THE DREAM FORGOTTEN
In Daniel’s second chapter, there is a presented a great dilemma. King Nebuchadnezzar was in the second year of his reign over all the notable kingdoms of the world. Nebuchadnezzar was “a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.” (Daniel 2:37) He was a heathen king, but was given the kingdom because of the rebellion of the people of the only true God, who had abused their privileges, and betrayed their trust by honoring the gods of Babylon within the gates of their temple in the times of their prosperity. Now the people who had honored the gods of other nations saw how these nations honored their gods faithfully, when Israel had the light of the knowledge of the true God and would not; this Israel knew would come to make them ashamed of all of their sins and to repent, because He had said “I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people…”, and again, “He gave them into the hand of the heathen; and they that hated them ruled over them.” (Psalm 106:41-42, Lev. 26:17). Now Nebuchadnezzar had overtaken Israel, and took the best from among them to be his servants. Now was Babylon the highest kingdom in the world, and the king of Babylon, not knowing the true God, had attained to greatness. He believed himself honored of the gods, and had whatsoever he desired at his command, but was considering what would become of this great kingdom delivered into his hand.
In the night season, as the king slept from this meditation, a dream was communicated to him. It was typical for the heathen to understand dreams as coming from the gods, and heathen kings had a multitude of counselors, prognosticators, astrologers, and magicians who were believed to be given wisdom and ability from the gods to unfold the interpretation of the dreams. “I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream.” (Daniel 2:4) The king wanted to “know the dream” because he had forgotten it. It was customary for the counselors of the heathen kings to interpret the dream, but it was beyond them to know the dream itself. In fury, the king, who believes his counselors to be in touch with the gods, concludes if they cannot tell the dream given by the gods, neither can they give an interpretation from the gods, and issues a decree to destroy all the wise men of Babylon.
Daniel and his Israelite companions were not among those counselors present, but were among those who were under the decree to be destroyed. Unlike the wise men of Babylon, whose gods had no breathe to them, the God of the Hebrews made known the dream and it’s interpretation for because the “secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever;” (Deut. 29:29) had the God of heaven not revealed this dream, the book of Daniel would never have been written. That dream is left on record for us, as a key to understanding the mysteries of prophecy and of the book of Daniel.
THE DREAM SUMMARY (DANIEL 2:31-35)
The dream depicted a great heathen image, similar to the idols made by pagans for worship, full of diverse metals from the head to it’s toes. The head was of gold. The chest and arms of silver. The belly and thighs were of bronze. The legs were of iron. The legs of iron and miry clay. And special mention is brought to the toes of the feet of iron and clay. Then a high mountain is brought to view, and a stone cut out of the mountain without the hands of men which struck the great heathen image, first on the feet and toes of iron and clay, then were all the elements of the image broken up together and became like chaff which the wind drove away.
THE INTERPRETATION (DANIEL 2:36-45)
Upon seeing the dream, there was an understanding given. Even in his time “no prophecy” was “of any private interpretation.” (2 Peter 1:20) Scripture is the key given to open the understanding of any true prophecy which God gives. Daniel, after earnest prayer, was given the view of the king’s dream, and understood by the Scriptures it’s interpretation.
THE HEAD OF GOLD
So what was the head of gold in the king’s dream? Two hundred years before Daniel, the prophet Isaiah foretold the might of Babylon’s prominence, and how it would be laid waste. “That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased!” (Isaiah 14:4) Notice how Babylon is called “the golden city”; now Daniel makes known to the king the identity of the head of gold, saying, “Thou art this head of gold…” (Daniel 2:36)
The golden metal was symbolized by a king, and a king always has a kingdom. Therefore the head of gold in prophecy symbolizes the kingdom of Babylon, the “golden city”.
THE CHEST & ARMS OF SILVER
“And after thee shall arise another kingdom baser than thee” (v.39); the chest and arms of silver were to be another kingdom following Babylon. The Medes & Persians together would be the next kingdom to reign, and were more base than Babylon had been. Daniel was alive at the time of Babylon’s fall, and declared of Babylon: “Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians…And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.” (Daniel 5:31)
The God of heaven even prophesied by Isaiah of the name of the ruler of Persia, who was Cyrus, prophesying of his part in bringing down the kingdom of Babylon: “Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;…that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.” (Isaiah 45:1)
THE BELLY & THIGHS OF BRONZE
“And another third kingdom of bronze, which shall bear rule over all the earth.” (v. 39); the belly and thighs of bronze overthrew the Median-Persian kingdom under the conquest of Alexander the great, the chief general and king of Grecia. Alexander had a sense that a divine hand was upon him to receive the kingdoms of the world, in a letter to Darius III: “I have defeated in battle first your generals and satraps, and now you in person and your army, and by the grace of the gods I control the country.” Alexander had further come into conflict with the Hebrews, and was minded to beseige Jerusalem, but the high priest, being instructed upon the king’s advance of his army wore his high priestly garments which were to be worn but once a year, and all of the Israelites pure white robes at the gates of the city. Upon Alexander’s arrival, he commanded his army to halt, and he looked with wonder at the high priest. Parmenion, Alexander’s general being perplexed at this, asked why he adored the high priest so highly, and Joseph recounts the response of Alexander: “I did not adore him, but that God who has honored him with his highpriesthood; for I saw this very person in a dream, in this very habit, when I was at Dion in Macedonia, who… exhorted me to make no delay, but boldly to pass over the sea thither, for that he would conduct my army, and would give me the dominion over the Persians; whence it is that, having seen no other in that habit, and now seeing this person in it, and remembering that vision…I believe that I bring this army under the Divine conduct, and shall therewith conquer Darius, and destroy the power of the Persians, and that all things will succeed according to what is in my own mind.” (Antiquities of the Jews, 11.334-335) Christ was revealed to Alexander in His high priestly garments, and gave the kingdom over to him, as Daniel had said of God, “He removeth kings, and setteth up kings…” (Dan. 2:21).
THE BRUISING LEGS OF IRON
“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.” (Daniel 2:40) The bruising iron power to follow was the Roman Empire, which came into supremacy in the middle of the second century b.c., having made Greece a province under it’s authority. The strongest of the metals depicted in the vision, it was bore rule over all the world. At the time when Christ was to be born, they were the ruling power: “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.” (Luke 2:1)
The iron power of bruising was to fulfill an ancient Messianic prophecy, where Christ would be crucified. As the iron “breaks in pieces and bruises”, so the Messiah’s heel was to be bruised by the serpent through the Jewish nation in league with the Roman governor (Gen. 3:15). He was to be “wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5). It was the Jews, which did not have authority to put any man to death under the heathen dominions, that had to resort to the Roman court before bringing any sentence of death to pass, which pressed for the Roman governor Pontius Pilate to crucify Christ on a roman cross; and when asked by him if they would crucify their king, that they responded, “We have no king but Caesar”. (John 19:15) The Roman power were the worst power to crucify Christians; though the Roman Empire divided, it was still comprised of absolute monarchial kingdoms comprised by the metals; even in the Roman-European phase of monarchial rule, they bruised most decidedly any conscientious followers of Christ and forced into them into submission through the power of government; much like the Jews who resorted to the iron power of Rome to crucify Christ, this work was largely accomplished through the professed Christian priests who demanded the torture and death of all, chiefly Christians, who could not consent to their teachings, practices, or abuses.
THE FEET OF IRON AND CLAY
“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.” (Daniel 2:41) The metals all signified monarchial kingdoms, yet the clay is not a metal. There are three applications which the clay belongs to.
1) The Clay is the kingdoms of men
Adam (whose name means Man when interpretted) was made from the dust of the earth. Elihu knowing this, said “I also am formed out of the clay.” (Job 33:6) Job said “Thou hast made me as the clay.” (Job 10:9) And “O LORD, Thou art our Father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of Thy hand.” (Isaiah 64:8). So the clay are the kingdoms that consist of men, and not kings. These are not absolute monarchial kingdoms, but rather republican form of government. The very word Republic comes from two latin words: “Res” meaning the property, object, or concern, and “Publica”, meaning the people. Therefore the government of clay is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. The power structure is much different in the clay than the metal, and the two are not able unify the distinctive nature of their governments. We are told that the clay is in fact “the posterity of men” “And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the posterity of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.” (v. 43)
2) The Clay depicts prominently the United States of America
The United States is the most significant form of republic the world has ever seen, having no kings, but representatives of the people which are elected by the people of the country to represent them on a temporary set term. It was when the monarchial reign of the Roman/European type of governance began to decline in the 18th century, that the United States arose. It will be foremost among the kingdoms of this earth to complete the image of heathenism by embracing and legislating forced worship in it’s laws under a republican government, having in it “the power of the iron” (v. 41), much like the iron monarchy of Rome/Europe because the people will cast their influence upon the side of completing the great image of this world’s rebellion against the God of heaven.
3) The Clay depicts the churches that seize the power of the state
The third is a secondary application of the clay. The church is repeatedly depicted as the clay, and the God of the Bible as the Potter who forms them by His hand. “And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.” (Jeremiah 18:4-6) The house of Israel is depicting His church. The potter’s clay is miry because it was marred. The church that refuses to submit itself to God through the gospel, by walking in His law, continue in their sins as did the Jews and the European Christian church. These seize the strength of kingly power to force and persecute God’s obedient children. Thus, the church that does not have the power of the Spirit through disobedience, will utilize the power of the state to compel disobedience to God. Man’s hands have formed the church, instead of God’s hands, and have made their kingdom part of this world, and not the world to come; of the kingdom of men and not the Kingdom of God.
THE TOES OF IRON & CLAY
“And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly mighty, and partly weak.” (Daniel 2:42) The toes contain both the republican form of government, which is fragile in it’s structure, and the kingly form of government, which is mighty, but no new kingdoms, but the signal manifestation of the closing of scenes of the supremacy of the kingdoms of sin in the world. These are united in one cause, though they are distinct one from another. Revelation 17 brings this to view depicting ten kings at the end of time: “And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.” (Revelation 17:12-14) These ten kings testify of entirety; these are the nations that have one mind in rebellion against God; and are “united”. These toes depict the work of the United Nations, which Satan moves his people to call “the new world order”. This is the closest Satan is permitted to come to a one world government; never shall the governments of this world blend, or unite into one new exalted system of government for the Scripture says “they shall comingle…but they shall not cleave (unite/become one) with one another…”; but each nation shall consentingly give it’s strength within the United Nations to the purposes of warring against the principles of the government of the King of kings to their own destruction.
THE STONE CUT WITHOUT HANDS
“Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces…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.” (Daniel 2:34, 44)
The stone cut without hands from the mountain is the stone which executes the judgment of the law of God upon sin and rebellion, destroying it forever. Who executes this judgment against the image? Christ declares that the Father “hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.” (John 5:27) He also said “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone…” (John 8:7); Christ, the only man without sin, is the only one who is just to execute judgment against sin. Speaking of Himself as “this Stone”, Christ refers to the king’s dream: “And whosoever shall fall on this Stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” (Matthew 21:44)
“In the days of these kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom…”: We are told that the United Nations will “make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them for He is King of kings, and Lord of lords…”; heretofore, the Kingdom of God has only been spiritually established in the hearts of the people, yet the visible kingdom of Christ is to be established, and divine power shall execute the destruction of the kingdom of sin, bringing this world under the rule of the law of God so often transgressed and disregarded by man. Thus judgment shall come to restore harmony with the unseen kingdom of God. “And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations.” (Isaiah 25:7)
“Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.” (Dan. 2:35) Upon the feet of iron and clay being destroyed at Christ’s return, then a consummate final judgment shall take place, judging all the rebellious nations together. The great mountain that will fill the whole earth is the Kingdom of our God.
“And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 2:2-3)