The Lord’s Message:  Only One Kingdom is Eternal

The Lord’s Message:  Only One Kingdom is Eternal
Date:  June 30, 2024
Where:  Tilghman Methodist Church
Scripture Reference:  Daniel 2:1-16, 31-47

            We started our study on the Book of Daniel last week.  I suggest that you read the next chapter and if you have any questions or do not understand something that you have read, please send me an email or if you are on Facebook, send me a comment, I will do my best to answer them in the sermon for next week. 

            I will quickly summarize what we learned last week.  In Daniel chapter 1, we learned that Babylon had attacked Judah and Jerusalem for a second time.  The reason for the attack was that God was using Babylon to punish the Israelites for not worshipping and following God.  Instead of worshipping God, the Israelites were worshipping the idols of the nations around them.  After this attack, the young boys whose father was serving in the king’s court are deported to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar.  These boys are the ages of 12 to 17 years old.  Some of the boys are selected to serve in King Nebuchadnezzar’s court after going through a three-year assimilation.  Four of the boys, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah accept their new Babylonian names, learn to speak Babylonian, study the history of Babylon that King Nebuchadnezzar wants them to learn, but refuse to eat the food and drink the wine that comes from the king’s table.  They refused to eat the food and drink the wine because the food and wine were offered to idols.  These four boys are blessed by God for remaining faithful and not being completely assimilated in the Babylonian culture.  The result of God’s blessing is that they are healthier and look more physically fit than the other boys who would eat the food and drank the wine from the king.  God also blessed them with wisdom.  It says in Daniel 1:17.   Their physical appearance and knowledge was even acknowledged by King Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel 1:18-20.  The lesson that we should all learn is we should never compromise the Word of God, the Bible, and our holy living for God.  We should stand by faith, in spite of all the persecution that this world will throw at us.  God will reward us in the end.  Amen.

            Let us pray. 

            Have you ever had a dream that left you puzzled, confused, or even scared? If you have then you know how King Nebuchadnezzar felt, Daniel 2:1.  King Nebuchadnezzar decides to find out what his dream means.  In verses 2 & 3, he calls the wisest people of his kingdom.  The wise people tell the king that if the king tells them his dream that they will be able to interpret it.  The king responds to them to tell him his dream and their interpretation of the dream.  The king knows that many people can give an interpretation of the person’s dream if they know what elements were in the dream.  This is the way fortune tellers work today.  I do not know about fortune tellers, but David Lorde says that “a deluge of Barnum statements, cold reading, confirmation bias, and the malleability of memory can combine in amazing ways to generate belief.”  Barnum statements are general statements.  Such as most people worry about money, getting a good job, or being happy.  He goes on to say that nowadays many fortune tellers schedule their readings in advance, so that they have time to look up people on Facebook and others social media networks to learn as much as they can about them. 

In verses 5-6, King Nebuchadnezzar replies to his wise people and gives them an ultimatum.  In verses 10-11, the wise people tell the king that only the gods can tell him his dream.  In verses 12-13, this enrages the king, and he makes a decree to have all the wise people executed and this includes Daniel and his three friends.

Daniel knows nothing about the king having a dream and demanding the wise people tell him his dream and the interpretations.  So, when Arioch comes to carry out the king’s decree, Daniel asks him how this decree came about in verses 14-15.  In verse 16, after hearing this, Daniel goes in and asks the king for more time to interpret his dream for him.  If you remember in Daniel 1:17, God have given Daniel the ability to interpret visions and dreams. 

King Nebuchadnezzar must have granted Daniel’s request, because in verse 17, we read that Daniel goes home and tells his friends about the decree and the king having a very upsetting dream.  The next thing that Daniel does, which is something we all should do when confronting a challenge, is to pray.  Even if those day-to-day challenges are simply finding something that is lost or what should you say to an individual that may be having a difficult time.  The prayers have more effect when we are praying together.   We should pray together daily for the ministry of this church, its leaders, and the individuals in the congregation.  

The early church in the Book of Acts prayed together when Peter was put into prison by King Herod who was about to have him executed.  In Acts 12:5, the church was praying together for God to intervene and release Peter from prison.  I want you to see the importance of prayer.  Peter is being guarded by four squads of soldiers.  He is bound in chains between two soldiers.  There are sentries posted in the prison.  An angel comes in and wakes up Peter and tells him to get up.  Peter stood up and the chains fell off his wrist.  Peter starts walking out of the prison.  Past the first and second guards.  Then the iron gate opens by itself, and the angel leads Peter down the street from the prison and leaves him.  Peter, not sure what has happened, gathers his wits, and realizes that God, through the prayer of the church, has released him from bondage and saved his life.  Of course, the church was just as shocked by what had God done. They refused to answer the door to where they had gathered.  Let me read what it says in Acts 12:12-17.  When you pray, you should expect God to show up.  

 In verse 18, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah are praying together.  In verse 19, God reveals to Daniel what the dream was and what it means.  Daniel does not immediately run off to King Nebuchadnezzar but gives thanks and praise to God.  We find this in verses 20-23.  After God answers our prayer, we should give thanks and praise to God.  If I have ever done anything or said anything that is praiseworthy, then all praise should go to God and not to me.  He is the one that deserves our thanksgiving and praise.  I am simply a servant of Him.  In verses 27-30, Daniel does this and he goes in and tells King Nebuchadnezzar that God has given him the ability to know what the king dreamed and the interpretation of that dream. 

Verses 31-35 tell what the king dreamed.  A large statue dazzling in appearance, the head made of gold, the chest and arms made of silver, belly and thighs made of bronze, the legs of iron and the feet partly of iron and baked clay.  A large stone that was not cut by human hands struck the statue and smashed its feet made of iron and clay.  Then the statue fell down broken into many pieces and became like chaff.  The wind came and blew all the pieces away, so that not even a trace of the mighty statue remained.  Then the rock became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth. 

God gave Daniel the interpretation of the dream in verses 36-43.  The statue represents the four dominating kingdoms on earth.  We are told that the head made of gold represents the kingdom of Babylon.  We are not told specifically what the other three kingdoms are.  Most Theologians and Historians believe that they represent the Mede-Persian kingdom – the chest and arms made of silver, the Grecian kingdom – the belly and thighs made of bronze and finally the Roman kingdom made of feet partly of iron and partly of clay.  The rock cut without hands represents Jesus Christ, the Messiah, Psalm 118:22-24. 

Do you remember what kingdom was in power when Jesus lived?  Rome.  Jesus was crucified, died, was buried, and rose on the third day in Jerusalem under the authority of Rome.  Jesus ascended into heaven and gave the final commission that Jesus gave to the disciples which we call the Great Commission, Matthew 28: 18-20.  This commission is still being fulfilled today and should be fulfilled by every Christian.  It is our responsibility to fulfill this commission. 

In less than 300 hundred years after Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension, Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire.  In 313 AD, the Roman Emperor Constantine, and the Roman Emperor Licinius, remembering those feet made of iron and clay, issued the Edict of Milan.  This edict officially recognizing Christianity as religion of the Roman Empire.  The rock not cut by human hands replaced all the great kingdoms of the world and continues today to replace all the kingdoms and religions of the world.  That rock continues to grow. 

No wonder after hearing God’s explanation of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream by Daniel, the king bowed down and proclaimed God as the true God, verses 46-47. 

Now, I know that we are in an election year, I would encourage you to vote.  I would encourage you, first to pray and then to vote. I also want you to be aware that any candidate, female, or male, is not going to save this country.  Our hope should be that they will pray and listen to God to make decisions to bring this country back to God, but they are not capable of saving this country.  They are sinners just like you and me.  We should also realize that we are blessed to live in this country, but this country is not our final destination.  This world is not our final destination.  Heaven is.  We are only foreigners living in a strange land.  The kingdom that we seek is the only one that is eternal.  The one that will last forever.  That is the kingdom that God will establish, Revelation 21:1-7. 

In order to be welcomed into this eternal kingdom, we need to open our hearts and believe in Jesus as our Savior and Lord.  Until that day comes, let us continue to grow and invite others with us to grow together in faith.  Amen.

July 2, 2024 9:45 am