Thy Kingdom Come.
Daniel 7-8, Revelation 20
…and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And 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 one that shall not be destroyed. – Daniel 7:13-14 ESV
When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He gave them the following model to follow. “Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9-10 NLT). Jesus began His prayer with a request that His Father’s Kingdom be established on the earth and that the will of His Father be perfectly fulfilled here on earth just as it is in heaven. This was a request for something to be done that was yet future in its fulfillment. Jesus was teaching His disciples to long for and look for a day when the Kingdom of God would be established on earth in a real and final sense. While we see a partial fulfillment of God’s Kingdom as we live on this earth as citizens of that Kingdom, and enjoy the Kingship of Christ in our lives; we do not yet see His Kingdom fulfilled in all its glory. That day is yet future. It is reserved for what Daniel records as “the time of the end” (Daniel 8:17 ESV). Daniel was given a glimpse into the distant future, a time called “the latter end” (Daniel 8:23 ESV), “many days from now” (Daniel 8:26 ESV), when God will bring all things to a close and establish His Kingdom on earth. The kingdoms of this earth will cease. The kings of this earth will be removed from power. The one true King will sit on His throne in Jerusalem where He will reign in righteousness and glory for 1,000 years. John was given insight into this event and shown that a day was coming when Jesus Christ would return to earth, defeat Satan and the armies of this world, set up His Kingdom and reward those who had been faithful to Him throughout the time of the Great Tribulation and had suffered martyrdom on His behalf. “They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4 ESV). “…but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years” (Revelation 20:6 ESV). This refers to that yet future time period called the Millennial Kingdom, when God will establish His Kingdom on earth once and for all. His Kingdom will come and His will will be done, perfectly and completely. The prayer Jesus prayed will be fulfilled.
What does this passage reveal about God?
God showed Daniel and John things that no man had ever seen. He revealed to them things that had yet to happen, but that would most certainly take place because they were part of His divine plan for the redemption of His creation. Much of what was revealed to Daniel would have a short-term fulfillment. He was shown the various kingdoms that would come to power in the not-too-distant future. He was told of the coming of Antiochus IV (Epiphanes), the eighth king of the Seleucid dynasty, who would lead Syria to great power and prominence and become of the greatest persecutors of the people of God that had ever lived. He would kill thousands of Jews. He would desecrate the temple of God by setting up an idol dedicated to Zeus and offer a sacrifice of swine to this false god. But these events were just a precursor of something even greater and far more sinister to come. Antiochus would be the partial fulfillment of the Antichrist who was to come in “ the appointed time of the end” (Daniel 8:19 ESV). What Daniel saw had to do with events to come that have already taken place, but it also had to do with a future time that has yet to be fulfilled. God’s focus is on the end. He is involved in the here and now, but His emphasis is on culmination of all things. He is all about answering the prayer that Jesus prayed. He is all about the coming of His Kingdom and the ultimate fulfillment of His divine will on earth.
What does this passage reveal about man?
Much must take place before the end comes. Jesus Himself warned that things were going to get worse long before they got better. “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains” (Matthew 24:6-8 ESV). We have been witness to the reality of His prediction. We have been eyewitnesses to countless wars, tragic famines, devastating earthquakes and other seemingly end time events. But Jesus told us not to be alarmed. These things are not necessarily a sign of the end. They are simply evidence of the devastating influence the fall and the presence of sin will have on God’s creation and on mankind. Kingdoms will rise and fall. Nations will wage war against one another. Injustice and unrighteousness will become commonplace. The sin of man will reach epic proportions and the darkness of man’s rebellion against God will appear overwhelming. The actions of an Antiochus Epiphanes will pale in comparison to those of the Antichrist. “His power shall be great—but not by his own power; and he shall cause fearful destruction and shall succeed in what he does, and destroy mighty men and the people who are the saints. By his cunning he shall make deceit prosper under his hand, and in his own mind he shall become great. Without warning he shall destroy many. And he shall even rise up against the Prince of princes, and he shall be broken—but by no human hand” (Daniel 8:24-25 ESV). Man’s capacity for evil will reach it apex in this one individual. He will rule and reign over the world and turn his wrath against the people of Israel. Jesus described this period of time in very harsh terms: “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be” (Matthew 24:21 ESV).
How would I apply what I’ve read to my own life?
News of these yet-future events had a devastating impact on Daniel. “And I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for some days. Then I rose and went about the king’s business, but I was appalled by the vision and did not understand it” (Daniel 8:27 ESV). But rather than fear, we must be ready. Rather than live with a sense of trepidation, we should live with expectation. Jesus told us, “Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matthew 24:44 ESV). He is coming back. And when He returns the second time, He will come to defeat the kingdoms of this world, along with Satan, the prince of this world. God will take back what rightfully belongs to Him. He will establish His Kingdom and set up His Son as the King of kings and the Lord of lords. “…and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And 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 one that shall not be destroyed” (Daniel 7:13-14 ESV). God’s Kingdom will come. His will will be done. His Son will reign. His enemies will be defeated. Sin will be eliminated. The unrighteous will be judged. The redeemed will be rewarded. The God of the universe will have the final say. So as Jesus modeled for us, our constant prayer should be that God’s Kingdom come and His will be done – on earth, just as it is in heaven. That day is coming. And it is for that day we hope and the creation moans in eager anticipation.
Father, while things appear to be getting progressively worse, we know that man’s capacity for sin and rebellion knows no limits. Sin will increase. Unrighteousness will spread like a cancer. But Your Kingdom IS coming. Your will will be done. Your Son is going to return and set everything right. Help us to live with that reality in mind. This story has an ending and it is an unbelievably good one. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men