In the second chapter of Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar has a dream of a great image made of gold, silver, bronze, and iron. Daniel explains that these four materials represent four successive kingdoms that will rule the earth.
Daniel then tells Nebuchadnezzar that Babylon is the head of gold, which is the first kingdom. We can easily figure out what the other three kingdoms were.
1. Gold = Babylon
2. Silver = Persia
3. Bronze = Greece
4. Iron = Rome
However, Daniel also speaks of another kingdom.
"And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever" (Daniel 2:44).
From this statement, we learn a couple of important details about the Kingdom of God.
1) God will set up a kingdom “in the days of these kings.” During the reign of Babylon, Persia, Greece, or Rome, God will set up a kingdom. Initially, this means the kingdom of God began sometime between 604 BC (the date of the prophecy) and AD 476 (the fall of the Roman Empire).
2) The Kingdom of God will be indestructible, never-abandoned, triumphant, universal, and eternal.
We learn more about the Kingdom of God when we examine what happened to the image that Nebuchadnezzar saw.
"You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth" (Daniel 2:34-35).
From this, we learn a couple of more details about the Kingdom of God:
1) A stone shatters the image. What is this “stone cut without hands”? This is an obvious reference to the Kingdom of God that “breaks in pieces and consumes all these kingdoms.”
2) The stone becomes a great mountain and fills the whole earth. The Kingdom of God starts as a stone, then becomes a mountain, filling the earth. Thus, the Kingdom of God begins small (a stone) and grows larger (a mountain) and eventually fills the whole earth.
Thus, from Daniel 2, we derive a globally triumphant expectation for the Kingdom of God.