As the self-appointed pastor of the hamburger stand was losing his voice I was asked to step up and lead the Bible study. My friends and I had been through two years of tedium as the leader of the Monday morning Bible study led us through his convoluted ideas about the Revelation and the Millenial reign; so when I asked them what they would like to have me cover, they strangely jumped at the idea of Daniel’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s statue.
What I am giving you are the notes that I put together in order to lead a Bible study on Daniel chapter 2. I will tell you that we had a great time.
Forgive the artwork but it made the point.
The head of fine gold; the first Kingdom
Daniel 2:38 You O’ King are that head of Gold.
Breast and arms of silver; the second kingdom
Daniel 2:39 After you there will arise another kingdom inferior to you, (Medo-Persian)
Belly and thighs of brass; the third kingdom
Daniel 2:39 and still a third kingdom of bronze [Greece under Alexander the Great] which shall bear rule over all the earth.
Legs of iron; the fourth kingdom
Daniel 2:40 An unnamed kingdom, but becomes more clear when you pursue Daniel chapter 7.
Daniel 7:24-25 KJV And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and, he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. 25) And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.
This descriptive personifies the false prophet. The ten kings and their kingdom comprise the Feet of iron and clay
I use the NASB. If I use another translation I will indicate so.
“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.
Daniel 2:38 AMPC+ “…
You [king of Babylon] are the head of gold.”
The direct inference is to Nebuchadnezzar.
The statue does not represent five kingdoms. I believe that it is apparent that this is not the case because the feet, though mixed, are still an aspect of the legs.
- “After you (Nebuchadnezzar) there will arise another kingdom inferior to you,”
The Amplified Bible was kind enough to define this as the Medo-Persian empire.
- “then another third kingdom of bronze, which will rule over all the earth.”
Again this is spelled out in the Amplified Bible as the Grecian empire under Alexander.
This should evoke some questions.
Who came immediately after Nebuchadnezzar’s reign?
It was not Belshazzar, and he was not Nebuchadnezzar’s his son.
Take the time to read Daniel chapter 4. It speaks of Nebuchadnezzar’s seven-year loss of sanity and restoration. All this was meant to demonstrate that there was none other than God. Restored, It seems Nebuchadnezzar then quietly slips off into death. Chapter five then opens with Belshazzar, whom we assume to be the king’s son, sitting on the throne. Chapter five verses 21-23 speak of God’s admiration of Nebuchadnezzar, and then this, “Yet you, his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, even though you knew all this, but you have exalted yourself against the Lord of heaven;”
Overnight Belshazzar is stripped of power and killed; the kingdom was taken over by Cyrus, the Persian. Alright, let’s get something straight here, there are others involved.
- Armel Marduk, who reigned for 17 years came immediately after Nebuchadnezzar
- Nabonidus Belshazzar reigned for 17 years. The confusion we encounter comes from his reference to Nebuchadnezzar as a father. We come to understand that it was a term of respect for an elder, but Belshazzar was not his son. According to history, we learn that Belshazzar served as co-regent while Nebuchadnezzar was in another palace. By the time Cyrus and his troops were marching into Babylon Belshazzar, fully aware of the ominous news, decided to throw a huge party. And, just to make it over the top, while the party is going on, he orders the golden vessels taken from Israel to be brought in so that he and his guests could drink out of them. This was sure to make him look good.
What then is going on in Daniel 5:30-31 NASB
“That same night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was slain. 31- So Darius the Mede received the kingdom at about the age of sixty-two.”
It appears that God just made an eighteen-year leap in time, with no open explanation.
- Cambyses reigns after Cyrus for 9 years.
Daniel 6:28 is one of the pieces of evidence that ties Daniel to the reigns of Cyrus and Darius. However, it makes no mention of Armel Marduk or Cambyses.
Daniel 6:28 NASB So this Daniel enjoyed success in the reign of Cyrus the Persian and in the reign of Darius the Mede.
For some reason God does not separate Darius and Cyrus, calling them merely Medes and Persians.
(NET) Then there will be a fourth kingdom, one strong like iron. Just like iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything, and as iron breaks in pieces all of these metals, so it will break in pieces and crush the others.
Unfortunately, the Amplified, like many commentators, attributes this to the Roman empire.
Allow me to point out some of the reasons why the fourth empire is not the Roman empire.
“The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom on earth,”
Is there a distinction between the letter “a” and the word “the”? Apparently, for in using an “a” God leaves the room for variability. In this case, four generals who served under Alexander who was eventually reduced to two. How do we know that? Daniel chapter 11, a rather exacting history, spells out how the four will take power and eventually end with the reigns of Seleucid in the North (These were the Assyrian nations, also known as Syria, and included Asia Minor, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and South to the southern borders of what is now Israel) and Ptolemy in South (Egypt and the Northern African Nations.)
These two kingdoms, though Grecian at the core, ruled independently. Cooperation was secured through marriage, espionage, murder, and intrigue; it was a way of life.
Chronologically, this was not the Roman empire.
Bible Timelines indicates the region involved in Nebuchadnezzar’s rule was under the Persian Empire from 550-358BC.
The Grecian Empire lasted, through the Reigns of Seleucid and Pompey until 64BC and 43BC in Egypt.
In order to make this chronological, we have to bypass 28 Kings and 507 years.
Why does God ignore 28 kings? That is unknown to us. The best approach is to understand that God controls the clock and the timing of His prophetic actions.
Let’s pause at Daniel 7:24 for a moment.
‘As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings.
Out of this kingdom (the fourth kingdom)
We make the assumption that the kingdoms will hold to the core, and the scripture does not tell us that.
ten kings will arise
Again, we do not have the timing of when they arise, nor, do we have their “religious” affiliations.
and another will rise after them,
We are given a cryptic clue: “he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings.”
I believe we are seeing the overthrow of the three kings as we speak.
Daniel’s retelling of the dreams meaning does not end here. Look then at Daniel 7:25.
7:25 ‘He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.
Does this sound like anyone we know? The answer should be, yes.
Revelation 13:4-5 NASB they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?” 5- There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him.
Revelation 13:6-7 NASB And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven. 7- It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him.
I desperately wanted to assign this beast to the false prophet, but I am not sure I can or should.
Revelation 13:11-14 NASB 11- Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb and he spoke as a dragon. 12- He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence. And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed. 13- He performs great signs so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men. 14- And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who *had the wound of the sword and has come to life.
If we are trying to make a logical connection to Rome, there is none with one exception Titus, the Emperor who ruled over Jerusalem during its destruction in 70 AD.
The so-called logical path here is Daniel 9:26 which tells us that, “the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.”
Because we attribute the destruction of Jerusalem to Rome, we make the assumption that this future prince is an aspect of Rome.
The problem here is that both Tacitus, the Roman historian, and Josephus, documented that the destruction of the Temple was the act of Assyrian conscript troops, under the Roman flag, who refused to cease from their actions when ordered by Titus. It is also known that Titus was under pressure to keep peace and saw no good coming to his reign because of the actions of the Assyrians.
There is one other reason why our assumptions about Rome are wrong. It is because, we, in the Western church, seem to think that this Bible we are reading is a book in tune with the Western culture. Oh sure, God has seen fit to make it work for all who believe, but never forget that the Bibles we carry are Jewish books, centered around a Jewish Messiah, and are exclusively Middle Eastern-centric. Trying to bend things and events to fit our Western culture will only confuse you more than you are.
which shall be different from all other kingdoms
What was the goal and purpose of all other kingdoms? Divide and conquer. But what did the Roman empire do? Establish a nonreligious legal system; build aqueducts, and promote trade and economy through road building. Not exactly a divide and conquer concept.
Revelation 13:3-4 NASB I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast; 4- they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?”
Note: While describing, almost to the letter, the beast of Revelation, this EMPIRE, sustains a mortal wound. Consider for a moment the allegory we are confronting. There are no beasts anywhere near this description, so the logical assumption should be that we are dealing with an entity or better yet multiple empires. Empires typically have solitary rulers (kings, monarchs, or emperors.) If they were ten in league with one another and one of the heads sustained a mortal wound, would the beast be killed? Not likely, as we would see someone else ready to take their place. Such is the case here. An example of such an event has already happened in the course of history, and it happened to the Ottoman Empire, an Islamic Caliphate, in the 1920’s. The Caliphate was ransacking an area comparable to the Alexandrian Empire, and they seemed to rule the Mediterranean seas.They needed to be quelled and the British Empire effectively did just this by shutting down the Ottoman Empire.
How did the Islamic Empire come back to life? The Muslim Brotherhood never really died and raised its ugly head several times. The ultimate revival came with the Islamic revolution in 1979. In this, the Islamic Caliphate took control over Iran, once again.
and shall devour the whole earth, tread it down, and break it in pieces and crush it.
We like to use terms like, “the known world,” however, there was more to the world than just the Mediterranean, and yet, this was the primary sphere of influence of all these empires we consider. This so-called global concept applies to the Grecian empire, the Seleucid, and Ptolemaic empires as well.
One Empire, (under various names – like Rashidun and Ottoman Caliphates,) attempted to control the entire world extending into the realm of WW1. It took a combined effort, but Britain played a huge role in shutting the Ottoman empire down in 1924.
I found myself asking, why do we have kingdoms?
I suppose a part of the answer lies in public safety, at least that is what they tell you. However, the truth is, those who have obtained power, by whatever means, fight desperately to maintain it, and that requires money and loyalty. Sadly, loyalty must often be bought or created through marriage or a truce. In reality, the desperate methods used to maintain power causes the commoner to suffer. If the Islamic Caliphate is the kingdom in question, do they operate on these terms? The answer is, not necessarily. While the people who are NOT Islamic suffer tremendously, if they pay the Jizya tax, they have a chance to live as others do. Typically, NON-Islamic people are deemed infidels and killed by various means. The preferred method is beheading.
And as for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise; and another shall arise after them, and he shall be different from the former ones, and he shall subdue and put down three kings.
Revelation 13:1 NASB And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore. Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names.
The obvious thing here is, that there were to be ten kings come out of this fourth kingdom. Again, with the Islamic empire, it is more difficult to ascertain a king. It is not, however, difficult to count the Imams; the leaders of the Caliphates. Currently, the President of Turkey, Princip Erdogan, is trying to establish himself as the leader of the final Caliphate.
Here is where the clues get intense and more specific.
And he shall speak words against the Most High [God] and shall wear out the saints of the Most High
These words are almost identical to the descriptions of the Antichrist character we see in the Revelation.
and think to change the time [of sacred feasts and holy days] and the law
Here is where an understanding of Islamic goals comes in handy, for this is exactly what they intend to do. They wish to instill Sharia laws that supersede established law. This gives them the right to behead for blasphemy against Allah, a demonic entity.
Another aspect of this change includes their own calendar. Anything we have will be done away with.
and the saints shall be given into his hand for a time, two times, and half a time [three and one-half years]
This is a specific reference to the martyred of Revelation.
Revelation 13:7 NASB It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him.
But the judgment shall be set [by the court of the Most High], and they shall take away his dominion to consume it [gradually] and to destroy it [suddenly] in the end.
This is another reference to future judgment by Jesus.
Revelation 20:10-11 NASB 10- And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. 11- Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.
I wish it was more explicit but you should get the point.
If you intently study Daniel 2:41-43, you find that the Aramaic word for mixed is ‛araḇ. An Aramaic verb meaning to mix, to mingle, to join together. The implications are widespread, as one can mean unification, while others suggest non-cooperation beyond a point.
“In that you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron,
Anyone, with any experience building, knows this is structurally unsound.
it will be a divided kingdom;
Divided is Aramaic word pelag̱: An Aramaic verb meaning to split,
but it will have in it the toughness of iron,
Toughness is the Aramaic word that also means strength.
inasmuch as you saw the iron mixed with common clay.
Most everyone understands what iron is, a high carbon steel that has strength. However, when applied to people, it can mean inflexible and unyielding.
If this fourth kingdom we are talking about is Islam, the problem is that there are differing sects, none of which get along,. Add to this “mix” God’s declarations concerning Ishmael:
Genesis 16:12 NASB “He will be a wild donkey of a man, His hand will be against everyone, And everyone’s hand will be against him, And he will live to the east of all his brothers.”
“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.
Brittle means fragile. Keep in mind are talking belief systems; ideologies, and people.
The word arab also means intermingled. Intermingled with whom?
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.
As we have already witnessed that a form of Jihad is mass integration and intermingling. Raping the citizens produces children that they claim for their own as a Muslim. In this way, they reproduce rapidly.
As we migrated through the body of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream statue, we end with four kingdoms, and none other is described to us.
The fourth kingdom, however, is different, but it is up to us figure out why.
Without breaking stride, we transition to the fourth kingdom, one that is split into two and progresses down to the feet, which are mixed with clay. This picture tells us that it becomes structurally unsound.
God considers all of those ruling under this empires title to all be aspects of the fourth kingdom. (We see this in Revelation 13, for the fourth, comes out of the ten.) During the days of these kings “the God of Heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed,” What is this? The Millennial reign.
“In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.
Luke 1:31-33 NASB “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. 32- “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; 33- and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”
Revelation 11:15 NASB Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”
Yes, you are right, Daniel does not end there, but foregoing one more verse we are done. If you were like me and read about the statue that Nebuchadnezzar saw, then you were quite probably befuddled about some of the same things I was. An example: where do people get the idea that the fourth empire is the Roman empire, and, what about those feet? Having God lay out the first three empires for us is a good thing, but to be honest, you have to do your homework in order to find out that the fourth, loosely defined empire is the remnants of his Alexandrian Empire.
One more question. Why is any of this important to us?
As my pastor recently said, these end times things you speak of are really peripheral. The implication is that they mean nothing or at best little to our Christian lives. Is that true? The answer is NO, and the reason why, as I see it, is because we are currently living in the last days. Now why would I say such a thing, as clearly, there are events that must take place and haven’t happened yet, such as the apostasy of the church – oops, that has happened; or a ten nation confederation attacking Israel, and quite soon. But staying attune with the global news gives you an understanding of how painfully close we are to seeing Israel attacked. An aspect of the end times, at least more precisely “the great tribulation” is the persecution of those who missed the snatching away of the church and are now having to prove their allegiance to God by giving their lives, primarily to the sword. Again, look around you. Is that happening all around us? The answer is YES.
We are there and He is coming soon to catch away those who are waiting for Him.