Daniel 2:34-36, 44, 45
You saw till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image on his feet that were of iron and clay…
And the stone that smote the image, etc. (ver. 35). We shall assume, what is certain, that the "stone' is the image of the kingdom of the Son of God.
I. ITS CHARACTERISTICS.
1. The mediatorial action of the Son of God is of the nature of kingly rule.
(1) Over souls, willing or unwilling.
(2) Within the Church.
(3) In the world of men.
(4) Over the spirit-world.
(5) Even over the universe of matter. (See and weigh the meaning well of Ephesians 1:22, 23.)
2. The kingdom was supernatural in its origin. Here may well be discussed the now present doctrine that the Christ was the creation of his time. Set over against it the truth that Christ was a descent and intervention of the supernatural and of the Divine. Not one, nor all combined, of the ordinary secondary causes can account for the establishment, extension, perpetuity of the kingdom. "Without hands." The result of eternal counsel, founded by the Son of God, perpetuated by the Spirit of life.
3. Insignificant in its commencement. The stone is clearly meant to be small - anyway, small compared with the mountain. Note: Humanly speaking, the Lord belonged, indeed, to a royal house, but in decay and obscurity; was poor; hidden for thirty years in a hamlet on the wilds; no powerful friends; no political connections; of no special learning; the character and calibre of his first helpers; slow progress of the kingdom. To human view, in the stone, nothing; to the Divine, all potentiality.
4. Destined to universal prevalance. Notwithstanding 3.
(1) Look at the vision.
(a) The kingdom began by the destruction of the hostile (vers. 34, 35). The world-powers fell before it. Note: The nothingness of the mightiest human power in collision with the kingdom of God.
(b) Goes on by displacement. Man-created universal empires give place to one God-created. Observe: The great empires of antiquity were unconscious prophecies of the universal kingdom of Christ. There has been no universal empire since, nor ever will be. Neither to Great Britain nor to the United States will universal sway be given, but to Christ.
(2) Is the vision true? That the stone will become the earth-filling mountain may be argued from:
(a) The aggressive character of the gospel. (Illustrations on the largest scale, showing how Christ is occupying every part of the earth, may be found in 'The Foreign Missions of Protestantism,' by Christlieb: Nisbet and Co., 2s. 6d.)
(b) Past achievement. The tide recedes, only to advance again. Discouragement is local - at the most temporary.
(c) Prophecy. Think! In olden times a dream. A prophetic interpretation. After the lapse of more than two milleninums we, from our watch-towers, mark the ever-growing fulfilment!
5. Everlasting. The kingdom has stood for nineteen centuries, although every form of hostile force has tried to displace and destroy. Force, physical end intellectual, has done its worst. Philosophy, science, ridicule, persecution. The empire of Jesus is the greatest fact on our planet to-day. Over the highest minds of the noblest races. No empire, political or intellectual, can compare with it. There are great powers on earth, but not one to vie with this, to which they are all subordinated. In this the promise of the future. Time is on its side; the Eternal too (see Philippians 3:21, especially in the Greek).
II. ITS SUGGESTIONS.
1. We ourselves must submit to it. Nearer, closer, than any earthly rule, it presses on us. We can no more evade it than we can the civil government under whose shield we abide; not so effectually. Neutrality impossible - the vainest dream!
2. We shall then share the benedictions of this gracious mediatorial rule.
3. We can, must, labour for its extension. With sword as well as trowel (Nehemiah 4:18).
4. We shall then share the day of the final triumph. (Isaiah 53:11.)
5. And enter with the Lord on that sabbatic repose which follows the long ages of conflict. That eternal sabbath closes the prospect in the sublime, successive relations of God (see George Steward's 'Mediatorial Sovereignty,' vol. 2:520-525). - R.
Parallel VersesKJV: Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.