The last part of Daniel 2 is prophetic. The prophetic parts of the Bible aren’t just about the future, they are about the present. God gave us books like Daniel and Revelation so that we can know how to live today with tomorrow in mind. These Scriptures and the prophecies they contain are meant to sober us and ground us in His eternal perspective.
There is a difference between prophecy and eschatology. Eschatology is the kind of prophecy that concerns end times, things that will happen at the very end of history. All other forms of prophecy concerns things that happen before the end, and as you’ll see, this dream was both. Most of the events prophesied in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream have already happened. But it’s not done yet. There is part of it yet to come true, and that’s the eschatological part, the part that will happen in the end times.
This dream has been coming true down through the centuries. History records the fulfillment of it’s prophecy, ust as Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar. His prophecy is 100% correct thus far, and this is why the book of Daniel is attacked and criticized by liberal scholars who say it couldn’t really have been written by Daniel. They say the only reasonable explanation for the fact that his prophecy has been perfectly accurate, is that it was written by someone pretending to be Daniel, someone who lived after the things had already happened. The problem is, there are two huge holes in their argument. First, this dream part of Daniel is written in Aramaic, not Hebrew. For the most part the Old Testament is written in Hebrew and the New Testament in Greek but there are exceptions, there are Aramaic portions, .and this is one of them, and this fact points to an earlier date. You see, after the Jews returned from Babylon, hundreds of years later, the common language became Aramaic, the common language of Babylon. Before then the Jews language was Hebrew. No one writing later (after all the events Daniel prophesied had happened) would have written in both Hebrew and Aramaic. He would have written only in Aramaic. James Montgomery Boice puts it this way, “Only a man who spoke Hebrew but who had learned Aramaic in the Babylonian court, would have written the part of the book that dealt with Babylon in Aramaic so that it could be understood by Babylonians, and part in Hebrew so that it would fit in with the rest of the Jewish Scriptures.” A second proof that Daniel really did write these words of prophecy long before they were fulfilled is found in the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. These ancient copies of the Scriptures prove that the book of Daniel was written exactly when the Bible says it was written.
This is not the only time the Bible’s prophecies have been seen to come true. I could give many examples but I’ll give only one, one that relates to Daniel’s life and ministry. Here it is. In Isaiah 44:28 God says, “I am He Who says of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd and will accomplish what I please; he will say of Jerusalem, ‘Let it be rebuilt,’ and of the temple, ‘Let its foundations be laid.’” The amazing thing about this verse is that it was written 150 years before Jerusalem and the temple were rebuilt, long before Cyrus was even born! And this is one proof that this book is not just a book. It is God’s book! The Bible is God’s infallible word! How else to you explain the fact that all of the Bible’s prophecies come true? How else to you explain how it is completely reliable in foretelling world events like this?
The late Ray Stedman tells of a time he was asked what he thought of psychic Jeane Dixon. With Daniel, like tact he said, “Well, I am not in a position to judge Miss Dixon personally, but one thing I do know: she admits that she sometimes misses in her prognostications. She has been wrong on occasion but many people seem to be impressed even though she only bats .300. The impressive thing to me is that the Word of God is always 100% right. Its batting average is 1000. It hits the nose every single time.” And he’s right!
Nebuchadnezzar dreams about a statue made of various metals, a statue that is crushed by a rock not made with human hands. Let’s quickly review the interpretation God gave Daniel, and as we do, I want you to note how the value of the materials in the statue go down while at the same time increasing in strength. I believe this is to illustrate the fact that our society may grow stronger externally down through the years, while it grows weaker internally. As the decades march by we build stronger houses but have weaker families. We have better roads but less sense of purpose and direction. We have computers that are supposed to save us time, but we seem to have less time, especially when it comes to the truly important things of life. We have more laws and bigger police forces, but less morals. Perhaps all this is what Thoreau was referring to when he said, “America has improved means to unimproved ends.” But enough of that, let’s look at the vision itself. As In verse 31 and following we read that the king’s recurring dream involved a huge statue.
- The HEAD was made of pure gold.
In verse 38 Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar that this represented him and the Babylonian Empire. We now know that it lasted from 626BC to 539BC.
2. The CHEST AND ARMS was made of silver.
This represented the kingdom that was to come after the Babylonians, the kingdom of the Medes and the Persians. It lasted from 539BC until 331B.C. By the way, these two parts of the statue, the CHEST and the ARMS, represented the joining together of two nations so they could defeat the Babylonians, which they did. Now this union of two nations would have made sense to Nebuchadnezzar because he believed that no one kingdom could have ever destroyed his. As I told you earlier the city of Babylon was very well defended. As you can see in this picture, it’s first line of defense was a huge moat that tied into the Euphrates river. The city also had huge double walls that rose like stone cliffs into the sky. The ancient historian Herodotus measured them and said they were 300 feet high and 87 feet thick. But in 539B.C. the unthinkable happened. The combined forces of the Medes and the Persians diverted the Euphrates which caused the water level to drop and enabled them to enter at night through the moat’s unguarded sluice gates. In this way, great, golden Babylon fell without a fight or harm to the city, and in its place rose the Medo, Persian empire. Later, the Persian King Darius, required conquered nations to pay tribute in silver which corresponds to the silver chest and arms in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.
3. The belly and thighs of the statue were made of BRONZE and represented the GREECIAN EMPIRE which lasted from 331 B.C. until 63B.C.
Verse 39 says that this would be a government that would rule over all the earth and that’s what happened thanks to a young Greek named Alexander the Great who by 331B.C. had extended his rule as far as India, vanquishing the Persian empire. Stedman writes, “He swept across the world of his day, conquering the known kingdoms of the earth and then wept because he had no other worlds to conquer.” The Greek soldiers used shields made of bronze, hence the bronze in the image.
4. The legs were made of IRON and represented the ROMAN EMPIRE.
Roman legions like this one rumbled across the Mediterranean world like iron tanks and crushed everything in their path. The fact that this part of the statue is the legs symbolizes the fact that the Roman Empire was eventually divided into east and west. And we see it’s impact in the east, where German rulers were called Kaisers and the Russians Czars, both versions of the Roman word, “Caesar.” We also see it in the west. Ray Stedman writes,
“Our entire Western world is Roman to the core. We have a senate which is one of the fundamental bases of our government, and which we copied directly from the Roman senate. The very republican form of the US government is based upon the republic of Rome. Our courts, our laws, our military, all reflect the forms of the Roman empire.”
It’s rule began in 63BC and the Western empire collapsed in 476AD but it is hard to date the end of the Roman Empire because the Eastern empire continued and no other world kingdom ever took it’s place. This leads me to mention the next part of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, the eschatological part.
5. The TEN TOES were made of IRON MIXED WITH CLAY.
And, most scholars believe that these ten toes represent an unstable confederation of nations today. And in the future, ten nations that still have the “iron” of Rome’s influence but nations that are weak like clay. This 10, nation confederation is also mentioned in Daniel chapter 7 and Revelation chapter 13. In verse 44 Daniel says,“In the time of those things, 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.”
6. In the dream, this was symbolized by a rock, not cut by human hands, a rock that struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed the entire statue to dust.
This is a picture of the return of Jesus Christ, Who as 1st Peter 2:6, 8 says is “the Stone the builders rejected, the Stone that has become the Chief Cornerstone.” This also ties in with Isaiah’s prophecy in 2:2 where it says, “The mountain of the house of the Lord will be established as the chief of the mountains, and will be raised above the hills; and all the nations will stream to it.”
In other words, through Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar, God was saying that someday, after the rapture of the church, Jesus will come to earth to set up His earthly kingdom. Well, as Daniel’s interpretation ends, Nebuchadnezzar’s terror over his dream melts into fear of the Lord. Verses 46-47 say that the king fell on his face and said, “Surely your God is a God of gods and a Lord of kings and a Revealer of mysteries!” To me this underscores the truth that when we accurately represent God, when we lift Jesus up in our words and our actions, people respond. The king rewarded Daniel and his friends, promoting them to positions of great authority and so ends the 2nd chapter.
What does this prophetic dream have to say to you and me?
It reminds us that the Bible is true.
Stedman is correct when he says that its prophecy is 100% correct, so let’s ask, are we living our lives according to this book? Wouldn’t we agree that it would be foolish not to?
This prophetic dream also shows us that there is a GOD in Heaven and He is still in control.
Doesn’t that bring us peace? Isn’t it good to know that no matter how the news reports make it seem, God is still in charge. He is still working out His eternal purposes!
And finally, this dream shows us that we are living in the end times. Jesus is coming!
Are you ready for His return?
Watch Messages: YouTube-Upwards Church