Daniel 2: Nebuchadnezzar's dream, Part 3
Mar 31, 2015
In Daniel 2:31-33 the prophet told the king,
31 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. 32 The head of that statue was made of fine gold, its breast and its arms of silver, its belly and its thighs of bronze [nekhash, “copper”] , 33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay.
Take note that there were not four, but five kingdoms that were to arise, each part of this great statue, or image. The fourth and fifth kingdoms were certainly connected by their common “iron” quality, but the “feet” of this image are as distinct from the “legs” as the thighs are from the legs. Whereas the legs are pure iron, the feet are a combination of iron and clay.
These five are listed again in Daniel 2:35 and in verse 45, where the “feet” are described only as “clay,” omitting any mention of “iron.”
Also take note that the specific gravity of the metals decreases from top to bottom, making the statue top heavy.
Gold = 19.32
Silver = 10.49
Copper = 8.93
Iron = 7.85
Clay = 1.9
The decreasing pattern tells us that neither brass nor bronze was meant to describe the third kingdom. Although it was common in those days to mix copper with another metal, this does not factor into the revelation. Copper zinc = brass, and cooper tin = bronze. In those days tin was mined to produce bronze, and hence the NASB renders the term bronze. The KJV translates it as brass, not understanding that zinc was not used in those days.
The specific gravity of bronze is 7.7, and brass is 8.4. The dilemma is that brass would fit between silver (10.49) and iron (7.85), but brass itself was not used in those days. On the other hand, bronze was used, but its specific gravity is only 7.7 and is therefore less than iron at 7.85.
For this reason, lacking any compelling reason to turn copper into an alloy, we should render nekhash as “copper,” whose specific gravity (8.93) fits perfectly within the boundaries of silver (10.49) and iron (7.85).
The Image Crushed by a Stone
Daniel 2:34, 35 continues, showing the fate of this statue,
34 You continued looking until a stone was cut out without hands [“severs itself, that is, not by hands,” CV], and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay, and crushed them. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze [copper], 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 [“a vast mountain range,” CV] and filled the whole earth.
In verse 34 (above), where, for the first time, Daniel speaks of the “stone,” there is a hidden feature which identifies the stone as the Messiah. If we begin with the second letter of the eighteenth word in verse 34, and count every 26th letter thereafter, it spells “Messiah.” This is what is known as Equidistant Letter Spacing (ELS), and various books have been written in recent years about this technique.
Further, an ELS of 7 spells out “the house of David,” which, of course, is the family from whom the Messiah came.
Therefore, hidden in the text itself is the identity of the stone. It is primarily Jesus Christ Himself, and yet also carries the broader application of “the house of David.” In other words, it includes all who are of Christ’s household—that is, His body. These form the sixth kingdom in the king’s dream, the Stone Kingdom, of which Christ is the King and His body rules with Him on His throne.
This stone was not cut from a mountain by human hands, but “severs itself,” as the CV puts it. The statue itself is contrasted to the stone in its origin. The implication is that the statue is man-made and, indeed, it was the statue of a man. The stone, however, has a divine origin and is meant to convey a heavenly origin formed by the Messiah Himself.
The stone then grows until it fills the whole earth as a great mountain range. Mountains are kingdoms in biblical symbolism, as we see in Isaiah 2:3, “the mountain of the Lord.” A mountain range, then, is a Federation of Kingdom Nations, which is to be formed according to Revelation 11:15: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ.”
As we see from history, each of these “metal” kingdoms are reckoned to be part of this statue by virtue of their possession of Jerusalem. The final kingdom, however, with its feet partially of iron and partially of clay, implies a partial control of Jerusalem. The clay kingdom, as the prophet describes in later chapters, was of two natures, having the iron of Rome but also the clay of the scattered tribes of Israel (Jeremiah 18:1-10). There is much more to it than that, of course, but we will study this in greater depth at the proper time.
In the end, the king’s dream in Daniel 2 must be supplemented by Daniel 7 and 8 in order to obtain the most complete picture of prophetic history, because there God gave the prophet himself further insights into the kingdoms of men that were to arise.
Daniel’s Interpretation of the Dream
Daniel 2:36, 37 begins, saying,
36 This was the dream; now we shall tell its interpretation before the king. 37 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; 38 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.
It is most important that we understand that the kingdoms of men received the Divine Mandate from God Himself. They cannot be given credit for gaining power by their own strength. Daniel makes it clear from the outset that King Nebuchadnezzar himself had been authorized by the God of heaven to rule “wherever the sons of men dwell.”
This is consistent with Jeremiah 27:5, 6, where God says,
5 I have made the earth, the men and the beasts which are on the face of the earth by My great power and by My outstretched arm, and I will give it to the one who is pleasing in My sight. 6 And now I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, My servant, and I have given him also the wild animals of the field to serve him.
God’s right to delegate authority was based upon His rights as the Creator of heaven and earth (Genesis 1:1). The Creator owns that which He creates, and this gives Him the rights of ownership, as stated in the law in Leviticus 25:23, where God says, “the land is Mine.” The Dominion Mandate to rule the earth was given to the man in Genesis 1:26, when God delegated His authority (while retaining His sovereignty).
This Dominion Mandate, in later years, had fallen to Judah and specifically to the house of David. But because of the sins of the kings of Judah, God finally stripped them of this authority and gave it to Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon. Both Jeremiah and Daniel recognized this and submitted to Nebuchadnezzar as God’s “servant.”
Jeremiah himself received no revelation about five kingdoms. He was shown only the seventy years of the first kingdom (Jeremiah 25:11, 12). Daniel, however, was shown that Babylon was only the first of five kingdoms that were to arise. In other words, the captivity of Jerusalem would extend far beyond the seventy years of Babylonian rule. When Babylon fell to the Medes and Persians, the Dominion Mandate was to pass to the king of Persia, rather than reverting to the house of David.
From Persia, the Dominion Mandate was to pass to the king of the Grecian Empire, that is, to Alexander the Great and to his successors. From Greece, it would pass to Rome and then to the iron-and-clay kingdom of Papal Rome. This last kingdom is still in existence today.
Yet we find that Christ came long ago in the days of the Roman “legs of iron.” He was the Stone, but even He could not claim the Kingdom until the Dominion Mandate passed to Him. It would not pass to Him until the end of the last kingdom of men had completed the time allotted it to rule the earth.
Hence, in a parable Jesus described this situation perfectly in Luke 19:12,
12 He said therefore, “A certain nobleman went to a distant country to receive a kingdom for himself, and then return.”
Jesus had to ascend to heaven, the “distant country,” until He received the Dominion Mandate. The people of His day were aware of how King Herod the Great had gone to Rome to obtain authorization from the Roman Emperor to receive his kingdom. In a similar manner, Jesus too went to heaven “to receive a kingdom for Himself.” Though He is obviously the rightful Heir to the throne of David, He had to wait until the fifth kingdom of men had run its course.
Meanwhile, however, as believers we may exercise a great deal of spiritual authority, but like Jesus we have been restrained by the times in which we live. Yet I believe we are even now at the end of the final kingdom of iron mixed with clay, and that the Dominion Mandate was transferred to the saints of the Most High on the eighth day of Tabernacles, October 16, 2014. The actual coronation of these “saints” will occur on another eighth day, that of the wave-sheaf offering on April 5, 2015.
This does not mean that all of the problems of the past will be resolved immediately. It simply means that the Dominion Mandate has been stripped from the kingdoms of men and has been given to those whose right it is to hold for the Age to come. The ruling in the divine court has been decreed, and now we are seeing the outworking of that decree. The fall of Mystery Babylon is in progress, and the overcomers are called to prepare their hearts and to learn the laws of God by which they may exercise their callings in accordance with the will of Christ.
This is part 6 of a series titled "Studies in the Book of Daniel." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones