Repentance is turning from worldliness and sin and turning to God. Sin is simply lawlessness, living without or outside of Godâ€™s law. So, to repent is to turn away from sin and living without God, and turn to God. It is both a process and a product. The process begins when we recognize that we have not been living as God would have us to live, and the product is finalized when we put those things behind us.
The second prophecy in this progression is found in chapter two of the book of Daniel. There are no equals in the scripture to the events recorded here. Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, its interpretation and what the prophecy entails should certainly command our strictest attention.
The story speaks best. But for the sake of brevity I’ll limit the text and just a few comments to the explanation of the king’s dream, its meaning and interpretation, all of which is part of the dialogue.
Notice that God granted Daniel’s request to interpret the dream and thereby save the lives of the soothsayers, his own, and his companions. So, it is The Lord God Almighty who was driving the matter and the events. And he controlled the interpretation and its timing. We know from reading in this book that Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, all trusted in whatever God might provide for them, whether good or bad. In this case as with the rest, the Lord God protected his prophets and allowed Daniel to make clear to all the meaning of His prophecy.
Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, “The secret which the king has demanded, the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, and the soothsayers cannot declare to the king. But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream, and the visions of your head upon your bed, were these: As for you, O king, thoughts came to your mind while on your bed, about what would come to pass after this; and He who reveals secrets has made known to you what will be. But as for me, this secret has not been revealed to me because I have more wisdom than anyone living, but for our sakes who make known the interpretation to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your heart.
“You, O king, were watching; and behold, a great image! This great image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome. 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.
“You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. This is the dream. Now we will tell the interpretation of it before the king.
You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory; and 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. But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth. And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters all things; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others. Whereas 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. And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile. As 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.
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. Inasmuch 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.”
Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face, prostrate before Daniel, and commanded that they should present an offering and incense to him. The king answered Daniel, and said, “Truly your God is the God of gods, the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, since you could reveal this secret.”
Without going the long way around, suffice to say the kingdom that immediately followed the Chaldeans chronologically (“But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours”) was the Persian Empire. The next kingdom in this part of the world, in order, was the Macedonian. The language limits us to this particular interpretation, and the reader can surely see why without any further comment. So the Kingdom of heaven was scheduled to be established during that last empire mentioned. It might be useful to note that with the exception of the Roman Empire (and yes, that must be the last kingdom of men of the four listed in this limited time line: the last mentioned in the dream), all of the others are named outright in several of the other prophecies found within the book. Therefore without going off into a trance and falling headlong into huge holes that lead nowhere, and without finding things that surely cannot be found; we ought to be able to clearly identify Rome in this prediction.
Further, to the consternation of our friends who precariously hang by that careless strand holding that the assembly of Christ is some stop gap measure until God Our Father and His Christ can get things settled between them and figure out where their timing had gotten off. To those who teach that the kingdom of God is yet to be established far away in the mist of future days; we offer our condolences, and reiterate a warning of scripture. If the predictions or the words of the prophet did not come true, that prophet was not from God but was a liar (Deut. 18: 20 – 22).
Was Daniel a liar? What of Isaiah before him? Then what of the rest?
It seems God said something simple and direct here with a strict timeline and markers attached to it. It followed the line of Isaiah’s prophecy. It will also be found in concert with what Joel recorded. Then come the events found in Acts chapter two.
To what and to where, dear friends, do you find the evidence pointing, and where do we suppose these things are going to lead?