The Dream of King Nebuchadnezzar

(Daniel 2:1-13; 24-45; 7:1-8)

In Daniel 2, King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream of an image with a head of gold, a chest of silver, a belly of bronze, and thighs of iron. Its feet were partly iron and partly clay.

A stone smashed the toes of the image, and it became a great mountain that filled the whole Earth.

None of the wise men were able to tell King Nebuchadnezzar the contents of the dream and explain their meaning, so he became furious and sent his soldiers to kill all the wise men in Babylon. But Daniel begged them for a chance to explain the dream. He prayed to God, who revealed to him the contents of the dream and their meaning, which he told the king:

“You O King … are the head of gold…. After you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours … then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the Earth…. And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron inasmuch as iron it breaks in pieces and shatters everything…. Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided — as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed.”1Dan 2:37-43

The identities of the first four kingdoms were well known: Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome—the four kingdoms that kept Israel in captivity. These are the four beasts in Daniel 7. The ten toes in the image of Daniel 2 are the ten horns in Daniel 7.

The Protestant Reformers understood that the ten toes and ten horns were the ten states of Europe that came out of the Roman Empire and were united by the bishop of Rome. This gave them the confidence to break free from the power of the church, which was supported by the political power of Europe.

The stone that struck the image was Christ for Isaiah wrote, “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone….”2Isa 28:16 The Spirit of Christ grew up into the mountain of the Lord’s House, which Isaiah described in the second chapter of his book.