Reflections on the Statute of Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream
Many people today, I fear, are “turned off” from hearing recurrent prophetic voices proclaiming the return of Christ in this generation, the coming 10 Nation Federation, etc. (I am one of those voices I must admit. So is Billy Graham’s ministry, I.H.O.P., the huge “Left Behind” movement and many more…) But I do see where people can get “End Times Overload” and start to tune out these voices.
Yet, the Bible often speaks about the future and gives key insights as to its timing and circumstances. For example, Jeremiah prophesied that Babylon would rule Israel for seventy years (605 BC to 538 BC).
”This whole land will be a desolation and a horror, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years.” (Jeremiah 25: 11)
As Daniel was later meditating (with prayer and fasting) on these exact same verses from Jeremiah, he received the heavenly visitation from Gabriel to explain the future end of “this present age” with the destruction of the Antichrist (Daniel 9). This gives us a graphic example, I believe, to not give in to a lackadaisical, half-hearted approach to prophetic Scriptures.
One image that gets too little play in the understanding of End Time events is Daniel’s statue. Truth be told, one can get more insight and understanding of God’s heart about the Last Days from Daniel 2 than from all the popular movies, books and “Google searches” put together!
“You, O king, were looking and behold, there was a single great statue; that statue, which was large and of extraordinary splendor, was standing in front of you, and its appearance was awesome. The head of that statue was made of fine gold, its breast and its arms of silver, its belly and its thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. You continued looking until a stone was cut out without hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and crushed them. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed all at the same time and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.” (Daniel 2: 31-35)
Let me give you as accurate condensation to the main teaching of this statue as I can:
1. The emphasis in the vision of the statue is on the depreciation (weakening) of the metals of the statue as you descend from the head to the feet!
Head of gold, chest and arms of silver, belly and sides of bronze, legs of iron and finally feet and toes of iron mixed with clay. Even the Olympic medals can serve as a sign of the deterioration of the metals from gold to silver to bronze! As you move down the statue from head to feet the metals became less and less valuable but more and more stronger for destruction.
To support this with the Scriptures we see that Iron is obviously not a precious metal at all but is purely meant for punishment and war: “He will rule the nations with a rod of iron.” Psalm 2:9
There is (almost) universal agreement among Bible commentators that Babylon was the head of Gold; Medo – Persia were the chest and arms of Silver; Greece was the belly and sides of Bronze; and Rome was the legs of Iron. (That Medo-Persia is “silver” and Greece is “bronze” can be implicitly seen later in Daniel 8).
2. Careful attention must be given to the “Prophetic Gap” in the statute as depicted in the future co-mingling of the Iron and Clay.
“In that you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it will be a divided kingdom; but it will have in it the toughness of iron, inasmuch as you saw the iron mixed with common clay. As the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of pottery, so some of the kingdom will be strong and part of it will be brittle. And in that you saw the iron mixed with common clay, they will combine with one another in the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, even as iron does not combine with pottery. (Daniel 2: 41-43)
The “Prophetic Gap” in this statue is between the fall of the Roman Empire/ Iron Legs (476 A.D.) and its resurgence once again “at the end of this age” as the Feet and Toes of Iron mixed with Clay. This has yet to happen as no Empire in this area of the “Prophetic Earth”– those Empires that rule and reign over Jerusalem during her time of punishment — has exemplified these characteristics of Clay and Iron with a 10 Toes (10 Horns) separation into East and West. (For confirmation on this you can read of the 10 Ten Horns of the 4th beast of Daniel 7 and the 10 Crowns from the Beast out of the sea from Revelation 13.)
The key characteristic of the coming Federation of 10 nations is the co-mingling of Iron and Clay from out of the Roman Empire, which stretched at its height from London in the West to Babylon in the East! Since clay as a symbol of government is hard to identify from Daniel alone I offer this quote from Bible expositor A.C. Gaebelein, who in 1922, received from Wheaton College an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree:
“But what does the clay represent? Clay is of the earth. It stands for that which does not belong to the great statue at all, a foreign ingredient brought in… The clay stands for democratic rule, the rule by the people.”
One day there will come from the Prophetic Earth, those nations which encompasses the Mediterranean Sea, a Federation of 10 Nations that are strangely strong and weak at the same time, which will lead to them seek a strong, powerful leader. This 11th horn, a “little one” (Daniel 7:8) will establish himself as their leader and will rule from Babylon will try and gather the nations of the world to destroy Jerusalem (Rev 16).
3. The depreciation of the metal is a prophetic symbolism for depreciation of future Gentile nations and their corresponding type of government.
Babylon is the first kingdom to rule Jerusalem as a foreign invader and was given this position by God – And the Lord delivered… Judah into his [King Nebuchadnezzar’s] hand (Dan 1:2). God is punishing Israel for their disobedience, especially concerning their neglect of the Sabbath Rest for the land. (see 2 Chronicles 36: 20-21)
Babylon and King Nebuchadnezzar, are seen as the brilliant head of fine gold. The Bible record of King Nebuchadnezzar is stunning:
“You, O king, are the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the strength and the glory; and wherever the sons of men dwell, or the beasts of the field, or the birds of the sky, He has given them into your hand and has caused you to rule over them all. You are the head of gold. (Daniel 2: 37-38)
Here is an excerpt from modern times about Nebuchadnezzar, from Dr. Grant Richison, who from 1993 to 1995, was Director of Leadership Ministries for Campus Crusade for Christ (Canada):
”Nebuchadnezzar was the world ruler of his day. None of the rulers that followed him had as much absolute power as Nebuchadnezzar. He was the “king of kings” (Ezek 26:7). God sovereignly gave him this power.”
Medo-Persia, which conquered Babylon in 539 B.C. and lasted longer and was much larger in size than the Babylon Empire, is depicted as “inferior” silver. This inferiority, however, is in government structure which is documented in the story of Daniel in the lion’s den. As you know from your Sunday School days, King Darius was “tricked” into issuing a decree to condemn Daniel because there was no other way to find fault in him by his jealous co-workers! Against his own personal wishes Darius had to throw Daniel in the lion’s den. Fortunately, God delivered Daniel from the King Darius’ foolish decree and those men (and their families!) who tricked the King ended up themselves in the belly of a lion!
The Persia Empire was later crushed by the mighty hand of Alexander in 331 B.C. Alexander’s Empire is seen as the much inferior metal, bronze. After Alexander’s sudden death in Babylon, the Greek Empire was divided not by the nobility of birth (which can still be directed by God!) but by the ignoble means of pure physical strength of arms! In God’s eyes this was a big depreciation from gold and silver!
Four Military Generals divided up the Empire Alexander had carved out of the known world at that time. They continually fought against one another as was prophesied in Daniel 11. Roman Emperors come next upon the world scene and defeat Greece in 168 B.C. and reign for 500 years over an Empire that was a combination of “successive kingdoms” ranging back to King Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon.
Keep reading Daniel:
It is impossible to overestimate the importance of the book of Daniel. It is the key to all prophecy; without a knowledge of the great prophecies contained in this book the entire prophetic portion of the word of God must remain a sealed book. One of the reasons why so few Christians have a correct knowledge of the prophetic forecast in the Bible is the neglect of the book of Daniel. The great prophetic portions of the New Testament, the Olivet discourse of our Lord (Matthew 24 and 25), and above all the great New Testament book of prophecy, the book of Revelation, can only be understood through the prophecies of Daniel. (A.C. Gaebelein)
Yours for the Coming King,