Crushing All Nations in Our Day by God’s Kingdom
“In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin. . . . It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite.”—Dan. 2:44.
1. Concerning what did God notify King Nebuchadnezzar, and by what means?
JEHOVAH notified Nebuchadnezzar in the second year of his reign as world ruler, or in 606-605 B.C.E., that he would begin the march of world powers, which would run for 2,520 years from the fall of 607 B.C.E. God also disclosed to Nebuchadnezzar that He would eventually crush all the nations of the earth by means of His kingdom. He did this by sending a dream that the king of Babylon could not recall on awakening, but the terror of the forgotten dream stuck with him. He called for the magicians and other wise men to interpret the dream. When they could not tell him what the dream was, much less the interpretation, the enraged king issued a decree for all the wise men of Babylon to be destroyed—and this included Daniel and his three companions.—Dan. 2:1-13.
2. (a) Faced with the threat of execution, what did Daniel and his companions do? (b) After receiving the interpretation from God, what did Daniel say and do?
2 When Daniel heard of this harsh order, he asked Arioch, the chief of the king’s bodyguard, the reason for it. Then Daniel went in to the king and asked for a stay of execution, that he might learn the dream and give the king its interpretation. Daniel and his three companions sought Jehovah’s help in prayer. In a night vision Jehovah revealed to Daniel the secret, causing Daniel to bless the name of God and to say: “He is changing times and seasons, removing kings and setting up kings, giving wisdom to the wise ones and knowledge to those knowing discernment.” (Dan. 2:14-23) Daniel then went to see Arioch, the appointed executioner, and asked to be taken in before the king, who was answering and saying to Daniel: “Are you competent enough to make known to me the dream that I beheld, and its interpretation?”—Dan. 2:25, 26.
3, 4. (a) How did Daniel show that the dream’s interpretation is of vital importance today? (b) Describe the prophetic dream.
3 What Daniel answered is of the highest importance today, because he said: “There exists a God in the heavens who is a Revealer of secrets, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what is to occur in the final part of the days,” our days. (Dan. 2:28) Daniel disclaimed any wisdom of his own as he now recalled this forgotten dream to the king’s mind:
4 “You, O king, happened to be beholding, and, look! a certain immense image. That image, which was large and the brightness of which was extraordinary, was standing in front of you, and its appearance was dreadful. As regards that image, its head was of good gold, its breasts and its arms were of silver, its belly and its thighs were of copper, its legs were of iron, its feet were partly of iron and partly of molded clay. You kept on looking until a stone was cut out not by hands, and it struck the image on its feet of iron and of molded clay and crushed them. At that time the iron, the molded clay, the copper, the silver and the gold were, all together, crushed and became like the chaff from the summer threshing floor, and the wind carried them away so that no trace at all was found of them. And as for the stone that struck the image, it became a large mountain and filled the whole earth.”—Dan. 2:29-35.
5. How did Daniel interpret the dream?
5 Amazed, the king of Babylon must have recognized the description, but what did it all mean? Daniel explained: “This is the dream, and its interpretation we shall say before the king. You, O king, the king of kings, you to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the might, and the strength and the dignity . . . you yourself are the head of gold. And after you there will rise another kingdom inferior to you; and another kingdom, a third one, of copper, that will rule over the whole earth. And as for the fourth kingdom, it will prove to be strong like iron.”—Dan. 2:36-40.
DREAM IMAGE RELATES TO OUR DAY
6. How do history and Bible prophecy agree, with regard to the dream image and its interpretation?
6 How precisely the prophetic words of Daniel have been fulfilled! The golden head pictured the Babylonian World Power beginning with Nebuchadnezzar. Then arose the Medo-Persian Empire, pictured by the silver breasts and arms. Next came the Grecian World Power, foretold by the belly and thighs of copper. But what is represented by the legs of iron? A fourth imperial system, starting off with imperial Rome, and then merging into the Anglo-American World Empire. History shows that Great Britain really got started as an offshoot of the Roman Empire, and hence the final world power is included in the iron of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream image. This is also shown in Daniel chapters 7 and 8, where the Anglo-American dual World Power is represented by the little horn, which is shown to grow up out of the Roman World Power.
7, 8. (a) What did Daniel say with regard to the feet of the symbolic image? (b) What is the significance of the ten toes, and how has the image kept on developing after the appearance of the final world power?
7 But there was a final or completing part of the symbolic image—its feet made partly of iron and partly of clay. On this the prophet Daniel made the following inspired comment to the king: “And whereas you beheld the feet and the toes to be partly of molded clay of a potter and partly of iron, the kingdom itself will prove to be divided, but somewhat of the hardness of iron will prove to be in it . . . And as for the toes of the feet being partly of iron and partly of molded clay, the kingdom will partly prove to be strong and will partly prove to be fragile. . . . they will not prove to be sticking together, this one to that one, just as iron is not mixing with molded clay.”—Dan. 2:41-43.
8 What possible significance could the ten toes have? These picture all the coexisting powers and governments on earth today, since the number ten is a Biblical number symbolizing earthly completeness. So the dream image relates to our day indeed! We should keep in mind that this image did not become static with the appearance of the final world power. The image had to keep on developing in order to include the weakening influence of the socialistic, democratic elements against the imperial, dictatorial powers of this world. Ever since 1914 the weakening influence of democracy and socialism has gone forward particularly against that part of the iron feet of the image represented by “the king of the north.” The ten toes of the image picture all the nations, not merely those that have thus far gained admission to the U.N. At this stage comes the dramatic climax of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. The prophet Daniel continues his interpretation; his words have vital meaning for our day:
9. What trustworthy interpretation does Daniel give as to the destiny of the symbolic image?
9 “And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin. And the kingdom itself will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite; forasmuch as you beheld that out of the mountain a stone was cut not by hands, and that it crushed the iron, the copper, the molded clay, the silver and the gold. The grand God himself has made known to the king what is to occur after this. And the dream is reliable, and the interpretation of it is trustworthy.”—Dan. 2:44, 45.
CRUSHING OF THE SYMBOLIC IMAGE BY THE KINGDOM STONE
10, 11. What is pictured by (a) the stone cut out of a mountain without hands? (b) the mountain? (c) the stone’s smashing the image?
10 In the interpretation by Daniel, he saw a stone cut out of a mountain not by hands. Here is pictured the establishment of God’s kingdom in the heavens in 1914 C.E., which establishment was by no human hands. The mountain stands for Jehovah God’s universal sovereignty. The kingdom is an expression of God’s universal sovereignty.—Dan. 2:34.
11 This birth of God’s kingdom occurred “in the days of those kings.” That means not merely the kings pictured by the ten toes but also those pictured by the iron, copper, silver and gold parts of the image, since basic remnants of those previous world powers were still in existence in 1914 C.E. So the symbolic image seen in the dream was complete in 1914. Of course, many new nations have come into existence since then, but at that date they were part of the then division of the nations of the world. The ten toes picture all the nations. And so the stone’s hitting and smashing the image pictures nothing less than the destruction of all the kingdoms of the world today by God’s kingdom!
12. What mission is the Kingdom Stone speeding to accomplish, and what is symbolized by the stone’s becoming a large mountain, filling the whole earth?
12 That kingdom will break in pieces and destroy all the kingdoms pictured in the metallic image and bring them to an everlasting end at Armageddon! That kingdom is speeding on its mission. At Armageddon the Kingdom Stone will strike the symbolic image with crushing impact, destroying every nation, whether it be of a socialistic, communistic or democratic type, also the so-called neutral nations being included. All will be annihilated! The nations of the earth will be ground to powder, and the wind of God’s storm will sweep the powder away like the chaff on the threshing floor, never to be brought together again on earth. Like the image-smashing stone that grew to mountain size to fill our entire earth, God’s kingdom will become the governmental mountain that will fill the whole earth and dominate all its affairs. Truly, Daniel’s prophecies are for our day!
TODAY’S INTERNATIONAL POWER STRUGGLE
13. What long-drawn-out struggle does Daniel prophetically describe, and who are identified as the opposing ‘kings’ in our day?
13 As we peer closely into the book of Daniel to learn of further things that were prophesied to occur in our day, we find Daniel’s description, given him by God’s angel, of a long-drawn-out warfare between opposing governments called “the king of the north” and “the king of the south,” running from the days of ancient Greece down to our day. But who are these kings in our day? The facts of history in fulfillment of this reliable prophecy show the ruling factors of totalitarianism, particularly world communism, to be the final “king of the north” and the ruling factors of democracy, particularly the Anglo-American combine, as the last “king of the south.”—Dan. 11:1-35.
14. What does Daniel say that “the king of the north” will do, and how has history shown this to be true?
14 After discussing material that is now history, the prophecy focuses attention on our generation and settles upon the totalitarian “king of the north.” What does Daniel say this king will do? “And the king will actually do according to his own will, and he will exalt himself and magnify himself above every god.” (Dan. 11:36, 37) Has he not exalted the godless political state to a position higher than any god worshiped formerly by his people? He has magnified himself over every earthly man-made “god,” even going so far as to deny the existence of the Creator, Jehovah God. On August 6, 1961, when the Russian astronaut saw “no God or angels” during his seventeen orbits by a man-made satellite through outer space around our earth, he felt he had absolute proof that God did not exist.
15, 16. (a) To what god did Daniel foretell that “the king of the north” in our day would give glory? (b) So what has ‘the king of the north’s’ god proved to be?
15 Years in advance the inspired prophecy foretold that “the king of the north” would reject the religious gods formerly worshiped by the peoples in his domain and would worship another god. Notice how accurately Daniel foretold this: “But to the god of fortresses, in his position he will give glory; and to a god that his fathers did not know he will give glory by means of gold and by means of silver and by means of precious stone and by means of desirable things.”—Dan. 11:38.
16 Who is the “god of fortresses,” in our day? Modern, scientific militarism! Technical science has become a god to “the king of the north.” When conquering Eastern Germany, he seized as many German experts on rockets and missiles as he could and put these to work in developing rocketry and missilery in Russia. His educational institutions specialize on science and the production of engineers with a view to military domination of the whole earth. Today, in order to maintain a large army and to advance in space technology, the Communist “king of the north” has had to deprive his people of many consumer goods and material comforts. These desirable things are sacrificed at the altar of the god of scientific militarism.
17, 18. (a) How does Daniel describe the success of “the king of the north”? (b) What facts of history point to success for “the king of the north”?
17 What would all this result in? Daniel explains: “He will certainly prove successful . . . He will act effectively against the most fortified strongholds, along with a foreign god. Whoever has given him recognition he will make abound with glory . . . He will certainly enter into the lands and flood over and pass through. . . . He will keep thrusting out his hand against the lands; . . . He will actually rule over the hidden treasures of the gold and the silver.”—Dan. 11:36, 39-43.
18 As we consider world events in the past few years, we can see the amazing fulfillment of these words before our very eyes! “The king of the north” seized Poland, then Eastern Germany and Hungary; and many other countries of eastern Europe have come under Communist domination, as have mainland China, North Korea and North Vietnam. And now “the king of the north” seeks control over South Vietnam. In many Latin American lands international communism is encouraging political unrest and guerrilla warfare. Africa and the Middle East are rife with Communist-sponsored subversion, as “the king of the north” tries to spread his control over the treasures in many lands. Yes, we have witnessed the fall of one country after another before him. But will he eventually gain control of “the king of the south”? Does Daniel tell us the outcome of this international power struggle?
19. (a) Does “the king of the north” succeed in his ultimate aim of destroying “the king of the south”? Why? (b) Name one of the methods Jehovah God will use to annihilate the two ‘kings’ at Armageddon?
19 Yes, Daniel gives the final outcome. The final words of this prophecy say: “He will have to come all the way to his end, and there will be no helper for him.” (Dan. 11:44, 45) Thus Daniel’s prophecy reveals that “the king of the north” will not succeed in his ambitious aims to dominate the whole earth, especially to bring about the destruction of “the king of the south.” However, the destruction of “the king of the north” will not be brought about by “the king of the south.” On the contrary, both will meet their end at Jehovah’s appointed time—the battle of Armageddon. Daniel’s words (Da 11:40-45) describe the approach of “the king of the north” to Armageddon and his position there at Armageddon, it being that of one in opposition to the anointed people of God and the “great crowd” of companion witnesses. At Armageddon Jehovah God will confuse “the king of the north” and “the king of the south” and cause them to fight against each other, as well as all of their on-hangers and supporters to fight against one another in self-ruin, suicidally. This is what Ezekiel 38:21-23 shows, as well as other scriptures.
MICHAEL STANDS UP IN THE MIDST OF HIS ENEMIES
20, 21. (a) When does the last chapter of the book of Daniel find fulfillment, and what does verse one foretell? (b) Who is identified as being Michael, and why? (c) How does Michael stand up, and when?
20 In the time period immediately preceding the battle of the great day of God the Almighty, the final chapter in the book of Daniel has its fulfillment. Note closely the words the angel spoke to Daniel: “And during that time Michael will stand up, the great prince who is standing in behalf of the sons of your people. And there will certainly occur a time of distress such as has not been made to occur since there came to be a nation until that time.”—Dan. 12:1.
21 That means that Michael becomes king in heaven. Michael stands up to reign during the conflict between “the king of the north” and “the king of the south.” Hence, he stands up in the midst of his own enemies. Who is Michael? The first occurrence of the name in Daniel is in the tenth chapter, where Michael is described as “one of the foremost princes” that came to the aid of a lesser angel who was opposed by the “prince of the royal realm of Persia.” (Dan. 10:13, 21) There is Scriptural evidence for concluding that Michael was the name of Jesus Christ before he left heaven and after his return. Michael is the only one said to be the “archangel,” meaning chief angel or principal angel; the term occurring in the Bible only in the singular would seem to imply that there is only one chief or head of the angelic host. In the only other scripture besides Jude 9 where reference is made to an archangel it is definitely speaking about the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thess. 4:16) So after a period of waiting Michael or the Lord Jesus Christ stands up, Daniel explaining that this expression “stand up” means to take up power and begin reigning as king. (Dan. 8:22, 23; 11:2, 3, 7, 20, 21; compare Hebrews 1:13; 10:12, 13.) In 1914, Jesus Christ was glorified in heaven at God’s right hand, and as the “Son of man” he was brought to the throne of the Ancient of Days and was given dominion, glory and a kingdom.
22. Why does Michael’s standing up call for an unprecedented time of trouble?
22 Michael’s standing up to reign in the midst of his enemies and to go subduing in their midst calls for a war, the like of which there has never been before, a time of trouble more distressing than anything previous. This must be so, not just because the war that flamed up in 1914 was earth wide, but because this trouble on earth will surpass even the Noachian flood.—Matt. 24:21-39.
23. What came upon Jehovah’s people in 1918, and what grand promise was given for the future?
23 This has also been a time of affliction for Jehovah’s holy people, especially in 1918, when they were worn out by persecution and their preaching work was practically silenced by the war-maddened nations. But even this situation gave promise of a grand future for Jehovah’s people. Note carefully the words of the angel associate of Michael as he swears with both arms upraised to heaven: “As soon as there will have been a finishing of the dashing of the power of the holy people to pieces, all these things will come to their finish.”—Dan. 12:7.
24. What does history show in fulfillment of Daniel 12:7?
24 History shows that since May and June of 1918, when there was a dashing of the power of Jehovah’s people to pieces, God’s people have not been crushed again. They went through World War II and survived. Think of that! They are now going through the Communist period and all of its heyday and still Jehovah’s people are not crushed, neither will they be crushed by the impending attack of Gog of Magog, because back there in 1918 the crushing of Jehovah’s people reached its climax, never to be repeated with success. How Daniel would have rejoiced to understand these prophetic words!
25. What request was made by Daniel, and how did God’s angel answer him?
25 But Daniel did not know what all these things meant, and he never did find out, intensely interested though he was: “Now as for me, I heard, but I could not understand; so that I said: ‘O my lord, what will be the final part of these things?’” To those words the angel associate of Michael went on to say: “Go, Daniel, because the words are made secret and sealed up until the time of the end. And as for you yourself, go toward the end; and you will rest, but you will stand up for your lot at the end of the days.”—Dan. 12:8, 9, 13.
26. (a) What is meant by Daniel’s ‘standing up for his lot’? (b) What will be of great interest to Daniel when he returns in the resurrection?
26 So Daniel was to go his way and rest now in Sheol, the common grave of mankind, and then ‘stand up for his lot at the end of the days.’ Daniel had already enjoyed wonderful privileges and experiences. Now he had something else to which to look forward. Though Daniel could not live to see the complete fulfillment of his visions and the events just foretold, yet we have been privileged to see them. That faithful prophet has much to which to look forward. His “lot” here does not necessarily mean the princely position he will attain to under the Messianic kingdom, though it could include that. His “lot” means his portion on earth in the New Order of things after Armageddon. Certainly Daniel will find things changed when he comes back in the resurrection. And he will want information on the standing up of the great Prince, Michael. So Jehovah’s people will be looking for him in the resurrection, and they will want to get many details from him. Some of Jehovah’s servants might discuss with him the contents of the book “Your Will Be Done on Earth,” which volume contains a detailed discussion of many of Daniel’s prophecies. He will be very interested in learning how his wonderful prophecies worked out, to God’s glory. We will be interested in his reactions and rejoice with him in his lot. Meanwhile, Jehovah’s witnesses have work to do!
27. What work did God’s angel fortell for the true followers of the Messianic Prince Michael? So what must we be doing?
27 Yes, the angel associate of Michael pointed out a great work for the true followers of the Messianic Prince Michael in this “time of the end.” Here is the prophecy: “The ones having insight will shine like the brightness of the expanse; and those who are bringing the many to righteousness, like the stars to time indefinite, even forever.” (Dan. 12:3) Here, then, is foretold the work for us today. Spiritually intelligent ones must shine with heavenly light. With the good news of the newborn kingdom of God, Jehovah’s witnesses have shone like the sun, which lets nothing be concealed from its heat all around the globe. In the midnight darkness of this world we must be like stars of light, to help many more of the “other sheep” turn to righteousness, which is the worship and ministry of the grand God, Jehovah. Living as we do in this “time of the end” since Michael the Great Prince stood up in heaven, we are living in a time more highly favored than that of Daniel. Daniel’s book has been opened up. Blessed are those who act in harmony with Daniel’s words for our day!
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The symbolic stone’s hitting and smashing the image pictures the destruction of all the kingdoms of the world today by God’s kingdom