“This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof…” (Daniel 2:36). Thus spake the prophet Daniel to King Nebuchadnezzar, who ruled in power and strength over the Babylonian empire — the greatest, earthly empire of all time. The king was troubled by a dream he couldn’t remember. Through the inspiration of God, Daniel revealed the secret of the dream and its meaning.
The king had dreamed of a great image of a man standing before him. The head was of gold, the arms and breasts of silver, the belly and thighs of brass, the legs of iron, and the feet were a mixture of iron and clay. Daniel explained that the image represented a succession of four universal kingdoms.
The golden head represented Nebuchadnezzar and the mighty Babylon-ian empire. This empire was the first and greatest of all universal kingdoms which rose out of the ancient Assyrian empire founded by Nimrod. Nebuchadnezzar ruled over this wealthy empire from 606 to 561 B.C.
Daniel foretold the fall of the Babylonian empire and the rise of the second great kingdom. In 538 B.C., the prophecy was fulfilled when King Darius of the Medes and Cyrus the Great of the Persians joined forces and conquered Babylon (Daniel 5:31). This gave rise to the inferior Medo-Persian empire which was represented by the arms and breasts of silver.
Alexander the Great overthrew the Persian empire and conquered the known world of his day around 330 B.C. The Grecian empire, represented by the belly and thighs of brass, was established. At Alexander’s death, the kingdom was divided between four of his generals. The kingdom was weakened and eventually fell to the conquering Romans in 146 B.C.
The Roman empire, the last universal kingdom, was represented by the legs of iron. The feet, made of iron and clay, depict the lack of internal stability that occurred when the Roman empire was eventually divided into ten minor kingdoms. There are no more prophecies given of another earthly empire of such dominion.
Jesus Christ was born when the world was under the dominion of the Roman empire, ruled by Caesar Augustus. Daniel prophesied that “in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed…and it shall stand forever (Daniel 2:44).
Nebuchadnezzar had dreamed of a stone, cut out of a mountain without hands, breaking and crushing the image. The stone became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. This is a prophecy of the wonderful Kingdom of God which was established in the days of those kings.
Jesus is the stone which the builders rejected that became the head of the corner (Acts 4:11). He was born of a virgin and the kingdom began when Jesus came as a child as prophesied by Isaiah. “For unto us a child is born… the government shall be upon his shoulder…of the increase of his government there shall be no end” (Isaiah 9:6-7).
The four universal kingdoms of man fell one after another, but there is a kingdom that rose during that time that will never be destroyed. That is the Universal Kingdom of Jesus Christ. It is not a kingdom of this earth but is a spiritual, heavenly kingdom that will never end. The gospel message has spread across the whole earth. Governments have tried to stamp out Christianity, but the Kingdom of God just kept on spreading.
Many people look in vain for a future Kingdom of God on this earth. The Kingdom of God is here and now. It came with the first coming of Jesus and we need not look for another age. Today is the day of salvation and this is the time that we can enter into the peace, comfort, and provision of the Kingdom of God.