Read Daniel 2:34, 35, 44, 45
. What do these verses teach us about the ultimate fate of our world?
The focus of the dream is on what will happen in the “latter days”
). As powerful and rich as they may have been, the metal (and clay) kingdoms are nothing but a prelude to the establishment of the stone kingdom. Whereas to some extent metals and clay can be products of human manufacture, the stone in the dream comes untouched by human hands. In other words, although each of the previous kingdoms eventually comes to an end, the kingdom represented by the stone will last forever. The metaphor of the rock, then, often symbolizes God (for example, Deut. 32:4, 1 Sam. 2:2, Ps. 18:31
), and the stone likewise may be a representation of the Messiah (Ps. 118:22; 1 Pet. 2:4, 7
). Thus, nothing is more appropriate than the figure of a stone to symbolize the establishment of God’s eternal kingdom.
Some argue that the stone kingdom was established during Jesus’ earthly ministry, and that the propagation of the gospel stands as an indication that the kingdom of God has taken over the entire world. Yet the stone kingdom comes into existence only after the four main kingdoms have fallen and human history has reached the time of the divided kingdoms, represented by the feet and toes of the image. This fact rules out the fulfillment during the first century, because Jesus’ earthly ministry took place during the dominion of Rome, the fourth kingdom.
But the stone gives way to a mountain. That is, “the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth”
, NKJV). A mountain such as this evokes Mount Zion, the place where the temple stood, the concrete representation of God’s earthly kingdom in the Old Testament times. Interestingly, the stone cut from the mountain becomes a mountain itself. This mountain, which according to the text is already in existence, most likely points to the heavenly Zion, the heavenly sanctuary, whence Christ will come to establish His eternal kingdom. And in the Jerusalem that will come down from heaven (Rev. 21:1-22:5
), this kingdom will find its ultimate fulfillment.