A study on the book of Daniel.
We will divide the study into two major parts:
Part I: A History of the Times…And the Setup for Coming Attractions:
Part II: Events Prophesied…Prophecies Fulfilled.
… These two parts will be broken down and delved into in detail.
Kingdoms Come… Kingdoms Go …
36 This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king. 37 Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. 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. 39 And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
Marduk, Babylon’s chief god, was also called the “god of gold“-something that surely did not escape the king’s notice.
In fact, the precious metal gold was almost synonymous with the nation of Babylon. There was gold everywhere-in the ornate palaces, the worship places, and the ubiquitous shrines. Even the walls were overlaid wi
th what was then the most precious substance in existence.
Now King Nebuchadnezzar was told that all this gold would one day be swept away by a second kingdom, the kingdom of Medo-Persia.
This later became a historic fact when the two disparate cultures-the Medes and the Persians-united in 550 B.C. under one king to form a great world power.
This was the “silver” part of the statue and a proper representation of the Medo-Persian empire since the Medes and Persians based their partnership on the power of money collected through an elaborate system of taxation. Nebuchadnezzar must have been relieved to hear Daniel prophesy that this “silver” kingdom would be inferior to his own, probably because as a partnership nation,
Medo-Persia did not have the political and military unity of Babylon. But despite this weakness, Medo-Persia would one day break the “head of gold.”
Because God’s Word speaks only the truth, we should not be surprised to note that Daniel’s prophecy became reality when Medo-Persia brought Babylon to its knees in military defeat in 539 B.C.
But what about the third kingdom, the belly and thighs of brass?
The element bronze later became a characterization of the Greek empire, primarily because the Greeks used it extensively as the material for their weapons of war. Daniel foresaw that Greece would one day “bear rule over all the earth” (2:3, 9). History shows that Greece did dominate the world of its day. The kingdom of Alexander the Great encompassed much more of the known world than Babylon or Medo-Persia ever did. Again, a prophecy of Daniel was fulfilled in world history.
The Renewal of the Roman Empire
Imagine how Nebuchadnezzar must have reacted to the news from this young prophet. His was probably a mixture of fear and disbelief. But we must also note that Daniel wasn’t finished yet, and the king did not interrupt Daniel’s interpretation.
After the world-dominating empire of bronze another empire would arise-a fourth kingdom composed of two legs of iron.
This kingdom would be Rome with its “two legs” representing the expansive empires of the Western Roman Empire, headquartered in Rome, and the Eastern Roman Empire, with the cosmopolitan city of Constantinople as its capital.
This empire also would fall.
The great historian Edward Gibbon powerfully describes it in his work entitled The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. However, just before Christ returns, this empire will revive as the iron mixed with clay begins to wiggle in the form of ten toes.
Only God could have given Daniel the wisdom to know what is now becoming reality for us who live in the beginning days of the twenty-first century.
According to Daniel, the final revival of the Roman Empire would be comprised of a confederation of ten nations, which would finally lead to a new world order encompassing the globe .
Why would they come together?
For monetary and military security and strength-something we’re already seeing as the European Union moves ahead with such plans at break-neck speed. Thus, Nebuchadnezzar’s image with ten toes pictured the revival and conclusion of the Roman Empire.
Note: the gradual deterioration of the metals in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream: from gold to silver to bronze to iron to clay, a clear demonstration that as history marches on, men and their cultures become increasingly corrupt.
Tregelles is a scholar who has calle
d attention to the decreasing “specific gravity” of each of these metals: For example, the specific gravity of :
- Gold is 19;
- Silver, 11;
- Brass, 8.5;
- Cast iron, 7.8;
- Iron & Clay, 1.93.
The world in which you and I live-the world of the fourth and revived fifth kingdom as prophesied by Daniel-is going to get worse up to the moment that the great stone breaks the feet of the image. That stone is Jesus Christ, who becomes a mountain and fills the entire earth.
“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
The Ten Toes Begin to Wiggle
The entire end-time message is predicted here in the Book of Daniel thousands of years, in some instances, before the actual historical events occurred-just as Rabbi Shvili in 1935 suggested in his book, Reckonings of Redemption. How could Daniel know this? Because God, historically, has chosen to reveal His secrets through spirit-anointed prophets.
Let’s bring Daniel’s prophecy even closer to home.
There was a long interval between the time when Rome’s power began to wane and fall-around 476 A.D.-and the year 1947 when the “ten toes” ; of the statue began to wiggle.
First of all, Benelux met in that year-Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg- creating the first three members of the confederation.
In 1957, three additional nations met with the countries of Benelux- Italy, France, and Germany-for a total of six, ratified by the Treaty of Rome.
Little by little, in our daily newspapers, we see a revival of the Roman Empire just as Daniel predicted. In 1973, England, Ireland, and Denmark joined the confederation, making it a total of nine members. Then, on New Year’s Day, 1981, Greece became number ten. The time that Daniel prophesied is here. We are living in the latter days, and Jesus is coming soon.
One of the most profound messages of these verses is that you and I don’t have to worry about straightening out our world. We have almighty God, Adonai, who is in charge of the affairs of earth. Jesus is the rock, that stone, on which the true church is built. You’ll remember in Matthew that Jesus asked the apostle Peter, “Whom do men say that I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of God.” And Jesus said, “On this rock I will build my church” (see 16:13-18). Christ was that rock (1 Corinthians 10:4).
Yes, the rock in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream that eventually engulfs the entire world, a rock that will hit the feet, not the head-Babylon; not the chest and arms of silver- the Medes and the Persians; not the stomach and thighs of brass-Greece; not the legs of iron-Rome. They went out of existence.
Instead, the rock strikes that group that revives at the time of the end-the ten toes, the restored Roman Empire.
Thus, on January 1, 1981, when Greece became number ten, pictured by the ten toes on the image, we were given the clearest signal yet that we were headed toward the end times and would soon be ushered into an environment that would be ready for the return of Christ as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
We can therefore reasonably conclude that the dream of Daniel chapter two reveals that the Kingdom of God will soon be established in connection with the second coming of our Savior. Daniel 2:44 states, and I repeat this for the sake of emphasis,
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.“
It’s all starting to happen. Just as the image in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream contained metals that
degraded as they descended from gold to iron and clay, so will the world in which you and I live become increasingly apostate and the more our society at large will be governed by outright militarism as its only vehicle to control the violence that is present and that is yet to come.
What was the actual purpose of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream?
To show God’s sovereign rule over the affairs of men, leading to the future Gentile world domination and its ultimate destruction, to be replaced by a Kingdom and a King who would reign forever on earth (Matthew 6:10).
One of the reasons the Book of Daniel is so important is that it provides us with a complete scenario for the end times. And it all begins to wind down with the current revival of the Roman Empire, which I believe is the present-day European Union. After this episode is completed, there is no more. This will be the last empire, and it will continue into the latter days, with the Antichrist as the primary figure taking over the resurrected Roman Empire (Revelation 17:10). He will be a dictator of world proportions and will rule the world of his day just as King Nebuchadnezzar ruled his world as leader of Babylon.
But for those of us who know the whole story, we need not fear the perilous times yet to come because “the stone [which] was cut out of the mountain without hands” (2:45) is none other than the person of Jesus Christ, God’s anointed, our Savior, the Rock of our salvation. When He returns to gather His own, God will establish His Kingdom which will prevail in our world, and for a thousand years all beings on earth will be tremendously blessed under the personal reign of the Lord Jesus Christ.
46 Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him. 47 The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret. 48 Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon. 49 Then Daniel requested of the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel sat in the gate of the king.
Daniel’s God Is Greatest!
Nebuchadnezzar’s subjects often fell on their faces before their leader, but for the king to subject himself to such a humble posture meant that Daniel had indeed gotten through to him. It also appeared that Nebuchadnezzar may have been making some spiritual progress, revealed by his act of contrition, admitting that Daniel’s God was the greatest god of all. The king made good on his promise that he would reward the wise one who met the demands of speaking and interpreting his dream, and Daniel was subsequently exalted throughout the realm.
But Daniel, always a man of integrity, did not forget his friends, and requested that the king give them key positions as well. His wish was granted. Daniel continued to be a person of great influence in the king’s court by being allowed to sit in the gate of the king-a position of judge, the equivalent of a Supreme Court justice and confidant of the king. Yet Daniel never compromised his standards in that foreign land.
Through it all, Daniel remained faithful to his God, continuing to speak the truth fearlessly, always serving notice to Nebuchadnezzar that God alone, not earthly kings, has the real power. God does not tremble at the sight of monarchs. If anything, He laughs at their rebellion, and in Psalm 2:1-4-a passage that pictures the battle of Armageddon-we read:
1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against theLord, and against his anointed, saying,
3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.
But kings will be kings. Seemingly a victim of short-term memory, Nebuchadnezzar goes on yet another rampage.
During his recurring paranoia he commands that his servants turn up the heat in the palace furnace seven times hotter.
It’s a futile attempt to destroy three Hebrew teenagers-surely one of the most fascinating and familiar stories in all the Bible, and a dramatic preview of the real wrath that is yet to come during the Tribulation hour-another mystery which we will see unsealed.
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE