None of the astrologers could. But Daniel, through God’s help, was able to give the king not only an accurate account of the dream, but also an accurate interpretation of it.
“Daniel replied, ‘No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come. Your dream and the visions that passed through your mind as you lay on your bed are these:
“As you were lying there, O king, your mind turned to things to come, and the revealer of mysteries showed you what is going to happen. As for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because I have greater wisdom than other living men, but so that you, O king, may know the interpretation and that you may understand what went through your mind.
“You looked, O king, and there before you stood a large statue–an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance. The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay. 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.
“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.’ ” Daniel 2:27–35
Daniel then provided the king with a concise interpretation.
“You, O king, are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory; in your hands he has placed mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds of the air. Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all. You are that head of gold.” Daniel 2:37–38
The sequentially lower parts of the image were then explained:
- Another kingdom, inferior to Nebuchadnezzar’s
- A third kingdom, one of bronze
- Finally a fourth kingdom, strong as iron, but developing into a composition of incompatible iron and clay.
He then added an explanation of what happened to this statue.
“And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay.
“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 2:43–44
This vision, as interpreted by Daniel, painted a broad picture of events from the time of Nebuchadnezzar through to a time span beyond even the present. It identified four great empires that played a major role in the history of mankind. These empires have been almost universally explained as:
- Babylonian empire [gold] B.C.626 – B.C.539
- Medo-Persian Empire [silver] B.C.539 – B.C.330
- Greek Empire [bronze] B.C.330 – B.C.63
- Roman Empire. [iron] B.C.63 – 476A.D.
But what of the different composition of the feet, and the relevance of the approaching stone? What are the facts?
Firstly, the image was one that that was in human form. We should understand that the vision related to aspects of human nature. The image was not in the shape of a throne, a palace, or an army, or military personnel—it was a man. We must keep this in mind.
Secondly, the description is contained exclusively in what metal or substance each portion comprised. From this we should understand that it was the composition or nature of each aspect of the image. We should not concern ourselves with the external form, but rather with its internal composition.
Thirdly, the image was standing as a gigantic fully formed statue, and the description progressively descends that image, segmented as major body parts, until it is struck on the feet with a huge stone.