Daniel and possibly his three compatriot Hebrew buddies were standing in front of the King of Babylon. They are about to interpret the dream the king had that bothered him very much…about the future.
The Dream – Daniel 2:31-35
31 Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible.
32 This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass,
33 His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.
34 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.
35 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 threshing floors; 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.
This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king.
Notice that Daniel says WE will tell once again including his three friends. This verse even suggests that they came with Daniel to tell the king of his dream.
The Interpretation – Daniel 2:37-38
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.
As we mentioned earlier, no subsequent king had the absolute power of Nebuchadnezzar. Other empires may have exceeded Nebuchadnezzar’s in physical size, but not in absolute authority.
Nebuchadnezzar’s statue dream is shown pictorially on the following page.
The Babylonian Empire is shown to the left and the conquering Persians to the right (below).
And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.
The detail and accuracy of this prophecy is a thorn in the flesh to critics; for after Babylon (that had much gold), another kingdom did arise, but not with the absolute power of Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar. In 539 B.C. Cyrus of Medo-Persia conquered Babylon (without a battle! – see our coming article on Chapter 5). Cyrus was part Median and part Persian and so united the two factions into the great Medo-Persian Empire. Silver coinage became the currency of the empire. After the Medo-Persian Empire, history confirms that a third kingdom, wielding brass shields and swords, with stunning speed conquered the Persians and went on to take the known world. It is recorded that Alexander at only 30 or so years of age wept because there were no more lands to be conquered. After Alexander’s death around age 32 the Greek Empire was ultimately divided between his four generals, but it never had the same power as it did under Alexander. Eventually the Greek Empire fell to a fourth empire.
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. Now we move onto the ‘iron’ nation that breaks into pieces and subdues all things. Even those with a basic grasp of history will be familiar with the empire that succeeded the Greeks; Rome. Whereas the previous empires took the best of the cultures and nations they were conquering, leaving much intact, Rome did not. The Roman Empire seemed to thrive on what it could destroy. It really did break into pieces and subdue all things. NOTE: Tradition/history has it that when the Romans came to town, they crucified the first 5 or 6 people they encountered. This went a long way toward discouraging ANY rebellion, even if none was in the plans of the conquered villages and cities. Crucifixion was common practice with the Romans.
I personally cannot but wonder if Proverbs 27:17 may have implications during this iron age and the future yet not played out. Proverbs 27:17 reads…
“Iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Did this iron period of Rome in fact sharpen the future Holy Roman Empire; the empire of the antichrist?