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In the second chapter of Daniel, the king of Babylon had a troubling dream. The problem is that when he awoke from it, he could not remember it. So obviously, the wise men of Babylon could not conjure up an interpretation of the dream. Both the dream and the interpretation itself, however, were revealed to Daniel, and he told the king what had been revealed to him.
In the dream the king saw a succession of kingdoms, each represented by a different metal on a statue of a man: head of gold (Babylon); arms of silver (Media and Persia); belly of bronze (Greece); and legs of iron (Rome).
In addition to this, the king saw an extension of the iron kingdom called the "feet of iron mixed with clay," and this "iron" is essentially the same as the "little horn" (Dan. 7:8) in a later vision. It is Religious Rome, that is, the Roman Church which arose out of the ruins of the Roman Empire which collapsed in 476 A.D.
At the end of the dream, the king saw a stone cut out of the mountain without hands, which crushed the feet, and ultimately the entire image crumbled into dust. Then Daniel 2:35 says, "But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth." In verse 44 we read further, "it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever."
This is the Stone Kingdom which we know as the Kingdom of God. As citizens and ambassadors of this enduring Kingdom, we labor and teach people to become citizens and/or rulers in this Kingdom. That, of course, requires faith, because the present Babylonian succession of empires is still with us. Even so, I believe that the crushing has already begun, and the Kingdom of God is even now grinding the foundations of Babylon into dust. This will eventually "put an end to all these kingdoms" (2:44), after which time the dominion will be given to the saints of the Most High (Dan. 7:22, 27).
Let me stress, however, that this transfer of authority will not be accomplished by the arm of flesh or by carnal revolution and warfare. If God does not intervene in human affairs to break the power of Babylon, then it would not be done at all and the prophecy would fail. God is NOT sitting in heaven awaiting men to rise up in arms to overthrow the Babylonian governments of the earth. He is perfectly capable of doing the work Himself, and He has called forth an army of spiritual warriors who know the arts of spiritual warfare in the heavens.
Now my point is to show first that the Kingdom of God--the Stone Kingdom--will replace the kingdoms of this world with a spiritual kingdom, and that the Kingdom of God will be located here on earth and not merely in heaven. This Stone will "become a great mountain" [i.e., kingdom]. Daniel saw that it "filled the whole EARTH."
The overcomers in that day will have transformed bodies that will not be limited to this earthly dimension, but the vast majority of humanity will remain unchanged until much later. The Tabernacles Age to come will be glorious primarily because of one new factor in the world--God will then have perfect administrators of His perfect law as the Stone Kingdom grows.
When God established the Passover Church (i.e., "the church in the wilderness" Acts 7:38) under Moses, He gave Israel a perfect law (Psalm 19:7), but even Moses himself was imperfect as an administrator of the laws of the Kingdom. When God later established the Pentecost Church (Acts 2), the administrators received a greater anointing, but it was still only an "earnest of the Spirit" (1 Cor. 1:22; 5:5; Eph. 1:14). It is only as God establishes the Tabernacles Church in our time that God will have perfect administrators, for they will be filled with all the fullness of God.
The primary purpose of God in the past 6,000 years has been to bring the first fruits of creation into spiritual maturity so that they can lead the rest of humanity into the same experience. Romans 8:19 tells us that all of creation has a stake in this manifestation of the sons of God, and they eagerly await that event. The manifestation of the sons of God is a joyous occasion for all that God has created, including all men. It is not an occasion of dread, as many have been taught. The whole earth will be filled with His glory (Ps. 72:19), and all nations will sing for joy because God will judge the people righteously (Ps. 67:4).
Whereas in the past, men have misunderstood the law and have judged others without sitting on the mercy seat, the overcomers will have the mind of Christ and will judge the world in righteousness. Mercy and justice will kiss, and the nations will be glad.
The overcomers will have equal access to heaven and earth, not only by prayer (as we do today) but as Jesus did after His resurrection. Ezekiel 44:15-19 prophesies this in speaking of "the sons of Zadok" (a type of Melchizedek Order). These priests will be allowed to minister to God in the heavenly Sanctuary, while the other order of priests--who taught Israel lawlessness--will be limited to the "outer court," that is, the earthly realm.
These Melchizedek priests will minister in heaven in their "linen" garments (i.e., spiritual bodies), but will be required to "change clothes" and put on woolen garments ("flesh and bones," Luke 24:39) when they appear on earth to minister to the people in earth. As I wrote earlier, God will be their inheritance, and they will not need a land inheritance on earth in which to live.
Yet most of humanity, including the vast majority of the Church, will still need food and shelter to care for their bodily needs. After the Age of Tabernacles, there will be a second resurrection that will include all of the dead from past ages, both "the just and unjust" (Acts 24:14, 15). At that time, Jesus tells us in John 5:28, 29, the righteous will receive their reward of "life," while the unrighteous will be raised for judgment in the final age until the final Creation Jubilee cancels all "debt" (sin) and every man returns to his lost inheritance.
We are not told in Scripture about conditions beyond the point where God is "all in all" (1 Cor. 15:28). When the full work of redemption has been completed, God will turn His attention to His next creative project. But we need not be concerned with that. For now, it is important that heaven and earth defines the scope of His Kingdom, that the earth has a destiny to accomplish in the divine plan, and that the divine plan is accomplished in a series of steps.
The end of all things is not imminent. We have arrived only at the time of the manifestation of the sons of God, who are the first fruits through whom God will work to accomplish His purposes for the rest of earth history. We are not preparing to retire on a cloud, but are preparing for the great work of evangelism and teaching as the Stone Kingdom begins to grow and fill the earth.
The Melchizedek priests, like their predecessors of Levi, will not have the same inheritance in earth as the rest of the people (citizens of the Kingdom). Their inheritance will be God Himself, as Scripture says, and the meaning of this is seen clearly in the example of Jesus in His post-resurrection body. But the rest of humanity, both Kingdom citizens and others, will need land inheritances. As the Stone Kingdom grows, it will include more and more land and people, and these will each be given property as an inheritance until they too receive that glorified body in the appointed time.
This will be based upon Israel's example in the book of Joshua, and if God needs more land, He has the power to create more continents or islands for them.