Daniel 2: 31-49 – Nephilm Toes or the End of Rome – Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream

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A controversial passage, but a very important one in Bible Prophecy. Daniel interprets Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of a statue. I will discuss several possible interpretations of this chapter.

By Chris White

Dan 2:31  “You, O king, were watching; and behold, a great image! This great image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome.

Dan 2:32  This image’s head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze,

Dan 2:33  its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay.”

So the first part of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream involved a statue which was made of 5 different materials. The head made of gold, the chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay.

Dan 2:31  “You, O king, were watching; and behold, a great image! This great image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome. “

Stephen R. Miller says the following of the phrase “its form was awesome.”

“ In verse 31:The word (“awesome”) is from a root word meaning “to fear.” Nebuchadnezzar was frightened by the statue; this certainly is understandable, for the huge image would have stood like a dazzling colossus before the king.”

So we see that Nebuchadnezzar’s dream was of a giant statue. We are not told exactly how big the statue was in his dream, but the image Nebuchadnezzar built in the next chapter, (which he forced everyone to worship) may have been patterned after this one, and that structure was ninety feet tall.

Dan 2:34  You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces.

Dan 2:35  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.

There are two things in this verse that are worth noting before we begin reading Daniel’s interpretation of this dream.

The first is that the stone that Nebuchadnezzar watched being cut out was without hands.  We will see in verse 44 that this means that this rock is not of human origin, but rather it is from God and distinct from the other elements in this dream in that regard.

The second thing worth noting is that the rock strikes the statue on its feet, not its toes. I will argue later that the feet and toes are described as one cohesive unit, they are still a part of the last empire, that of the legs of iron, but that both the feet and toes together represent a latter part of that kingdom which I think is supported in part because of this verse. I will expand on this in a few moments.

Dan 2:35 says:  And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.

This is the last verse before Daniel begins his interpretation of this dream. It basically describes the statue’s utter destruction as a result of the rock hitting its feet.

It is also of extreme significance as we will see that this rock began very small, and then became a mountain and filled the whole earth, it was not a mountain when it initially struck the statue. But over some amount of time, not discussed here, it grows to fill the whole earth.

Dan 2:36  “This is the dream. Now we will tell the interpretation of it before the king.

Dan 2:37  You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory;

Dan 2:38  and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and 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.”

Dan 2:36  “This is the dream. Now we will tell the interpretation of it before the king.”

Daniel declares that he has accomplished phase one of Nebuchadnezzar‘s request, he told him what the dream was. He then declares his intention to begin phase two, that is telling the interpretation of the dream.

Oftentimes when there is a symbolic prophecy in the Bible, like in the book Revelation, there is an interpretation given of that symbolism in the Bible. In the book of Revelation an Angel would tell us the meaning of John’s vision about the woman riding the beast, for example. Also, later on in the book of Daniel we see Angels giving literal interpretations of Daniel’s symbolic visions.

We must make sure that our interpretations of these symbolic visions are consistent with what scripture tells us the interpretation of the vision is. It seems like a simple thing, but it is a sometimes overlooked hermeneutical principal.

Dan 2:37  You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory;

Daniel boldly speaks of the sovereignty of God here, telling Nebuchadnezzar that his kingdom was really given to him by Daniel’s God. This was not a necessary part of the interpretation of the dream. Daniel takes a risk here in telling the most powerful man on earth that he was really only a servant of Yahweh.

Daniel may have seen this extraordinary circumstance as a perfect way to witness to the king. It is one of many instances in this particular story that Daniel makes sure to let everyone know that this is because of God, not Him. We will see later that this had the effect that Daniel intended because we see Nebuchadnezzar bowing down and offering sacrifices to Yahweh at the end of this chapter.

Dan 2:38  and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and 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. 

The first part of this verse is defining the extent of the dominion God had given to Nebuchadnezzar, which is expressed as total, that is all of the known world and everything in it.  This is important because I think it shows in part that the following empires will also have a similar dominion, such as that of Babylon; that is, in order for a kingdom to qualify to be one of these parts of this statue, it must be a world-ruling empire.

You are this head of gold. 

Here we begin to see that the statue’s various materials represent kings or kingdoms. This is the only instance in this interpretation where Daniel refers to a person, that is to a king instead of a kingdom.  For instance, in the very next verse it says:

Dan 2:39  But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth.

It becomes very clear as we progress in Daniel’s interpretation that kingdoms are meant here and not necessarily kings, though in some cases it may apply to use them synonymously like in the case of Nebuchadnezzar, and even then we can see in verse 39, which says, “But after you shall arise another kingdom.“ that Daniel intended to refer to Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom even when he says “you”.

Stephen Miller, in the New American Commentary, writes concerning this next kingdom in verse 39:

“2:39a Daniel disclosed that another “kingdom” would rise after the Babylonian Empire. History is plain that the next great power to appear on the world scene was the Medo-Persian Empire led by the dynamic Cyrus the Great. This empire is symbolized by the silver chest and arms of the great statue…Medo-Persian dominance continued for approximately 208 years (539–331 B.C.)”

The Medes and Persians ruled together as one empire. This is even alluded to in other places in Daniel.

“For example, in Dan 8:20 the two-horned ram (symbolizing one kingdom) represents “the kings of Media and Persia,” and in chap. 6 the author referred to the “laws of the Medes and Persians” (cf. vv. 8, 15), indicating that Darius ruled by the laws of the Medo-Persian Empire, not a separate Median kingdom.”

Miller, Stephen  B. (1994-08-31). The New American Commentary Volume 18 – Daniel (p. 95). B&H Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Daniel was an old man when Babylon was conquered by Cyrus the Great. The night of its conquest is detailed in Chapter 5, with the feast of Belshazzar and the writing on the wall.  Daniel’s gifts were noticed by the Medo-Persians as well, and he went on to serve them for the few years before his death.

Cyrus was also notable because it was him that allowed the exiled captive Jews to return to Israel.

There is almost no disagreement among conservative scholars that the Medo-Persian Empire is in view here.

A third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth.

This third kingdom of Bronze is that of Greece. Alexander the Great conquered the known world, including the Medo-Persian Empire.

This we know not just from secular history, but also because when the angel interprets a vision Daniel has in Chapter 8 of a goat defeating a ram with two horns, it says the following:

Dan 8:20  The ram which you saw, having the two horns—they are the kings of Media and Persia.

Dan 8:21  And the male goat is the kingdom of Greece. The large horn that is between its eyes is the first king.

So not only do we know this from history, we have confirmation of the Bible’s viewpoint from the very same book. Again there is almost no disagreement among conservative scholars about the interpretation of the third bronze section of this statue being Greece.

Dan 2:40  And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others.

Again we have near universal agreement among conservative scholars as to the identity of the legs of iron – The Roman Empire.

Miller says the following:

“The image’s legs of iron represent the empire that dominated the world after Greece—ancient Rome. Five terms are utilized in this verse (“breaks,” “smashes,” “breaks to pieces,” “crush,” “break”) to emphasize the tremendous power this fourth kingdom would exert. Rome ruled the nations with an iron hand and like a huge iron club shattered all who resisted its will. The Roman Empire dominated the world from the defeat of Carthage in 146 B.C. to the division of the East and West empires in A.D. 395, approximately five hundred years. The last Roman emperor ruled in the West until A.D. 476.”

Before going into the next part about the feet and toes where there are significant differences in belief among conservative scholars, I want to briefly explain the reason I keep saying “agreement among conservative scholars” and not simply “scholars” when referring to the interpretation of these kingdoms.

The reason is that those who believe that prophecy is impossible as a part of their world view cannot see any of this chapter as predictive prophecy and they do have a different interpretation of these kingdoms as a result. But I won’t be detailing their view here. If you would like to learn more about it, I would recommend the book I have been referencing that is Stephen Miller’s Daniel from the New American Commentary. He interacts with this view at length.

To make a long story short, since Rome was nothing more than an insignificant village at the time Daniel wrote this, even by their liberal dating, they obviously can’t have the legs of iron being Rome. So by some funny business, they squeeze Greece into this final empire instead of Rome.

But for those of us that can believe that God can see the past, present and future, we are free to stand in awe at the accuracy in which God foretells the future.  So let’s move on to the really challenging section of this prophecy.

Dan 2:41  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.

Dan 2:42  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.

Dan 2:43  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.

This is where there tends to be some disagreement among even conservative scholars.

But before I get into that, let me talk about where everyone tends to agree. That is that these feet and toes are somehow or another a part of the Roman Empire. In other words, the feet and toes mixed with iron and clay, while different, are not a part of a new kingdom but still a part of the legs of iron of the Roman Empire, just a chronologically later part; the end of the Roman Empire, if you will. Everyone tends to agree on that, but with many variations.

Here are some of the main conservative views people have about the feet and toes:

  • That the feet and toes represent the final period of the Roman Empire being divided, weak, trying to cleave its divided empire together but failing.
  • The feet and toes represent the final kingdom of the Antichrist in the last days. There are many variations of both of these views, some of which we will talk about in depth as we progress.
  • That the feet and toes represent a nephilim hybrid kingdom in the last days. We will talk about that in depth a little later as well.

I used to hold to the 2nd view, that the feet and toes were representing an end times kingdom, and that there would be a need to revive the Roman Empire.

I still believe that there will be an end times kingdom of the Antichrist, but for reasons I will demonstrate here, I am now firmly convinced that the Antichrist’s kingdom is not in view in this chapter.  Furthermore, I hold that the belief that Daniel 2 and Daniel 7 are talking of the same events could be one of the more dangerous views held by conservative scholars today, because this view could allow the Antichrist to come onto the world scene almost entirely unnoticed, and even embraced as Christ by some.

I will talk much more in depth about this as we continue our verse-by-verse study in Daniel, but for further reading I would recommend Charles Cooper’s four-part paper entitled Daniel 2 and Daniel 7: Equal or not Equal.

I would also agree with Miller, who holds the opposing view to me, that in addition to your view on Daniel 2 and 7, your view about the rock that destroys this statue is the key to any person’s interpretation of this passage, and I would ask you to withhold your judgment on this matter until we get to those verses.

For now, let’s continue this verse-by-verse study, and be very critical of everything I am about to say, because although I am convinced of this interpretation, you need to remember that this will be a minority viewpoint on this passage, and you should be wary anytime someone is teaching something in the Bible that is not widely held, especially in areas not related to prophecy, like normal doctrinal issues.

Dan 2:41  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.

A very important part of this is that the last kingdom at some point will be divided.

Since both views I think rightly presume that the feet and toes represent a chronologically later point of Rome, we can safely say that this is saying that Rome will be divided toward the end of its existence, whether you believe that its end was in the past or will be in the future.

Here we have a few problems for the revived Roman Empire (RRE) view.

The first is that you have an unambiguous fulfillment of this passage in the history of the fall of Rome. We know that Rome was divided into several parts, eventually settling into just two parts, that is the east and west empires.  We will see that the other elements of the feet and toes prophecy fit like a glove to the events of that period as well.

And the second major problem here for the RRE view is that forcing this prophecy to the end times means that you have to hold the view that the Antichrist has a divided weak kingdom in the end times.

The descriptions of the Antichrist’s kingdom in the Bible do not give the impression that it will be weak or divided , but rather that he will have absolute power, and that those who do not worship him will be killed. This does not sound like a weak or divided kingdom.

I will now go into some more depth on the first point, that the divided and partly strong-partly weak kingdom describes perfectly the end of Rome in the ancient past.

If you look up the phrase “The Crisis of the Third Century,” you will learn of about a one hundred year or so time period in Roman History where they almost lost everything. It was the first time in Rome’s history that they started to show weakness. All the years of their dominance and absolute iron fisted – or should I say iron legged – rule was starting to slow down during this time.

In 285 Diocletian split the empire into four parts called the tetrarchy, but it didn’t last.  It briefly was united again under Constantine, but it quickly split again after his death into three divisions. It was total chaos, everyone claiming to be emperor for a few years.

Eventually, when all the dust settled, there were only two divisions of Rome, that is the eastern half and western half, and that is how it would stay until Rome fizzled out of existence. Rome would never again rise to the prominence it once had after this point, and it will grow less and less powerful until it is a shadow of its former self, constantly sacked by invading barbarians, penniless and powerless.

The exact date of Rome’s fall varies because of the “death by a thousand cuts” nature of its decline, but most historians put its fall at about 480 AD. A mere 100 years after the division of east and west was solidified.

I’m trying to establish that the end of Rome is characterized by weakness and division, and as we noted before, the one thing that both sides of the argument about the feet and toes made of iron and clay agree on is that the passage is saying that the end of the Roman Empire will be characterized by weakness and division.

The only difference is that some say the end of the Roman Empire is in the past, and some say we need to revive a Roman Empire first and then watch its end be characterized by weakness and division.

The next verse, Dan 2:42, says: 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.

In this verse it seems to suggest that only the toes were of this mixed clay and iron composition, but we know from verse 33, where it only refers to its feet and not the toes being of this composition, that the author is referring to the feet and toes as one unit. This is further demonstrated in verse 34 in which the statue is said to be struck on its feet only, whereas one would think that the toes would be mentioned here if there was an important distinction.

In other words, idiomatically the final empire consists of only two parts, the legs of iron being the first, and the feet and toes of iron and clay being the second. And the words “feet” and “toes” can be used independently and interchangeably to refer to the final stage of the final kingdom.

The kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile.

Again this is a terrific description of the last 300 or so years of the Roman Empire, there were times during this period, a period often called “the decline of the Roman Empire” in which Rome was partly strong in some ways, but very weak in others.

We have seen already to an extent, and will see again in the next verse, that it is grammatically necessary to see that the clay and iron are representative of the divisions of the empire, in this case, the east and the west empires. So in order for this interpretation to be a perfect match, we would need to see a clear description in history of one of these divisions being much weaker than the other.

The so called “final split” of the Roman Empire occurred at a time when it was becoming clear that the western empire was going to be a lot more dangerous place to live than the east. This is when Constantine moved the capital from Rome to Constantinople. Eventually Rome would be sacked by Alaric in 410 while Constantinople would not be sacked until the Middle Ages.

I will quote from a few historians about the weakness of the Western Empire compared to the Eastern.

“The East, always wealthier, was not so destitute, especially as Emperors like Constantine the Great and Constantius II had invested heavily in the eastern economy. As a result, the Eastern Empire could afford large numbers of professional soldiers and augment them with mercenaries, while the Western Roman Empire could not afford this to the same extent. Even in major defeats, the East could, certainly not without difficulties, buy off its enemies with a ransom.”

“The political, economic and military control of the Eastern Empire’s resources remained safe in Constantinople….. In contrast, the Western Empire was more fragmented. Its capital was transferred to Ravenna in 402 largely for defensive reasons.”

“The Western Empire’s resources were much limited, and the lack of available manpower forced the government to rely ever more on confederate barbarian troops operating under their own commanders, where the Western Empire would often have difficulties paying. In certain cases deals were struck with the leaders of barbaric mercenaries rewarding them with land, which led to the Empire’s decline as less land meant there would be even less taxes to support the military…..As the central power weakened, the State gradually lost control of its borders and provinces, as well as control over the Mediterranean Sea. “

I suppose it’s important to me to show that this stuff is mainstream history. The divided parts of this kingdom were noticeably different in strength.  As I mentioned, the eastern empire would survive in some capacity for hundreds of years after the west had long disappeared.

Dan 2:43: 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 now we come to a verse that we will spend some time discussing.

There is a lot of confusion about this verse, which I think is due to the English translation of the Aramaic. Remember this section of Daniel is written in Aramaic and not Hebrew.

It should first be noted that other translations such as the ESV render the underlying Aramaic phrase this way:

“As you saw the iron mixed with soft clay, so they will mix with one another in marriage, but they will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with clay.  (ESV)”

So instead of mingle with the seed of men they mix with one another in marriage.

So the question is: Is the ESV capturing the intent of the Aramaic here?

Let’s first take this word translated as “mingle”:

It is the Aramaic word “Arab” (ar-av) which corresponds to the Hebrew “Arab”. In other words, this word, if you look it up, will be in Aramaic, and its only use is right here in Daniel, because Aramaic is very rare.  However, most Aramaic words correspond directly to Ancient Hebrew words, and that is the case here.  In fact, they are even pronounced the same.

The Hebrew word “Arab” means: to pledge, exchange, mortgage, engage, occupy, undertake for, give pledges, be or become surety, take on pledge, give in pledge.

For example in Genesis 43:9, when Judah was begging his father to let him take Benjamin to Egypt as per Joseph’s request, he says that he will become surety for Benjamin. The word “surety” is where we get the word “mingle”.

Gen 43:9  I myself will be surety for him; from my hand you shall require him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, then let me bear the blame forever.

Another example of its use is in 2 Kings 18:23 where the word “pledge” is the word translated “mingle” in our passage

2Ki 18:23  Now therefore, I urge you, give a pledge to my master the king of Assyria, and I will give you two thousand horses—if you are able on your part to put riders on them!

But the same word for “mingle” also can mean “to mix together”. And in fact, of the two times it is used that way in the Bible, it is speaking of the intermarriage of Jewish and pagan tribes.

Ezr 9:2  For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons: so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands: yea, the hand of the princes and rulers hath been chief in this trespass.

Here we have a very similar phrase to the one in our verse.  I think this shows some precedent that the translators of the KJV believed that mingling seed was referring to intermarriage with two groups.

Psa 106:35  But they mingled with the Gentiles And learned their works

So I think you can see that the ESV here has a pretty decent rendering of this phrase when it says: they will mix with one another in marriage.

But even if that is true, we still have to determine who they are, and who they are trying to intermarry with, and perhaps more importantly, what is it referring to.

So we need to find out who they are in this verse. And I will suggest the simple method of sentence structure and basic grammar to find out who they are.

If we look just before this in verse 41, we see that Daniel says that the feet and toes of clay and iron are representing a divided kingdom. The next three verses repeatedly refer to these two divisions of the kingdom as iron and clay.

Grammatically there is no other possible plural subject other than the separate, divided parts of the kingdom represented by the iron and clay. This is confirmed in verse 44, when it says “in the days of these kings,” making it clear that the plural subject that was in view in verse 43 must be referring to the kings of the divided kingdom in verse 41.

So what this verse is saying is that the divided parts of the empire will pledge their offspring to one another in an attempt to become strong again, but it will not work.

Now it would be one thing if I had to go looking for some obscure fulfillment of this in Roman history, but the strength of this interpretation is the unambiguous fulfillment of it in the history of Rome, which I think you will see gives the interpretations a great deal more credibility.

Now in order for this to be true, we can’t just go picking any arranged marriages of emperors in Ancient Rome. Almost every senator, general, prefect or any other person with imperial ambitions had arranged marriages to secure their legitimacy to the throne. I’m only slightly exaggerating when I say that you can’t read a single page in the entire history of Rome without reading about an arranged political marriage.

But we are looking for a very specific type of political marriage here. It has to be toward the very end of Rome’s existence because it is regarding the feet and toes, it has to be between the eastern and western empires, the two kings of the divided kingdom need to pledge their offspring to one another, and for the specific purpose of trying to unify Rome and keep it from demise. This should narrow it down quite a bit.

There are two instances where this exact thing happened at the end of the Roman Empire.

The first is in 467, only about 9 years before the last Roman emperor. This is a time when the Vandals were posing a major threat to Rome and while Leo was reigning strongly in the east. There had not been an emperor in the west for a few years because a guy named Ricimer, who had been ruling behind the scenes by manipulating puppet emperors for many years, had not appointed another puppet emperor and was hoping no one would care or that people would just accept him as the default emperor.

Well this became a problem in the eastern empire because of the threat of the Vandals and the imminent war that they were going to have to have with them.

So Leo decided to choose an emperor of the west for the west. He chose a guy named Anthemius and sent him to the west with a big army so that Ricimer would have to get with the new program.

Here is the marriage connection: The emperor of the east, Leo, gave his daughter, Leontia, to Anthemius’ son, Marcian, to legitimize the reign of his new appointee to the west, essentially saying, “Ok, east and west, we are all one big happy family now. So let’s go fight the Vandals or we are all in big trouble.”

In addition, Anthemius also gave his only daughter, Alypia, to Ricimer, which also made Anthemius, who was a Greek-speaking foreigner to the west, acceptable to the Latin-speaking Romans, of which Ricimer had become kind of a ring leader.

This plan actually might have worked, too, but the battle with the Vandals went very badly, and Anthemius would soon be killed, and they would all be right back at the place that they started.

Which brings us to the second attempt of cleaving the east and the west together with marriages. This time it occurs in 474, just two years before the last Roman Emperor, with Julious Nepos. There are actually a lot of people that argue that Nepos was the last Roman Emperor, choosing not to count the child Romulus Augustulus who “ruled” for about a year after Nepos was exiled.

This time Leo married off his niece to Nepos. The surname Nepos actually means nephew. Because he took the surname nephew as his title, referring to his now-nephew status to Leo in the east, it should show us the importance of that marriage in the attempt to unify the east and the west. But it was too late for Rome. There were too many problems. And just like this verse in Daniel says, these two divisions of the final kingdom do not cleave together and the fall of the western Roman Empire is put somewhere around this time at 476-480.

but they will not adhere to one another.

I want to briefly speak about the nephilim interpretation of this verse and point out that whatever this is, it will not adhere or cleave together. That is to say, it won’t work. There are many that say this verse is proof of a future nephilim hybrid situation in the end times. But even if you were to assume that the word they is speaking of angels, you would have to conclude that it doesn’t work – there would be no hybrids made in this interpretation.

Dan 2:44  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.

Dan 2:45  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.”

Ok so here we are at the most crucial part, the identification of this stone. Let’s briefly recall what happened with this stone in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in verses 34-35:

Dan 2:34  You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces.

Dan 2:35  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.

So this stone strikes the statue on the feet, and it eventually grows to fill the whole earth.

Dan 2:44  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.

a kingdom

This stone is a kingdom, a kingdom that God will institute during the Roman Empire that will eventually grow to encompass the entire world. This is agreed upon by many scholars, even Miller who holds to a revived Roman Empire view.

There are some that would say that this has to be speaking of Jesus because of the verse that says he is a cornerstone, but that would offend the explicit teaching in this verse that this rock is a kingdom in the same way that the others were a kingdom.

This is known all throughout the Bible as the “Kingdom of God.” I will show you a few verses to demonstrate two points:

  • That Jesus Christ begins the Kingdom of God in his day (during the Roman Empire).
  • That the Kingdom of God is supposed to start small and then grow large. (Typified by starting with the apostles and spreading to all those who will ever be saved.)

1.) That Jesus Christ begins the Kingdom of God in his day:

Mar 1:15  and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

Mat 12:28  But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.

Luk 17:20  Now at one point the Pharisees asked Jesus when the kingdom of God was coming, so he answered, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed,

Luk 17:21  nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is in your midst.”

It should be here noted that there seems to be a present and future sense of the kingdom of God, in the sense that the ultimate fulfillment of the kingdom of God is not here or in this world but rather in eternity.  But it I believe can be shown with certainty that Jesus considered the Kingdom of God, to have been established with Him on earth during his teaching ministry.

2.) That the Kingdom of God is supposed to start small and then grow large.

Mat 13:31  Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field,

Mat 13:32  which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.”

Mat 13:33  Another parable He spoke to them: “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.”

These two parables are describing the “small and then growing large” aspect of the Kingdom of God.

So this is in a sense a prophecy for all ancient peoples as to a general time the Messiah would come; that is, the Kingdom of God would be established sometime during the Roman Empire. This may be one reason that messianic expectations were so high in Jesus’ day.

shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people;

Here it contrasts God’s kingdom with the usual fate of the kingdoms of man. It won’t have a successor, nor an end, it won’t be divided among generals or anyone else.

it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.

This is one verse that suggests that all these kingdoms, like Babylon and Greece, would either be contemporaneous, which we know was not the case, or that they are all considered to be part of one spirit, or one whole in some sense.

I would suggest that this verse is expressing the different nature of God’s Kingdom to man’s, and it includes all the previous kingdoms here to further drive home that point. That is, when God’s Kingdom is fully and eternally established, there will be no more manifestations of man’s kingdoms.

Dan 2:45  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.”

In verse 45 I want to focus in on the latter half of this verse.

Daniel again makes sure that Nebuchadnezzar, who is probably showing signs of his utter amazement at this point, knows that it was Yahweh who deserves the glory for this feat.

He also adds that the dream and interpretation are certain and sure. This is what will happen, and that God wants Nebuchadnezzar to know it.

Dan 2:46  Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face, prostrate before Daniel, and commanded that they should present an offering and incense to him.

Dan 2:47  The king answered Daniel, and said, “Truly your God is the God of gods, the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, since you could reveal this secret.”

It appears from verse 46 that the offerings were made to Daniel himself as if he were a god. But then in verse 47, it seems to suggest that Nebuchadnezzar was giving this worship to Daniel’s God, which makes more sense as it seems unlikely given the great pains that Daniel went through to make sure that it was not him but God, that Daniel would accept such a sacrifice.

While this was probably the equivalent of planting a seed in Nebuchadnezzar’s heart that Yahweh was God of all and worthy of submission, his worship of Yahweh here is not to be looked at as his conversion, as we will see in the next chapter that this is a short lived piety.

Dan 2:48  Then the king promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts; and he made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief administrator over all the wise men of Babylon.

Dan 2:49  Also Daniel petitioned the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego over the affairs of the province of Babylon; but Daniel sat in the gate of the king.

Miller says:

2:48 “A high position” (lit., “made great”) was awarded to Daniel, namely, that he would be the “ruler over the entire province of Babylon” and “in charge of all its wise men” (v. 48). Thus Daniel’s high position was twofold: he administrated the key province in the empire, the one that included the capital city, Babylon, and he was appointed as the chief counselor to the king with authority over the other wise men.103

David Guzik summarized these verses this way:

 Daniel not only had his life spared, but he was promoted to high office – and he made sure his friends were also promoted. It was fitting that Daniel’s friends got to share in his advancement, because they accomplished much of the victory through their prayers.

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