THE GOD OF HEAVEN SPOKE THROUGH A DREAM CONCERNING THE FUTURE …
(Based on Daniel 1-2, New International Version and BibleGateway.com)
In Parts 1, 2 and 3 of Dreams and Visions, we learned that Daniel was summoned to stand before King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and describe the king’s troubling dream….
Daniel said: “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)
We’ve explored the symbolism and historical significance of the head of gold (Babylonian Empire), the arms and chest of silver (Medo-Persian Empire), and the belly and thighs of bronze (the Greek Empire). Now let’s look at the “legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay.”
“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.” (Daniel 2:40-43)
Daniel gave much more information about the fourth kingdom, which would rise up and conquer the third kingdom — the Greeks — than he did about the others. He also added this:
“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 dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy.” (Daniel 2:44-45)
So the main points are …
- A kingdom strong as iron; will crush and break the other kingdoms into pieces.
- A divided kingdom; partly strong and partly brittle.
- The people will be a mixture and will not remain united.
The kingdom that followed the fall of the Greek Empire was the Roman Empire.
“The Roman Empire, at its height (c. 117 CE), was the most extensive political and social structure in western civilization. By 285 CE the empire had grown too vast to be ruled from the central government at Rome and so was divided by Emperor Diocletian into a Western and an Eastern Empire. The Roman Empire began when Augustus Caesar became the first emperor of Rome (31 BCE) and ended, in the west, when the last Roman emperor, Romulus Augustulus, was deposed by the Germanic King Odoacer (476 CE). In the east, it continued as the Byzantine Emperor [Empire] until the death of Constantine XI and the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453 CE. The influence of the Roman Empire on western civilization was profound in its lasting contributions to virtually every aspect of western culture.” (Source: http://www.ancient.eu/Roman_Empire/)
Bible scholars point out that prophecy says, “In the time of those kings.” The statue’s ten toes are thought to represent ten kings. But there is no verifiable historical record of ten specific kings having been in power during this time period, and the God of heaven, obviously, has NOT set up his eternal kingdom as of yet.
So, that brings us to another dream. This time Daniel actually experienced the dream himself, and it was all about four beasts. And here is where many prophecy experts part ways concerning the “kingdoms” they represent!
COMING NEXT … PART 5: The first of four great beasts!