A Better Hope
Certain scriptures in the Bible are familiar in almost any ecclesiastical gathering, but there are some that are seldom mentioned. We find one such text in the prophecy of Daniel written some 600 years before Christ. This scripture is loaded with good news for the whole world, yet it is almost forgotten and foreign to many of the modern Christians—maybe that is because it does not fit into the scenario of the modern concept of our hope.
“… judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him,” Daniel 7:26-27.
I was raised to believe that things on earth were to get worse and worse until finally Yahweh would lose hope and rapture his few out of the severest persecution, send their enemies into an everlasting burning inferno, and then destroy the earth while the saved were all supposed to shout the victory and applaud the Victor. Even as a little child my heart did not rejoice at this concept, somehow it did not have the ring of victory.
I carried the world on my shoulders throughout my childhood years. I felt so sad that so many of us were going to burn forever—I included myself for there always seemed to be a reason for me being unredeemable. What a delight it was when my Father allowed me to find and understand the prophecy of Daniel and the many other scriptures that spoke of a better hope. I never heard Daniel’s prophecy mentioned from the pulpit, even though I learned about Daniel’s life experiences early on.
At the time of my conversion there was a popular song on the radio telling us that we were surely living in the days that our Lord spoke about in Matthew 24, saying, “You shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: …For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. …And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. … and then shall the end come.” More emphasis was put on these verses than the other verses.
I was told that this destruction was to come upon my generation. I never questioned the lyrics of that song, because it supported the messages that were taught from the ministry I sit under as a child. As I started to read the book of Daniel, I found a very strange scripture that seemed to be in direct contradiction to what I was seeing in Matthew 24:
“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Forasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God has made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure,” Daniel 2:44-45.
I was greatly impressed by what these scriptures said. I knew the Lord had tied these two prophecies together for me, so I felt no condemnation for researching them with that in mind. It did not take me long to identify the kings in
Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. I also knew the last kingdom was Rome and that Christ came to earth proclaiming the Kingdom of heaven was at hand.
The Lord led me to the scriptures in Luke 17:20-21, which assured me that the Kingdom came without observation. It also told me, “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the Kingdom of Yahweh is within you,” Luke 17:21.
Isn’t this exciting, to know that we function in Yahweh’s Kingdom right here on this earth and that the Kingdom of Heaven in within us?