The vision in Daniel 2 divides world history into six successive ages.

The man of Daniel 2

The vision in Daniel 2 uses the statue of a man to symbolize the history from the time of Daniel to the return of Christ:

Its head of gold (2:32) is explained as king Nebuchadnezzar (2:38) and represents the Babylonian Empire.

The breast of silver (2:32) is “another kingdom inferior to” the Babylonian Empire (2:39), which will follow “after” the Babylonian Empire (2:39).

Its belly and thighs of bronze (2:32) are “another third kingdom of bronze, which will rule over all the earth” (2:39).

Its legs of iron (2:33) are “a fourth kingdom as strong as iron; inasmuch as iron crushes and shatters all things, so, like iron that breaks in pieces, it will crush and break all these in pieces” (2:40).

DIVIDED KINGDOM

The feet, partly of iron and partly of clay (2:33), are “a divided kingdom” (2:41).  During each of the four successive kingdoms (2:37-40) there will be a supreme king over all nations.  But during the “divided kingdom” there will no such supreme king.  During that time, many kings will rule over many kingdoms.  Verse 43 confirms this by explaining that these kings will “combine with one another” through intermarriage, but succeeding to unify them.

ETERNAL KINGDOM

Then “a stone was cut out without hands” (2:34).  “Without hands” is explained as “God of heaven will set up” (2:44).  It means supernatural (Mar. 14:58; Col. 2:11).  This stone completely destroys the image.  “Not a trace of them was found” (2:35).  “But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth” (2:35).  This is explained as a “kingdom which will never be destroyed” (2:44).  The parallel vision in Daniel 7 refers to the “everlasting kingdom” (7:27)—“the saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come” (7:18).  This eternal kingdom will be on earth (2:35).

Although the first four kingdoms dominate one after the other, each of them continues to exist until the eternal kingdom is set up.  Only then do they all disappear without a trace (2:35).

SUMMARY

The vision in Daniel 2 divides the history of the world into six successive epochs.  The first is the Babylonian Empire and the last is the eternal kingdom:

1. Head of gold = Babylonian Empire (2:38)
2. Breast = Silver kingdom (2:39)
3. Belly and thighs = Bronze kingdom (2:39)
4. Legs = Iron kingdom (2:40)
5. Feet of iron and clay = Divided kingdom (2:41)
6. Great mountain = Eternal kingdom (2:44)

ARTICLES IN THIS SERIES

1. The metal man of Daniel 2 divides world history into six ages.
2. The four beasts of Daniel 7
3. Three possible interpretations of the little horn
4. To identify the fourth kingdom, compare Daniel 7 and 8.
5. Daniel correctly predicted HOW the Roman Empire will fall.
6. Daniel 8: The evil horn does not come out of a Greek horn.
7. Daniel 11’s Vile Person: Antiochus or Antichrist?
8. Antiochus IV does not fit the profile of Daniel’s Evil King.
9. Critical scholars attack Daniel to attack the Book of Revelation.

4 Replies to “The vision in Daniel 2 divides world history into six successive ages.”

  1. When the statue is destroyed by the stone (Christ), all parts of the whole statue exist and are simultaneously destructed. We do NOT have images of different beasts that come and are destructed one after the others, but only ONE image entirely destructed. What the empires REPRESENT are now all there in our society:

    Gold: Babylon = False religion
    Silver: Medo-Persian = multi-ethnicity
    Brass: Greece = Philosophy
    Iron: Roman Empire = Law
    Clay = man:

    “Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay; and wilt thou bring me into dust again?” (Job 10:9)

    1. Hi Marc

      This is an interesting point but I do not agree with your conclusions. Yes, the entire image is destroyed all at once. However:

      – Daniel explicitly said to Nebuchadnezzar, “You are the head of gold.
      After you there will arise another kingdom
      ” (2:38-39).

      – This prophecy must be read parallel to Daniel 7, where the beasts are consecutive (e.g. 7:5).

      – 7:12 explains: “As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time.” In other words, these nations might have different names today, but they still exist.

      Andries

      1. Yes, I agree with you, but prophecies have both physical and spiritual fulfillments. In Matthew 24:32 Jesus said:

        “Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh” (Mat 24:32)

        There are people that say that this verse was fulfilled in 1948 and 1967, but something more important is happening: More and more Jews – a lot of them now – are accepting Christ as their Messiah. Trees in the Bible (fig tree or Olivie tree) are not symbols of physical cities, but rather spiritual trees where believers / unbelievers are graffed / broken of (See Romans 11). Yet these signs are accompagnied by physical / natural signs. That’s why Jesus said:

        “He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?” (Mat 16:2-3)

        The wise men knew about the birth of Jesus” having seen his star in the East” (Mat 2:2)

        When Jesus died on the cross, an earthquake caused the veil of the temple to be rent in twain from the top to the bottom (Mat 27:51), symolising that believers have access “into the holiest by the blood of Jesus” (Heb 10:20)

        There are signs we can see…

  2. One common aspect of each of the four successive empires is that, they all observed the seventh day Sabbath. Up until 325 AD, when the fourth Empire changed to the first (8th) day. The second, the Medo-Persian Empire, not only observed the 7th day, but according to the Book of Esther, they also observed the law of Moses. Either as circumcised or uncircumcised. As it was in the first century.

    Ray

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