"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of truth." — (Psalm 60:4)
"Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them." — (Isaiah 13:2)
Devoted To The Defense Of The Church Against All Errors And Innovations
Vol.V No.XI Pg.8-9
June 1943

Daniel's Vision Of The Kingdom

W. Curtis Porter

Through prophetic vision God often made known to men the things that were to occur in the future. The kingdom of Jesus Christ, and his reception of it at the hands of the Father, were thus pointed out to the prophet Daniel. He says: "I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed." (Dan. 7:13,14.)

We have in this passage a number of thoughts presented that are of great significance, and they are worthy of our careful consideration. Two great persons are mentioned: one said to be "like the Son of man" and the other called "the Ancient of days." Both are referred to by the personal pronoun "him." "They brought him near before him." The one who is said to be like the Son of man we at once recognize as the Son of God, Jesus the Redeemer of man and the Savior of the world. But who is the other that is called "the Ancient of days"? A description of him is given in verses 9 and 10. Here we read: "I beheld till thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame; And his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened." This event was seen in another vision that Daniel had, and the description of "the Ancient of days" is such that it can only apply to God. So in the vision of our text Daniel saw the Son of man come to the Father who is called "the Ancient of days."

But the manner of his coming to God is also described, for Daniel saw him come with the clouds of heaven. There are just two events on record in the book of God that picture Jesus Christ as coming with the clouds. One of these was his ascension to heaven. We have it mentioned in Acts 1:9-11 in these words: "And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." The other event is mentioned even in this passage--his second coming--for he will come "in like manner" as he went away. Since he went away in the clouds of heaven, he will also make his second advent into the world with the clouds of heaven. This we are definitely told a number of times. In Rev. 1:7 we read: "Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him." And Jesus tells us in Matt. 24:30 that "then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and--great glory." So Jesus ascended to heaven in the clouds, and he will come the second time in the clouds of heaven. The incidents, therefore, mentioned in the vision of Daniel regarding the kingdom either took place when the Lord went to heaven, or they will take place at his return to earth, for Daniel saw him coming with the clouds of heaven.

But what happened when he came with the clouds of heaven to the Ancient of Days? "There was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom." This took place after he came with the clouds to the Ancient of Days and after he was brought near before him. When, therefore, did Jesus receive this kingdom? There are many who contend that this will be fulfilled at the return of Jesus from heaven, when he descends with the clouds. It is claimed that he will then establish his throne in Jerusalem, receive his kingdom, and reign over all the earth. But the very language of the text shows the impossibility of such an interpretation. The kingdom, according to Daniel, was given him when he came to the Ancient of Days, when he came to God. But at the second coming of Jesus he will not be coming to God in the clouds--he will be coming from God. The kingdom was not received, according to Daniel's vision, when he came from God but when he came to God. And the only time that Jesus ever came to God in the clouds of heaven was when he ascended to heaven. At that time he was given dominion, glory and a kingdom. This agrees perfectly with the parable uttered by Jesus in Luke 19:11-27. In this we are told: "As they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear. He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return." (Vs. 11 and 12.) The nobleman in this parable certainly represents the Son of God. The "far country" to which he went represents heaven. The "return" of the nobleman represents the second coming of Jesus Christ. Now note the fact that he received the kingdom in the far country--after he went away and before his return. Denominational preachers today often insist that Jesus received his kingdom while he was on this earth; that he became king during that time; that he ruled upon his throne; that his disciples were his subjects; the world, his territory, and his will, his law. Hence they insist that no kingdom was received after he went away. They tell us that when he returns he will receive his millennial kingdom (whatever that is, but the Bible knows nothing about it) and reign on the earth. Now, I should like to know this. If Jesus set up his kingdom while he was on the earth before he went to the far country, and if he will set up another kingdom after his return from the far country, then what kingdom did he receive after he went to the far country and before his return? There is some kingdom thus to be received. The kingdom Jesus spoke of was not received while he was on earth, nor will it be received after he comes back from heaven; for he "went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return." This is the same kingdom that Daniel saw given to him after "he came with the clouds of heaven to the Ancient of Days." It cannot be, as a gentleman told me recently, the glorified kingdom, for we will not reach the glorified state before Jesus returns. The only kingdom it can be is the kingdom that came with power on the day of Pentecost, according to Mark 9:1 and Acts 2:1-4, over which Jesus is now reigning as king, and into which all have been translated who have been delivered from the power of darkness. The passages clearly show that Jesus did not establish his kingdom during his personal ministry and that he will not do so at his second coming, but he received it after he went to heaven in the clouds.

But this kingdom was received, Daniel says, "that all people, nations, and languages should serve him." If this prophecy is yet to be fulfilled at the second coming of Christ, all nations have no right to serve him now, for it was received that they might do so. But do all nations have a right to serve him now? Note another prophecy, uttered by the prophet Isaiah, that mentions the same thing. He said: "And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it." This agrees with the prophecy of Daniel that when the kingdom is received, or when the mountain of the Lord's house is established, it will embrace all nations, that all nations will flow unto it, or all nations, languages and people will have a right to serve the Lord. Does this condition now exist? Are all nations embraced in his terms and provisions now? If so, then the kingdom has been already received. But all nations were not thus embraced during the personal ministry of Jesus. During that period he gave his apostles a commission that said: "Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matt. 10:5-7.) They were not told to preach the kingdom of God has already come, but the kingdom is at hand. The expression, "at hand," means near. In other words, the kingdom of God was soon to come. Nor were they allowed to proclaim the message to all nations. If the kingdom had already been received, they could have proclaimed it to all nations. But they were not allowed to preach to the Gentiles, nor even to the Samaritans; but were to preach to the Jews only, to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. But after Jesus arose from the dead he met his disciples and said to them: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." (Matt. 28:19.) Mark records the same commission in these words: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." (Mark 16: 15, 16.) And Luke says: "Thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." (Luke 24:46, 47.) All these statements show that all nations were not embraced before Jesus arose from the dead. Nor could they begin immediately to proclaim the terms of that commission. The Lord said to them: "And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high." (Luke 24:49.) They had to wait in Jerusalem till the power was received. It came on the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Christ, and there and then they began to preach repentance and remission of sins in the name of Christ to all nations. Subsequently they went into all the world with the gospel, and Paul tells us that during his lifetime the gospel was preached to every creature under heaven. No geographical boundaries placed any restriction on gospel application. No race, or tribe, or color of men was excluded from its provisions. It is for every creature in all the world. Jew and Gentile and Samaritan alike were reached with the gospel of Jesus Christ. The kingdom of Jesus had been received by him in heaven before the Ancient of Days; he had dispatched his power to the apostles on earth; and they went forth with a message of hope for every nation, and tongue and people. Let earth rejoice that the kingdom has come, that Jesus now reigns as king in heaven, and that he invites men of every land beneath the sun to serve him. This benefit is not something that is postponed till his second coming, but it may be enjoyed now by all the nations of all the earth. Kingdoms have arisen and fallen, empires have been often overthrown, and nations have been forgotten in the rush of time; but Daniel tells us that the Lord's "dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed." And since we have received a kingdom that cannot be moved, let us serve God with reverence and godly fear.