Monday, June 9, 2014

44. The Image - Four Successive Empires

Scripture:  Daniel 2:31-43

Nebuchadnezzar had seen an enormous statue:

The Image (Daniel 2:31-33):

1.  A Head of Gold
2.  Chest and arms of Silver
3.  Belly and thighs of Bronze
4.  Legs of Iron with Feet of Iron and Clay

Interpretation of the Image  (Daniel 2:36- 43):

1.  Head of Gold 
     Nebuchadnezzar - you are the head of gold (Dan 2:38)

2.  Chest and arms of Silver 
     Another kingdom will arise but inferior (Dan 2:39)

3.  Belly and thighs of Bronze 
     A third kingdom will rule over the whole earth (Dan 2:39)

4.  Legs of Iron with Feet of Iron and Clay 
     A fourth kingdom and will be a divided kingdom (Dan 2:40-43)

Daniel 2:45 “The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy.”

This is a prophetic dream revealing to Daniel through Nebuchadnezzar what will take place in the future. 2600 years have passed since the time of Nebuchadnezzar.  We have the advantage of hindsight to know what had happened in history in the last 2600 years.

From History, we have seen the above 4 successive Empires:

1.  Head - The Kingdom of Gold - Babylon  605-539 BC 
Nebuchadnezzar's Kingdom was the first world power, which is modern day Iraq.  The Babylonians worshipped Bel Marduk made out out of solid gold.  The prophecy says that it would not last forever.  Another world kingdom will arise.

2.  Chest & Arms - The Kingdom of Silver - Persia  538 - 331 BC
 Nebuchadnezzar's Kingdom crumbled into ruins when Cryus, the Persian General overthrew the Babylonian Empire in 539 BC.  We see this in Daniel 5:28 that it was the Medo-Persia that succeeded Babylon, just as God said it would.

3.  Belly & Thigh - Kingdom of Bronze - Greece 331 - 168 BC

The Kingdom of Greece defeated the Persians at the battle of Arbela in 331 BC.  Alexander the Great conquered the Medes and Persians, turning Greece into the world's 3rd great empire.  Dan 8:21 says Greece succeeded Medo-Persia, just as God said it would.

4.  Legs & Feet - Kingdom of Iron & Clay - Rome

After the death of Alexander the Graet, the Greece empire weakened and split into rival factions.  At the Battle of Pydna in 168 BC, the 'iron empire' of Rome crushed Greece.  Rome continued to rule the world through the time of Jesus.

 Eventually Roman fractured into numerous kingdoms symbolized by the feet and toes, partly iron, partly clay.

Here is a picture that summarizes the above:

Tomorrow we will look at the 'Rock cut out of a mountain but not by human hands'.  :)

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