Nations versus Kingdoms, Matthew 24:7

Q:  Why do I make a point of distinguishing “nations” from “kingdoms” in Matthew 24:7?

Q:  Why aren’t “kingdoms” monarchies as we use the word today?

Q:  Are they empires, like say the British Empire that contained India, the Americas and the West Indies?

Q:  And if nations and kingdoms are generally the same thing, why did Jesus list them twice?

“For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.” Matthew 24:7

A:  The Bible’s definition of the “kingdoms” in Daniel is found in Daniel 8:8 and 8:22 where it refers to them as notable world powers.

“Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven.” Daniel 8:8

“And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors have reached their fullness, a king shall arise having fierce features who understands sinister schemes.” Daniel 8:22

Verse 8 literally reads: “Four + Notables + stand/arise/remain + four + winds + heaven.” 

Verse 22 says: These “Four Notables” are notable “kingdoms” that stand/rise/remain. And in the end of the succession of kingdoms will arise a “sinister king.”

Verses 9-12 tell us this sinister king is known as the “Little Horn.”

And Daniel 7:21-22 tells us that this Little Horn persecutes God’s people all the way until the judgment of God.

“I was watching; and the same horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them, until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom.” Daniel 7:21-22

So these “four notables” are “four kingdoms” — or, “NOTABLE” world powers — ending with the final earthly kingdom before the Second Coming of Christ. Historically we have the evidence of what constitutes “notable kingdoms:”

  • Babylon
  • Media-Persia
  • Greece
  • Rome
  • ?
  • Ten?
  • The Kingdom of the Saints.

These kingdoms in Daniel 8:8 are not defined as petty “nations” or provinces or monarchies, but the Bible defines them as four notable world-dominant powers. 

When outlining the events until the end of time, Jesus is saying that there will be the rise and fall of nations and there will also be turnovers in the major world powers–kingdoms. Who is Jesus talking to? His disciples who were already under the dominant world power of Rome. Jesus is showing that there will be additional world powers that will have dominance after Rome.

Testing the context: Was Jesus talking about the book of Daniel in this discourse? Yes!  Matt. 24:15 and Daniel 12:11:

“When you see the Abomination of Desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the Holy place …”

“And from the time that the daily is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up …”

And in the previous verse, when Jesus says, “This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all nations, then shall the end come,” (Matt. 24:14) He is specifically referring to the Very Good News that comes at the end of Daniel’s succession of kingdoms:

“But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.” Daniel 7:8

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