A Fresh Look at Daniel - Part 2

Posted in: 2008
By Tom L. Ballinger
May 28, 2008 - 5:09:14 PM


Part II

The Interpretation of the Dream

Daniel was interpreting Nebuchadnezzar’s forgotten dream. He told the king, in Chapter 2, Verses 37- 38, that God will give him a global empire in the “latter days,” and that he will be the first, or mightiest of kings. As a God-Chosen Monarch, he will rule over all of mankind and have dominion over the beasts of the field and the fowls of heaven. “Thou art this head of gold,” Daniel told the king. His rulership is the first of five. Five rulers, in succession, are portrayed by parts of the dream-image-statue and are given dominion over the whole earth. The kingdom, or realm, is constant. Starting with Nebuchadnezzar, there is a succession of kings who rule over the same world-wide kingdom which God originally gives to Nebuchadnezzar.

Daniel continues to interpret Nebuchadnezzar’s dream:

“And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth” (V. 39).

“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 (V. 40).

“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 (V. 41).

“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 (V. 42).

“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 (V. 43).

“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 (V. 44).

“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” (V. 45).

A verse-by-verse explanation follows:

In these verses, we notice that one “kingdom” follows another. The word, “kingdom,” is a figure of speech – a metonymy of subject. Figure by which one name, or noun is used, instead of another, to which it stands in close relation, such as, the grave is put for the dead buried in it, or a table is put for the things on it. The noun, “kingdom,” is put for the “king” who rules the kingdom

V. 39 (a) The second kingdom, or king to arise was represented on the image as “his breast and arms of silver.” Just as silver is inferior to gold, so also, is the second kingdom, or king inferior to the first; his is inferior to Nebuchadnezzar’s rule. Being inferior, perhaps, indicates that it will be less autocratic than the first.

The second kingdom, or king, was not identified. Since its dominion will, also, be global, it cannot be the historic Medo-Persian Empire. God didn’t identify it; why should we? The Medo-Persian Empire, at its greatest extent, included all of the former Babylonian Empire, plus Egypt, and Libya in Africa, all of Asia Minor, part of Thrace, Macedonia, Persia, and present-day Afghanistan. Its rule was not world-wide. It didn’t include India, China, present-day Russia, Italy, or any part of Europe. Most commentaries state that these are separate and distinct kingdoms, as have the aforementioned Mountaineers of years past.

The image was a statue of a man. It was a single entity. Therefore, each king represented is to be a ruler over the world-wide kingdom first given to Nebuchadnezzar by God. God, during the latter days, sets up kings and removes kings (Dan. 2:21). The interpretation of the dream illustrates just that. The realm is not changed, only the ruler.

If each item represented a completely different kingdom, the statue of a man standing upright would be inappropriate. To make them to be different kingdoms, you would have had a lateral display of mounds on the ground – one mound of gold, another of silver, another of brass, another of iron, and etc.

V. 39 (b). The third kingdom (or king) which is of “brass” (the belly and thighs) is inferior to that of the second, as brass is inferior to silver. If Verse 39 is not read, carefully, it would seem that the “silver” kingdom is not world-wide in rule. Notice, “and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.” This means “another” kingdom like the second - shall bear rule over all of the earth. The third kingdom (or king) is inferior to the second – less despotic.

Commentators say the third kingdom is the historical Empire of Greece. Again, we refer the reader to an “Atlas of the Bible” to see how limited these historical empires were. However, the student should look at the historical boundaries of the dominion of Greece and Rome. Our Bible states that these kings “shall bear rule over all the earth.”

V. 40. While it is not said that the fourth kingdom, or king (iron) is inferior to the third kingdom (brass), the pattern set in the interpretation is in a descending order – Gold is superior to Silver, Silver is superior to Brass, so Brass is superior to Iron.

The superior kingdom (government) is that of Nebuchadnezzar – it is golden, but each successive government is inferior to the preceding one. Could that mean they devolve from an absolute Monarchy to that of becoming more democratic? A democratic Monarchy is weaker than an absolute Monarchy. In fact, a democracy is the next thing to anarchy.

The fourth kingdom (or king) is “iron” and, also, has dominion over the whole earth as did the preceding ones. Daniel did not identify it as the Roman Empire, but Bible expositors have done so. Since the Lord did not refer to the fourth kingdom as being the past historic Roman Empire, we will not re-interpret Daniel’s interpretation because his interpretation was “sure.”

Historically, Rome never had dominion over Scotland, Ireland, Scandinavia, Russia, China, India, or anywhere in the Western Hemisphere. Nor, did it rule Australia, Southeast Asia, Japan, the Philippines, or any of the Pacific Island empires.
Iron is very strong, and it can crush and subdue (smash) all things; this Iron King “shall break in pieces and bruise” (V. 40 b.). I’m not sure what this means.

V. 41. Here, Daniel describes the fifth kingdom, even though he does not number it as the fifth, but neither did he number the second kingdom. He simply said, “After thee shall arise another kingdom.” This king is represented by the “feet and toes” of the statue. Toes are not mentioned in Daniel’s account of what Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream. The feet and toes are mixed with potter’s clay and iron. The rule of the fifth king is divided.

V. 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. The division of the fifth king’s rule seems to be portioned out to ten other kings, represented by ten toes. The once mighty, and powerful, and glorious government God, set-up under Nebuchadnezzar, degenerates into miry clay.

V. 43. The ten kings shall be mingled (as iron mixed with clay) with the “seed of men.” This, very well, could mean that fallen angels (agents of Satan), during the “latter days,” have sexual union with human females, as in Genesis Six. During the Kingdom of God (the latter days), Satan is alive and well, even though he lost his dominion of the world’s governments when God took charge. Satan is free to go about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8).

These ten rulers, the toes, are incompatible with one another. They are the last kings to rule the global empire which God establishes and, initially, gives to Nebuchadnezzar. This global empire is a single realm that governs every living human being on the earth during the early part of the “latter days.” The Lord appoints kings and removes them (Daniel 2:21) at His Own will during the time He is manifesting His dominion over the earth. He allows men to exercise rule over the kingdom which He established. Perhaps, many of these kings will have been raised from the dead to assume kingship over this world empire.

The important thing for us to learn, so far, from the king’s forgotten dream and its interpretation is that it all takes place in the future. None of it came to pass, historically. Neither, will it find its fulfillment during this Dispensation of Grace.

None of the kings are identified but Nebuchadnezzar. If “kingdom” is a metonomy of subject for the word, “king”, and I believe it is, then, all of the teaching that the kingdoms of this dream-image-statue have already taken place and bear the names of ancient empires, while not intentional, results in denying what marvelous and glorious things the Lord will accomplish in the “latter days.”

V. 44. “In the days of these kings” ─ the God of heaven sets up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed. This kingdom is for the express purpose of replacing the kings represented by the great image-statue. God will not let other people (as the image kings) rule and have dominion of nations of the world. The God of heaven, as mentioned in Daniel, we know as the Lord Jesus Christ. This Kingdom shall break in “pieces” and “consume” all of the remnants of the previous kings’ rule and authority. This Kingdom of Christ will stand forever.

V.45. The first thing to notice, here, is the stone was “cut out” of a mountain that already existed. In scripture, a mountain is symbolic of a government, or kingdom. This kingdom is, obviously, the Kingdom of God. This dominion actually had its roots during the Book of Acts, or said another way; the seed-bed of the Kingdom of God was present during the “Acts of the Apostles.” It was operational in a limited way, governing the Israel of God and Gentiles associated with the Acts calling. At Acts 28:28, the operational activity of the Kingdom of God was suspended.

The stone broke to pieces and pulverized the image, leaving no trace of them. Then, Daniel concludes by saying, “the great God hath made known to the king (Nebuchadnezzar) what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain (exact) and the interpretation thereof sure (trustworthy).”

Chapter Two concludes with Nebuchadnezzar falling upon his face to worship Daniel. Then, he said to Daniel, “Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing that thou couldest reveal this secret,” (2:47). Then, he made Daniel a great man, giving him gifts, and making him ruler over the whole province of Babylon (2:48).

The stone, at first a relatively small government, is cut out of the mountain which is Christ and His Government of the heavens. After the image-sovereignties are gone, then, it grows into a great universal Monarchy, with Christ as the King, and fills the whole earth. The Kingdom of God begins with the Epiphany of Christ (2 Tim.4:1) and the calling on high of His Ecclesia (the fullness of Him). The Ecclesia will function under the Absolute Monarch, Christ Jesus, in a royal capacity.

It should be observed that the six ruling powers (kings), represented by the dream-image-statue, are to be fulfilled in the future – the latter days. Daniel is not told how long each king reigns: therefore, we don’t know. It would seem to take many years for these events to transpire. David and Solomon reigned forty years, each, over Israel. Maybe, Nebuchadnezzar (the head of gold) will rule over the world for that long. Then, the other kings’ reign will become progressively shorter. That is said, only to point out, that while these Monarchs rule, Christ is converting the scattered Jews. He will place His Government within them (in their hearts) before He places them under His Government in their ancient land. He will assume control and direction over their lives. Then, the Lord will instruct them to go back (see: Ezekiel 20:33-37, Jeremiah 31:31-34, and Ezekiel 34: 11-16).

Then, the “dry-bones” resurrection of Ezekiel Thirty-Seven takes place, as well as, the resurrection of the “Israel of God” (the Acts period believers). David will be raised from the dead and will be Israel’s king (see: Jeremiah 30:9, Ezekiel 34:23-24, 37:24-25). Also, the twelve apostles will be raised.

This is when the kingdom is restored to Israel. The kingdom of Israel grows in dignity, honor, and glory as the Kingdom of God continues filling the whole earth.

All of this and many other concomitant things are accomplished without Jesus Christ leaving the heavens.

Nebuchadnezzar’s forgotten dream foretells what is to transpire in the early days of the Day of Christ.

Personal Comments:

Keep in mind that the “latter days” of Daniel is the Dispensation of the Kingdom of God. This is ushered in at the “Epiphaneia” (the appearing) of Christ (2 Timothy 4:1). The Lord deals, first, with the Gentile nations (Isaiah 42:1-4). He establishes a global empire and selects Nebuchadnezzar to be the king of His world-wide Empire. This doesn’t mean that nations cease to exist. But, the dynasty which the Lord places in the earth has dominion over the nations.

In Acts Seventeen, Paul proclaims, on Mars’ Hill, that God has appointed a day in which He will judge the world (nations) in righteousness by the Man God raised from the dead. In the context of Paul’s proclamation is 17:26, “And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;”

“The bounds of their habitation” means, in plainer words, that God had fixed the boundaries of their habitation. Could this mean that He will reconfigure the nations and set their boundaries in the proper order? Thousands of years of wars and conquests have altered national boundaries to such an extent that we can hardly recognize Old Testament nations, today. He may, well, re-arrange national boundaries and nations we know today which may disappear in the re-alignment.

Tom L. Ballinger