Daniel 2

Interestingly, Chapter One, plus the first three verses of this chapter were written in Hebrew. From Verse Four of this chapter to the end of Chapter Seven is in Aramaic. Chapters Eight to Twelve were written in Hebrew. Note also that Chapters Seven (in Aramaic) and Eight (in Hebrew) were written in “the first” and “third” years of Belshazzar long before the events of the fifth (Aramaic) chapter took place. Also, Chapter Nine (in Hebrew) was written about the same time as the (Aramaic) sixth chapter was written.

Perhaps, since Chapters One, and Eight through Twelve were written in Hebrew, they were intended specifically for Hebrew readers during and after the time of Nebuchadnezzar, as well as the time of Cyrus. Since Chapters Two through Seven are in Aramaic, they (because of the unfavorable references to the Babylonian kings Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar) could have been intended for the Babylonian readers during the time of Darius and Cyrus. But that might not be correct because king Nebuchadnezzar himself probably authored some, if not all, of Chapter Four, and, as the Commentary notes: “When, at the end of his life, Daniel collected all his writings into one book, he may not have deemed it necessary to translate certain parts in order to unify the book linguistically, knowing that most of his readers were bilingual . . .” [1]

Verse 1: And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him.

While Nebuchadnezzar was troubled by a dream, many of us are troubled by this “second year” in his “reign” because he did not conduct the examination of Daniel and his companions until “three years” had elapsed (Daniel 1:5). Thus, the question arises: “did the crises depicted in Chapter 2 transpire while Daniel and his companions were still students?”

If we were to accept the usual method of dating, we would be compelled to conclude just that. However, we should remember that the reign of a king, back in those days, was calculated on the basis of the first full year of his reign. If his reign began any time after the new year’s first day, that year did not count. Since Nebuchadnezzar’s father died in the latter part of 605 B.C. on August 15 [2], his “first year” did not officially begin until the following year. While the record states “the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar” (by ancient dating), it was really his “third year” by ours. That should clear the air for us, and we can get down to what was troubling the king. It was a dream that bothered him to the point of insomnia. We have no way of knowing how many months or weeks after Daniel completed his training that this account begins, but it was not long. “Soon after Daniel and his companions entered the service of the king of Babylon . . . Nebuchadnezzar had a remarkable dream, by which ‘his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him.'” [3]

This verse says he “dreamed dreams,” with the plural form repeated in the next verse, while a singular “dream” is depicted thirteen times in Verses 3-7, 9, 26, 28, 36 & 45. Even though it could denote the fact that he had many other dreams throughout his life that “troubled” him, it seems possible that this particular dream was repeated more than once, possibly multiple times.

King Pharoah of Egypt had a similar experience, as related in Genesis 41, when he dreamed two dreams that “troubled” him. They were about seven fat cows being eaten by seven lean, then seven full ears of corn being eaten by seven thin. Joseph explained that “The dream[s] of Pharoah is one: God hath shewed Pharoah what he is about to do” (Genesis 41:25).

The same experience came to Peter when a vision came to him of “a great sheet . . . wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts . . .. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat . . . This was done thrice . . .” (Acts 10:3-16). Therefore, repetition is strong evidence of its divine source.

Verse 2: Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to shew the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king.

Who knows? It could have been midnight when the king impatiently rang the alarm rousing his sleepy cabinet members from their beds. His counselors, depicted as four groups specialized in four main approaches to the mystical realm of the unknown, were now expected to demonstrate their expertise. They were held in high esteem throughout the pagan world. God did His best to isolate His people from those approaches saying “thou shalt not suffer a witch [a sorcerer] to live.” “There shall not be found among you any one . . . that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD:” (Exodus.22:18; Deuteronomy 18:10-12).

Daniel and his companions must have struggled with the many mystical concepts that were thrown at them during the three years of their training. Even though it must have been clear to their tutors that they followed a different line of reasoning, that often collided with that of their masters, they were still given “knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.” Incredibly, their pagan examiner, in spite of their refusal to accept the basics of mysticism and occultism, “found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm” (Daniel 1:17, 20)!

Verse 3: And the king said unto them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream.

Where were Daniel and his companions? It appears, according to Verse 13 and onwards, that they had not been notified and could not have responded to the king’s summons. Having, just recently, been “found ten times better than all” the others, this seems surprising. Perhaps, this being the middle of the night, the newcomers may have been overlooked; or perhaps their peers, being jealous of their position and being bested because of the brilliance of the despised captives, took care to exclude them. If that was the reason, it almost cost them their lives!

Verse 4: Then spake the Chaldeans to the king in Syriack, O king, live for ever: tell thy servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation.

This verse marks the point where the language used, until the end of Chapter 7, was “Syriack” or Aramaic. [4] It’s not clear just why Daniel calls our attention to that point because that was the language they always used. But it is possible that Chapters 2 to 7, which were all written “in Syriack” or Aramaic may have been intended for reading, not only by the king, but for all the nobility living in Daniel’s time. Perhaps, after Nebuchadnezzar’s humiliating experience (Chapter 4), he had it published to be distributed far and wide.

That Chapters 1 and 8 to 12 were written in Hebrew suggests that the matters concerned therein would not be readily understandable by the Babylonians; or, by the time Daniel had collected all these writings together, he found himself in a totally different environment (during the time of “king Cyrus,” Daniel 1:21) and the general interest in his writings had waned.

The wise men had likely been called many other times to solve something like this and had developed a routine. First, they expected to be given some details to go by before rendering an interpretation. But, this time, they were asked to do something that had never before been required. They were stunned.

Verses 5 & 6: The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, The thing is gone from me: if ye will not make known unto me the dream, with the interpretation thereof, ye shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a dunghill. But if ye shew the dream, and the interpretation thereof, ye shall receive of me gifts and rewards and great honour: therefore shew me the dream, and the interpretation thereof.

“Although the king’s mind was deeply impressed, he found it impossible, when he awoke, to recall the particulars,” [5] yet he could not dismiss it from his mind. While dreams are frequently the meanderings of the subconscious mind that have little or no practical meaning, it was different with Nebuchadnezzar. Evidently, he took them all seriously and his wise men made a good living telling him what they meant. He “believed in dreams as one of the means by which the gods revealed their will to men.” God took this into consideration for “Divine wisdom always meets men where they are . . . He ever adapts His modes of working with men to the capacity of each individual and to the environment of the age in which each lives.” [6]

This particular dream really had him worried. The year must have been around 602 B.C. in the midst of his expansionistic campaigns to conquer the then known world. While his campaigns were very successful, he was worried about the future and whether or not his kingdom could retain its dominance. He loved to hear the address of the wise men who shouted “O king, live for ever” because they harmonized with his fond wish for the perpetuity of his kingdom.

The king’s demand threw the wise men into a frenzy of deliberation for they had never faced such a mandate before. They had always been given some clue, some hint to go by, but now, nothing like that was forthcoming. Guesswork was out of the question for the king must have known enough so that any pretense on the part of the wise men would have been immediately detected, sealing their fate. The king’s forgetfulness was more than a simple lapse of memory. Inspiration tells us that “the dream was taken from him, that the wise men, by their claimed understanding of mysteries, should not place upon it a false interpretation.” [7]

Things were rapidly going downhill. The king was frustrated and so were the wise men. The king’s threat did nothing to alleviate the pressure the wise men were under, neither did his offer of reward, but they had to say something.

The barbarity of the king’s penalty, to be “cut in pieces and [their] houses. . . made a dunghill,” for not complying with his demand seems completely unreasonable. Such viciousness seems completely out of character when compared to his considerate provisions for his prisoners in Chapter 1. No wonder Ashpenaz feared for his “head to the king” (Daniel 1:10). He knew what the king was capable of!

Verse 7: They answered again and said, Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation of it.

The wise men were desperate and must somehow pry something out of the king that would give them something to go by. It was a dangerous game of wit. Their job security laid only in keeping the king placated. Their scheme, to ease his mind, was having the opposite effect. To answer “again” with the same request was insulting, but that was all they could think of.

Consider their situation. It was always a game of wits. Keeping the king comfortable was rule number one. He had to be left with a sense of reassurance. Anything negative had to be said in such a way as to make the king feel he was in control. The future, which was the usual burden of concern, had to be pictured favorably. Therefore, the wise men were actually psychotherapists, acting as prognosticators. They knew nothing more of the future than any other man. Even the master magician Satan cannot read the future. “Satan knows better than many professed Christians what is written, for he is a diligent student of the Bible, and he works to pervert the truth, and lead men into the paths of disobedience.” [8] Astonishing as it may seem, he relies on the Bible for his information; but he cunningly perverts and distorts it to suit his own purpose. Satan is acutely aware of what the Bible says about the future and does his best to confuse and destroy its meaning. He has many many ways of doing that!

Verses 8 & 9: The king answered and said, I know of certainty that ye would gain the time, because ye see the thing is gone from me. But if ye will not make known unto me the dream, there is but one decree for you: for ye have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me, till the time be changed: therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that ye can shew me the interpretation thereof.

The word “certainty” suggests Nebuchadnezzar had been suspicious all along of the validity of their claims. Knowing he was probably being trifled with, he demanded an immediate answer. He was not prepared to wait even a few minutes! Likely he had often before been manipulated into allowing time for the Chaldeans to compose interpretations of other dreams that he had told them about. They not only had to come up with a satisfactory interpretation, but they also had to be unified on the particulars of the dream in case the king decided to cross-examine them. A dangerous game indeed!

Interestingly, when “Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would give him time . . .” (Verse 16), the king granted it. Evidently, it was his long-standing suspicion of the wise men that made the difference. “The king knew that if they could really tell the interpretation, they could tell the dream as well. The Lord had in His providence given Nebuchadnezzar this dream, and had caused the particulars to be forgotten, while the fearful impression was left upon his mind, in order to expose the pretensions of the wise men of Babylon.” [9]

Verses 10 & 11: The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can shew the king’s matter: therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things at any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean. And it is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can shew it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.

At that point, the wise men were pushed to the wall. According to the Tay version, they had said “this is an impossible thing the king requires.” For once in their life they had uttered the truth, but it didn’t help them.

Verses 12 & 13: For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain.

These verses make it evident that “Daniel and his fellows” were not in the first group of “wise men” that had been called. “Daniel and his fellows” could have been included with the rest of his fellow captives, that is, if they had not been “flunked out” during the three-year training program. They may have all been quartered together in the same dormitory.

After being found “ten times” wiser than “all the magicians and astrologers that were in all [the king’s] realm” (Daniel 1:20), this “decree” must have been a real shock to Daniel and his three friends. Popularity and favor, regardless of talent, was no guarantee of security. Rather, it was like living with a lion whose temperament could change at any moment, and they could be consumed in a sudden, unexpected fit of anger.

Verses 14 & 15: Then Daniel answered with counsel and wisdom to Arioch the captain of the king’s guard, which was gone forth to slay the wise men of Babylon: He answered and said to Arioch the king’s captain, Why is the decree so hasty from the king? Then Arioch made the thing known to Daniel.

Probably, the wise men had already been rounded up by the guards and were in confinement awaiting their fate. If this were after hours, Daniel and his companions may have been sleeping, and then rudely roused to hear the terrifying news from “Arioch,” whose name means “lion-like.” The fact that this rough captain, who had probably been assigned many tasks like this, took time to answer Daniel’s question, suggests he did not relish this assignment. Notice that Daniel, giving no evidence of fear and keeping a cool head, “answered with counsel and wisdom” when he heard the news. Neither did he manifest “a spirit of retaliation” [10] which would seem quite reasonable since he was known to have great “understanding in all visions and dreams” (Daniel 1:7).

Verse 16: Then Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would give him time, and that he would shew the king the interpretation.

After asking Arioch “why the haste,” it appears his next move was to go directly to the king without asking permission even from Arioch, a daring thing to do. Nevertheless, “Taking his life in his hand, he ventured to enter the king’s presence, and begged that time be granted . . ..” [11] Instead of making the king even more angry, as when he suspected a scheme for a time extension (Verse 8), the king agreed!

Note Daniel’s confident assertion “he would shew the king the interpretation,” not only the “dream.”  This suggests past experience, gained in “understanding in all visions and dreams” [12] during his training years, had long since banished any doubt God would sustain him just as well now as He had in the past. Furthermore, he had to depend just as much upon God for his understanding during his three years of training as he was forced to do now. This was not a new thing to him.

Verses 17 & 18: Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions: That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.

Even though Daniel was the recognized authority in “understanding [of] all visions and dreams,” even above that of his three companions, he was not jealous of his standing. His first thought was to seek God with his companions because they were all in it together.

“Their faith was strong in the consciousness that God had placed them where they were, that they were doing His work and meeting the demands of duty. In times of perplexity and danger they had always turned to Him for guidance and protection, and He had proved an ever-present help.” [13]

Verses 19 & 20: Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his:

Even though they all prayed and begged God for mercy to preserve them from the sentence of death, “the secret [was revealed only] unto Daniel.” The “secret” could have been revealed to all of them at the same time, but we can be sure they dismissed any feelings of jealousy and were happy their request was granted.

If the scenario of Verses 1 to 13 took place in the early hours of the morning and Daniel’s request of the king was at sun-up, God’s answer took place the following night when “the secret [was] revealed . . . in a night vision,” suggesting after having prayed fervently for some time, they all retired to their beds for a sound sleep. Not a trace of worry kept them awake tossing and turning . . . unlike the king whose “sleep brake from him.” (Verse 1)

Daniel’s first thought, after the secret was revealed, was to praise God for His omniscience and omnipotence which had been revealed in the form of a duplicate dream both he and the king had received.

The dream was nothing less than history in advance, something possible only to God whose vision of future things is far more accurate than any historian’s vision of the past. The events of history, as seen through the eye of the historian, always undergo some distortion because of bias and limited knowledge. At best, predicting the future, is always guess work to some degree. Not so with God. With Him there is no such thing as bias or guess work and His knowledge, either of the past, or of the future, is unlimited.

Verses 21 & 22: And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.

To the secular historian, all that has happened is just a matter of chance, fortune or misfortune, with no overruling hand of providence. But the outline of the future, depicted in this “night vision,” is undisputable evidence, from our perspective, that God even changes “times and seasons,” which even includes the weather. He overthrows and establishes “kings,” endows the foolish with “wisdom” and makes the “wise” even wiser. He is like a floodlight in the “darkness” and reveals secrets to those who seek Him, bringing to naught the plans and hopes of those who reject Him.

As we shall see, this “night vision” was only the beginning of what God revealed to Daniel in his subsequent visions. We can safely call this “vision” the skeletal outline of world history. It is a sketch of future events which are fleshed out in extraordinary detail in Chapters 7-12. Even today, men are still amazed at its accuracy, and many are scratching their heads in wonder over many of Daniel’s revelations which are yet to be fulfilled.

Even though this vision is really quite open and plain, there are still some things that lie unrecognized. We need to be humble and realize that “The truth is an advancing truth, and we must walk in the increasing light.” [14]

Verse 23: I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king’s matter.

It is intriguing to realize that this incredible revelation was opened to mankind because a heathen king had a bad night!

Interestingly, many centuries later at “Geneva, where Farel and Calvin had spread the truths of the Reformation, Gaussen preached the message of the second advent. While a student at school, Gaussen had encountered that spirit of rationalism which pervaded all Europe during the latter part of the eighteenth and the opening of the nineteenth century; and when he entered the ministry he was not only ignorant of true faith, but inclined to skepticism. In his youth he had become interested in the study of prophecy. After reading ‘Rollin’s Ancient History,’ his attention was called to the second chapter of Daniel, and he was struck with the wonderful exactness with which the prophecy had been fulfilled, as seen in the historian’s record. Here was a testimony to the inspiration of the Scriptures, which served as an anchor to him amid the perils of later years. He could not rest satisfied with the teachings of rationalism, and in studying the Bible and searching for clearer light he was, after a time, led to a positive faith.” [15]

And so, even from the time of Daniel, more than 2500 years ago, the ripple effect of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream has continued to reverberate throughout the generations of the ages even to our time. And, we might add, it will not cease until the very end of time!

Verse 24: Therefore Daniel went in unto Arioch, whom the king had ordained to destroy the wise men of Babylon: he went and said thus unto him; Destroy not the wise men of Babylon: bring me in before the king, and I will shew unto the king the interpretation.

This time, instead of going directly to the king, as he did in Verse 16, Daniel, following court protocol, first approached Arioch asking him not to carry out the king’s decree but to spare the lives of his fellow wise men, another audacious thing to do. In order to reassure this officer that things would be all right, he confidently informed him that he could tell the king what he wanted to know.

Evidently Arioch had delayed carrying out his orders, because this was at least 24 hours since Nebuchadnezzar had issued the death decree. Perhaps, Daniel’s question to Arioch (Verse 15) gave the captain some hint that his bloody assignment might be canceled after all.

Verse 25: Then Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste, and said thus unto him, I have found a man of the captives of Judah, that will make known unto the king the interpretation.

Arioch’s “haste” is more than suggestive of his eagerness. Declaring he had “found a man . . . that will make known . . . the interpretation” suggests he was unaware of Daniel having already gone “in, and desired of the king” the day before. After hearing Daniel’s confident assertion, he lost no time rushing Daniel to the king. The eagerness of the captain to settle the problem bloodlessly, suggests he dreaded having to execute this assignment. Furthermore, he may have developed a degree of fondness for Daniel. If his “find” amounted only to a hollow attempt to placate the king, he himself would be in jeopardy along with the rest of the wise men. He must have been concerned, also, for the safety of the other wise men whose pathetic pleadings for just another chance may have been ringing in his ears. He was only too glad to give Daniel a chance to settle the matter and spare him having to “cut [them all] in pieces.”  Therefore, it seems, Arioch was not a cruel person.

Verse 26: The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, Art thou able to make known unto me the dream which I have seen, and the interpretation thereof?

We are not told whether the king remembered having been unexpectedly approached by Daniel (Verse 16), but he might have said “OK, I gave you the extra time you wanted, now, what do you have to show for it?”

Verses 27 & 28: Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king; But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these;

Daniel precedes his answer with a personal disclaimer confirming the truth of what the other wise men had said, that “there is none other that can shew it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh” (Verse 11). But polytheistic “gods,” in their answer, were countered by Daniel’s reference to the monotheistic “God in heaven,” without having to be bribed and cajoled like the other imaginary gods.

Note that Verse 27, and the first part of Verse 28 comprise one sentence, indicating that Daniel, surmising what was on the king’s mind, felt he had to talk fast, yet he would not forget to give all the credit of his amazing revelation to the One who had revealed it to him. Note the assurance in Daniel’s claim “Thy dream, and the visions . . . are these,” not maybe or perhaps. His confidence in the information given him in the “night vision” was absolute.

Verse 29: As for thee, O king, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter: and he that revealeth secrets maketh known to thee what shall come to pass.

Although the dream/vision is by now more than 2,500 years old, it is far more significant to us now then it was to Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar. While they could only guess at the significance of much of it, now we can look back, through the eyes of credible historians, and confirm its accuracy, even going so far as to attach dates and names of kings and nations who came and went in precise fulfillment of this most remarkable of prophecies.

Verse 30: But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but for their sakes that shall make known the interpretation to the king, and that thou mightest know the thoughts of thy heart.

Once again, as in Verse 28, Daniel reminds the king there was no wisdom within himself. Note that for “their sakes” the thing was to be made known. Although “their” is italicized, indicating it to be a supplied word, still he seems to mean that the dream was to be made known, not only for the sake of the king, but for all the “living” from that time forth. Instead of its significance diminishing with time, its significance has grown in relevance. All, who make the effort to familiarize themselves with it, can be confident that the final detail of this vision will be fulfilled with absolute certainty.

Verse 31: Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible.

Subsequent verses indicate this figure to be in the “form” of a man because he had a “head, breast, arms, belly, legs” and “feet.” It was a splendid “image” of great height and impressive musculature with a “terrible,” or terrifying expression on the face. Its stance was a menacing position. Overall, it was threatening and intimidating. Little wonder it was disturbing to the king!

Verses 32 & 33: This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, his legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.

Interestingly, the major portion of the image was composed of sturdy metallic material, while the feet, the most important component of its support, were composed of a mixture far weaker than its preceding parts. Nothing is said here about the position of its arms or legs, leaving it up to us to fill in the picture with our imagination. Therefore, it is left up to us to decide what it should look like, and we can allow the artist free reign on that matter. Most of us are familiar with various artistic renditions that depict its arms folded and legs together.

This dream is, in essence, a pictorial, sequential outline of world history from the time of Nebuchadnezzar to an event which is yet to come in the near future. We can say “near” because all of the elements mentioned in Verses 32 and 33 have been fulfilled in detail!

Verse 34: Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.

This is the event yet to be fulfilled. The three features in this final part of the vision include the “stone,” the cutting “out . . . without hands” and the “feet.” They are full of meaning which Daniel will interpret. Interestingly, while the head to the leg part of the image covers some 1,080 years of history, the “feet,” up to the year 2023, cover 1547 years and still counting!

Verse 35: Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.

The “image” depicted in the likeness of man, representing man’s repeated, vain, humanistic effort to establish a one-world-government, is doomed to ultimate failure. It will evaporate, as it were, into “chaff” carried away by “the wind.” In other words, it will never be reconstructed. The “stone,” being the instrument used by God to bring about its destruction, takes the place of the “image” and grows into “a great mountain” that envelopes “the whole earth.”

While the forgoing parts of the dream are confirmed, even by secular historians, this last part lies beyond the power of the skeptic to confirm or refute. It requires a faith based on the ample evidence God has just given that he is able to predict the future with absolute accuracy. In the light of that evidence, it is foolish to question the validity of the “stone that [smites] the image” and becomes God’s indestructible kingdom.

Verse 36: This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king.

Daniel didn’t stop to ask the king if he thought the description sounded familiar. Without hesitation he assumed that it was accepted and plunged into the “interpretation.”

Verses 37 & 38: Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold.

Note the pronouns “thou, thee,” and “thine” each indicating Nebuchadnezzar himself, as well as his kingdom, is represented by “this head of gold.” Like all prophecies having to do with time, the establishment of the beginning point is of prime importance, and Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom is just that.

The title “king of kings” given Nebuchadnezzar by Daniel under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, was the title assumed by “Artaxerxes” 146 years later when he decreed the release of the Jews in 457 B.C. (Ezra 7:12). Ezekiel must have been familiar with this dream, because he also called “Nebuchadnezzar . . . a king of kings” (Ezekiel 26:7). But only Jesus is given this title “King of kings, and Lord of lords” in the New Testament.

This title is additional evidence that Nebuchadnezzar, in the estimation of heaven, was an exceptional king, in comparison with all other kings of his time and, for that matter, all kings following his time. More evidence of this will be found in Chapter 4.

Verses 39 & 40: And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth. And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.

With just the few words of these verses, a tremendous swath of time is covered from 331 B.C. to 476 A.D. amounting to some 807 years from the overthrow of Babylon to the decline of Rome.

Also, note the words “after thee” followed by a “third” and then a “fourth kingdom” mandates a sequential nature of the image, with the “interpretation” moving from top to bottom. While Daniel explicitly points out that Nebuchadnezzar was the first, no names of the subsequent kings were given, even though God did assign the name of king “Cyrus,” who overthrew Babylon, in another prophecy. He said His “shepherd [Cyrus] shall perform all my pleasure” ―109 years before he was even born! (Isaiah 44:28, 45:1) [16] It is historically factual that Cyrus was the king of the other “kingdom inferior” to Nebuchadnezzar’s.

From the time of Cyrus, the ruler of the Medo-Persian empire, to the empire’s overthrow by Alexander the Great, the king of Greece, a 208-year period is covered from 539 to 331 B.C. Then, the Greek kingdom set up by Alexander faded from view in 168 B.C. when Rome took over under Julius Caesar. It, in turn, succumbed to a general decline when it was overthrown by a number of other pagan nations in 476 A.D., 644 years later, making it the longest lived one-world-government that has ever existed and will ever exist until God sets up His kingdom!

Verse 41: And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay.

This is the first mention of the “toes.” Note that Daniel says nothing about their number either in this verse or the next. [17] Furthermore, the material comprising the “feet and [the] toes” is only “iron and clay,” with no solid material, suggesting another single one-world-empire will never again come into existence.

According to the sequential nature of this image, it seems clear that “the kingdom [that] shall be divided” is the Roman Empire represented by “the legs of iron.” Beginning in 476 A.D., the Roman Empire was split into several different segments by the invading hordes of barbarians who were originally defeated by Julius Caesar in the early part of Rome’s history. The dead skeleton of the Roman Empire became a combination of nations now known as Europe―Germany, Italy, Switzerland, England, Spain, Portugal, Holland, Finland, Denmark, and Scandinavia and some others. [18] While England denies being a part of Europe, nevertheless, it was once a part of the Roman Empire and cannot disassociate itself from its past.

This illustration depicts how I understand the king’s dream and Daniel’s interpretation: (Correction: the 1081 years should be 1080―a year must be subtracted when calculating B.C. to A.D. The 1534 was calculated in 2010!)

Verse 42: And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.

Since the “stone,” depicted in Verse 34 will smite the image upon its “feet,” clearly in the future, it becomes obvious that western Europe is not the only “kingdom” that will be destroyed. Therefore, in this verse the singular word “kingdom” must be inclusive off all nations globally, not just the nations of western Europe. Notably, Russia and China, not to mention Japan and the United States and numerous other small nations, would, of necessity, also have to be included in this mixture of a weak and strong “kingdom.”

Verse 43: And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.

The gold standard of the ongoing effort to “mingle . . . with the seed of men” is thought to be the “royal intermarriages” that took place between many of the early rulers of Europe. The marriage of Napoleon, the emperor of France, to Louise of Austria is one of them.

But that is not the only possible way to understand this. For example, the Commentary points to another possibility depicted in the “original . . . LXX” that reads: “And as you saw the iron mixed with earthenware, there shall be mixings among nations [or, among generations] of men, but they shall not agree [literally, ‘be like-minded’], nor be friendly with one another even as it is impossible to mix iron with clay.” [19] That view suggests an ongoing effort to consolidate nations and kingdoms under one head that will continue, by one means or another, until the end of time.

Two outstanding examples are the League of Nations, organized after World War I and the United Nations after World War II. The reluctance of our current leaders to stem the flow of illegal immigration probably originates from the desire to meld Mexico with the United States, being one aspect of the current Globalists’ movement.

Verse 44: And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.

The last three Verses 41 to 43 are devoted to a description of the “feet and toes” of the “image.” Surprisingly, this final stage of earth’s history covers a period of time much longer than the combined “gold, silver, brass” and “iron” of its preceding parts. With the head beginning in 605 B.C. and the legs ending in 476 A.D., a period of 1080 years is covered. If we date the beginning of the feet when Rome was overcome by the Barbarians in 476 A.D., but with the “stone” of Verses 35 and 45 representing the “kingdom” God is yet to “set up,” we are led to conclude that the “feet and toes” have, up to this time in the year 2023, covered 1547 years!

While we are able to assign dates for the preceding parts of the image, something neither Daniel nor Nebuchadnezzar were able to do, we, like them, are likewise unable to assign a date for the end of the “feet and toes!” Jesus, who actually gave Nebuchadnezzar the dream and its interpretation to Daniel, later said to the disciples during His earthly ministry, “of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36).

Now, during the “days of these [specific] kings” of western Europe who originated from the division of the Roman Empire, and whose influence has had a profound effect on “every nation, and kindred, and tongue and people” of the world, even to our day, we are still waiting for “the God of heaven [to] set up [His] kingdom,” and God is still waiting for us to preach “the everlasting gospel” (Revelation 14:6)!

Verse 45: Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.

Note that this same “stone” was previously alluded to in Verses 34 and 35. This verse basically repeats what we were shown there except for one additional piece of information—the “stone” was “cut out of the mountain . . .”

Verses 34 and 35, without telling us where the “stone” came from, state that it “smote the image upon its feet,” ground it to powder, and then the stone “became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.” Here, in Verse 45, while it also “brake” each element of the image, we are also told that it “was cut out of the mountain . . .”

Therefore, from what we learned in Verses 35 and 45, two “mountains” are depicted. The first “mountain” is here in verse 45 and is therefore the source of the “stone” which became the second “mountain” of Verse 35.

While the second “mountain” of Verse 35 represents God’s kingdom that “filled the whole earth,” what does the first “mountain” [20] of Verse 45 represent? If that second “mountain” [21] will occupy “the whole earth” what happened to the first “mountain” of Verse 45? Evidently, it will be destroyed along with the image!

It is important to recognize that the two words “cut out” are from a single Aramaic word “g@zar” or “gazerin” [22] meaning, according to the Commentary: “to determine . . . the deciders, or the determiners [of destiny].” [23] While that same word is translated “Soothsayers” in Daniel 2:27; 4:7; 5:7 and 11, it is translated “cut out” in Daniel 2:34 and 45!

Obviously, the “Soothsayers” in the previous verses, are human imposters claiming to possess omniscience. But the “decider” of Verses 35 and 45 is God Himself who selected the “stone” out of the first mountain. God, after destroying the “image” with the “stone,” grew the “stone” into a “great mountain [which] filled the whole earth” leaving no place for the first “mountain.”

So, what does the first “mountain” represent?

Two possibilities come to mind. Note that Daniel called “the city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain” (Daniel 9:16). That was God’s church in Daniel’s day. But, since the “stone” strikes the image on its feet, it is possible the first “mountain” represents God’s end time church militant out of which God selects those who will vindicate His name at the end of time, showing Satan, whose governmental principles are illustrated by the great “image,” to be a liar.

An alternative explanation could be that the first “mountain” represents the entire world, not just the church, out of which God will select those who will vindicate him. Either way, it should be clear that cutting the stone out of the “mountain” is judgment language parallel to the judgment scene depicted later on in Chapter 7.

While there is some reason to believe that the “stone” represents Christ Himself (see, for example, Matthew 21:42, 44; Mark 12:10; Luke 20:17, 18; or “rock” in Matthew 16:18; 1 Corinthians 10:4), that traditional explanation becomes difficult, if not impossible, to defend when the first “mountain” of Daniel 2:45 is allowed its rightful place in the interpretation. Bear in mind that God is the prime mover, not the “stone.” The “stone,” of itself, possesses no motive power whatsoever. It is selected by God and propelled by God. The “stone” does nothing of itself. “Without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5).

So, what does the “stone” represent? It must be a symbol of God’s people who will vindicate His character during the last hours of earth’s history and bring to naught all the charges Satan brought against God’s government. The next chapter, where Daniel’s three companions bravely stood while their peers bowed down, is an illustration of how God will use His people to destroy the image during the final hours of earth’s history.

Verse 46: Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him.

What a change in demeanor from being “angry and very furious” (Verse 12) to that of humble adoration, bowing at Daniel’s feet! We are not told whether Daniel remonstrated with the king to prevent being worshiped, but we do know he took care not to take any credit to himself. Perhaps the relief brought to the king’s mind by this revelation was so great that he forgot himself and cast aside his kingly dignity for the moment to express his profound gratitude.

Verse 47: The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret.

With the king answering “Daniel” and affirming that his “God, is a God of gods,” implies that Daniel had again reminded him that no credit was forthcoming to himself for the revelation of “this secret.”

Verse 48: Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon.

This tells us a lot about the king. Having been told that his kingdom would be displaced was bad enough, but to be displaced by “another kingdom inferior to” his was even more humbling. Nevertheless, according to Verses 47 and 48, Nebuchadnezzar accepted the bad news along with the good and promoted Daniel to the dizzying height of “ruler over the whole province . . . and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon.” When Daniel was conducted into the presence of the king by Arioch, he was just a young, fledging upstart in his early twenties. Now he was second, perhaps only to the king himself, much like Joseph who, having just been taken from prison and having interpreted Pharaoh’s dream, was made second in command to Pharoah (Genesis 41:40).

Verse 49: Then Daniel requested of the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel sat in the gate of the king.

His new responsibilities did not go to his head, and his first thought was of his companions with whom he had just prayed the preceding night and had shared the plight of a captive for the past three plus years or so. The bonds of friendship were strong, even though Daniel’s responsibilities, which were now shared with his friends, would take him to places far apart from them as he “sat in the gate of the king,” the place “where Oriental kings sat as judges and where chief councils convened.” [24]

Check out this composite picture. It is my attempt to illustrate the two “mountain” sequence depicted in Daniel 2:34 and 45, with a diamond being the best material to represent the “stone,” symbolizing God’s last day people whom God will use to vindicate His character:

Picture 6

Obviously, this is symbolic judgment language. It depicts, in general, God’s final movement during the last stage of His great plan of salvation when He selects, from among the living (in the world in general, and the church militant in particular), those who will vindicate His character during the final hours of earth’s history. The concept is enlarged upon in Chapters 7 to 12 and fleshed out in further detail in the book of Revelation. The narrative portion of Daniel’s book, complemented by Chapters 2 and 3 in the book of Revelation, depicts the kind of character and behavior God approves and disapproves. His everlasting kingdom will be composed of those whose character and behavior He approves.

This interpretation is inclusive of far more than the generally recognized understanding that the “stone” only represents Christ’s second coming. While that is certainly part of the picture, I find it incomplete. While the Commentary neglects any mention of the “mountain” featured in Verse 45, it does make thoughtful mention of the “stone”: “It cannot be established that there is any necessary connection between Daniel’s symbol for the kingdom of God and the figure of a rock or stone used elsewhere. The interpretation offered by Daniel is of itself sufficient to identify the symbol.” [23] Since the “stone” is made up of the selected material from the first “mountain” with God’s hand featured making the selection, it seems undeniable that the “stone” represents the people of God who will vindicate His name during the final hours of this earth’s history. In that case, the process of the final vindication of God’s character should be considered inclusive of the pre-millennial time of trouble, the thousand-year millennial time of judgment and the post millennial executive judgment to be concluded by the lake of fire. Only then will the complete destruction of the image, representing man’s vain effort to govern, be completely destroyed.

The reason I chose a diamond to represent God’s people is because it is a mineral that God can use to grind up the gold, silver, brass and iron―and diamonds last forever. Bear in mind that the “stone” cannot move on its own. God does with it what he will.  Therefore, it does not represent militancy whatsoever. The question remains: Can God use you? Can He use me to carry forward His plan of salvation, whatever it is?

Summary of Chapter 2: The 49 verses of this chapter, as compared to the 45 of Chapter 11, make it the longest in Daniel’s book. This is suggestive of its relative importance. Note how it depicts the character and behavior of five outstanding individuals, namely Daniel, his three companions and Nebuchadnezzar, the king himself. Another person named Arioch, the king’s captain, is an outstanding person who represents a certain measure of integrity that God approves. They, against the background of obsequious individuals seen here as the magicians, astrologers, sorcerers and Chaldeans, represent those whom God condemns but are spared in order that the contrast between themselves and the others becomes more apparent. Even though Nebuchadnezzar was heathen to the core, God saw value in his character that would eventually bring honor to His name. Thus, he was chosen to receive what could well be considered one of the greatest revelations of all time, that of the great multi-element image of his dream. But probably the greatest revelation of that great revelation is the “stone” that was selected by God Himself out of a “mountain” and used by divine providence to destroy the image. It seems irrefutable that its selection from the “mountain” of Verse 45 is an analogous metaphoric representation of the judgment scene depicted in Chapter 7. That the metaphoric “stone” is representative of such individuals as Daniel, his three companions and even Nebuchadnezzar and Arioch, also seems very likely. People like them will compose the “great mountain” of Verse 35 that will fill “the whole earth” sometime after “the judgment was set, and the books were opened” in Chapter 7.


[1] Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 4, page 749. Several other interesting possibilities are discussed on pages 749, 750

[2] God Cares by Mervyn Maxwell, Vol. 1, page 15. Note that Maxwell uses the date 605 B.C. while Usshers uses 607 B.C. If we use 605, the seventy years of Jeremiah would end in 535, three years before 538 which is the date Cyrus freed the Jews.

[3] Prophets and Kings by E.G. White, page 491 (italics mine) more discussion can be found on this point in Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 4, pages 766 and 762

[4] “Syriac” is from “Aramiyth” (Strong’s #762) meaning “the language of Aram, Aramaic.” “The royal family and the ruling class of the empire were Aramaic-speaking Chaldeans originating from Southern Mesopotamia. It is therefore not surprising to find that the king’s courtiers spoke to him in Aramaic and not in Babylonian, the tongue of the native population of Babylon . . . From this verse on to the end of ch. 7 the record is in Aramaic and not in Hebrew, as is the remainder of the book.” (4BC 767 Right column 5th paragraph)

[5] Some believe the king deliberately withheld what he actually remembered. However, Daniel and the Spirit of prophecy make it pretty clear that was not the case. See Prophets and Kings by E.G. White, page 491 for the quoted statement.

[6] Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 4, page 767

[7] Fundamentals of Christian Education by E.G. White, page 412

[8] Signs of the Times 8-28-93

[9] Sanctified Life page 34

[10] Youth Instructor 9-1-1903

[11] Ibid

[12] Ibid 8-31-1899

[13] Prophets and Kings by E.G. White, page 493

[14] 1888 Materials 547

[15] The Great Controversy by E.G. White, page 364 (italics mine)

[16] Isaiah prophesied this in 712 B.C. and Daniel’s interpretation occurred in 603 B.C., therefore 712 – 603 = 109 years.

[17] Note the comment made about this feature in Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 4, page 775 (2nd paragraph left column) “Though mentioning the toes, Daniel does not specifically call attention to their number.” This might seem to be a matter of minor importance. But, when considering the “ten horns” of Chapter 7 as well as those of Revelation 12, 13 and 17, we will see it to be a matter of rather major importance.

[18] Interestingly, the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, discussing the “ten horns” of Daniel 7:8, notes “. . . the fact that a score or more barbarian tribes invaded the Roman Empire . . .” not just ten. (see Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 4, page 826 left column, second paragraph)

[19] Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 4, page 775 (right column, middle of the continued paragraph)

[20] Although this point seems quite important, the SDA Bible Commentary, Clark’s Commentary or even Uriah Smith seem to have overlooked it.

[21] The word “mountain” is translated from the Aramaic word “tuwr” (Strong’s #2906), the same word for “mountain” in Verse 35. It corresponds to the Hebrew word “tsuwr” (Strong’s #6697) meaning “rock.” But that doesn’t seem to be of much help with our understanding of the “mountain” in Verse 45 because it cannot be the same “mountain” or “rock” that the “stone” became in Verse 35!

[22] Strong’s Concordance #1505

[23] Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 4, page 770 right column under “Soothsayers”

[24] Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 4, page 777 (right column, last paragraph)