by Wayne Blank
What Did King Nebuchadnezzar See?
"Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them [see Gone With The Wind]: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth." (Daniel 2:31-35 KJV)
God Interprets The Vision
"This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king."
The Actual Flow Of History
The head of gold is easy to understand - the Bible narrative itself clearly states (Daniel 2:36-38) that it represents the Babylonian kingdom (see Ancient Empires - Babylon) under King Nebuchadnezzar, who conquered Jerusalem and carried the Jews, including the prophet Daniel himself, off into captivity (see Why Babylon?).
What about the rest of it? This is not difficult, the facts of history are very clear.
After the Babylonian "head of gold" came the Persian empire. The Persians under their various kings, including Cyrus (who allowed the people of Judah to return to Jerusalem in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah) swept away the Babylonian empire in 536 B.C. They are the "chest and arms of silver" (see Ancient Empires - Persia).
After about 2 centuries of dominance, the Persian empire was swallowed up by the Greeks under Alexander the Great. Many consider Alexander to be the greatest military commander of all time, taking vast areas from southern Europe, across the Middle East and deep into southern Asia, all while a relatively young man. He died in his early thirties of natural causes. The Greeks became the "belly and thighs of bronze" (see Ancient Empires - Greece).
After the Greeks came the Romans, the "legs of iron." The Romans took the areas that the Greeks had, plus nearly all of the rest of Europe, including Britain. The Roman empire was of course dominant during the time of the New Testament (see Ancient Empires - Rome).
History records that the Roman empire "fell" in the fifth century after Christ, a "mortal wound" to the political empire, just as it suffered a "mortal wound" to its religious empire in the time of Martin Luther a thousand years later, but it obviously recovered from both because Bible prophecy plainly says that both will exist on the day of Christ's return (see Ein Volk! Ein Reich! Ein Euro!).
Fact Finder: Who will be the ultimate end-time antichrist?