Sapphire Sky

August 28, 2016

His Kingdom is Forever!

Filed under: encouragement, theology — Tags: , — Steve Knaus @ 3:36 pm

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“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
to whom belong wisdom and might.
He changes times and seasons;
he removes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to those who have understanding;
he reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what is in the darkness,
and the light dwells with him.
To you, O God of my fathers,
I give thanks and praise,
for you have given me wisdom and might,
and have now made known to me what we asked of you
for you have made known to us the king’s matter.

We look at the American political system today and it is easy to get discouraged. None of the major political candidates show any wisdom to lead a country. They all look like they are more consumed with self-serving interests than to care about the future of the country.

To be an American Christian today likely means that you will be labeled as a bigot, ignorant of science, or out of touch with reality.

The situation is much worse in other parts of the world. Russia has recently passed laws that prohibit worship in any other place but the state-sanctioned churches (see here). The World Watch List lists 41 countries in the world which have moderate to extreme persecution of Christians. Many Islamic nations have a death penalty for anyone who converts from Islam. North Korea is ranked again as the most dangerous country for a Christian, for 14 years in a row!

It is easy to become discouraged and to start to wonder. Is God really in control?

God gave a message to His people in the sixth century B.C. This was a time of the terrible crisis for the surviving Jews of that day. The northern nation, Israel, was completely destroyed a century earlier. The southern nation, Judah, had lost their independence, and were now slaves to whatever world powers would dominate them.

The king of Egypt had come in 609 B.C., killing the king and setting up his own vassal king over the country. The king of Babylon then came four years later, setting up his rule over Judah and taking captives back with him to Babylon.

The situation would only get worse. Babylon would return 17 years later to destroy Jerusalem, burn the temple, and carry away all of the inhabitants to exile. The Jewish nation would cease to exist for 70 years.

Where was God during this crisis? God gives His answer in the Book of Daniel.

God is all-wise. God is all-powerful. The great God who can change the seasons can raise and lower kingdoms.

The kingdoms of this world do not have any power over the God of the Universe!

The scene of Daniel 2 opened in the emperor’s bedroom. King Nebuchadnezzar had just awakened from a terrible dream. He was greatly disturbed by what he saw, yet he could not remember the dream!

The king urgently summoned all of his advisors and wise men, demanding that they tell him the dream and its interpretation. These wise men were very skilled in interpreting dreams, but this was new to them – never before were they asked to tell the dream itself!

They begged the king to tell them the dream but their entreaties only made the king more angry. When they failed to tell the dream, the furious king demanded that all of his wise men be executed!

The king ordered all of the wise men in Babylon to be killed. This included the Jewish slaves who had only recently graduated from their training (Daniel 1). When the executioner came for Daniel and his companions, Daniel requested time so that he could provide an answer for the king.

Daniel returned to his house and discussed the matter with his companions, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Together they asked God for mercy so that He might show them the mystery.

The prayer above was Daniel’s response when God showed him the dream and its interpretation. His praise to God declared that the God of heaven has the power over time, seasons, and over kingdoms. God had shown the deep mysteries and had given Daniel the wisdom to show the answer to the king.

Daniel requested to be brought to the king. He made it clear that no human could answer his request, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries and has shown the king what will happen in the latter days.

Daniel then told the king his dream. He dreamed of a massive image that was overwhelming in its appearance and brightness. The head of the image was made of gold, the chest and arms of silver, the middle and thighs of bronze, the legs of iron, and the feet of iron and clay mixed. A stone was then cut without any human hand and struck the image in the feet, destroying the entire image. The stone then became a great mountain and filled the earth.

Daniel then told the interpretation of the dream. The five elements of the image were five empires (kingdoms) that would rule the earth. Nebuchadnezzar himself represented Babylon, the head of gold. After him would be three other kingdoms, successfully representing the silver, the bronze and the iron. The final kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle, like the iron mixed with clay. During the days of the final kingdom, the God of heaven will destroy the kingdoms of the world and set up a kingdom himself that will never end.

In our current point of history, the kingdoms of Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Iron have all come and gone, as the empires of Babylon, Medio-Persia, Greece, and Rome have come through history. We are still waiting on the final events of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, where the kingdom of iron and clay rules the world.

But more than that, we know that there will be a day when God’s kingdom will come and destroy all of the powers of this world. He will set up his own kingdom which will never end!

 

Remember!

  • He is the only wise God (Romans 16:27). God has not made a mistake in these troublesome times. None of these world events take Him by surprise!
  • He is the all-powerful God (Revelation 1:8). He removes kings and he sets up kings. No nation or its power is greater than God!
  • All of our world powers today are only temporary, but the kingdom of the Almighty God will last forever!

 

Previous post: The Test of Character


Daniel 2

In the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his spirit was troubled, and his sleep left him. Then the king commanded that the magicians, the enchanters, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans be summoned to tell the king his dreams. So they came in and stood before the king. And the king said to them, “I had a dream, and my spirit is troubled to know the dream.” Then the Chaldeans said to the king in Aramaic, “O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation.” The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, “The word from me is firm: if you do not make known to me the dream and its interpretation, you shall be torn limb from limb, and your houses shall be laid in ruins. But if you show the dream and its interpretation, you shall receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. Therefore show me the dream and its interpretation.” They answered a second time and said, “Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will show its interpretation.” The king answered and said, “I know with certainty that you are trying to gain time, because you see that the word from me is firm— if you do not make the dream known to me, there is but one sentence for you. You have agreed to speak lying and corrupt words before me till the times change. Therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that you can show me its interpretation.” The Chaldeans answered the king and said, “There is not a man on earth who can meet the king’s demand, for no great and powerful king has asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or Chaldean. The thing that the king asks is difficult, and no one can show it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.”

Because of this the king was angry and very furious, and commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be destroyed. So the decree went out, and the wise men were about to be killed; and they sought Daniel and his companions, to kill them. Then Daniel replied with prudence and discretion to Arioch, the captain of the king’s guard, who had gone out to kill the wise men of Babylon. He declared to Arioch, the king’s captain, “Why is the decree of the king so urgent?” Then Arioch made the matter known to Daniel. And Daniel went in and requested the king to appoint him a time, that he might show the interpretation to the king.

Then Daniel went to his house and made the matter known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, and told them to seek mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his companions might not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. Daniel answered and said:

“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
to whom belong wisdom and might.
He changes times and seasons;
he removes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to those who have understanding;
he reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what is in the darkness,
and the light dwells with him.
To you, O God of my fathers,
I give thanks and praise,
for you have given me wisdom and might,
and have now made known to me what we asked of you,
for you have made known to us the king’s matter.” 

Therefore Daniel went in to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon. He went and said thus to him: “Do not destroy the wise men of Babylon; bring me in before the king, and I will show the king the interpretation.”

Then Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste and said thus to him: “I have found among the exiles from Judah a man who will make known to the king the interpretation.” The king declared to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, “Are you able to make known to me the dream that I have seen and its interpretation?” Daniel answered the king and said, “No wise men, enchanters, magicians, or astrologers can show to the king the mystery that the king has asked, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream and the visions of your head as you lay in bed are these: To you, O king, as you lay in bed came thoughts of what would be after this, and he who reveals mysteries made known to you what is to be. But as for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because of any wisdom that I have more than all the living, but in order that the interpretation may be made known to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your mind.

“You saw, O king, and behold, a great image. This image, mighty and of exceeding brightness, stood before you, and its appearance was frightening. The head of this image was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its middle and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. As you looked, a stone was cut out by no human hand, and it struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold, all together were broken in pieces, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, so that not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.

“This was the dream. Now we will tell the king its interpretation. You, O king, the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, and the might, and the glory, and into whose hand he has given, wherever they dwell, the children of man, the beasts of the field, and the birds of the heavens, making you rule over them all—you are the head of gold. Another kingdom inferior to you shall arise after you, and yet a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth. And there shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron, because iron breaks to pieces and shatters all things. And like iron that crushes, it shall break and crush all these. And as you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it shall be a divided kingdom, but some of the firmness of iron shall be in it, just as you saw iron mixed with the soft clay. And as the toes of the feet were partly iron and partly clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly brittle. As you saw the iron mixed with soft clay, so they will mix with one another in marriage, but they will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with clay. And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever, just as you saw that a stone was cut from a mountain by no human hand, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold. A great God has made known to the king what shall be after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation sure.”

Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face and paid homage to Daniel, and commanded that an offering and incense be offered up to him. The king answered and said to Daniel, “Truly, your God is God of gods and Lord of kings, and a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this mystery.” Then the king gave Daniel high honors and many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon. Daniel made a request of the king, and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego over the affairs of the province of Babylon. But Daniel remained at the king’s court.


 

Daniel 2:1-4
In the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his spirit was troubled, and his sleep left him. Then the king commanded that the magicians, the enchanters, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans be summoned to tell the king his dreams. So they came in and stood before the king. And the king said to them, “I had a dream, and my spirit is troubled to know the dream.” Then the Chaldeans said to the king in Aramaic, “O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation.”

Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah successfully graduated from their schooling and were now directly serving the king (Daniel 1:18-20). The king’s dreams in Daniel 2 would have happened shortly after their graduation since Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams came in his second year (602 B.C.). [1]

The text indicates that Nebuchadnezzar dreamed multiple dreams. It may have been separate dreams are a single, reoccurring dream. He appears to be especially troubled by the one dream which Daniel interprets for him.

We learn later in the chapter that the king was worried about the future (Daniel 2:29). The answer from God was in a deeply troubling dream. This was more than a simple nightmare! [2]

It is interesting to note that God’s message about the future is not sent to the Jews but to a pagan king.

The king summoned all of his advisors to consult on his dream.

  • The “magicians” were the scholars and the fortunetellers who would advise the king.
  • The “enchanters” were the astrologers who would search the stars for answers.
  • The “sorcerers” would consult with the dead (mediums) and other supernatural sources to advise the king. [2]
  • The Chaldeans were leaders of the king’s wise men (see here).

The king’s advisors had an elaborate system of dream interpretation. However, none of these men could interpret until they knew the dream.

The original language of Daniel shifts from Hebrew to Aramaic starting with the response from the Chaldeans (4:4) and continues through the end of Daniel 7.

 

Daniel 2:5-7
The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, “The word from me is firm: if you do not make known to me the dream and its interpretation, you shall be torn limb from limb, and your houses shall be laid in ruins. But if you show the dream and its interpretation, you shall receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. Therefore show me the dream and its interpretation.” They answered a second time and said, “Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will show its interpretation.”

The king’s wise men were ready for the king to tell them his dream so that they could give him an interpretation. However, the king wanted more from his supernatural advisors. They must first tell him the dream, and then tell him the interpretation.

Did the king forget the dream or was he only attempting to expose his wise men as frauds? The original text says literally, “The thing is gone from me”. Some translations have interpreted the “thing” as the dream that the king forgot (e.g. KJV), while other translations have interpreted the “thing” as the king’s edict (NASB, ESV). Regardless, the king demanded that they tell him both the dream and the interpretation.

The agitated king offered them only two choices: great rewards if they tell the dream and certain death if they failed to do so. The penalty for failure was one of the most painful and shameful ways to die. The person would be dismembered, his house destroyed and replaced with a public outhouse.  Other translations replace “your house shall be laid in ruins” with “your houses shall be made a dunghill”.

This was a disaster for the king’s wise men! No amount of divining would allow them to read the king’s mind. They appealed to the king for a second time to tell them the dream so that they could find the interpretation.

 

Daniel 2:8-11
The king answered and said, “I know with certainty that you are trying to gain time, because you see that the word from me is firm— if you do not make the dream known to me, there is but one sentence for you. You have agreed to speak lying and corrupt words before me till the times change. Therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that you can show me its interpretation.” The Chaldeans answered the king and said, “There is not a man on earth who can meet the king’s demand, for no great and powerful king has asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or Chaldean. The thing that the king asks is difficult, and no one can show it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.”

Nebuchadnezzar had established his system of wise men, counselors, and spiritual advisors. Yet now he dismisses his own advisors as liars and frauds. He knows that they are stalling for time and he sets his demand, “If you do not make the dream known to me, there is but one sentence for you”.

The desperate Chaldeans reply, “There is not a man on earth who can meet the king’s demand!” By their own admission, only a god can show the king what he was thinking!

 

Daniel 2:12-16
Because of this the king was angry and very furious, and commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be destroyed. So the decree went out, and the wise men were about to be killed; and they sought Daniel and his companions, to kill them. Then Daniel replied with prudence and discretion to Arioch, the captain of the king’s guard, who had gone out to kill the wise men of Babylon. He declared to Arioch, the king’s captain, “Why is the decree of the king so urgent?” Then Arioch made the matter known to Daniel. And Daniel went in and requested the king to appoint him a time, that he might show the interpretation to the king.

Nebuchadnezzar had a reputation for being especially cruel and violent when he was angry (Daniel 3:19-20, 2 Kings 25:5-7). In his rage, he commanded that all the wise men in the city should be killed. Not only the men who had failed the king, but all of the wise men must be destroyed!

This included Daniel and his companions since they had recently graduated from their training and had been promoted to serving the king. Note that Daniel’s response was tactful and wise to the guard when he came to kill them. Daniel went directly to the king and asked for time to show the interpretation to the king.

It is interesting to note that king accused his own advisors of stalling for time, yet he granted Daniel’s request for time to show the interpretation. It appears that Nebuchadnezzar had more confidence in Daniel than he did with his own advisors! There may also have been enough time elapsed for the king’s rage to subside.

Daniel had been given the ability to understand visions and dreams (Daniel 1:17), so this may have given him more confidence in approaching the king.

“The Evil One is willing to sacrifice all his false prophets in the city of Babylon if he can destroy four of God’s faithful servants.” – Warren Wiersbe [3]

 

Daniel 2:17-18
Then Daniel went to his house and made the matter known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, and told them to seek mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his companions might not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.

Daniel approached the crisis by seeking the God of Heaven. He first went to his companions and together they prayed for mercy from God.

The word for mystery (raz) is used eight times in this chapter and is the equivalent of the Greek word mysterion, which is used twenty-eight times in the New Testament. It means “a hidden truth that is revealed only to the initiated.” [3]

“Now as to this expression, ‘The God of heaven’, there are three books in the Old Testament where it is used (Ezra, Nehemiah, Daniel), and one in the New Testament (Revelation). All refer, practically, to the same period when God had scattered His people among the nations because of their sins. He had forsaken His throne at Jerusalem. The glory had gone up to heaven, and He was no longer called the Lord of the whole earth. He was now the God of heaven, and, so far as the world is concerned, that is still His title.” – H.A. Ironside [4]

 

Daniel 2:19-23
Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. Daniel answered and said:

“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
to whom belong wisdom and might.
He changes times and seasons;
he removes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to those who have understanding;
he reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what is in the darkness,
and the light dwells with him.
To you, O God of my fathers,
I give thanks and praise,
for you have given me wisdom and might,
and have now made known to me what we asked of you,
for you have made known to us the king’s matter.”

Daniel’s first response after receiving the answer from The Lord is to bless Him for hearing and answering their petitions. Daniel acknowledged that God is the source of wisdom and might. He is greater than rituals or the calendar. He is greater than kings and kingdoms. He is greater than the wisdom and knowledge of men. God reveals the deep and hidden secrets to men and is the source of all light. And finally, Daniel thanked God for making known what they asked of Him.

Daniel asked for wisdom and God gave it (James 1:5).

“Whatever God can do faith can do, and whatever faith can do prayer can do when it is offered in faith. An invitation to prayer is, therefore, an invitation to omnipotence, for prayer engages the Omnipotent God and brings Him into our human affairs.” – A.W. Tozer [5]

 

Daniel 2:24
Therefore Daniel went in to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon. He went and said thus to him: “Do not destroy the wise men of Babylon; bring me in before the king, and I will show the king the interpretation.”

Daniel went in to Arioch (the king’s executioner) and requested that they not kill the wise men of Babylon. Daniel had the answer for the king.

“Little did the pagan ‘wise men’ realize that the presence of the Hebrews in Babylon was making their deliverance possible.” – Wiersbe [3]

 

Daniel 2:25-28a
Then Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste and said thus to him: “I have found among the exiles from Judah a man who will make known to the king the interpretation.” The king declared to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, “Are you able to make known to me the dream that I have seen and its interpretation?” Daniel answered the king and said, “No wise men, enchanters, magicians, or astrologers can show to the king the mystery that the king has asked, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days.

Arioch brought Daniel to the king, taking credit for finding the answer to the king’s dream. The king asked if Daniel could make known the dream and its interpretation and Daniel answered that no man can answer what he had asked. However, the God in heaven is able to make the matter known to the king.

Daniel immediately deflected all glory from himself to the God of heaven.

The mystery goes beyond the life of King Nebuchadnezzar to the “latter days”. The “latter days” are the consummation of history in the coming of the Messiah.

 

Daniel 2:28b-30
Your dream and the visions of your head as you lay in bed are these: To you, O king, as you lay in bed came thoughts of what would be after this, and he who reveals mysteries made known to you what is to be. But as for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because of any wisdom that I have more than all the living, but in order that the interpretation may be made known to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your mind.

Nebuchadnezzar had been thinking about what would come after this. What would come of his great empire after he was gone?

The God who reveals mysteries saw fit to reveal the answer through Daniel.

 

Daniel 2:31-35
“You saw, O king, and behold, a great image. This image, mighty and of exceeding brightness, stood before you, and its appearance was frightening. The head of this image was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its middle and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. As you looked, a stone was cut out by no human hand, and it struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold, all together were broken in pieces, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, so that not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.

The king’s dream was of a great image, exceedingly bright, and frightening in appearance. This great image was made from five different elements:

  • The head of gold
  • The chest and arms of silver
  • The middle and thighs of bronze
  • The legs of iron
  • The feet of iron and clay mixed

As he watched, a stone struck the image and destroyed it. The broken pieces were carried away by the wind. The stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.

As a pagan king, Nebuchadnezzar would have been familiar with great images and the power that they represented. The fact that a stone could totally destroy such a great image would alone be a shock to the king, yet he also seemed to have understood the message enough for it to totally unnerve him!

This is a very unusual image to have been composed of five different elements. The elements were highest in weight and value at the top and they decreased in value and weight lower on the image. The elements also became stronger (with the exception of iron and clay mixed) as they were lower on the image. Iron is stronger than bronze, which is stronger than silver, etc.

The stone was cut out without any human hand indicating that it did not have a human origin.

“The image Nebuchadnezzar beheld in his dream depicted what Jesus called ‘the times of the Gentiles’ (Luke 21:24), a period of time that began in 605 BC when Jerusalem was taken by Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian army. This period will end when Christ returns to establish His kingdom (Luke 21:25–28).” – Wiersbe [3]

 

Daniel 2:36-38
“This was the dream. Now we will tell the king its interpretation. You, O king, the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, and the might, and the glory, and into whose hand he has given, wherever they dwell, the children of man, the beasts of the field, and the birds of the heavens, making you rule over them all—you are the head of gold.

The five elements are five empires of the world. The first element, the head of gold, is Nebuchadnezzar with the Babylonian empire. God has given all things into his hand.

Nebuchadnezzar was personally addressed as “king of kings” (see also Ezekiel 26:7). The Babylonian empire lasted for 80 years until 539 B.C., of which Nebuchadnezzar reigned for 43 years.

The kingdom of Babylon was known for its lavish adornments of the city, many of pure gold. This may be why Babylon was represented as the golden head.

Babylon is also called “a golden cup in the Lord’s hand” (Jeremiah 51:7).

 

Daniel 2:39
Another kingdom inferior to you shall arise after you, and yet a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth.

The word “inferior” should be understood as “lower”. The next kingdom was not lesser than Babylon, but the element of silver was lower on the image.

The chest and arms were of silver, representing the kingdom that would succeed Babylon. This succession of kingdoms is represented again in Daniel 7 and Daniel 8. It is specifically mentioned as the kingdom of Medio-Persia in Daniel 8:20 and it directly corresponds with our knowledge of history. The kingdom of Medio-Persia conquered Babylon in 539 B.C. and set itself up as the new world empire. See Daniel 5:30-31.

Nebuchadnezzar was given very little detail about the empire of silver (the Medes and the Persians). This may have been because they would succeed Nebuchadnezzar’s own empire.

The word “silver” could also be translated as “money”, and may have represented the enormous wealth of the Medio-Persian empire.

The middle and thighs of bronze represent a third kingdom, and is identified in Daniel 8:21 as the kingdom of Greece. We know from history that Alexander the Great defeated the Persian empire in about 330 B.C.

 

Daniel 2:40
And there shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron, because iron breaks to pieces and shatters all things. And like iron that crushes, it shall break and crush all these.

The Roman empire defeated the Greeks in 63 B.C. and endured for over 500 years. Rome was characterized as being as strong as iron and would break and crush all who stood in its way.

“Under this empire our Lord was crucified. After His death, it continued to exist for something like five hundred years, though eventually divided into two parts, the Eastern and Western empires. Of this division the two legs may be meant to speak, though one could hardly insist on this as strongly as some do, because, from the beginning, Rome is represented by the legs of iron.” – H.A. Ironside [4]

 

Daniel 2:41-43
And as you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it shall be a divided kingdom, but some of the firmness of iron shall be in it, just as you saw iron mixed with the soft clay. And as the toes of the feet were partly iron and partly clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly brittle. As you saw the iron mixed with soft clay, so they will mix with one another in marriage, but they will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with clay.

The final element is a mixture of iron and clay. It is both strong and brittle, and does not hold together well.

We have not seen any empire supplant the Roman empire. This empire is closely related to the Roman Empire that preceded it, since it is a mix of the iron and clay. The simplest explanation of the final empire is that it is still yet to come.

The KJV says that, “they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men”. The ESV says, “they will mix with one another in marriage”, the NASB says, “they will combine with one another in the seed of men”. The understanding of most Bible scholars is that this is a loose confederation which is prone to human weakness.

The (ten) toes parallel the ten horns for the final beast in Daniel 7. The interpretation of Daniel 7 is that the ten horns are ten kings that will rise for this final empire.

 

Daniel 2:44-45
And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever, just as you saw that a stone was cut from a mountain by no human hand, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold. A great God has made known to the king what shall be after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation sure.”

“In the days of those kings” likely refers to the ten kings of the final empire (Daniel 7:24).

God will set up His permanent kingdom during the time of the final empire. God’s kingdom will never be destroyed nor left for others. It will destroy all of the former kingdoms of the world and will last forever.

Note that all of the five preceding kingdoms are literal, physical, political powers in the history of the world. Therefore, God’s permanent kingdom is also a literal, physical kingdom like the others.

The stone was cut by no human hand. The ruler of God’s kingdom does not originate from mankind.

What is the stone? Jesus quoted the parallel passage in Daniel 7, applying this directly to himself (Matthew 24:29-30, Matthew 26:64):

“I saw in the night visions,
and behold, with the clouds of heaven
there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days
and was presented before him.
And to him was given dominion
and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one
that shall not be destroyed.”
Daniel 7:13-14

“While God’s people should do everything they can to alleviate suffering and make this a safer and happier world, our hope is not in laws, political alliances, or moral crusades. Our hope is in the Lord.” – Wiersbe [3]

 

Daniel 2:46-49
Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face and paid homage to Daniel, and commanded that an offering and incense be offered up to him. The king answered and said to Daniel, “Truly, your God is God of gods and Lord of kings, and a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this mystery.” Then the king gave Daniel high honors and many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon. Daniel made a request of the king, and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego over the affairs of the province of Babylon. But Daniel remained at the king’s court.

King Nebuchadnezzar’s attitude changed completely through the course of this dream interpretation. He started out the scene attempting to kill all of the wise men of Babylon, and he concluded the scene with the emperor himself preparing an offering to Daniel. Note that the homage is not directed to Daniel but to the God of Daniel that has revealed this mystery.

The chapter concludes with Daniel receiving a great promotion as the chief over all of the wise men of Babylon. At Daniel’s request, his companions are also appointed over the affairs of the province.

Note that Nebuchadnezzar has great respect for God, but he is not yet at the point where he believes in the true and living God. It will take more steps and several years before the king is able to come to belief in the one true God.

Note also that these events happened before Nebuchadnezzar returned to Jerusalem and destroyed the temple. Even as Nebuchadnezzar grew in his understanding of God, He never equated the God of heaven with the temple in Jerusalem. The temple would likely have been destroyed before Nebuchadnezzar had come to true belief in God (Daniel 4:37). In addition, the priesthood in Jerusalem had become so corrupted by this time that true worship had gone (Ezekiel 10).

 


[1] Nebuchadnezzar reigned from 605-562 B.C. Babylonian time reckoning considered the king’s first year as the year of accession. Therefore, the king’s second year would have been 602 B.C., or the third year after Daniel had been taken to Babylon. See the study of Daniel 1 for more details.

[2] John MacArthur, The Forgotten Dream and the Unforgettable Daniel, Daniel 2:1-30.

[3] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Wiersbe Bible Commentary, Daniel 2, pages 1348-1352

[4] H.A. Ironside, Lecture 2, THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES: THE GREAT IMAGE, Daniel 2

[5] A. W. Tozer, The Set of the Sail (Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications, 1986), 33

 

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5 Comments »

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