God looked down the ages and anticipated the rise and fall of all Kingdoms. Many years before the kingdoms have entered the stage of activity. God announced to Nebuchadnezzar that the realm of Babylon should fall, and another realm would emerge, which likewise would have its time of trial. Neglecting to magnify the genuine God, its brilliance would blur, and a third realm would possess its place. Also, this would fall; and a fourth, solid as iron, would subdue the kingdoms of the world.
Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, was troubled by a dream. Promised with reward or even threatened with death, not one of his wise men, magician, and sorcerers were able to tell him his forgotten dream. Daniel, the man of the living God, came into the scene and told him his dream and its interpretation.
What was the dream of King Nebuchadnezzar?
"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. 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. 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. 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." Dan 2:31 -35
Did God, through Daniel, tell the interpretation of the king's dream?
"This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king." Dan 2:36
What is the meaning of the head of gold?
"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." Dan 2:38
Are there other kingdoms to arise next to Babylon?
"And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth." Dan 2:39
How strong do the legs of iron represent the fourth kingdom?
"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." Dan 2:40
Note: "The four world empires here predicted as part of Nebuchadnezzar's dream are generally understood to have been Babylon (head of pure gold), Persian (breast and arm of silver), Greek (belly and thighs), and Roman empires (legs of iron and feet and toes of partly iron and partly baked clay). This prophecy of the four kingdoms is further expanded under different images in chapter 7 (the four beasts)." Halley's Bible Handbook, pp. 431, 432
What happened to the fourth kingdom?
"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." Dan 2:41
Note: When Constantine the Great transferred to his new capital, Constantinople (now Istanbul), Rome collapsed by a savage invasion of Barbarian tribes from the north. So, as the prophecy foretold, "the kingdom shall be divided."
Did the ten kingdoms have equal power when the fourth kingdom was divided?
"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." Dan 2:42
Were they united again?
"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." Dan 2:43
What kind of kingdom arose after those kingdoms? To Whom does it belong?
"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. 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." Dan 2:44,45
Concerning the four kingdoms, every particular was fulfilled to the letter. Only one remains to be fulfilled, the establishment of God's Kingdom represented by the stone.
"This is a continuation of the prophecy of chapter 2, which was spoken 60 years earlier: four world empires, and then the kingdom of God." Halley's Bible Handbook, p. 436
To come up with the proper understanding of the prophecy, the language of the Bible is to be taken, explained, or understood according to its obvious meaning, except if there exists some valid reason for assuming it to be figurative.
Symbols and Representations
Wind - strife, political commotion, and war (Jeremiah 25:31-3)
Beast - Kings/ Kingdoms (Dan. 7: 17, 23)
Water/Sea - peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues (Rev. 17:15)
Horns - Kings/ Kingdoms (Dan. 7: 24)
What was the dream of Daniel In the first year of Belshazzar, king of Babylon?
"In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters. Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another." Dan 7:1 -3
(click here and read note #1 for Albert Barnes commentary on these verses)
What was the first beast?
"The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man's heart was given to it." Dan 7:4
Note: "the lion - the king of beasts - would accurately symbolize that kingdom in the days of Nebuchadnezzar - a kingdom occupying the same position among other kingdoms which the lion does among other beasts, and well represented in its power and ferocity by the lion." (Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible).
What represented the kingdom next to Babylon?
"And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh." Dan. 7:5
Note: "The application of this symbol was not explained by the angel to Daniel; but if the former pertained to Babylon, there can be little difficulty in understanding to what this is to be applied. It is evidently to what succeeded the Babylonian - the Medo-Persian, the kingdom ruled successively by Cyrus, Cambyses, Smerdis, Darius, Xerxes, Artaxerxes, and Darius Nothus, until it was overthrown by Alexander the Great. The only inquiry now is as to the pertinency of the symbol here employed to represent this kingdom." (Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible)
What was the third beast?
"After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it." Dan. 7: 6
Note: "If this be so, then we naturally look for the fulfillment of this symbol - the third head - in the kingdom or dynasty that followed directly that of Medo-Persia - the Macedonian dynasty or kingdom founded by Alexander the Great, extending over the same countries before occupied by Babylon and the Medo-Persian empire, and continuing until it was swallowed up in the conquests of Rome." (Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible)
What represented the fourth kingdom?
"After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns." Dan. 7:7
Note:_ "This is allowed, on all hands, to be the Roman empire." --by Adam Clarke (click here and read note #2 for more information)
"These four world empires are commonly taken to be Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome,.." Halley's Bible Handbook, p.436
What was the next scene that caught Daniel's attention?
"I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things." (Dan 7:8)
Note:_ According to Dr. Halley, "The "ten horns" of the fourth beast (v.24), which correspond to the 10 toes of 2:41-42, are taken to be the 10 kings or kingdoms into which the Roman empire is divided." (Click here and read note #3 for Albert Barnes Notes On The Bible)
How were the three horns plucked up?
"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." Dan 7:24
Note: You may ask, who is the little horn? I saw no other reason but to point you to the Papacy as she is the only powerful entity that came out after those kingdoms that ruled for 1,260 years. According to Cardinal H. Manning, "...for twelve hundred years the Bishops of Rome have reigned as temporal princes." Historically, the pope of Rome was taken captive by Gen. Berthier in 1798. Going back from A.D. 538 (the year when Belisarius drove out the Visigoths from Rome) to 1798, it will take 1,260 years, the space of time the Cardinal estimated.
"When the Roman Empire fell, the bishop of Rome took on many trappings and administrative structures of imperial power." 101 Q&A on Popes and the Papacy, p.5
Clear enough, the little horn subdued three horns, but how? Probably this would be an inquiry to be made by a learner of Bible prophecy. To know more about the details of the story, please click here and read note #4.
What are the characteristics of the little horn?
"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." Dan 7:25
Note: The papacy has all the descriptions as enumerated in the text. First, blasphemously assumes and "takes the place" of Jesus Christ (Crossing the Threshold of Hope, p.3). Second, she admitted the persecution against God's people. Third, also the changes she made to the Law of God, especially the seventh-day Sabbath. Fourth, she reigned for 1,260 the meaning of "time, times, and the dividing of time." (Click here and read note #5 for more information)
After the reigns of these kingdoms, what was the next scene Daniel saw?
"I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed." Dan 7:9,10, 13,14
Note: "thrones were cast down" most of the Bible renders the phrase as the following: "thrones were put in place" (GNB) ", “I watched until thrones were placed" (WEB), "I watched until the thrones were set in place" (MKJV). It implies the same with verse 10 which says, "the judgment was set". It is not about the fall of those four earthly kingdoms, but it is the Judgement about to happen in Heaven above, from the time of Daniel. The scene is the same in Revelation chapters 4 and 5, which shows that the heavenly hosts assemble in one place and sit on their respective thrones round about God. This Judgement will be dealt, with in a separate topic entitled "The 2,300 days/years."
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