31 “You, O king, were looking, and behold, [there was] a single great statue; this image, which was large and of unsurpassed splendor, stood before you, and its appearance was awesome and terrifying.32 As for this [a]statue, its head was made of fine gold, its breast and its arms of silver, its belly and its thighs of bronze,33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay [pottery].34 As you were looking, a [b]stone was cut out without [human] hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and crushed them.35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together and became like the chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them could be found. And the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.
The Interpretation—Babylon the First Kingdom
36 “This was the dream; now we will tell the king its interpretation.37 You, O king, are the king of [earthly] 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, and the beasts of the field, and the birds of the heavens, He has given them into your hand and has made you ruler over them all. You [king of Babylon] are the head of gold.
Medo-Persia and Greece
39 After you will arise another kingdom (Medo-Persia) inferior to you, and then a third kingdom of bronze (Greece under Alexander the Great), which will rule over all the earth.
40 Then a fourth kingdom (Rome) will be strong as iron, for iron breaks to pieces and shatters all things; and like iron which crushes things in pieces, it will break and crush all these [others].41 And as you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it will be a divided kingdom; but there will be in it some of the durability and strength of iron, just as you saw the iron mixed with common clay.42 As the [ten] toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so some of the kingdom will be strong, and another part of it will be brittle.43 And as you saw the iron mixed with common clay, so they will combine with one another in the seed of men; but they will not merge [for such diverse things or ideologies cannot unite], even as iron does not mix with clay.
The Divine Kingdom
44 In the days of those [final ten] kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will its sovereignty be left for another people; but it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it will stand forever.
Daniel 2:32Daniel’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream outlines the further history of Gentile world power. The four metals of which the statue was made represented four successive empires, each with the power to rule the inhabited earth—though each stopped short of that. They were: (1) Babylon (Jer 51:7); (2) Medo-Persia; (3) Greece under Alexander; and (4) Rome. The latter power was divided first into the two legs, corresponding to the eastern and western Roman Empires, and then (after a very long time apparently) into the ten toes, a confederacy made up largely of European nations (7:24-27).
Daniel 2:34The eternal kingdom of God, the Messianic kingdom, will extend over all the earth, and those who reject Jesus, the Messiah, the Stone, will be crushed. See also Ps 118:22, 23; Is 8:14; Matt 21:44; Luke 20:18; 1 Pet 2:4-8.
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