Daniel's interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream (Dan. 2:24-45).
Daniel's prophecies concerning Nebuchadnezzar's dream seem to be partially reiterated later when he analyzes his own dream in chapter 7 (i.e., Dan. 7:1-8). Both apply specifically to the end of the world. But because they apply to two different dreams by two different people, they must be considered in separate contexts. Examining those differences, one is listed below and the other, specific to chapter 7, the 'four empires of Persia',.I have outlined in the book "The Last Days of Babylon".
Nebuchadnezzar's dream, specific to a statue with two clay feet, is portrayed in terms of four of the seven "heads" later described in the Book of Revelation that relate to generic Babylon. They are the four involved in the House of Israel's deportation to Babylon, two of which reigned during the Jewish deportation at the time of Zedekiah, and the other two, during the Christian/Jewish Diaspora following the crucifixion of Christ. Nebuchadnezzar's dream centers around a vision of the statue of the Beast, the descriptions, character and identity of which superabound in the pages of the Book of Revelation.
Nebuchadnezzar was startled awake after dreaming of a great golden statue "of extreme brightness". Scripture describes it as "terrible to see. The head of this statue was of fine gold, its chest and arms were of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet part iron, part earthenware." (Dan.2:32-33).
While Nebuchadnezzar was gazing at it, "a stone broke away, untouched by any hand, and struck the statue, struck it's feet of iron and earthenware and shattered them. And then, iron and earthenware, bronze, silver, gold all broke into small pieces as fine as chaff on the threshing floor in summer. The wind blew them away, leaving not a trace behind. And the stone that had struck the statue grew into a great mountain, filling the whole earth." (Dan.2:34-35).
Interpreting this dream for the king, Daniel describes Nebuchadnezzar as the golden head. The arms of silver he describes as a lessor kingdom; the third is a kingdom of Bronze and the fourth is a kingdom of iron destined to shatter all the others (Dan.2:37-40).
The Apostle's would certainly have seen this vision in terms of the Roman empire. Nebuchadnezzar and his kingdom of Babylon would be the first kingdom. Second would probably be Persia, Greece the third and Rome the kingdom of iron destined to shatter the others.
In the prophecy Daniel explains that this last kingdom, the kingdom of iron, (Rome) will be split in two.
"The feet you saw, part earthenware, part iron, are a kingdom which will be split in two, but which will retain something of the strength of iron..." Dan. 2:41).
That split accounts for the two legs and clay feet of the statue. This split refers to the impact of Christianity on Babylon. The first foot smashed represents the fatal wound inflicted on the Roman empire by the word of Christ.
"Just as you saw the iron and the clay of the earthenware mixed together...the kingdom will be partly strong and partly weak. And just as you saw the iron and the clay mixed together...so the two will be mixed together in the seed of man, but they will not hold together..." (Dan. 2:42-43).
"In the time of these kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destoyed, and this kingdom will not pass into the hands of another race: it will shatter and absorb all the previous kingdoms, and itself last forever..." (Dan 2:44).
Jesus said the fatal wound (to the first foot) is destined to briefly heal in the last days. That healing produces the second clay foot. That second foot of iron and clay is the new Rome, an empire coming to birth right now in the Parthian east.
But it, too, will suffer the same fate as the first leg. Both feet of this statue, being earthenware and iron mixed (they don't mix, of course) are fragile and when struck, the whole statue will collapse in ruin. As Nebuchaddnezzar saw, the rock that hits the statue and breaks it is untouched by human hands. It comes from God. It is the Rock of Christ, i.e., it is the Rock for which Peter received his name.
The mountain formed from the stone that struck those two clay feet is Christianity, the kingdom of God which will replace Babylon and last forever.
Concerning this and all the other Old Testament prophecies, Peter wrote: "Through events of their own time, the prophets were inspired by the Holy Spirit to write down their visions, but the words they used were symbols for another time and even though they spoke them and wrote them down, the prophets did not know what their own words meant. That is because their words were meant for us and not for themselves." (1 Peter 1:10-12).
As always, these prophecies are veiled in metaphor their true meaning hidden in a spiritual language structured in the design of God. For now, we must be content to estimate their meanings, but as the end draws near, each passing day brings us closer to the true realities hidden in scripture's words.
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