Before the interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream is revealed, it’s worth noting that the king didn’t even tell any of the would-be interpreters what he dreamed. In his mind, if they are so wise, then they should be able to discern what he dreamed without him having to tell them! No wonder they all cowered into the shadows. Only the all-knowing Most High God can accomplish that feat, and He uses a mere teenager to drive home His point (see Daniel 2).
In summary, the dream takes the form of a statue of a man. The form is comprised of different materials starting at the top with a golden head, the upper torso and arms of silver, the lower torso of brass, the two legs as iron, and the feet and ten toes as clay and iron.
Daniel explains that the form reveals a series of empires that shall rule the Middle Eastern region, starting with the then current reigning king of Babylon. He shall be overtaken by the Medes-Persians, who shall be conquered by the Greeks, who shall be overtaken by the Romans. That empire shall break apart into the Holy Roman Empire (to the west) and into a series of Islamic empires (to the east). Finally, at the end, there shall be one final manifestation of this Antichrist spirit ruling the earthly nations as a coalition of ten horns.
Daniel explains that it is God who has established Nebuchadnezzar as the head, the king of these kings, for now. Each successive empire shall be inferior to the previous one, despite their apparent success. “As you saw 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 forever” (verses 43-44). Perhaps because of the affirmation as to his own rule, the king is pleased with this peek into the future, and promotes Daniel and his Jewish buddies.
So let’s take a moment to see what these successive empires had in common. First, we can assume that like the current king, they all are given power because God Almighty is the One who raises them up and takes them done. They are allowed to rule for the sole reason of accomplishing God’s purposes and plan. Second, they all occupied the greater Middle Eastern region, what is often called the Fertile Crescent. Third, they all opposed and oppressed the Jewish nation.
Despite how great each empire thinks it is, there is a greater one to come. “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.”
The Chronos Lesson: Nebuchadnezzar’s dreamy statue portrays what has become known as the Time of the Gentiles. When Israel rejected their calling as the godly role model on the earth, God gave them over to their own pride. Paul summarized this in Romans 1:16-19. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek [Gentiles]. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.’ For the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.”
In short, the prideful rebellious ones have no excuses, just as Adam and Eve had none, and the ungodly rulers of our time have none. When God uses the ungodly nations—as weapons of His indignation—to give the people what they chose, they have no basis to complain. Later in the same chapter, that principle holds true for our own time. “Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever” (Rom. 1:24).
In case you’re wondering, the Times of the Gentiles are not over yet. We’re down to the feet. Within this decade, we shall see the final ten-toed coalition rise up under the leadership of what Revelation 13:1 reveals as “the Beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name.” Stay tuned, because Daniel is going to give us more insight on this matter.