When John wrote the Revelation under inspiration, he used a style of writing common in apocalyptic material. Some say his writing was “John’s Hidden Book” because few people could understand it … and that is true today. So many see weird and wonderful things in the Revelation that are not there. Why did he use such a style of writing, saturated in symbol, color, animals, codes, numbers, etc.? The believers of his day would easily understand what he was saying but the Roman Authorities would not. Hence, he protected his readers from the power arm of the Caesar who used the most gruesome methods of executing God’s people.
Daniel uses the same style … but his purpose is different. He uses terms and concept Nebuchadnezzar would easily understand so that he would not be confused or struggle to understand the message Daniel brings from God.
1) The dream explained!
Da 2:31 “You looked, O king, and there before you stood a large statue—an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance. 32 The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, 33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay. 34 While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were broken to pieces at the same time and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.
36 “This was the dream.”
Now we can understand why the king could not sleep. Daniel explains to the king exactly what he saw in the dream.
(1) The large statue was not an idol! The picture is one of human form. This form represents worldly power, not just one … rather it represents all worldly powers, be it king Nebuchadnezzar or those who follow him. We will see this a little later in the chapter. The size, shape and overwhelming brightness was to inspire terror. Even though the king did not realize the dream pointed to himself he was terrified. What about the many people from various countries under his reign? They were terrified of him because he was capable of anything.
(2) This terrifying sign revealed both power and weakness. In verse 32-33 we see the status of gold as the head, the chest and arm silver, the belly and thighs were bronze, the legs of iron with the feet partly iron and partly baked clay. From the head to the feet you see a steady deterioration of strength and power. Never before was such an image presented to any world power. It finds its origin as a description in the Word of God alone. What is significant is the superpower of Babylon had a strong head (gold) but as the structures move downwards, so weakness upon weakness appears arriving at the feet that was partly clay. This is the first sign of an empire folding and crumbling. A strong leader or leadership team at the top with weakening structures in the cabinet, provincial leadership, municipal leadership and government in general. We have seen a crumbling in our own country. The biggest problem when this happens is the poor who suffer the most.
(3) Then the king sees the image experiencing a devastating blow. Verse 34 does not tell us out of what the rock or stone was cut. We notice no human hands were used to do the cutting showing us that God was working. The picture was startling to see. In the dream it is this huge image representing worldly powers that would be dismantled by God not man! This divinely cut out rock fell onto the image’s feet, crushing them. The weakest point of the superpower that they thought was the most stable was taken out with verse 35 showing us that the complete image was broken up, turning into dust and blown away by the wind. When God removes a superpower or any authority … it is gone from sight.
(4) Every superpower is subjected to the will of God. There was Babylonia, Medo-Persia, Greece and the Roman Empire. Their reigns were limited by God as was Nazi Germany, the USSR and other despotic powers. Notice that we have not yet got to the interpretation. This is the dream and in it we read that after the mighty superpowers are destroyed and removed from the face of the earth, only to be remembered in history books … the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth. That rock is the Lord Jesus and His Kingdom is like a huge mountain, filling the earth. Jesus is the Rock and He uses His Gospel to break down and destroy, be it governments, leaders, structures … in fact anything that prevents His Gospel Message from achieving the objective designed in the council of heaven before the creation of the world. When we get to the interpretation our excitement and understanding of God’s Word will increase, bringing amazement to our souls.
(a) The king grasped all these images. He understood them clearly. The dream explained was word for word according to the dream experienced. But he did not get that this dream was pointing directly at him. He could not see at this moment that his kingship and kingdom would end. Many leaders today do not know how to read the writing on the wall. Too often their “shelf-life and expiry date” have come and gone and they persist in remaining in power. This could be in business, politics or the Church!
(b) God is the one who appoints governments. Many may not like this, especially today, yet God’s Word says
Ro 13:1 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.
The authorities that exist have been established by God. They are God’s servants. They are not to serve themselves, though mostly they do. As God gives us grace periods to repent, He does with governments and leaders. What they need to know is that the God who installs them is the same God who will take them down when they don’t do right. This applies to first world and third world countries and any other type of country.
(c) But ultimately Jesus is the true Sovereign. He is the Lord and King. It is His Kingdom that lasts and grows, bringing people from across the planet to be birthed into His number.
Rev 5:9 “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.”
Thank You, Lord Jesus, that Your Kingdom includes all types of people on earth. Amen.