The Bible reveals how God works in the kingdom of men to bring about his own plan and purpose with the earth. A great illustration of this is found in Daniel 2.
The chapter can be broken down as follows:
•V1-9 Nebuchadnezzars Dream – Interpretation demanded
•V10-16 The destruction of the wise men decreed
•V17-23 The Power of Prayer
•V24-30 Daniel Before the King
•V31-35 The Dream
•V36-45 The Interpretation
•V46-49 Nebuchadnezzar Praises God & Daniel
Nebuchadnezzar’s (king of Babylon) had his dream in approximately 604BC and becomes a blueprint of world history.
“The Prophecies of Daniel are all of them related to one another, as if they were but several parts of one general prophecy, given at several times. The first (Daniel 2) is the easiest to be understood, and every following prophecy adds something new to the former.”
Sir Isaac Newton The Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocolypse 1733
Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, was of an image made up of multiple metals, each represented a different world empire as they were to come and go through world history:
Dan 2:36 This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king.
Dan 2:37 Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.
Dan 2:38 And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold.
Nebuchadnezzar stood as a symbol of Babylon.
He was a competent general, whose military exploits laid the foundation of one of the most magnificent empires the world has known.
The might power of Assyria submitted to him; the smaller nations of the Middle East: Syria, Lebanon, Moab, Ammon & Israel were conquered: the ancient power of Egypt acknowledged his sovereignty.
Nebuchadnezzar rose to power in the year 606BC and Babylonish power came to an end 70 years later in 536BC when Cyrus of Persia conquered the city.
CHEST & ARMS – MEDO-PERSIAN EMPIRE –
Dan 2:39 And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee,
25 years after Nebuchadnezzars death…
Babylon was conquered by the joint armies of Darius of Media & Cyrus of Persia, and world power passed to the joint kingdom of Medo-Persia.
Persia was “inferior” to Babylon in wealth, luxury and magnificence, but not in duration. The empire continued for 203 years until its power was superseded by that of Greece.
It was appropriately identified with silver, as, according to the historian Herodotus, the taxation and tribute was paid to Persian authorities in silver tablets. In the year BC 333, at the Battle of Issus, the power of Persia was broken by Alexander the Great of Greece.
BELLY & THIGHS – GREECIAN EMPIRE
Dan 2:39 ….and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.
In the year 333 BC, Persia gave way to Greece as a world empire. Greece was noted for brass or copper, which featured in the armour of its soldiers, who, in consequence, were called the “brazen-coated Greeks”
Alexander the Great was born in Pella B.C. 356 and succeeded his Father (Philip) in BC 336
Alexander has gone down in history for brilliant Military tactics; he was highly skilful in the art and discipline of war.
In just 12 years, he had overrun nearly all the then known world, from Greece, he moved East taking all of the Middle East, Egypt, Asia Minor right over to India.
His conquests were more rapid and more decisive than had ever before been made.
He very quickly extended his conquests throughout the world, until, as legend his it, “he wept because there were no more worlds to conquer”.
Alexander the Great alluded to else where in the bible
But his triumph was short lived.
He died at the age of 33.
Upon his death, the Grecian Empire declined.
His empire was divided up by his four generals who proceeded to wage war upon each other.
And ultimately they were each in turn conquered by a new power that rose from the west: Rome
Dan 2:40 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.
These words describe the ruthlessness of Rome in its march to world power.
Its legions triumphantly carried the flying eagle (the symbol of Roman power) in all directions. Gaul, Spain, Britain, Europe, Syria, Mesopotamia, Egypt were all conquered in turn.
Rome was never conquered by a foreign power; it deteriorated from within. And this is indicated in the amazing prophecy of Daniel. No longer does he speak of another universal empire taking over; he indicates that there will be four world powers, and then the fourth would be broken up into many parts.
And time has completely vindicated the prophecy.
Roman Empire in the west fell in 476 with the establishment of Germanic kingdoms.
Dan 2:41 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.
Dan 2:42 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.
Dan 2:43 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.
Hordes of barbarians from the east pressed heavily upon the northern borders of the Roman Empire. Some were absorbed therein, others made inroads by force of arms.
Alaric the Goth 395-410 AD
Visigoths 418 – 711 AD
Genseric the Vandal 429 – 477
Attila the Hun 441 – 452
Adoacer the Goth and Ostragoths 476-497 AD
Papacy arose to unite these independent nations by religion and force of arms, so that the Holy Roman Empire was established in the west. Power of the Iron still remained….. has done right up to today, although its power was certainly taken way from what it once was, particularly around the time of Napoleon just after the French revolution.
Holy Roman Empire – Charlemage’s coronation in 800AD until the renunciation of the imperial title in 1806 (Napoleon)
Just as the image had 2 legs, so Europe was divided into East and West:
“Constantine eventually moved his throne eastward to his lavish new capital Constantinople. A sub-emperor remained in Rome for another century or so, but by the power was shifting. It was the Christian church and its Roman bishop, the Pope, that would come to dominate the Western world. And as the Roman Empire sank into ashes, Jesus’s church would preserve a great deal of the splendid legacy of Rome – the language, law, literature, architecture, and engineering – for the rest of history.” National Geographic, July 1997 – The Roman Empire)
“But as, when Rome fell, the Catholic Church survived, and ultimately found itself a new empire of the West, so, when Constantinople fell, the Orthodox Church continued its life, and found for itself a new empire of the East – the empire of Russia… and henceforth the Russian emperors became, in theory and very largely fact, the successors of the old East Roman emperors, the heads of the Orthodox Church, with the mission of vengeance on Islam for the fall of Constantinople.” (Encyclopedia Britanica, 14th Edition, quoted in Milestones 1996)
The Kingdom of God is to succeed human decay, inefficiency and wickedness. It is not to consist of a Church ruling over men’s hearts in the midst of the world’s political organisations. Daniel’s words could hardly be plainer or more literal.
Dan 2:44 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.
Dan 2:45 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.
The stone itself is a recurring figure which is applied to Jesus in the New Testament
Isa 8:14 And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
Isa 28:16 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.
Rom 9:33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
1Pe 2:4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,
1Pe 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
1Pe 2:6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
1Pe 2:7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,
1Pe 2:8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
Jesus is the “Great King” in the new system to be set up when “the God of heaven shall set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed”.
This would then tie in to many of the other Old & New Testament promises regarding the Future Kingdom to come on earth.
Jesus to Return to the earth – Kingdom of God on Earth
First we must establish that Jesus Christ is indeed going to return to the earth.
1.Because the Bible records that angels declared to the Apostles that he would come in the way he went away.
Act 1:11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. If Christ is to come “in like manner as the apostles saw him go”, he will come personally, visibly, and literally, for it was in a literal, personal, visible manner that the disciples saw him ascend.
2.Because it testifies that Jesus himself repeatedly stated when upon earth that though he would have to depart, he would came again.“For the Son of Man shall come in the glory of his Father, with his angels; and then shall he reward every man according to his works” (Matt. 16:27).
Mat 24:37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
Mat 26:64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.
In a parable in which Jesus pictured himself as “a certain nobleman”, Jesus said:“A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return … And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him.” (Luke 19:12-15).
3.Because the Apostles in their speeches & letters proclaimed the fact of his return.
Peter said: “He (God) shall send Jesus Christ, who before was preached unto you: whom the heavens must receive until the times of restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets” (Acts 3:20).
“He shall judge the living and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom” (2 Tim. 4:1).
Do not explain away these statements.
Kingdom of God to be restored
Eze 21:25 And thou, profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end, Eze 21:26 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. Eze 21:27 I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.
Isa 11:4 But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
Isa 11:5 And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.
Isa 11:6 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.
Isa 11:7 And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
Isa 11:8 And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den.
Isa 11:9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
What will the kingdom be like
Isa 2:4 And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
Amo 9:13 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt.
Joe 3:18 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the LORD, and shall water the valley of Shittim.
Isa 35:1 The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.
Isa 35:2 It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God.
Isa 35:3 Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees.
Isa 35:4 Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.
Isa 35:5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
Isa 35:6 Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.
Isa 35:7 And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.
Zec 14:16 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.
Zep 3:9 For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent.
We can be confident the rest of the prophecy will be fulfilled
Nebuchadnezzar was told that the Dream was certain and it’s interpretation sure
Dan 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.”
Just as we’ve seen the prophecy fulfilled up to a point, we can be confident that the remainder of the prophecy will be fulfilled.
Prophecy is the mould into which history has been poured