Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 21, 1952

The Kingdom Set Up Without Hands

James D. Bales, Searcy, Arkansas

Not only was the church established during the days of the fourth empire, not only was it small in its beginning and universal in its scope of operation, but it was also set up without hands.

Without Hands

"Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet." (Dan. 2:44) "And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountains without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron..." (Dan. 2:44-45)

It is unlike the kingdoms of the world which are set up by the hands of men, by human wisdom and power. The kingdom of heaven is divine in its origin, "without human power or assistance" (E. Young, The Prophecy of Daniel, p. 72), God set up this kingdom. "The hand is a common Hebrew symbol for power; and we find all these particulars remarkably fulfilled. The kingdom of the true Messiah is spiritual, in contradistinction to the kingdoms foreshadowed in the image, which were of the earth, earthly — founded by blood and conquest." (W. A. Scott, Daniel, A Model for Young Men. N. Y.: Robert Carter and Brothers, 1854, p. 121.)

The fact that it is set up without hands indicates that its nature differs from that of the kingdoms of the world, and implies that worldly kingdoms are set up by hands. Jesus was not to establish His kingdom by the force of human power, and thus He did not let His disciples fight that He be not delivered to the Jews. This He could not permit them to do for His kingdom was not of this world; it was not the kind of kingdom that depended on carnal fighting. (John 18:86)

In 2 Cor. 5:1 we are told that "we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." That house, in other words, will not be made by human hands, power or wisdom. Just so Christ's kingdom was not set up with human might.

It could not be for, as stated, it differed in its nature from those kingdoms that can be established by man's power, and disestablished by man's power. God's kingdom and truth is "not the production of human genius...The fifth universal monarchy is that of God's own truth, and like the smooth stone in David's scrip, it is hewn out by the God of heaven and not by the hand of man. The gospel came not by man; it is the revelation of Jesus Christ, whose kingdom ruleth over all." (George Junkin, The Little Stone and the Great Image, or, Lectures on the Prophecies, Philadelphia: James M. Campbell and Co., 1844, p. 26.)

Christ's present kingdom was established by divine power, and not by the power and wisdom of man. (Acts 2) It is spiritual in its nature, utterly unlike the kingdoms of the world. (1 Peter 2:3,4; Rev. 1:6; John 18:36)

We see also from the vision that the kingdom of heaven differs from the worldly kingdoms, because: (a) It is heavenly, not earthly, in its origin. (b) It is set in contrast with the worldly kingdom as it is represented as being made of different material. (c) It differs from them for in the dream it is not a part of the image itself, which represented the four worldly powers.

"Existing altogether apart from the image which symbolized the kingdoms of the world, this stone evidently pointed to a kingdom entirely different in its origin and nature from theirs: a stone, not graven like the other by art or man's device, but cut out from the unhewn rock, and cut without hands: how expressive of a kingdom formed by the immediate operation of the Great Architect of nature! and, as such, partaking of the irresistible might and the endless duration of its divine Author! (Patrick Fairbairn, Prophecy, pp. 294-295)

This all harmonizes with the New Testament kingdom which is unlike the kingdoms of the world in its establishment and in its nature.