdom in their day. They looked for a city to come from heaven, a city built by God, and they claimed citizenship in that city. They lived lives of faith, purity and honesty to prepare for the appearing of that city on earth. And, they died in faith expecting to see that city come from heaven with God. Their hope is a resurrection to immortality when Christ appears. They will hear the words from God that says, “well done you faithful servant, enter into the glory prepared for you” (Matthew 5:21-23). That glory will be a position of rulership with Jesus Christ for one thousand years on this earth.
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, patriarchs and fathers of faith are among those who will be there. Sarah, Rebekah, Ruth and other women of faith as well. Here in the book of Daniel, we see that he also waits for this time. At the end of the book Daniel is told, ““you go your way till the end; for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days” (Daniel 12:13).
Daniel will rise with the “dead in Christ” to take his place with all those who died with the hope of receiving the promises of God. They are not in heaven. They are in the grave. They wait for the day they will come forth at the sounding of the trumpet of God and shouts of acclaim from the angelic hosts. The book of Revelation describes a moment at Christ’s appearing when “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Revelation 11:15).
And here is the good news. You too can prepare for this moment when God’s Kingdom appears. You can have a role in this coming Kingdom. This is the time, your time, to accept the call of God. This is the time when you can prepare with those God is calling today, those who He is preparing through a lifetime of faith and overcoming. Today, God is in the business of preparing a group who fit the description of this prophecy—those who will inherit the Kingdom—the saints, the holy people of God who will assume positions in the coming Kingdom of God.
Daniel’s fifth kingdom is the Kingdom of God, and it will replace all the earthly rule of today’s political systems and governments. The saints will inherit the Kingdom. Will you be a part of that event? The choice is yours.
I hope you have been challenged to look further into what you’ve heard on today’s program. To help you do this, we have a free Bible study aid entitled, Christ’s Reign on Earth: What It Will Be Like. This valuable booklet can add greatly to your knowledge and understanding of Jesus Christ and His future world-ruling government—the Kingdom of God—that He will soon set up on earth.
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[Steve Myers] Hi, I’m Steve Myers. I’m the pastor here at the United Church of God Cincinnati East congregation. I’d like to welcome you to come and join us on this great spiritual journey. We have hundreds of congregations around the United States and across the world. Click on the Congregations tab to find a church near you.
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[Darris McNeely] America is at a crossroads. You’ve seen the world go through dramatic changes. What’s God doing and what’s His plan and purpose for you? How can you take control of your life and meet the challenges of our day? You need to hear our message of hope and understanding. Come see Beyond Today live as we present America: The Time is Now . Join me along with Steve Myers and Gary Petty. We’ll give you answers to understand today’s events and hope for what God is doing for you. Check our website for details and get your free tickets today. Come hear a message of help for today and hope for tomorrow! America, the time is now!
Daniel’s prophecies foretell four great kingdoms of history. These kingdoms and their spiritual heirs have carried the legacy of Babylon throughout the ages. Their unfortunate legacy has been religious deception, war and the unsolved effect of suffering for all nations. The book of Daniel shows it will end with the appearance of the fifth kingdom, the Kingdom of God brought to this earth with the appearance of Jesus Christ.
You can have a part in that coming Kingdom. You can be among those to whom Christ will say, “Well done good and faithful servant inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34)
Thanks for watching our program today. For Beyond Today I’m Darris McNeely.
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