The Book of Daniel Chapter Two, Reflection
“In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.” Daniel 2:44.
When God gives you a dream you know it is something else. It troubles you in ways that no ordinary dream does, until you know with certainty that the Lord has spoken. And when God gives you a dream all astrological insights are useless. No code breaking of any kind is able to penetrate into the mysteries whose origins are with God. These were the first lessons the king Nebuchadnezzar (reigned 605-562 BC), the greatest king of the ancient Babylon, had to learn when he received a dream about a strange statue broken in pieces by “a rock cut out of a mountain without the help of human hands”. Daniel 2:34.
But above everything else, Nebuchadnezzar had to learn that no kingdom, not even his great Babylon, the superpower of the ancient times, of which Nebuchadnezzar was know to brag a lot, would last forever. There is the expiry date written over all acts of human ambition to dominate the world, even over the reigns of the most confident and sophisticated kings and emperors whose reign looked at times as if it they were to flourish for thousands of years.
Daniel told the king that God is the one who gives and takes away the power and authority to the rulers of the world as he wishes. He graphically outlined the history of human race as a tragic succession of power-grabbers who would follow each other until the end of times. “You are that head of gold”, Daniel told the king, but “after you another kingdom will rise, and a third kingdom that will rule over the whole earth; and a forth kingdom strong as iron; and then a divided kingdom that will be partly strong and partly brittle” (Daniel 2:38-43). The king’s dream contained a warning to all emperors, dictators, kingdoms and governments driven by the ambition to subdue, control or police the world that their dreams will come to nothing.
The focus of the story is not on the importance of the statue and the extravagance of the kingdoms it represents, but on their ultimate end. Their end will not come by the establishment of some global super state or governing entity that will finally bring peace and prosperity to the whole world desperate for a political messiah, but by supernatural intervention, free from any human assistance, that will change everything in a moment and in a radical way.
Suddenly, Daniel continues to explain, “a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them” (Daniel 2:34.35). The message which the king needed to hear was that at the end of the days another, different kind of kingdom, the Kingdom of God will put a definite end to all human ambitions to rule the world. And this new kingdom, the Kingdom of God, “will never be destroyed, nor left to another people. It will endure forever.” Daniel 2:44-45.
The ambitions and endeavors of the kingdoms that have attempted to rule the world throughout the human history are recorded in many history books. Media and Persia, Greece, Rome, Holy Roman Empire, Napoleon and Hitler – these are some of the names that come to our attention immediately. They and many other demonstrated that earthly powers of any making sooner or later end up in ashes. Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of a big statue, which became the template vision upon which all the other visions recorded in the Book of Daniel rest, has been proven right by the records of history. Daniel 2:45.
What is the significance of the Nebuchadnezzar’s dream for us today?
There is no doubt in my mind that we live in the days represented by the statue’s feet made of iron and clay, in the anticipation of the divine rock which is to strike the statue of human history with the decisive blow. Again various voices are announcing the necessity of bringing the whole world together into one fold. One who believes that the world has outgrown the threat of being forced into some kind of global governance, lives a naïve dream. With the science, technology and means of communication and surveillance never witnessed before, the world is becoming a seating duck for the appetites of the new designers of the world dominance. The days of Nebuchadnezzar, Alexander the Great, Nero, Napoleon and Hitler are not over yet. Discerning ears and eyes can already see and hear the builders of a new Babylon removing the scaffoldings that still hide its structure. It is only a matter of time when its shape and form will become fully visible.
But hear the good news. The last Babylon will not endure, because the rock “cut out not by human hands” will frustrate the plans of its designers and managers decisively and for good. All Babylons have fallen. This one will fall too (Revelation 18:2), whoever and whatever it might be, and disappear into oblivion with a mighty crash, only to give place to the Kingdom of God, the rock that will become “a huge mountain and fill the whole earth” (Daniel 2:35). “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. So, when you see all theses things you know that it is near, right at the door.” Matthew 24:30.33.