Scriptures

Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream

Introduction

‘Your Majesty looked, and there before you stood a large statue—an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance. The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay. While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were all broken to pieces and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.’ Daniel 2:31-35

Nebuchadnezzar’s dream was that of a great and awesome image. Its head was of fine gold, its breast and arms were of silver, its belly and sides of brass and its legs of iron with feet part iron and part clay.

A stone ‘cut out without hands’ struck this image on its feet destroying it so thoroughly that its fragments were like the chaff of a summer threshing floor with the wind carrying the pieces away. The stone that struck the image became a great mountain filling the whole earth. It is no wonder that this dream had bothered the king. Dreams were considered as special signs and this being such an awesome sight would have concerned the king greatly.

‘This was the dream, and now we will interpret it to the king. Your Majesty, you are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory; in your hands, he has placed all mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds in the sky. Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all. You are that head of gold. ‘After you, another kingdom will arise, inferior to yours. Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth. Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron—for iron breaks and smashes everything—and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others. Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay. As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay. ‘In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands—a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces. ‘The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy.’ Daniel 2:36-45

Babylonian Empire

Daniel now proceeds to give the interpretation as given to him by God. The head of gold is Nebuchadnezzar and his great Babylonian empire.

Medo-Persian Empire

After him a second kingdom would arise which would not be as powerful as Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom. This kingdom was represented by the breast and arms of silver of the image. This was the Medo-Persian Empire which followed the Babylonian kingdom.

Greek Empire

A third great empire of brass would next arise. This was the great Greek Empire built by Alexander the Great who conquered the world as a young man.

Roman Empire

The fourth power whose legs were iron and feet part iron and part clay is the Roman Empire. There is no cohesiveness within this empire. All students of history know the difficulties experienced by Rome in trying to hold together her vast empire.

The Kingdom Of God

In the days of the fourth empire a fifth monarchy, supernatural in origin would arise destroying the fourth empire. It would be different from the others. It would not be temporal but spiritual. It would also be universal and eternal.

There have been various interpretations placed upon this image. The above view must be the correct view since it is the only one that harmonises with history. History testifies that Babylon was succeeded by Medo-Persia, and that Greece came next followed by Rome. The kingdoms represented by the image are successive.

Also, we know that the kingdom of God was established during the period of the Roman Empire.

‘After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. ‘The time has come,’ he said. ‘The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!’ Mark 1:14-15

‘For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves.’ Colossians 1:13

‘And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.’ Luke 22:29-30

‘And he said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.’ Mark 9:1

‘I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.’ Revelation 1:9

Premillennialist have made much over the 10 toes of the image. This is interesting in that while the toes are mentioned there is no effort by Daniel to single them out as representing ten kingdoms. By making a play on the toes Premillennialist are able to extend the Roman Empire to the present age by having 10 kingdoms to come out of the Roman Empire.

A popular chart shows this image with toes as long as its body. In order for the image to meet date and time requirements the toes have to be stretched out so as to reach up into our time. The fact remains that the stone smites the image on the feet where the toes are located. Thus, the entire image including its toes was destroyed.

The kingdom came during the Roman Empire therefore the image does not extend to the present day.

‘Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell prostrate before Daniel and paid him honour and ordered that an offering and incense be presented to him. The king said to Daniel, ‘Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery.’ Then the king placed Daniel in a high position and lavished many gifts on him. He made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of all its wise men. Moreover, at Daniel’s request the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego administrators over the province of Babylon, while Daniel himself remained at the royal court.’ Daniel 2:46-49

It seems that Nebuchadnezzar is well satisfied with Daniel’s interpretation. Perhaps the fact that these things were far off in the future relieved his mind. Also, the fact that Daniel was able to tell what he had dreamed proved he would also be correct in the interpretation. The king then worships Daniel and commands sacrifices be made to him.

Knowing the character of Daniel, we know he would have no part in this exaltation. God at that moment was the greatest, but only one among many. Daniel is exalted and promoted to a position of high authority. He immediately requests the promotion of his three friends.

Conclusion

In this chapter, we clearly see the power and superiority of God over paganism and the kingdoms of the world. Here also is predicted the superiority of His kingdom over the kingdoms of the world. While all of the four great empires are past history, the kingdom of God still stands today.

‘And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’ Matthew 16:18-19

God’s kingdom does not conquer by sword or instruments of carnal warfare but by the word of God sown in the hearts of men changing their lives. This is how the Roman Empire was taken by the kingdom of God.

The Book of Revelation assures the early Christians that God was in control and that he would give them the victory if they would overcome.

 

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."

Romans 12:2

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