The Visions Of The Prophet Daniel Part 1 - Nebuchadnezzar's Dream


Nothing is known of Daniel's boyhood in Jerusalem, that period of his life prior to his being taken to Babylon as a captive. Our first glimpse into the life of this remarkable man is his refusal to eat the non-kosher food provided for the captives. Also taking a similar stand with Daniel were his three friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah.

Among the thousands who were taken captive to Babylon following the invasion of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar, these four lads were to play a leading role in the political life of their adopted country. The Bible reveals the secret of their success. "As for these four young men God gave them skill in learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams" (Daniel 1:17).

Daniel's God-given ability to understand visions and dreams was soon to stand him and his companions in good stead when Nebuchadnezzar had a dream he couldn't remember. Next morning there was something about the dream that troubled him so he commanded his wise men and magicians to tell him both the dream and the interpretation. When they failed to do so "the king answered and said to the Chaldeans, 'The thing is gone from me: if you will not make known to me the dream and the interpretation thereof, you shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a dunghill'" (2:5).

As the result of this decree Daniel's life was in jeopardy so he and his friends prayed that God would reveal the dream. "Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision" (2:19). And so Daniel not only told the king his dream, but he also gave him the amazing interpretation.

The Dream

It would be fair to say that no other dream has covered such a broad scope of world history as Nebuchadnezzar's. It accurately pinpointed successive world-conquering empires from that of Nebuchadnezzar's up to the future Millennial kingdom. We quote Daniel's description of the dream and his interpretation. "You O king, were watching, and behold, a great image! This image, whose splendour was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome.

"This image's head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron, and partly of clay.

"You watched while a stone was cut without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found.

"And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. This is the dream, now we will tell the interpretation of it before the king."

The Interpretation

"You O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength and glory; and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field or the birds of the heaven, He has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all –- YOU ARE THIS HEAD OF GOLD.

"But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth. And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters all things; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom shall break in pieces and crush all the others.

"Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter's clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay. And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile. As you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay.

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

"Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold – the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure" (2:31-45).

In a later vision the angel Gabriel revealed to Daniel that the great empires that followed Babylon symbolized by the head of gold were the Medio-Persian empire represented by the chest and arms of silver, the Grecian empire by the torso of bronze and although not named by Gabriel Bible scholars agree that the last great empire was that of Rome symbolized by the two legs, feet and toes of iron.

The two legs represent the east and western sections of the Roman empire headed by rulers in Rome and Byzantium, whilst the ten toes are ten kings yet to arise from the revised Roman empire who will come to power at the end of this present age. Daniel then describes the total collapse of the entire image, as chaff scattered by the wind, to be replaced by "a kingdom which shall never be destroyed" .

Although he did not know it at the time Nebuchadnezzar's dream covered a period known as "the times of the Gentiles" . This period of Gentile domination of world affairs commenced with the total collapse of the Davidic dynasty when Nebuchadnezzar took the evil king Jeconiah into captivity. And although Zedekiah replaced him he was not in the direct Davidic dynasty.

Jeremiah prophesied that there would never again be a descendant of Jeconiah on the throne of David. Yet it was Gabriel who again revealed that the holy Child who would be born of Miriam " . . . will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest, and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of His kingdom there will be no end" (Luke 1:32-33).

There is no conflict between the prophecy of Jeremiah concerning Jeconiah's descendants never reigning on David's throne and Gabriel's promise to Miriam, for although she was a direct descendant of David, her ancestry is traced through David's son Nathan and not through Solomon who was the ancestor of Jeconiah.

Thus, "the times of the Gentiles" which commenced with the reign of Nebuchadnezzar and the great Babylonian empire will end when Miriam's holy child, Yeshua, returns to fulfil the promise given her by Gabriel. As one so long ago said, "Hath He not spoken, and shall He not make it good?"