The first Bible prophecy that we study, is the dream of Nebuchadnezzar and the interpretation of the dream as given by Daniel. This dream could have been given to Nebuchadnezzar in either 604 BC, the second year he reigned in Babylon, or it might also possibly have been in 587 BC, the second year of his reign over Judah, after deposing king Zedekiah. The Bible tells us though, that it happened in the king’s second year.
The king had a very disturbing dream and knew that it had a special meaning. After consulting all his wise men he referred to Daniel for an interpretation. Daniel was sent the same dream by God and the next morning, Daniel went to the king to tell him his dream.
“You, O king, were looking and then, there was a single great statue; that statue, which was large and of extraordinary splendor, was standing in front of you, and its appearance was awesome. The head of that statue was made of fine gold, its breast and its arms of silver, its belly and its thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. You continued looking until a stone was cut out without hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and crushed them. “Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed all at the same time and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.” (Daniel 2: 31-35)
Daniel gave the king the interpretation of the dream as follows:
Head of Gold: Babylon (609-539 BC)
“This was the dream; now we will tell its interpretation before the king. ‘You, O king, are the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the strength and the glory; and wherever the sons of men dwell, or the beasts of the field, or the birds of the sky, He has given them into your hand and has caused you to rule over them all. You are the head of gold.” (Daniel 2: 36-38)
Explanation: King Nebuchadnezzar was the king of Babylon in the time of this prophecy. Babylon was the superpower of the day, making king Nebuchanezzar the ruler of the known world, by authority. “…He has given them into your hand and has caused you to rule over them all…”
The time period of Babylon is depicted in the head of gold. Babylon was conquered by the Medo-Persians in the year 539 BC, a kingdom inferior to Babylon.
Breast and arms of silver: Medo-Persia (539 -331 BC)
“And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee…” Dan 2:39
Explanation: The Medo-Persian armies conquered Babylon in 331 AD. The prophecy foretold that a kingdom inferior to Babylon will conquer it, just as silver is inferior to gold. Later in the prophecy we will see that the fourth kingdom, which is resembled by iron, will break into peaces and subdue everything in its path, just as iron is a strong metal. Therefore, just as silver is inferior to gold in value, it is a harder metal, pointing towards a stronger army.
Medo-Persia conquered the Babylonian empire in 539 BC and ruled until 331 BC, when it was conquered by the Greek army of Alexander the Great.
Waist and thighs of bronze: Greece (331-164 BC)
“…and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.” Dan 2:39
Explanation: The third kingdom, that made of brass, or bronze, will conquer the second kingdom and rule over all the earth. Just as king Nebuchadnezzar was reminded that he rules over all the earth, so too, this kingdom is said to rule over the whole earth. Question: did Babylon rule over the whole world as we know it today? No,certainly not, but only a very small part of the world as we know it today. But Babylon did rule over the known world of the day, Babylon did have authority over all the earth, same goes for all four the beasts. They where the superpower of their days.
Greece reigned over the known world from 331 BC until 164 BC and was finally conquered by the Roman armies.
Legs of iron: Rome (164 BC-476AD)
“And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.” Dan 2:40
The fourth kingdom is resembled with iron and just as iron can break anything, so too, this kingdom will be renowned for its harshness and it shall break into pieces and bruise whatever comes in it’s way. The Roman armies conquered the Greeks in 164 BC and until today, the Roman empire is referred to as the Iron Monarchy, due to the ruthless and bloody battles fought against those that didn’t submit to it.
The Roman armies conquered the Greek empire in the year 164 BC and the empire lasted until 476 AD, when it was dissolved into different kingdoms. Ten different kingdoms, to be exact. Some scholars claim that the Roman empire did not dissolve into ten kingdoms but many more, and therefore, the fulfillment of this prophecy is yet to come in the future.
Just like the statue has two legs, so too, the Roman empire where divided into two power segments, that of Eastern and that of the Western side of the empire. It was the Western Roman empire that dissolved into the ten kingdoms of the 4th century Europe, not the combination of the two, because, the Western Roman empire was the main authority and the ten kingdoms that came into being from there, were the seat of the world powers of their days. The Eastern Roman empire where far inferior to the West.
Feet and ten toes of iron and clay: Ten European kingdoms (476 AD – present)
“And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.” Dan 2:41-43
Explanation: Just as iron and clay does not mix, so too, these ten different kingdoms will never be joint again. Although there have been many instances in history where political efforts have been made to join Europe as one country, nation or power, all of them have failed. Many kings before have given their daughters to foreign princes for marriage to establish better relations with other kingdoms with a mutual goal in mind, but none of it ever had lasting fruit. Till today, the French are the French and in Germany they are still as patriotic as before.
Just as the feet of iron and clay has ten toes, so too the Roman empire dissolved into ten European kingdoms. The formation of the ten kingdoms did not happen immediately after Rome was dissolved, but it accured over time, as depicted by the feet with the ten toes at the end of the feet.
Rock that destroys the statue: Jesus Christ at the second advent.
“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.” Dan 2:44,45
Explanation: The kingdom of God that would never be destroyed cannot be referring to an earthly kingdom, but only a heavenly kingdom as a new heaven and a new earth will be given after the second coming of Christ. The rock that chatters the statue can only be referring to Jesus Christ at His second coming. Jesus is often referred to as the Rock.
Matt 21:42 refers to Jesus as the cornerstone of the church
Matt 7:24,25 refers to Jesus as a rock
1 Cor 3:11 says Jesus is the foundation
Psalm 18:2 Says” The Lord is my rock...”
Psalm 18:31 “And who is a rock, except our God?“.
Just as the body of the statue is connected from head to toes by the different limbs and body parts, so too, this prophecies depicts a continues flow of time from the Babylonian empire through till the second advent of Christ.
Others sometimes teach that the feet and toes of iron and clay represents the Anti-Christ that will come in the future, during the seven years of tribulation, but in order to claim that, one has to dismember the statue from its feet and ad something else into that space, referred to as a gap. This is what is known as the gap theory – to slot a gap of unknown amount of years into the middle of a perfectly working and understandable prophecy. In order to hold to the gap theory, other prophecies are also twisted to make room for things that are not said in the prophecies.
The prophecy happened exactly like the Bible predicted, with the rise and fall of different world powers, until the final dissolved of Rome into ten Western European kingdoms. The ten kingdoms that arose where:
1. Alemanni (Germany), 2. Franks (France), 3. Burgundians (Switzerland), 4. Suevi (Portugal), 5. Vandals (Exterminated), 6. Visigoths (Spain), 7. Anglo-Saxons (England), 8. Ostrogoths (Exterminated), 9. Lombards (Italy), 10. Heruli (Exterminated).
In a next study we will learn that another kingdom (the Little Horn Power of Daniel’s fourth beast which he saw in a vision) where responsible for the extermination of these three kingdoms – Valdals, Heruli and the Ostrogoths.
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The final event depicted in this prophecy is yet to happen, which is the second coming of Jesus Christ, symbolized by the rock that will shatter the statue into pieces.
It is interesting to note that king Nebuchadnezzar had a statue built, made out of pure gold, after this prophetic interpretation was given to him by Daniel. The statue was made of gold from head to toe and by doing this, Nebuchadnezzar tried to make a point. What do you think the point was that he tried to hammer through?
The statue’s head of gold, in the dream that the king had, resembled the Babylonian empire, of which Nebuchadnezzar was king and the breast and arms of silver resembled another kingdom to conquer Babylon sometime in his future. Nebuchadnezzar made a point, saying that Babylon the great will never fall to another king, but will stand forever! He was wrong and God was right concerning this prophecy.
The statue that Nebuchadnezzar had made was directly opposed to the prophecy that was given.
Nebuchadnezzar took it even a little further when he commanded the people, by a decree, that they have to worship this statue and that those that appose, has to be burned alive in a fiery furnace.
“You issued a decree requiring all the people to bow down and worship the gold statue when they hear the sound of the musical instruments.” Daniel 3:10
In the book Revelation we can see that there is again reference to Babylon the great. This is referring to spiritual Babylon in the last days – the Anti-type of literal Babylon. Can it be that this decree of Nebuchadnezzar concerning worship is a shadow of things to come in our future, when spiritual Babylon will, by decree, enforce religious laws concerning worship? So who is spiritual Babylon then as referred to in Revelation?
The next prophecy to study is Daniel’s four beats, which tie in perfectly with Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. In that study we will highlight the correlation between these two prophecies, which will give more color to this prophecy.