Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of daniel, and more specifically, begins with the thirty-ninth verse of the second chapter, and continues through to the seventh verse of the third chapter. As the second chapter draws to a close, we find Daniel not only revealing the dream which Nebuchadnezzar had dreamed, but we also find Daniel going on to provide the interpretation of the dream as well. Beginning with the thirty-ninth verse of the second chapter we find Daniel speaking of the kingdoms and empires that would emerge after the Babylonian Empire would come to an end upon the earth. The prophet Daniel goes on to reveal how after the Babylonian kingdom would reach the end of its time upon the earth, there would emerge a second kingdom which would be inferior to that of Babylon, and a third kingdom which would bear rule over all the earth. Within this single verse we encounter the three main kingdoms and empires which would make up the upper body of the statue which Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream. In this particular verse read of three successive kingdoms that would be present upon the earth—the first being Babylon, which was the kingdom that existed during that time, and the next two kingdoms would be revealed by history. The Babylonian Empire would be succeeded by the Medo-Persian Empire, which Daniel would go on to reveal would be inferior to that of Babylon, and this kingdom of the Medes and Persians would be followed by the Grecian Empire. It’s worth noting that the second kingdom would be inferior to the first kingdom of Babylon, while the third kingdom would have an established ruler over all the earth. IN the thirty-ninth verse we read of an inferior kingdom, as well as a kingdom that would bear rule over all the earth, while in the very next verse we read of a fourth kingdom that would be as strong as iron and would break in pieces and subdue all things. AN INFERIOR KINGDOM! A KINGDOM THAT BEARS RULE OVER ALL THE EARTH! A KINGDOM THAT BREAKS IN PIECES AND SUBDUES ALL THINGS! Not only would this fourth kingdom be as strong as iron, but it would break into pieces and bruise that which it desired.
It’s actually quite interesting to consider the dream which was given to Nebuchadnezzar, for his dream wasn’t just any dream, but a dream of things which were yet to come. The dream which Nebuchadnezzar dreamed upon his bed would be a dream that would reveal the reality of kingdoms and empires emerging upon the earth, as the Babylonian Empire would ultimately be succeeded by various kingdoms and empires that would emerge thereafter. What’s worth noting about this concept of kingdoms and empires that would emerge upon the earth is that this wasn’t the original design or intention of the Lord. When the Lord brought the children of Israel into the land of Canaan, He sought to do more for them and through them than to cause them to inherit a land which had been prepared for by Him. One thing we must recognize is that a crucial aspect of inheritance is the progression and transition to kingdom, authority, dominion and government. As much as we would like to think that inheritance is simply and purely about rest, we do ourselves a great service when we think of inheritance only in terms of rest. The inheritance which has been promised unto and prepared for us carries with it a powerful mandate to transition into a place where the dominion, the government, the authority of heaven is manifested within and upon the earth. The city of Jerusalem would ultimately be the home and site—not only for the Temple of the Lord, which would represent the glory and presence of the Lord, but also for the throne of David, which would represent the dominion, the authority, the government, and the kingdom of heaven. We must make it a point to recognize and realize that inheritance must lead us into a place where the government, the authority and the dominion of the Lord of hosts is set up and established within our lives and upon the earth. The Lord brought the children of Israel into the land of Canaan to establish them among the nations as a kingdom of priests before Him—those who would carry the mandate of establishing the government of heaven upon the earth. It was never the design or intention of the Lord for Gentile, heathen and pagan kingdoms and empires to be present within and upon the earth. In all reality, I would dare say that it was precisely because the kingdom of Israel—not only would be divided, but would ultimately forfeit and give up their place within the inheritance, that would make room for these kingdoms and empires to emerge upon the earth.
WHAT CAN RISE UP UPON THE EARTH WHEN THE PEOPLE OF GOD FORFEIT THEIR AUTHORITY? WHAT CAN EMERGE WITHIN THE EARTH WHEN THE PEOPLE OF GOD ABANDON THEIR DOMINION? I am utterly and completely convinced that the children of Israel did the very same thing Adam and Eve did in the garden when they transgressed the commandment of the Lord. I have written before concerning the striking similarly that exists between the children of Israel and Adam and Eve, for both would be thrust from that place the Lord had brought them into and established within. Adam and Eve were thrust forth from the Garden of Eden due to their transgression and disobedience, while the children of Israel would be thrust forth—not only from the northern kingdom and territory of Israel, but also from the southern kingdom and territory of Judah. The children of Israel would forfeit the authority, the dominion and government they had been given within and upon the earth, which would be something that would first be manifested when Adam and Eve were in the garden. In order to truly understand this concept and reality, it’s necessary and imperative to first understand the command and instruction of the Lord as recorded in the first chapter of the book of Genesis. Consider if you will what is recorded in the final set of verses within the first chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creep through upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to everything fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. And God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day” (Genesis 1:26-31).
The first chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis draws to a close with God seeking to make man in their image—in the image of the triune Godhead which inhabited eternity. The Lord sought to create and make man in His own image in order that they might have dominion over the earth. Please make no mistake about the creation of Adam upon the earth, for Adam was created to exercise dominion upon the earth, as well as to subdue it according to the word and will of the Lord. Adam wasn’t merely created to inherit and inhabit the garden, but from that place of inheritance and habitation exercise dominion within and exercise dominion upon the earth. We must realize that inheritance is directly tied to the concepts of dominion and authority, for when Adam was created, He was created to inherit the garden of Eden, and from that place of inheritance would exercise dominion upon and subdue the earth. It is absolutely imperative that we do not fail to recognize that inheritance is about so much more than even provision and blessing, for while the Lord provided for Adam and Eve in the garden through the trees which grew in the midst of it, that wasn’t the sole intention and purpose of the Lord. Oh it is true that within the Garden of Eden there was provision from the Lord, yet the Lord didn’t cause Adam and Eve to inherit the garden purely to receive from Him. There is a tremendous danger when we spend all our time, our effort and our energy focusing on what the Lord can do for, and what the Lord can give us, and never give any thought to that which He has asked us. It was true the Lord gave every herb bearing seed, which was upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed unto Adam and Eve for meat, yet before the Lord ever spoke of provision, He first spoke of dominion and authority. DOMINION AND AUTHORITY ARE THE MANDATE OF INHERITANCE WHILE PROVISION AND BLESSING ARE THE FRUIT OF THE INHERITANCE. We cannot, we dare not, we must not get so caught up and consumed with the fruit of the inheritance that we neglect the mandate and mission of the inheritance. There are men and women among us in this generation who spend so much time and energy focusing on partaking of the fruit of the inheritance without every giving themselves to the mandate of the inheritance.
The twelve spies which entered into the land of Canaan did indeed bring back the fruit of the land of Canaan, yet it’s necessary and imperative that we recognize that the fruit of the inheritance cannot be enjoyed apart from the mandate and mission of the inheritance. It was true that the land of Canaan did indeed flow with milk and honey, yet that milk and honey could not be enjoyed and experienced before, without, and apart from the divine mandate of the inheritance. The Lord would cause the people of Israel to enter into the inheritance, yet I would dare say that before they were able to partake of the fruit of the inheritance, and truly enjoy it, they needed to actively engage in exercising dominion within the inheritance. THE EXERCISING OF DOMINION PRECEDES THE ENJOYMENT OF THE FRUIT! Oh, there are a number of men and women would love to partake and eat of the fruit of the inheritance, yet they are absolutely unwilling to engage in the exercising of dominion. In all reality, I would dare say that fruit and dominion are intrinsically and directly linked and connected, and there must be no effort and/or attempt to separate or isolate either. There are those who think and believe they can enjoy the fruit without and apart from dominion, and there would be those who focus so much on dominion and authority that they never take the time to partake of the fruit of the inheritance. If you read the final set of verses of the Old Testament book of Genesis you will find that the image and likeness of God precedes even dominion and authority, for dominion and authority can only flow from our relationship with and our relationship to the image and likeness of God. IN fact, I would be so bold as to say the only way to properly understand the dominion and authority the Lord of hosts has designed for us is to understand image and likeness. It is only from the place of understanding our image and likeness in and with the Lord that we can truly and properly exercise the dominion and authority the Lord has intended for us within and upon the earth.
In the first chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis we read if image and likeness, we read of dominion and subduing the earth, and we also read of the fruit and meat of the inheritance of the garden of Eden. What’s interesting and worth noting within this passage is that even before we encounter the reality of the inheritance of the garden, we first encounter the reality of dominion and authority upon the earth. In other words, one cannot and dare not seek to enter into the place of inheritance without properly understanding dominion and authority upon the earth. When we come to the second chapter we find a further commentary on the creation and formation of Adam and Eve, for within the seventh verse we read how “the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into His nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7). IN the seventh verse we read of the Lord forming man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his. Nostrils the breath of life, while in the eighth verse we read of the Lord planting a garden eastward in Eden—the garden which would be that place the Lord would plant Adam after he had become a living soul. I can’t help but note and point out that Adam was created and formed from the dust of the ground outside of the garden, and only after he had become a living soul was he then brought into and placed within the garden. Abraham was taken from outside the land of Canaan, and yet the Lord would take and bring him into the land of Canaan, and within the land of Canaan would plant him. FORMATION ALWAYS PRECEDES PLANTING! The Lord formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils before He even planted the garden, which suggests that the garden was planted by the Lord for Adam whom He had formed from the dust of the ground. Inheritance is always preceded by formation, and it is formation which prepares us to enter into the inheritance. With that being said, however, Adam was planted in the garden for more than mere enjoyment of the garden. One thing you will notice about the garden of Eden is that not only was Adam placed in the midst of the garden, but it was from and in the midst of that place the Lord would bring forth a helper suitable for him. This is quite interesting, for more often than not, it is from the place of inheritance the Lord is able to bring into our lives that one, or perhaps even those whom He would desire to come alongside and help us.
The Lord formed Adam from the dust of the ground, breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, thus causing him to become a living soul. The Lord would then take this living soul and place him in the garden where he would exercise dominion and enjoy fruit. What’s more, is that not only did the inheritance of the garden come with the mandate of exercising dominion and authority, but it also came with a command not to partake of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The Lord did in fact cause to come forth from the ground every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food, and He did give every tree unto Adam for food, yet there was one specific tree that he and Eve would be prohibited from partaking of the fruit thereof. Let us understand that so long as Adam and Eve exercised their dominion upon the earth in the midst of the garden of Eden, they could enjoy the fruit that was produced from the tees in the garden. If Adam and Eve chose to rebel against and disobey the command of the Lord, not only would the dominion and authority they were created to exercise be compromised, but their access to the fruit within the garden would also be restricted if they abandoned that place of obedience. There in the garden they were given the mandate to exercise dominion upon the earth, and were free to enjoy the fruit which was produced from the trees that grew in the midst thereof, yet the enjoyment of the fruit came with a mandate for action, and a command for obedience. THE MANDATE OF INHERITANCE! THE COMMAND OF INHERITANCE! Adam and Eve were free to eat of and partake of the fruit from every tree within the garden, except one, and it would be any decision made to partake of the fruit of that one true that would directly damage both the the exercising of dominion and the enjoyment of the fruit. It warrants strong consideration that obedience to the command of the Lord is the foundation and bedrock of exercising dominion and enjoying fruit, for if we give ourselves to willful disobedience before the command of the Lord, both the dominion and the fruit can and will be forfeited. The Lord gave Adam a very specific command: “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17). In essence, I would dare say that obedience to the command of the Lord was paramount to exercising the dominion prescribed by the Lord, as well as enjoying the fruit that was produced from the trees of the garden. It’s actually absolutely necessary that we understand this, for everything flows forth and flows from obedience, and obedience is the bedrock for the exercising of dominion and the enjoyment of fruit. We cannot, we dare not, we must not think or believe that we can truly exercise dominion, and even enjoy the fruit of the inheritance without a firm commitment to obedience to the command of the Lord.
When we come to the third chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis we find the account of the fall of Adam and Eve in the garden, as the serpent beguiled Eve into partaking of the fruit of the tree the Lord had commanded them not to eat of. When you begin reading in the sixteenth verse of the third chapter, you will encounter the Lord’s dealing with both Adam and Eve and His response to their disobedience in the garden: “Unto the woman He said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast heartened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them. And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So He drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life” (Genesis 3:16-24). Within this passage we not only find Adam and Eve no longer being able to partake of the fruit of the inheritance, but instead of partaking of that which grew within the garden, they would be forced to eat of the herb which grew of the field. TRADING THE GARDEN FOR THE FIELD! As if this weren’t enough, Adam and Eve were both thrust forth from the garden of Eden, and were restricted from ever entering into or having access to it. On top of all of this, Adam forfeited the dominion and authority the Lord had given him upon forming him from the dust of the ground. Consider the words which Satan spoke unto Jesus when he proceeded to tempt Him in the wilderness: “And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine” (Luke 4:5-7). The words which the devil spoke in this passage were absolutely true, and what he was speaking of when he spoke of “all this power” “and the glory” was that which at one point was given unto and belonged unto Adam before and until he forfeited through disobedience to the command of the Lord within the garden.
When Adam transgressed against the command of the Lord in the garden—not only did he forfeit the place of inheritance, but also the place of dominion and authority within the earth. I am convinced that this is one of the single greatest reasons why when the Lord brought the children of Israel into the inheritance, He brought them into a place that would ultimately prepare them to exercise the dominion, the authority and the government of heaven within and upon the earth. The Lord didn’t bring the children of Israel into the land of Canaan to experience rest, and to enjoy fruit alone, but to exercise dominion and authority which the Lord of hosts would bestow upon and unto them. There were glimpses of this dominion and authority being exercised during the days of Joshua when Joshua led the children of Israel into the conquest of the Promised Land. If I’m being honest, this concept of dominion and authority would not be seen again until David became king over the nation of Israel, for under the reign of David, the nations, the peoples, the enemies round about Israel would be conquered and subdued. Under the leadership of both “the general” (Joshua) and “the king” (David), the children of Israel would exercise the dominion and authority the Lord entrusted them with upon bringing them into the land of Canaan. The Lord brought the children of Israel into the land of Canaan just as He had brought Adam into the garden of Eden from outside. When the Lord brought the children of Israel into the land of Canaan, I am convinced one of the greatest realities He sought to manifest in the earth was to re-establish the dominion and authority originally given and intended for Adam to exercise upon the earth. Adam was given the mandate to exercise dominion within and subdue the earth from within the garden, while the children of Israel were given the mandate to exercise dominion within and subdue the earth from within the Promised Land. This brings me to an incredible thought that must be considered—the thought that it is not only from the place of identity we exercise dominion and authority upon the earth, but it is also from the place of inheritance we exercise dominion and authority upon the earth. It is both from the place of identity and inheritance that we are to exercise dominion and authority upon the earth, for Joshua and the children of Israel would first exercise dominion within and from the place of inheritance in their quest to conquer and subdue the land, while David and the children of Israel would exercise dominion from the place of inheritance as that dominion would extend beyond the borders and boundaries of the inheritance. I can’t help but wonder what would have happened had Adam and Eve not transgressed the command of the Lord, and what life would have been like upon the earth. Would men have remained within the garden of Eden throughout the course of time, or would they eventually transition from beyond the inheritance. The children of Israel were to expand their borders and boundaries after entering into and taking possession of the inheritance, and I can’t help but wonder if the same reality could very well have been true of the garden of Eden.
Now, you might be wondering what all of this has to do with what we read in the second chapter of the prophetic book of Daniel, and would would be right in doing so. The reason I have spoken about and mentioned Adam and Eve in the garden, and the children of Israel within the inheritance, is because just as Adam forfeited the dominion and authority he had been given by the Lord, and just as Adam was thrust forth from the garden of Eden, so also did the children of Israel forfeit the dominion and authority they had been given by the Lord, and would eventually be thrust forth from the land of Canaan. Oh it is true they would ultimately be permitted to return to their land under the decree of Cyrus the Great, yet when they returned to the land and place of their inheritance, they returned not as a kingdom, but rather as a people who were needing to find and reestablish themselves within the earth. They would indeed return unto the land and place of their inheritance, yet they would do so with other kingdoms and empires exercising their own dominion and authority upon the earth. Oh the people of God would once more dwell within the place of their inheritance, and they would once more have the Temple of the Lord, yet they would no longer have dominion or authority upon the earth. In fact, there would be three kingdoms and empires that would exercise their own dominion and authority upon the earth while the people of God dwelt in their inheritance. It was true they would be restored unto and within their land, yet the dominion and authority the nation once enjoyed during and under the reigns of David and Solomon would no longer be manifested in their midst. Persia, Greece and Rome would all exercise their own dominion and authority upon the earth—all the while the people of God dwelt within their inheritance. IN other words, they were dwelling in their inheritance, yet under the government, the authority and dominion of another. The significance of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream is not merely that Babylon would be the dominant and leading authority in the earth, but that after Babylon’s time would come to an end, there would be three empires that would immediately follow and succeed it. I can’t help but wonder if there aren’t men and women right now who might very well be dwelling in the place of their inheritance, yet even from and within that place of inheritance, they are still subject to forces outside and around that inheritance. In other words, there are men who might very well have been restored to the place of their inheritance, yet they are subject to principalities, rulers of darkness, spiritual wickedness, and the like. The significance of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream was that there would emerge at least three future kingdoms that would exercise dominion and authority upon the earth. It wouldn’t be until the kingdom of God would utterly destroy the kingdoms and empires of men that the kingdom and authority of heaven would be restored within and upon the earth.
It’s interesting to note that not only did Nebuchadnezzar’s dream represent the rise and emergence of successive empires and kingdoms, but it also represented the ultimate emergence of a kingdom that was far greater than any that preceded it. Both John the Baptist and Jesus the Christ declared that the kingdom of heaven was at hand, and Jesus went so far as to declare that the kingdom of heaven was within and inside His disciples and followers. How absolutely incredible it is that the God of heaven and earth established His kingdom within and upon the earth in the midst of and right under the Roman Empire. Oh it is true that there might have been an Empire existing upon the earth that exercised dominion and authority upon the earth, yet the Father would raise up John the Baptist and Jesus the Christ to raise up and establish a different kingdom upon the earth. ESTABLISHING A KINGDOM WITHIN AN EMPIRE! WHEN A KINGDOM IS ESTABLISHED UNDER THE DOMINION OF AN EMPIRE! There stood a physical Temple in the city of Jerusalem, yet Jesus the Christ would raise up and establish an entirely new Temple upon the earth while that temple still stood upon the earth. There existed a powerful and fierce empire upon the earth, yet the Father, the Son and the Spirit established a kingdom right underneath and in the midst of the authority, the government and the dominion of that empire. How absolutely amazing it is that the Father birthed the Messiah from within the womb of a Virgin, and the Father birthed the kingdom of heaven within and underneath the empire of Rome which exercised its will and authority upon the earth. A MESSIAH BIRTHED WITHIN THE WOMB OF A VIRGIN AND A KINGDOM BIRTHED WITHIN AN EMPIRE! What’s more than this, is how the Father birthed the Messiah under the reign of Caesar, and the Father brought forth a kingdom under the dominion of an empire. Nebuchadnezzar saw a stone cut out within human hands, and that stone hurling toward the feet of the statue, thus causing the entire statue—with all the materials that made up the statue—to be crushed into fine dust, and blown away by the wind. Eventually and ultimately that stone would become a mountain that would fill and cover the entire earth, thus suggesting that kingdoms and empires cannot and will not last forever, for the kingdom of heaven will not only invade, but also cover the face of the whole earth. The prophet Daniel would go on to reveal how in the days of these kings the God of heaven would set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed—a kingdom that would not be left to other people, but shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and would stand forever.
SHALL NEVER BE DESTROYED! SHALL NOT BE LEFT TO OTHER PEOPLE! SHALL BREAK IN PIECES AND CONSUME ALL KINGDOMS! SHALL STAND FOREVER! Make no mistake about it—the God of heaven and earth has a kingdom that is already and has been manifested within and upon the earth. The God of heaven and earth birthed a kingdom, a Messiah and a Temple right underneath the government and dominion of the Roman Empire. It is true that the Jewish people had no authority or dominion upon the earth in the physical and natural sense of earthly governments, but there would be a completely different dominion and authority that would be manifested and brought forth on the earth. The reason the religious community missed the Messiah when He was present among them in their midst is because they were looking for a completely different authority, a completely different government, a completely different dominion than Jesus was presenting and manifesting. The prophet Isaiah spoke of the government that would be upon the shoulders of the Messiah, yet I don’t believe that government was merely a physical government, but also a spiritual and supernatural government. Jesus exercised an authority, a government and a dominion upon the earth that was completely different than that which was exercised by the Roman Empire under the Caesar. This reality was seen on different occasions during the reigns of Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar and Darius, for even within and under the dominion and authority of these kings and empires the Lord was preserving a kingdom in the midst of such empires. I am convinced that Daniel, Azariah, Hananiah, and Michael’s unwillingness to defile themselves with the king’s table was a manifestation of the kingdom of heaven within the Babylonian Empire. Daniel’s revelation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and the interpretation thereof was a manifestation of the kingdom of heaven within the Babylonian Empire. Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah’s refusal to bow down and worship the image of gold which Nebuchadnezzar had set up was a direct manifestation of the kingdom of heaven right in the mist of the Babylonian Empire. Daniels interpretation of the handwriting on the wall was a further manifestation of the kingdom of heaven in the midst of Babylon, while his interpreting of Nebuchadnezzar’s second dream was a further manifestation of the kingdom of heaven in the midst of Babylon. What’s more, is that Daniel’s refusal to cease praying—despite the decree issued by the king—was a manifestation of the kingdom of heaven in the mist of Persia. What we must recognize, however, is that the manifestation of the kingdom of heaven may very well require us to enter into and remain in a place of no compromise—whether it’s in matters of defiling ourselves, or in matters of bowing down and worshipping the false gods of the age. The kingdom of heaven may also require us to be cast into the fiery furnace, and/or even the den of lions, for even in the midst of the den of lions and the fiery furnace, the kingdom of heaven was manifested. Oh that we would recognize and understand the tremendous power and manifestation of the kingdom of heaven within and directly in the midst of the kingdoms and empires of the earth, and how there has never been, nor is there, nor will there ever be a kingdom and/or empire upon the earth that can shut out and destroy the kingdom of heaven.