An Indestructible Kingdom (Daniel 2:31-45)
King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had a dream and it troubled him greatly. None of his wise men or astrologers could tell the king what he had dreamed and were making excuses to the king for their inability to interpret it. (Daniel 2:5-11) King Nebuchadnezzar was so enraged by this that he ordered all of the wise men in his kingdom to be put to death. (Daniel 2:12-13) This of course included Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. These four Israelite men had been brought from Israel back to Babylon with other Israelites because they, along with members of the royal family and nobility were not only handsome and without physical defects, but had shown an aptitude for every kind of learning, being well informed, quick to understand and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. (Daniel 2:3-4)
Now Daniel was well known for receiving and understanding dreams and visions of all kinds. (Daniel 1:17) When Daniel and his companions heard about the king’s decree to execute all of the wise men of Babylon, Daniel approached Arioch the commander of the king’s guard who had been given the commission to kill the wise men. With God’s wisdom in his heart and mind Daniel, stepping out by faith, was given the ability to speak with the commander and asked him to give him time in order that he might interpret the king’s dream. (Daniel 2:14-16)
Daniel went to his house and explained the situation to his three companions urging them to plead for mercy from the Lord in heaven concerning this mystery so that the executions might be stopped. (Daniel 2:17-19) During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. This resulted in all of them praising and worshipping the Lord for making known to Daniel the king’s dream. (Daniel 2:19-23) After this Daniel went to Arioch and told him not to go ahead with the executions because God had revealed to Daniel the dream and its meaning. He then told Arioch to take him to the king. (Daniel 2:24)
When Daniel and Arioch stood before King Nebuchadnezzar, Arioch introduced Daniel to the King and told him he had found a man among the Jewish exiles capable of explaining the dream and its interpretation. (Daniel 2:25) When king Nebuchadnezzar asked Daniel if he was able to tell him the dream and interpret it Daniel took the opportunity to tell the king about the Lord God of heaven who reveals mysteries. Daniel was quick to give the Lord all the credit and went on to point out the fact that the dream related to the future. (Daniel 2:26-30)
This would be the pattern of the other dreams and visions Daniel was to receive in the years to come while in the royal court. Daniel’s ministry would continue into the Persian kingdom. Now with these things in view let’s now look at the dream and its interpretation because it relates to past history but has a future prophetic application to the last days as we see in all of Daniel’s visions and dreams he had as recorded in the Book of Daniel. Now let’s look at the dream and its interpretation.
The King’s Dream (Verses: 31-35)
(Vs.31) “You, O king, were looking and behold, there was a single great statue; that statue, which was large and of extraordinary splendour, was standing in front of you, and its appearance was awesome.”
While we are not told what it looked like it would be most likely that the statue resembled a Babylonian king. Later we see Nebuchadnezzar making a statue of gold resembling his likeness and image and commanding men throughout his empire to bow down and worship the statue created in his own likeness. This of course teaches us about what the future Antichrist will do when people in his empire will be forced to worship the image of his beast empire and in worshipping the image they will in fact be worshipping him as God. (Daniel Chapter 3) After Nebuchadnezzar had built the golden image of himself God would humble this Babylonian king and after seven years of living in the wilds bring him to a place where he would acknowledge God’s sovereignty over all earthly kings and kingdoms. (Daniel Chapter 4)
Prophetically the Antichrist, after his short lived reign on the earth, will be captured alive, humbled and along with the false prophet be cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 19:20) And so in this first dream King Nebuchadnezzar has of the statue he sees four future successive kingdoms in history which resurface again in Daniel Chapter Seven.
(Vs.32-33) “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.”
These kingdoms historically were Babylon (Gold), Persia (the breast and arms of silver), The Greco-Roman Empire (the thighs of Bronze) and the fourth the Empire of Islam (not specifically named). This fourth empire would be ensconced within all nations but not be able to assimilate with any other culture. Hence you have the iron and the clay which would not adhere to each other. It would be a divided kingdom.
(Vs.34 -35) “You continued looking until * a stone was cut out without hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and crushed them. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, 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 and filled the whole earth.”
The stone cut out without hands represented the Kingdom of God, a kingdom not established by human agency but one established by God that would ultimately destroy all other earthly kingdoms set up by man and arrayed against God. Prophetically this pointed to the first and second coming of the Messiah our Lord Jesus. Notice that these kingdoms were all crushed together at the same time. The end-time kingdom of the Antichrist will be a combination of all of these empires yet be different from all others previous to it. (Daniel 7: 7, 24)
The Interpretation: (Verses 36-43)
1. The Empire of Babylon: (Verses 36-38)
(Vs.36-38) “This was the dream; now we will tell its interpretation before the king. “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; 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 clear that the head of gold was the Babylonian empire. This is corroborated in Daniel chapter seven where Babylon is depicted as a lion. (Daniel 7:4) The same lion also appears in the Book of Revelation and points back to the original Babylon established by Nimrod in the Book of Genesis. Prophetically Nimrod and Nebuchadnezzar are types of the Antichrist to come whose empire will have its roots in the Babylon of Nimrod. The Antichrist will have all the combined powers of Persia, Greece, Rome and Islam and be supernaturally empowered by Satan himself. (Revelation 13:2)
In Revelation chapter thirteen these beast empires are put into reverse order. You have the Islamic Empire of the Antichrist coming up out of the sea of the nations. Then you have the Leopard being the Greco-Roman Empire followed by the Bear being the Persian Empire and then you have the lion last representing Babylon. This Babylon is not only that of Nebuchadnezzar but goes all the way back to the Babylon of Nimrod, the source of all false religion with Nimrod being the first major type of the Antichrist in the Bible. In the Bible all the kings of Babylon like all the kings of Assyria are types of foreshadows of the Antichrist and his beast empire. So then Daniel tells Nebuchadnezzar that the head of gold on the statue represents his Babylonian Empire. Now let’s continue…
2. The empires of Medio-Persia and the Greco-Roman Empire: (Verse 39)
(Vs.39) “After you there will arise another kingdom inferior to you, then another third kingdom of bronze, which will rule over all the earth.”
These two empires are also depicted as beasts in Daniel Chapter 7 where you have the Bear representing the empire of the Medes and Persians and the leopard representing the Greco-Roman empires combined. However it is the fourth beast empire in Daniel Chapter 7 that grabs Daniel’s attention. This fourth empire would be a divided empire; hence we see it represented by the two legs of iron. Now let’s look at this…
3. The Empire of Islam: (Verses 40-43)
(Vs.40-43) “Then there will be a fourth kingdom as strong as iron; inasmuch as iron crushes and shatters all things, so, like iron that breaks in pieces, it will crush and break all these in pieces. In that you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it will be a divided kingdom; but it will have in it the toughness of iron, inasmuch as you saw the iron mixed with common clay. 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. 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 (clay).”
Now we are told that this fourth empire is as strong as iron and crushes and shatters all things, so, like iron that breaks in pieces, it will crush and break all these other kingdoms in pieces. In Daniel chapter seven we are told that this fourth empire will be terrifying and frightening and very powerful with large iron teeth. It will crush and devour its victims and trample underfoot whatever was left. It will be different from all of the former empires and it will have ten horns or a confederation of ten nations allied to it. (Daniel 7:7) (Revelation 13:1, 12-13) The ten kings are represented by the ten toes on the statue Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream. It is the same empire. It will be a divided kingdom and have within it divisions yet will remain as one empire. This empire will be ensconced within nations and conquer them not only by the sword but also through intermarriage and migration. “It will combine with one other in the seed of men.”
Now many believe this fourth kingdom or empire is Rome but history proves otherwise. When you look at the Ancient Roman Empire it was able to absorb and blend in with the customs and religions of the empires that preceded it. Rome learnt many of its battle tactics from the empire of Greece and also absorbed into their religious life the gods of Greece but changed their names. The lifestyle, the culture and the form of government was also taken from the Greek empire. This is why Rome was also known as the Greco-Roman empire or known in wider historical circles as the Greco-Roman world.
While Rome did crush and devour its victims, like an iron anvil as it were, they were able to a great degree adopt and take on board much of the culture and ideology and religious beliefs of the nations they had conquered. In fact when you consider the thighs and loins of bronze on the statue it relates to the reproductive organs. Greece in many aspects gave birth to Rome, hence we see the term the Greco-Roman world.
Now we know concerning Nebuchadnezzar’s statue that this fourth empire was a divided one seeing that there were two legs of iron and it is assumed by most prophecy teachers that this represented Rome which did become a divided kingdom. But having said this, from its beginnings Rome was not a divided kingdom. Rome officially became an empire in 32 AD under the Roman Emperor Augustus who had himself deified in Pergamum in modern day Turkey.
The Apostle John tells us that Pergamum was where Satan has his throne and the city where he lives. (Revelation 2:13a) At the time of John in Pergamum you had the huge Pergamum altar to Zeus and it was a centre of occult worship. It seems the Antichrist then will come from Turkey. It will be Turkey that will lead the future invasion of Israel. (Ezekiel 38:1-6)
It was not until 285 AD when Rome split. At that time the Roman Emperor Diocletian decided that the Roman Empire was too big to manage. He divided the Empire into two parts, the Eastern Roman Empire and the Western Roman Empire. Over the next hundred years or so, Rome would be reunited, split into three parts, and split in two again. In 324 AD however, the ancient city of Byzantium was made the new capital of the Roman Empire by Emperor Constantine the Great, after whom it was renamed, and dedicated on 11 May 330. Byzantium was located in Turkey and today it is the city of Istanbul.
In 476 C.E. Romulus, the last of the Roman emperors in the west, was overthrown by the Germanic leader Odoacer, who became the first Barbarian to rule in Rome. The order that the Roman Empire had brought to Western Europe for 1000 years was no more. However, the Middle-eastern leg of the Roman Empire continued until 1453 AD, when Mehmed II the Conqueror who led the Ottoman Turks in seizing the ancient city of Constantinople, the Byzantine Empire’s capital consequently bringing to an end the 1,000-year reign of the Byzantine Empire itself. Sultan Mehmed renamed the city Istanbul and made it the new capital of the Ottoman Empire.
So historically the Greco-Roman Empire fell to the Islamic Turkish Ottoman Empire, represented by the two legs and the feet and toes of the statue. This fourth empire Daniel saw in the two legs of iron was the same beast empire Daniel saw in his vision of the fourth beast empire in Daniel chapter seven.
Now some would say that the two legs of iron was a divided Rome but Rome was not divided from its inception. However Islam was divided into two distinct kingdoms virtually from its inception. From the time of Mohammad’s death Islam became a divided kingdom. The schism between the two sects began after the death of Muhammad in 632 A.D., at which point a dispute over the identity of Muhammad’s religious successor caused the followers of Islam to divide into Sunnis and Shiites, a divide still existing today in Islam. As for the Turkish Ottoman Empire it lasted 600 years and came to an end with the dissolution of the caliphate after Turkey had been defeated in WW1 by the British and its allies. Historically though it was the Turkish Ottoman Empire that toppled Rome.
Historically the two legs on Nebuchadnezzar’s statue were not a divided Rome but a divided Islamic empire. The feet and the ten toes related to the future which would see the formation of a ten nation Islamic confederacy that would co-rule with the Islamic beast empire at the end of this age. (Daniel 7:7) (Revelation 13:1, 12-13) Today we see the Islamic world uniting but still divided because there is no one to lead them.
However, we see Turkey rising today and its President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan seeking to resurrect the Turkish Ottoman Empire and unify the Islamic world. Already he is championing himself as the new leader of the Islamic world and in line to be the first caliph of a resurrected Turkish Ottoman Empire.
Just as iron and clay cannot stick to each other when you consider the nature and character of Islam it cannot assimilate or absorb any other culture but destroys and tramples under every other religion and culture. Daniel’s description of the nature of the fourth empire does not describe Rome which could and did assimilate with the culture of Greece. Even related to the religion of Rome their two main gods were embraced from the Greeks and were the same two main gods of Greece but renamed. These two ‘gods’ were in every ancient empire going all the way back to the empire of Nimrod and his wife Semiramis. According to the historian Eusebius, Semiramis was the wife of Nimrod.
Today we see the crescent moon and star of Islam. The crescent moon represents the male Arabic moon-god of war and the star the female goddess. Islam also has the symbol of two crossed swords pointing upwards signifying conquest by the sword. The images of the crescent moon and the star have their source in Nimrod and Semiramis that ruled over Ancient Babylon and Assyria. (Genesis 10:10-11) The Tower of babel was a Ziggurat and the centre of occult worship in Nimrod’s kingdom.
This fourth empire Daniel describes was different from its predecessors because it destroyed and trampled underfoot everything that did not agree with its ideology and form of government. This is Islam today. It is still partly strong yet partly brittle but when the Antichrist arises he will unite them under his war banner. In light of the Middle-east Turkey is the rising star in the Islamic world. This final beast empire with its confederation of ten Islamic nations will be the second beast empire in Revelation chapter thirteen. It will be the resurrection of the first beast empire.
Both the first and the second beast of Revelation chapter thirteen are the one and the same empire of Islam that received a seeming death wound after WW1 but is resurrected again as we see today around the world. Islam is active in virtually every nation today and it cannot assimilate having its own ideology, religion, socio-economic system, a form of government and a military force that will bow to no one.
So then Islam destroys crushes, devours and tramples under foot everything and everyone that will not embrace it. All of the past power and military prowess of Babylon, Persia and the Greco-Roman world will be fully combined and manifested in the Beast kingdom of the Antichrist. His empire will be one that will seek to oppose God and his people both Jews and Christians and he will be successful for three and a half years but his kingdom will be smashed to pieces by the Second Coming of the Messiah our Lord Jesus when He comes back to inaugurate His Messianic Millennial kingdom on earth. This will happen in the days of this last Islamic beast empire with its confederation of ten nations.
4. The Divine Indestructible Kingdom (Verses 44-45)
(Vs.44-45) “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. Inasmuch as you saw that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold, the great God has made known to the king what will take place in the future; so the dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy.”
When the Lord Jesus came the first time He brought about the establishment of God’s kingdom on earth and those who believed in Him had the kingdom of God with them in the person of the Lord Jesus Himself, the ruler of God’s invisible unseen spiritual kingdom on earth. We read about this in the Book of Luke. “Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.” (Luke 17:20-21) It was a spiritual unseen kingdom and not a physical one. At His trial before Pilate the Lord Jesus said that His kingdom was not of this world. (John 18:36)
Through the atoning work of His shed blood the Lord Jesus produced the death blow to Satan and his kingdom at work in the unseen spiritual realm that had been firmly entrenched in the hearts and minds of unsaved men and women. We are told that the reason the Son of God was revealed was that He might destroy the works of the devil being all sin and rebellion. (Genesis 3:15) (1 John 3:8)
So then in his first coming the Lord Jesus established His kingdom on earth in the hearts of men and women, boys and girls who believed in Him. When He comes back the second time it will be to establish His earthly Messianic Kingdom for all to see. It will devour and smash all existing earthly kingdoms and empires and after this there will be only one global government with its headquarters at Jerusalem. There on Mount Zion the Lord Jesus the Messiah will be worshipped by the surviving nations and His law will be the only law. The government will be on His shoulders and his saints will co-rule with Him. (Isaiah 9:6)
As the prophet Micah writes; “In the last days the mountain of the house of the LORD will be established as the chief of the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and the peoples will stream to it. And many nations will come and say: “Come; let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us His ways, so that we may walk in His paths.” For the law (Torah) will go forth from Zion and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. Then He will judge between many peoples and arbitrate for strong nations far and wide.” (Micah 4:1-3a)
God’s kingdom is an indestructible kingdom that will endure forever eons after the empires or kingdoms of this world have ceased to exist. The Lord Jesus Himself we are told He has the power of an indestructible life. (Hebrews 7:16) Not only is His life indestructible but so is His kingdom established on earth and more so in the hearts of His faithful followers. As believers in the Lord Jesus the Messiah we have the very same indestructible eternally enduring life of the Lord Jesus Himself living and actively at work in our hearts and minds. Through obedience to His Word as we are empowered by the Holy Spirit we have become partakers of his divine nature. (1 Peter 1:4)
So then the huge rock or boulder that smashes the statue is the Messianic Kingdom of God being established on earth when the Lord Jesus comes back that will demolish all earthly kingdoms arrayed against God. When the dust of battle has finally settled the last man standing will be the Lord Jesus and with Him will be His followers, who, together with Him, will co-reign over the surviving nations of the world. (Revelation 2:26-27) We are told in the prophet Isaiah that He will reign on Mt Zion in the City of David and in Jerusalem and that His reign will be a glorious one indeed! (Isaiah 24:23) In that day the whole earth will have become an indestructible kingdom!