DREAM, PART 2
O king, were watching; and behold, a great image! This great image, whose
splendor was excellent, stood
before you; and its form was
awesome. This image's head was
of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its
legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. You watched while a
stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and
clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver,
and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer
threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found.
And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole
earth. (Daniel 2:31–35, NKJV)
required by the king, Daniel reveals the dream in question. The dream is
described in the above text. I suggested in the previous chapter that
Nebuchadnezzar probably knew what the dream was. If he had forgotten the dream
he would have been subjected to the chicanery of the Chadleans and at their
mercy for any meaningful interpretation. By requiring them to reveal the dream,
he assured himself that the truth would be brought forward and the real
interpretation given him. Nebuchadnezzar was particularly concerned about the
interpretation because he felt that he was involved in at least part of it. Was
this dream with its destructive ending a picture of his kingdom and was he going
to be destroyed by some other nation”
hearing the dream revealed and explained, Nebuchadnezzar does something quite
unusual for such a powerful king. Verse 46: Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his
face, prostrate before Daniel, and commanded that they should present an
offering and incense to him. While the interpretation of the dream may have
overwhelmed Nebuchadnezzar, his falling on his face before Daniel is a direct
response to the fact that Daniel correctly told him the dream, the thing the
Chaldeans said was impossible for anyone other than a god to do. They had said
in verse 11: There is no other who can tell it to the king except the gods,
whose dwelling is not with flesh. The first thought that flashes through the
king’s mind is that Daniel must be some kind of a god or divine being. Then,
catching himself, he remembers what Daniel had just told him about the “God in
heaven who reveals secrets.” He corrects himself in verse 47: Truly your God is
the God of gods, the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, since you could
reveal this secret. Nebuchadnezzar remained a pagan throughout his life, but his
encounters with Daniel brought about a deep respect for the God of Daniel.
telling the king the dream Daniel immediately interprets it. The king has seen
an image that depicts four kingdoms that will rule over the people of Israel
until the coming of Messiah. Matthew Henry explains:
. . . is a history, but it is the history of a prophecy! To the four monarchies,
and the concerns of Israel in them, and the kingdom of the Messiah, which should
be set up in the world upon the ruins of them. . . . This image represented the
kingdoms of the earth that should successively bear rule among the nations and
have influence on the affairs of the Jewish church. The four monarchies were not
represented by four distinct statues, but by one image, because they were all of
one and the same spirit and genius, and all more or less against the church. It
was the same power, only lodged in four different nations, the two former lying
eastward of Judea, the two latter westward.
first part of this image is a head of gold, which Daniel says is King
Nebuchadnezzar. The second part is the kingdom that will follow
Nebuchadnezzar’s, which is made of silver and consists of the chest and arms
of the image. The third part of the image follows the silver kingdom and is made
of bronze and consists of the belly and thighs. The last part of this image is
the legs and feet, which are made of iron and a mixture of iron and clay. This
kingdom crushes the kingdoms that precede it to the degree that there was
nothing left of them. Finally, an unusual stone strikes the image at its feet
destroying the entire image.
tells Nebuchadnezzar that he is the head of gold. Verses 37–38: You, O king, are
a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength,
and glory; and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field
and the birds of the heaven, He has given them
into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all—you are this head of gold. This head of gold signifies more than just
Nebuchadnezzar. He is called a king of kings, meaning he is a universal monarch,
the highest king on earth at this time ruling over the largest empire on earth
to this time in history. Nebuchadnezzar is identified as the epitome of the
empire, the highest point in its existence with all other before him leading up
to his glory and all that follow him falling away from his magnificence.
head in its entirety represents the Babylonian or Chaldean Empire, which was the
oldest continuously existing ethnic and cultural identity on earth at this time.
What is called Babylon began in the second generation after the Great Flood.
Ham, the son of Noah, was one of the survivors of that Flood. Ham had a son
named Cush who then had a son named Nimrod. Genesis 10:8–10 relates the
history of Nimrod and the founding of his kingdom.
Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty
hunter before the LORD:
wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD.
And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in
the land of Shinar.
identify Nimrod with Sargon I (the Great), a Semetic leader who, in the
Twenty-fourth Century B. C. established his capital, Accad as mentioned in
Genesis, in southern Mesopotamia. He conquered the non-Semetic peoples of Sumer
and extended his rule from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea. Whether
Nimrod and Sargon I are the same person is open to question but the similarities
are compelling. As mentioned in Genesis, Nomrod’s kingdom initially consisted
of four cities in what is called the land of Shinar. Shinar is the area at the
southern end of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers leading to the Persian Gulf. It
is part of the Land Between the Rivers, Mesopotamia, which was the region Noah
and his family occupied after they left the Ark on Mount Ararat. It was in this
land of Shinar where the people built a tower “whose top may reach to
heaven,” a multistoried temple-tower or ziggurat, that they intended to serve
as a one-world church. It is believed that the top reaching to heaven means that
something similar to the signs of the zodiac were to be inscribed on its summit,
which would indicate how quickly earth’s population had apostatized after the
Great Flood. God intervened by confounding all human languages. The city where
this event occurred was Babel (Genesis 11:9), later called Babylon.
eighteen centuries later Nebuchadnezzar is the king of Babylon and presides over
the golden age of the Empire. “For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom,
power, strength, and glory.” God gave Nebuchadnezzar his place of authority in
the Babylonian Empire for a specific purpose.
His ascending to the throne was not happenstance or was it just a normal
succession; it was the design of God to have Nebuchadnezzar there to enact His
judgment against the apostate Israelites.
I will send and take all the families of the north, says the LORD, and Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant, and
will bring them against this land, against its inhabitants, and against these
nations all around, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an
astonishment, a hissing, and perpetual desolations. . . . And
this whole land shall be a desolation and
an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy
years. (Jeremiah 25:9, 11. NKJV)
have made the earth, the man and the beast that are
on the ground, by My great power and by My outstretched arm, and have given it
to whom it seemed proper to Me. And now I have given all these lands into the
hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant; and the beasts of the
field I have also given him to serve him. So all nations shall serve him and his
son and his son's son, until the time of his land comes; and then many nations
and great kings shall make him serve them. (Jeremiah 27:5–7. NKJV)
Prophet Jeremiah and Nebuchadnezzar were contemporary in history. Jeremiah
continuously prophesied to the Israelites that God’s judgment was coming on
them and that it would be in their best interest to submit to the Babylonians
for the punishment God was sending. Their nation was going to be destroyed and
its people sent into exile for seventy years. God calls Nebuchadnezzar His
servant in both of the above texts. God allowed Nebuchadnezzar to be powerful
and successful in his military campaigns. As ruthless as Nebuchadnezzar could
be, once the Israelites were in captivity, God knew that the Israelites could
prosper and learn their lesson under his domination.
writes that “all nations shall serve him and his son and his son’s son,
until the time of his land comes.” The last expression in the statement does
not make sense in common English. It is a literal translation from the Hebrew
and it is treated differently but still somewhat ambiguously in many
translations and version. The God’s Word version (World Publishing Company,
1995) renders the expression “until Babylon is defeated,” which,
unmistakably is the meaning of the expression. From this we are to understand
that the golden head of the image in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream would endure for
just three generations of the remaining kings of Babylon.
known as Nebuchadnezzar II, reigned from 605–562 B.C. and was the son of
Nobopolassar who took control of Babylon from the Assyrians.
the death of Nebuchadnezzar his son, Evil-Morodach, or Amel-Marduk, became king
and reigned from 562–560 B.C. It is has been said of him that his life was so
disgusting and evil that his brother-in-law conspired against him and put him to
the son-in-law of Nebuchadnezzar and the assassin of Evil-Morodach became king
in 560 B.C. and reigned until 556 B. C. He declared war against the Medes in an
effort to expand the Empire but was killed in battle against Darius the Mede.
His action against the Medes set up the circumstance that lead to the ultimate
destruction of the Babylonian Empire.
or Labashi-Marduk, became king upon the death of Neriglissar in 556 B.C. but
reigned only nine months. He was so corrupt that his subjects would not tolerate
him and rose up and put him to death.
became king in 536 B. C. and reigned until the end of the Empire in 539 B. C.
Nabonidus was not popular with the Babylonian priesthood because he worshipped
the moon rather than the sun, which was the national god of the Babylonians. He
spent ten years of his reign outside Babylon at an important trading city in
Arabia by the name of Tayma. He left Babylon in 553 B. C. and left his son,
Belshazzar, as co-regent. Under this arrangement, Nabonidus ruled over the
Empire and Belshazzar was left in the city of Babylon to defend it. Nabonidus
returned to Babylon to lead his army in a campaign against Cyrus the Mede. One
October 10, 539 B. C. Nabonidus surrendered to Cyrus and two days later the
Persian army overthrew the city of Babylon.
number of kings was five and there was one co-regent. The prophesy of Jeremiah
indicated three generations. While there were five kings, these kings existed in
only three generations beginning with Nebuchadnezzar.
began interpreting the dream by explaining the golden head of the image, which
we see was a picture of the Babylonian Empire. Nebuchadnezzar was placed at the
head of this Empire by the God of heaven for the purpose God had for him. He was
the golden ruler of Babylon and after his death the glory of Babylon quickly
diminished until “the time of his land” had come.
Israelites remained in captivity for seventy years, from the time of
Nebuchadnezzar until Babylon was overthrown by the Medes and Persians.
Forty-three years of the captivity was under Nebuchadnezzar and the remainder
under the corrupt and despicable rule of his successor. The godly man Daniel
served all these kings and the co-regent Belshazzar for the full seventy years
of the captivity and continued into the reign of the kings of the next empire.