Recently while reading the Book of Daniel, something hit me that I have never fully felt in my heart.
What kingdoms have I found in this world? What king has made me feel safe? What kingdoms have I longed to be a part of?
In Daniel, the kingdoms of this world exist by God’s decree. Daniel and those who are faithful live in the kingdom of this world and are simultaneously obedient to the Lord of Heaven, living as the saints of the Most High, citizens of a heavenly kingdom.
The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ
So, there are 4 (actually 5) kingdoms that Daniel talks about. Chapter 2 presents these kingdoms from a Gentile perspective, while 7 presents them from God’s perspective. When the fallen sinful nature of man is not restrained, especially when placed in a position of rule over other people, then it manifests itself as having the characteristics of a wild animal that is out of control. (Maybe this will be something I talk about in more detail and with personal experience in the future. Keep an eye out. Or don’t. It’s your life.)
In 2:36-45, Daniel explained the meaning Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, pointing out the dominant 4 kingdoms that would rule until God’s kingdom took over.
- BABYLON (612–539 BC)—represented by the head of gold (2:32) and a lion having the wings of an eagle (7:4)
- MEDO-PERSIA (539–331 BC)—represented by the upper body of silver (2:32) and a bear (7:5)
- GREECE (331–63 BC)—represented by the belly and thighs made of bronze (2:32) and a leopard with four wings and four heads (7:6)
- ROME (63 BC–AD 476; the Tribulation)—the first phase of this kingdom is represented by legs of iron (2:33) and an unspecified beast with iron teeth and bronze claws (7:7); the final phase is described as feet and toes that are a mixture of iron and clay (2:41-43), as well as ten horns or ten kings and “another” (7:24-25)
ANYWAYS. I say all this obnoxiously-academic sh*to to make a point. (Obviously, or this would be an exceptionally boring blog.)
What kingdom am I living in? Not what idol am I serving. Not even what king am I bowing down to.
What kingom am I living in?
I don’t think this is specifically how you’re supposed to interpret this book of the bible, or this passage, but this is how the Lord talked to me so screw it, I’m sharing on this world-famous blog.
There are “gentile” or, for lack of a better world, “worldly” kingdoms I’ve lived under while “waiting” for God’s eternal kingdom to overthrow it and “save” me.
A lot of words in quotes there.
I have lived under a kingdom of ignorance. I chose not to see, and was shielded from, the evil in this world. I hid my face from sins and things I didn’t like and understand. I was uneducated to all the world had to offer. And, worse, I was ignorant to all the Lord could do to me. I was serving a kingdom of ignorance of how badly I needed the Lord.
I have lived under a kingdom of selfishness and sin. This is the one I talk about the most here. I knew the kingdom of God was coming. I knew it was already reigning. I knew God was/is King. But I chose to be a citizen of the sin-kingdom. I chose earthly pleasures and the desires of my flesh. And I had a blast serving in this kingdom-because sin is fun.
Until it’s not.
I have lived under a kingdom of pain and shame. This kingdom was under attack from the kingdom of God. I was a citizen waiting to be saved from a tyrannical king of shame. I hated it there. I wanted out. But I wasn’t sure I deserved to enjoy the endless love and joy and freedom of God’s kingdom.
And I was saved. I truly understood what it was like to be a citizen of the kingdom of God. The Messianic, loving, victorious, omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal, and personal King made me a citizen of his kingdom. He called me his daughter. I was royal. I am royal. I wasn’t just a citizen, my entire identity changed. This citizenship fully changed who I am, how I think, how I love.
God’s kingdom is a kingdom of righteousness as opposed to a kingdom in which evil is present.
Unfortunately, I’m still on earth. I’m still a human. Still sinful. And I’m still surrounded by sinful humans on earth. So while I am fully a citizen of the kingdom of Heaven, it has not come to earth to create the perfect heaven yet.
So other kingdoms are still taking citizens. They are still claiming land. Gathering armed forces. Attacking the kingdom of God.
I’m on the winning side. I know this. But war has casualties. War is scary. And the “safety” other kingdoms offer are still tempting.
And you and I are still affected.
But I know I will always have a place in the kingdom of Heaven. Even if I leave. Or I’m kidnapped. Or, I don’t know, if I experience some of the grief and pain of war, I will always have a place in God’s throne room.
And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever,