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Wednesday: The Image, Part Two — 12 Comments

  1. I don’t need to remind you of the traditional Seventh-day Adventist interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. The four kingdoms, Babylon, Achaemenid/Persia, Greece, Rome, and the divided nations of Europe succeeded one another pretty much as predicted. What is somewhat surprising is that the Babylonian period was so short. The Neo-Babylonian period (the period recorded in Daniel) lasted from about 626 to 539BC. Clearly, in the sweep of history, it was a fairly short-lived kingdom.

    The Achaemenid/Persian (Medes and Persians in biblical language) alliance in the meantime grew and essentially took over Babylon. The loss of Babylon is described in Belshazzar's feast in Daniel. This event was a pivotal point in of a long-running battle. It should be noted that the Achaemenid take-over of Babylon recognized the usefulness of the wise men of the court and Daniel's life was preserved.

    The Achaemenid/Persian Kingdom had a long-running battle with the Greek city-states. The Delain League was an association of Greek city-states that combined together in 478BC to stan up against the Persian Empire. Unfortunately, they fought among themselves as well. The real period of Greek dominance was actually a Macedonian revolt led by Alexander the Great, who expanded the kingdom into Asia (beating the Achaemenid/Persians in the process) and into Egypt (Where we still have Alexandria his namesake city to this day). After Alexander, The Greek Kingdom was spit into four with Palestine being part of the Ptolemaic (Egyptian) kingdom.

    In the meantime Rome grew in power and became a significant empire from about the 1st Century BC to the 4th Century AD. This was the world as Jesus knew it when he lived on earth.

    We are inclined to take the succession of Kingdoms as the big picture of this dream, but perhaps there is another picture as well.

    The four kingdoms/empires depicted represent the main thread of civilization that are at the roots of our western culture today. We owe these Kingdoms our maths, science, history, socialisation, civil law, culture, art, music in ways that are too many to enumerate. The last view of this image is of it being destroyed by a rock cut without hands. It is not just richness and power that are ephemeral but our whole system of civilization. God is perhaps trying to tell us that his Kingdom is not about richness and power, but about underlying spiritual values that go beyond time and space.

    Here is part of a conversation Jesus had:

    Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? John 18:36-38 KJV

    … and perhaps that is the most important interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.

    Amen!(51)
  2. The lesson lists the successive kingdoms of the image, but Daniel 2 only actually specifies Babylon as the head of gold.
    How do we know the others?
    Two more are listed in the parallel prophecy of Dan 8:20-22, namely Medio-Persia and Greece.
    We learn the name of the legs of iron from the NT as Rome was still ruling in Jesus day.

    It is interesting that as we are living in the time of the toes which are made of clay and iron, when the majority of our large buildings are made of cement and iron girders which seem so strong but we sometimes see these elements separating when the building is stressed, the cement crumbles and only the framework of girders remains.

    Amen!(23)
  3. What do we learn from the decline in value of the materials of the image?
    It is similar to the decline of the children of Israel when king after king did not follow the ways of David but became more evil then the one before because they did not remain committed to their covenant with the LORD nor did they follow His ways.
    I am not surprised when I read of the decline of the government in my country (and others) because of history and because the Bible predicts that people will get worse and worse until it will be as it was in the days of Noah when all the people's thoughts were only always evil - then they were washed away by the flood, in our day it will be the Second Coming of the LORD 2 Tim 3:1-5

    Amen!(25)
    • Why weren't the other old cultures of the world in this prophecy? The Chinese, Japanese, Europeans, etc.

      Only the nations that oppressed God's people were spoken of?

      Amen!(2)
  4. HOW DO OTHERS INTERPRETE IT.

    1.MORDERN SCHOLARS

    Head - Babylon

    Arms &
    Shoulders - the Medes

    Thighs &
    Legs - Persia

    The feet - Seleucid Syria
    & Ptolemaic Egypt

    Stone - Judean exile

    2.TRADITIONAL INTERPRETATION

    Head - Babylon

    Arms and
    Shoulders - Medo-persia

    Thighs and
    Legs - Greek

    The feet - Roman

    3.SDA INTERPRETATION

    Head - Babylon

    Chest and
    Arms - Medo-persia

    Belly and
    Thighs - Greece

    2 legs - western & eastern
    Roman empire

    Feet - Frankish,holy Roman
    And Ottoman empire

    10 toes - Germany, France
    Switzerland,Spain
    Portugal, Italy
    England, Heruri
    Vandals and
    Ostrogoths

    STONE - God's kingdom

    4.JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES

    Head - Babylon

    Chest and
    Arms - media - Persia

    Belly and
    Thighs - Greece

    Legs - Roman

    Feet and
    Toes - Anglo - American;
    authoritarian and
    democratic
    fragmentation

    Rock - God's kingdom

    5.MORMONS

    Stone - their church restored to the earth by their prophet John Smith in 1830

    Amen!(8)
  5. To me, this kind o prophecy proves the veracity of the Bible. By checking the dates of Daniel's reports with the History's accounts we see God's omniscience, a 'reminder' of His existence! But eventhough all of the Holy Scriptures and other writings may suggest or prove that God is real, nothing can take away my personal experience with Him. While some may consider this as madness, this became my salvation. Most important yet is that God is real to me because of what He has done in my life, although weak and fragile, my small faith has rescued me from total despair! The reality of our world's state cannot bring us hope in humanity! Greed has overcome nature and self-destruction is forecasted by science. There is no hope in men's knowledge to solve their own puzzle! Only faith in God, Who knows "the end from the begining", can give us peace in such a state of reality that the world now goes through.

    Amen!(15)
  6. The lesson shows the use of all the metals during the time of the kingdoms but stops at clay. Why would the pattern be broken at the clay? Gold was used in Babylon and Silver popular in Persia and brass in Greece and Iron in Rome but what of clay in our day?
    I detail the whole argument in my book "The Computer Age in Prophecy: Did the Bible Predict the Internet?" available on Amazon.
    But the essence is that clay is made up of aluminum silicate whose components are aluminum and silicon. These two elements define our modern day more than any other! Aluminum is the most popular metal along with iron and silicon is the basis for computer circuits.

    Amen!(10)
  7. Good day fellow saints. I wish the interpretation of all other prophecies in the Bible were as explicit as in this one in Daniel 2. We are guaranteed of the meaning of the dream, even though we can speculate as to which kingdoms followed Babylon. It appears that there is much room for different viewpoints and deliberate deception when we a left to attempt to unlock the meaning from other clues in scripture. I know that the Bible is its own interpreter, but the various, sometimes contradictory, interpretations of the prophecies in Daniel and Revelation, which have evolved of time, even among SDAs, would be much far fewer if the interpretation was given directly as in this case. Have a blessed day in the Lord!

    Amen!(2)
  8. The revelation of events, such as the succession of empires up to the climactic coming of the stone, smashing the image to powder, inaugurating God`s eternal kingdom, certainly has its right place in salvation history. However, God`s concern is directed to His church that has to go through all of these successive empires in times of trouble and temptation. The following texts will give an overview of how God is revealing himself in the ups and down of history as the very God with us,Immanuel. (Isaiah 8:8.10; 43:2; Daniel 3:25; 10:14; 12:1; Revelation 17:13-14) We have this hope.

    Amen!(1)

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