An amazing feature of the Old Testament is that it was written by the Jews, and the Spirit of God guided prophets to write some amazing prophesies about a Messiah-Savior who would come in their future. But they gave some specifics about that time when the Messiah would come. Daniel interpreted a dream for the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, and the dream was of an image made of four metals. Daniel 2:32-33: “This image’s head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay.” (NKJV)
Daniel told the king that there is a God in heaven with the power to reveal and interpret dreams: 36″This is the dream. Now we will tell the interpretation of it before the king. 37You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory; 38and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all — you are this head of gold. 39But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth. 40And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others. 41Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay. 42And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile. 43As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay. 44And 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. 45Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold — the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure” (Dan. 2:36-45) .
The four consecutive kingdoms started with Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar’s mighty kingdom, followed by the Medo-Persian kingdom, the Macedonian or Grecian kingdom, and then the fourth, the Roman Empire. The interpretation of the dream was that the God of heaven would set up an everlasting kingdom in the days of that fourth kingdom. Thus, the Messiah would set up His kingdom in the days of the Roman Empire. The Book of Daniel was written during the days of the Babylonian Kingdom and into the Persian Empire. There was no way that anyone could predict WHEN an everlasting kingdom would be established, much less tell how many consecutive kingdoms would rise and fall when an everlasting kingdom would be set up. The nature of this kingdom was not like the four kingdoms. Those were taken over by other kingdoms in consecutive order.
Jesus came during the fourth kingdom, just as Daniel interpreted the dream. The Messiah of the Jews had to come during this general time-frame or the Jewish scriptures would fail. The Bible would prove to be a failure if, first, the Messiah did not come in the time of the fourth (Roman) empire, and second, if no everlasting kingdom were established at that time. Daniel also got even more specific as to the time in Daniel 9:25: “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times.” (NKJV)
There were 70 weeks of years determined. Thus, from the call to rebuild Jerusalem to the Messiah, 490 years were determined. This gets even more precise. Jesus came in the exact time-frame as was predicted by the dreams of himself and of king Nebuchadnezzar. At the perfect time Jesus came on the scene in Galilee “preaching the gospel (good news) of the kingdom.” He said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:14-15). Jesus’ kingdom has stood the test of time. It came in the right time and has stood for almost 2,000 years. How is this possible? God is Almighty. He knows everything and He planned everything. God gave us the Bible. It is not the work of human wisdom alone. It has all the marks of divine wisdom. No man could have predicted that an everlasting Messiah and Kingdom would be set up; yet Daniel records exactly such a prediction, and the New Testament shows how those and other prophesies were in fact fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Have you been born again so that you too have entered Jesus’ kingdom? Can we study these things with you further? If you miss entering the kingdom now, there will not be another chance after death to enter it. Please don’t miss out on the great spiritual blessings in Jesus’ kingdom!
—Terry W. Benton