In Daniel 2:44 it says that: “…it will crush and put an end to all those
kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.” In what way will the
kingdom “crush” the other kingdoms? Is he talking about when Christ
returns and destroys the physical realm which include the earthly kingdoms
or is he talking about the kingdoms in Jesus’ time, and if it is how so?
That is an intriguing question. I have thought about it some, and
cannot give you an absolute and definitive answer. The most likely
interpretation is one you allude to. At the end of days, all the earthly
kingdoms will come to an end and the eternal Kingdom of God will exist on
“a new heaven and a new earth” (Rev 21:1). At that point, all earthly
“kingdoms” will come to an end and be “crushed,” but the Kingdom of God
will endure forever.
Having said that, I am inclined to see a double-fulfillment of
this prophecy. Some feel that any historical, predictive prophecy has
only one unique fulfillment in the future. These people do not allow for
both a primary and a secondary fulfillment of predictive prophecy. I am
not of that opinion. The secondary fulfillment of this prophecy came when
each of the four kingdoms were in fact judged and destroyed by God.
Babylon was destroyed by Cyrus in 538 BCE, Persia was destroyed by
Alexander the Great in 331 BCE. The last of the Greek dynasties
established by Alexander’s successors, the Ptolemies, were destroyed at
the Battle of Actium in 31 BCE. The Western Roman Empire was destroyed
(more or less) in 476 CE by the Visigoths, while the Eastern Roman Empire
was overcome by the Ottomans in 1453 CE. During the time of the Roman
kings, a kingdom was established, beginning in Jerusalem. This was the
Church of Jesus Christ. If we are to be completely accurate, we would say
that the church is one aspect of the Kingdom of God. Either way, the
church which was set up by Jesus has indeed endured to this very day, and
has outlasted all those other kingdoms. If the church has “crushed” any
of those kingdoms, it is only spiritually or metaphorically. One could
argue that when Rome became “Christian” after the time of Constantine that
it was crushed by the church, but this seems like a stretch to me, as the
political transition was relatively smooth, and the empire endured many
generations after the conversion.
So, as I see it, the passage in Daniel chapter two finds its
principle fulfillment at Judgment Day, but it is fulfilled secondarily in
the arrival of the church and its ultimate endurance forever in the face
of the worldly kingdoms which will all be destroyed, while the kingdom
will endure forever.
Sorry to give you a somewhat complicated answer, but that is
how I see it.
John Oakes, PhD