14 - The Fifth Kingdom
D/Dean Daniel Lesson 14
The Fifth Kingdom – Daniel 2:44-49
We are continuing our study in Daniel 2 at the end of the chapter where we are understanding and interpreting on the basis of Daniel's interpretation the great image. The great image is one of the most well-known images in the Bible, especially from Daniel, and it serves as an outline for history. We have seen that the head of gold represents Babylon which operated as an Empire from 605-539 BC, sixty-six years. Then the silver, the silver arms and chest represent the second great empire in history, the Medo-Persian Empire, from 539-331 BC, two hundred and eight years, and that's followed by the brass, the brass hips and abdomen of the statute, 331-146 BC representing the empire of Greece, and that was followed by the empire of Rome. That takes us up to Daniel 2:42 which is about where we stopped last time.
There's always one question that comes up when we get to this section of the iron mixed with clay, but there was another question that came up that called for some clarification of what we covered at the end last time and that was an attempt to try to understand biblically, from the text itself, what the issue is when the Scripture says that these kingdoms are going to deteriorate over time, that they start with that which is strongest and they get progressively and subsequently weaker. We can think of a number of different categories that we might apply to this; we might think in terms of their military strength and power. We might even think of the size of the various empires, but that does not work because as time went by the empires themselves grew larger. For example, under Nebuchadnezzar they only pushed their way into the southwestern section of what we call Turkey today, Asia Minor in the ancient world, and into some sections of Egypt. And the Persian Empire it was much broader, it was larger.
So if they're deteriorating, or the quality moves from what gold to silver and what sense is that deteriorating. That's the question we have to answer. There have been many attempted solutions to that question. Then following the Medo-Persian Empire which extended all the way into India, past the Indus River, it included modern Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Northern India. Then you have the Greek Empire under Alexander the Great, and his empire was even larger than the empire of the Persians. Then we come to the Roman Empire at the time of the New Testament, and that empire, although it does not proceed as far west it incorporates all of Europe into what is modern France, the Netherlands and into Britain. So each empire seems to be stronger militarily, seems to be larger territorially, but the Scriptures indicate that they are moving from that which has more value to that which has less value; that which is stronger to that which is weaker. So we need to try to answer that question from the text itself as to just what the issue is and why it does this.
We go back and look at Daniel 2:41 which reads, "And in that you saw the feet and toes," now the speaker here is Daniel explaining and interpreting the image to Nebuchadnezzar. "And in that you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter's clay and partly of iron," and that potter's clay there is the hardened brittle clay, "partly of iron, it will be a divided kingdom, but it will have in it the toughness of iron, inasmuch as you saw the iron mixed with common clay." So there's this mixture taking place of the iron and the clay. The emphasis of the text is that it's a divided kingdom, that means there is an internal division, what we might say is a fragmentation of the kingdom, it does not have the strength of internal unity that, let's say, characterized Nazi Germany under Adolph Hitler, or perhaps characterized the United States during that same period, during World War II, or characterized the British Empire as Britain took the Union Jack all over the world in the time of Victoria in the last century. This is a divided kingdom, there is an internal fragmentation, even though there is an external unity, there is an internal problem that brings about an internal weakness within the kingdom. But it has also the toughness of iron, so it's able to exert force, it has military strength and power but there is something internally that keeps it from having the kind of cohesiveness of other and greater empires of the past
Daniel 2:42 reads, "And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of pottery, so some of the kingdom will be strong and part of it will be brittle." Now this is the question that always comes up about this time and that is well where exactly is the United States in prophecy. And we can't say for sure because no individual nation is being identified here. We know from comparison with Daniel 7 and Daniel 9 and 11 and of course with Revelation, that this is what is called the Revived Roman Empire, and that the emperor of the west, called the antichrist, is going to be ruling it, but just exactly which nations comprise that empire we're not sure of. We know from Daniel 7 that it will be ten nations, and those nations are the heirs of Rome. Now the United States in many ways is the cultural heir of Rome; our early philosophy of government comes from Rome. Back during the formative stage of this nation in the 18th century the schools emphasized Rome, they taught Latin, they focused on the republican form of government. It wasn't until the 19th century that you had a shift to Greece and an emphasis of the democracy of Athens. So one of the major influences on the thinking of the founding fathers in terms of law, the structure of law and the structure of the nation as a republic was Rome and not Greece.
But nevertheless, we did take some things from Greece; even so, we took things from Persia, we took things that have come down to us from Chaldea. If we look around and you take a trip up north there's an astrologer along the side of the road up there, there's a house and a sign out in front and you can stop in and get your horoscope read. That goes all the way back to Babylon, it was the Babylonians who developed the whole signs of astrology and fortune telling from the stars so there have been elements of all of these empires that have continued into the next empire, from Babylon to Persia to Greece to Rome and they're still present with us today because this entire statue represents in its whole the kingdom of man, everything man seeks to do and accomplish on his own efforts against the kingdom of God. We must understand that to understand all of Biblical prophecy; it's the kingdom of man versus the kingdom of God. If you go all the way back to Genesis 11 it's Babel against God, and it becomes the city of man, Babel, against the city of God which is Jerusalem. So the Bible, in a sense, is the tale of two cities.
So when we come to a passage like Daniel 2:42 and it talks about this future kingdom and the mix that's there, it certainly could include the United States, most of the western hemisphere was founded by Europeans and whether the Spanish, Portuguese, or the Anglo-Saxons or the Germanic groups, the United States has been settled mostly by Europeans so we have that heritage. We are of cultural, philosophical heir to Rome and to Greece, yet we do not know exactly what the organization will be, what nations will be on top, what nation will be the nation that produces the antichrist. There's a tremendous amount of speculation but that's all it is is speculation and we should not speculate beyond what the Scripture says. The antichrist will not be revealed until after the rapture of the Church so it is not for us to speculate on because the next thing we're going to see in God's prophetic time table is the rapture, not the antichrist, not the rise of the ten nation confederacy, all the speculation about the European Union right now is interesting because it seems like it's setting the stage but there are more nations in the EU than ten. They're building a new facility, a new center of government in Luxemburg, that is architecturally designed to reflect the unfinished tower of Babel, and one of the symbols that has been adopted to represent the EU is interesting, it is Europa riding on a bull, Europa is one of the goddess from Greek religion, it's Europa, it is a woman riding on a beast and that picks up the imagery from Revelation 16 and 17. So there is a tremendous amount going on today that gives tremendous fuel to all the prophecy monger fires and we're not going to get into that. I think it's just interesting because it certainly shows that things could happen at any moment. More things seem to be on the scene today than ever before in history and yet it could still be 100, 200, 300 years before the rapture. So we don't know just exactly where the United States will fit in.
Then we come to Daniel 2:43, Daniel goes on to say, "In that you saw the iron mixed with common clay, they will combine with one another in the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, even as iron does not combine with pottery." I hit this a little fast last time so let's stop and pay a little more attention to what's in this verse. It says "in that you saw the iron mixed with clay," that's what we're talking about, is trying to understand this mixture. It is this mixture that makes the ankles, really the calves; the term for feet includes everything up to the knee, and the foot, this mixture is the weakest of all the kingdoms. And it's this mixture that causes it to be weak, so to understand that will be to give us a clue as to why there's a deterioration in strength from empire to empire through history.
"In that you saw the iron mixed with common clay, they will combine with one another in the seed of men," now that is the interpretive clue to understanding this whole concept of progressive weakness in the empires. "They will combine with one another in the seed of men," now there is one other place where this phrase is used and that is in Ezra 9. We look at this phrase here in Daniel 2:43, "they will combine with one another in the seed of men," the "they" doesn't refer to the toes or to the feet combining, it refers to the people of the kingdom represented by the toes. It says "they," that is the people "will combine with one another in the seed of men." So we need to look at this term "seed of men" and how it's used.
In Ezra 9:2 we read Ezra condemning or bringing an indictment against the Jews because they have intermarried with Gentiles, they divorced their Jewish wives, they married young good-looking Gentile girls. Ezra says, "For they have taken some of their daughters," the "their" here refers to the Gentiles, "some of their daughters as wives for themselves and for their sons, so that the holy race," that is the Jews, "the holy race has intermingled" and here we have the same phraseology, "with the seed of the peoples of the lands," the original Hebrew talks about the seed of the peoples of the land, it's this same kind of mixing. Now the Bible is not making a statement here against interracial marriage; it's not saying it was wrong for a Jew to marry a non-Jew. If so then it was wrong for Ruth to marry Boaz, but what was forbidden in the Mosaic Law was not intermarriage of Jew to Gentile but intermarriage of a believing Jew, a Jew, assuming them to be believers, with a pagan unbeliever, where it was a cultural mix; it wasn't against a racial mix, it was against a cultural mix, that you were mixing a believing culture, a Jewish culture that was under the Mosaic Law, the vassal people, remember we studied the suzerain vassal treaty, that this was the format and the form of the Mosaic Code, that God is the suzerain or the Great Lord and the people were the vassals, and Israel was viewed as a vassal nation to God and they were to remain pure and separate and set apart to God. They were not to intermingle with pagans; they were not to intermingle with those who worshipped other gods because then that influence would come into the holy people and would have a negative influence and tear down the nation as the nation apostacized, and of course we've seen that again and again in our study on Judges because that's exactly what happened during the period of the Judges, is they were intermarrying with the Canaanites and the Jebusites and the Perizzites and all of the other peoples that inhabited the land, all the other Canaanites. And that diluted their orientation to spiritual truth and the nation apostacized. So that's what Ezra is condemning the people for here and that is what the issue is.
So the "combining with one another in the seed of men" is a phrase that refers to cultural mixing. And as you have a nation that is made up of a multitude of different cultures and sub groups and ethnic groups, each emphasizing their one background, their own heritage, their own agenda, what happens is you break down the unity of that nation. We've seen that in the history of the United States; we're a melting pot but up until the early 20th century, as immigrants came to America, first of all the immigrants that came to America were usually from an educated skilled artisan class, for the most part, and so when they came they came to establish themselves in business and to make a life for themselves and to assimilate into the culture of America. But what happened by the middle part of the 20th century is that began to break down and you began to see people emphasizing their ethnic heritage, so you have Asian Americans and African Americans and Native Americans. I'm always amused by that because I'm a native American, but there are those who are Indians and they want to make themselves different. And we're no longer a melting pot, the whole image of a melting pot is when all the different things get in there and it's melted down, it becomes homogenous; you don't maintain the separate identities. But by maintaining the separate identities what's happening is everybody fragments more and more and everybody has a different agenda and so the internal strength is not what it was 50, 100 or 150 years ago.
In Europe it's even worse, back in the 90s the French had to pass a law that you no longer were granted automatic French citizenship simply by virtue of being born on French soil, and the reason was because there's such a large number of Arabs and Middle Easterners and many Iranians, after the fall of the Shah, had become expatriates and were living in France. And if all of their children, all their offspring were automatically granted French citizenship then it would not be long before the historic strain of the ethnic Frenchman was diluted and destroyed. So in order to preserve France and the French line, and French racial heritage they were excluding everyone and you have to apply for French citizenship.
Similar things were happening in Germany, they've imported so many Turks, just as down in the southwest we've brought in so many workers from Mexico. So with all these new ethnic groups coming into Europe you have, since the colonization of India and Asia by the Brits 100-150 years ago, you have a tremendous number of Indians and Pakistanis and other ethnic groups in Europe. Now this is not to say… this is no basis for any kind of racial prejudice or anything like that, it's simply a historic reality that these different ethnic groups have different backgrounds, different subcultures, and different agendas, and they're different religions. And primarily these different religious orientations are going to have something to do with an internal weakness. And as the antichrist reaches his power, his ultimate power towards the middle point of the Tribulation where he seeks to have a true global government and unity, his kingdom is basically going to fragment on the inside. And it's because it does not have an internal homogenous unity, there are too many different groups and that's what you see historically.
There were fewer ethnic divisions among the Babylonians, in the Babylonian Empire. There were more in the Persian Empire, even more among the Greeks and even a greater number of ethnic divisions by the Romans and that created problems and difficulties, administrative problems in the Roman Empire. So that's the meaning of the term, "combining with one another in the seed of men" is that there will be such a cultural mix in the Revived Roman Empire that it will weaken the empire on the inside.
Now we come to Daniel 2:44, "And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever." Now the first question we need to ask is who are these kings, "in the days of those kings," well who are "those kings." We might think that these are the kings, the ten kings, the ten toes, but remember, in Daniel 2, when Daniel is explaining this to Nebuchadnezzar, he expects Nebuchadnezzar to understand what he's talking about. He says "those kings." Now what we tend to do is look at Daniel 7 which says there will be ten kings in the Revived Roman Empire, but in Daniel 2 Nebuchadnezzar was not aware of what was going to happen in Daniel 7, in fact by Daniel 7 he's dead. So the for the phrase "in the days of those kings" to have any meaning to Nebuchadnezzar we can't come along and say that the ten toes are the ten kings. That's what they represent but that's not what this means in context.
What "those kings" refers to is the kings represent that the kingdom of man, it is while "these kings," this kingdom of man is in full operation that something supernatural, something radical is going to happen and the God of heaven is going to intervene in human history in a radical way and bring the kingdom of man to a devastating end. It says "in the days of those kings," and the picture there is when the kingdom of man is surging ahead as normal, normal historic operation, that God will intervene and establish His own kingdom, which will never be destroyed.
Now everyone agrees that the fourth kingdom is the Roman Empire; the disagreement comes in determining what the fourth kingdom shades off into. What exactly is this next kingdom that shades off the iron and the clay; what do those two legs represent. And so there are different solutions and to understand those solutions we have to go back briefly and review our schools of prophetic interpretation.
There are three ways in which prophecy is interpreted. The first is called amillennialism and amillennialism takes the position that there is no literal millennium. You have the Church Age starting on the day of Pentecost and the Church Age is basically equivalent to the Messianic kingdom. The one thousand years mentioned in Revelation 20 are viewed as non-literal years, that that one thousand is just a symbolic number. So the Church is viewed as the kingdom and that Jesus is ruling as an absentee king on the throne of David in heaven. Of course the fact that the throne in heaven is never referred to as the throne of David doesn't bother them, it's all symbolic allegorical interpretation. And the Second Coming of Christ comes at the end of the Church Age, ending history and then eternity begins.
Postmillennialism looks like this: Christ came at the First Advent, the Church gradually brings in the Messianic kingdom, so it shades in, as time goes by the Messianic kingdom will be brought in, the thousand years are non-literal. Now if we go back and look at the amill chart one of the things that we're going to note here is that there's no literal kingdom established on the earth. Now what we have when we look at Daniel's image and Daniel's interpretation is that there is a literal kingdom of gold, that's Babylon, and you can mark it to the day when the Medes and the Persians came into Babylon and the kingdom of Babylon was destroyed, and was replaced by a literal physical measurable kingdom called the kingdom of the Medes and the Persians; and that was established and we know when the Persian Empire was finally defeated by Alexander the Great, we know to the day when that ended. We know that Alexander died and his Greek Empire was divided in four ways between his generals and we know when the Greek Empire was eventually defeated by the Roman Empire. And we know, depending on whether you're looking at the east or the west when the Roman Empire finally ended. And it just sort of shaded off, kind of, at the end, in the west especially into the Holy Roman Empire and then just kind of gradually dissipated and disappeared into history but it will, we believe, come back.
So the amillennial view sees the kingdom gradually coming in, being manifested during this age and it's non-literal. What we're going to see in our interpretation of Daniel is that God establishes a kingdom. Now we have to ask a question: well, how does Daniel fit these alternative interpretations of the kingdom. And the point I'm making to make it real clear is that in amillennialism and in postmillennialism the kingdom is non-literal, non-physical, non-measurable and it gradually comes in. Is that the picture that we have in Daniel 2? No it's not; in Daniel 2 we have a kingdom that comes in that is an actual kingdom. Postmillennialism just ends and then you're into eternity there's no destruction of the human kingdom at a point in time in history. So that's our view of premillennialism, that premillennialism says that the Church Age is followed by the Tribulation, the Tribulations ends with the Second Coming of Christ who defeats the armies of the antichrist at the battle of Armageddon and then establishes His kingdom on the earth for a literal one thousand year period.
Now the problem is for the amillennialist and the postmillennialist is in their interpretation of how the kingdom of man is destroyed. These two schools interpret the kingdom of heaven as the Church. That's how they look at that particular passage, is that the kingdom of heaven is the Church. The kingdom of heaven is the Church and that the kingdom of heaven smashed the fourth kingdom over a period of time from the time of the First Advent of Jesus Christ up to the time of approximately 500 AD when the Roman Empire was finally destroyed and Christianity survived. So their interpretation is the rock, the stone that's cut without hands, smashes the fourth kingdom, that that's a gradual slow victory, it takes place over s 500 year point of time. But the view of the premillennialist is that the kingdom of heaven comes in at a point in time, just as all of the other empires ended at a point, just as all of the other empires were literal physical geographical measurable historical kingdoms, so the kingdom of heaven will be a literal physical geographical measurable kingdom. They have to shift their whole interpretation when they get to the end there in order for it to fit into their view of eschatology. So once again we see that Daniel 2 supports a premillennial view of history and a premillennial view of prophecy.
Now one of the ways that we can understand this is by looking at some of the key words that are used in Daniel 2:44. Verse 44 it states "the stone that is cut without hands," now the reason that it's cut without hands is to indicate that it's not of human origin. That phrase "cut without hands" is used of the stone that was to be used to build the altar in the temple, it was to be built with stones cut without hands, because the pagans would go out and they would quarry rock and they would etch it and engrave it, and they would beautify the rock and polish it because the altar that they built was an altar that was of their own device and it represented their own effort and their own work whereas the stone that God wanted for the altar was cut without human hands, no human effort was involved, it was all God's effort because God was emphasizing that salvation is by grace, not by human work or human effort, that salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone, not by human works. So it is a stone that is cut without hands and it will suddenly come, notice it's quick, it's at a point in time, just as premillennialism teaches that Jesus Christ returns at the Second Advent and destroys the armies of the antichrist. And that this stone represents the fifth kingdom in history.
This represents the fifth kingdom; the fourth kingdom is the Roman Empire that fades out and then comes back as the Revived Roman Empire and then it is destroyed by this fifth kingdom, the kingdom that supernaturally comes and destroys the kingdom of man. We would say that the smashing of the kingdom is yet future, this did not occur in the past, it didn't occur in 70 AD, it did not occur in 500 AD when the Roman Empire was destroyed, it is not gradually occurring today, as the Church somehow is overcoming the world; it will only occur when Jesus Christ comes back. The word that is used there for "crush" is the word daqaq, the Hebrew word daqaq which means to crush and it means to grind something down until it becomes fine dust. It means to pulverize and to crush something into fine dust. So that's the meaning from the Hebrew dictionary, the Hebrew Aramaic Lexicon; daqaq means to pulverize something, to completely destroy something so it's just blown away in the wind.
Now that is not what we see with the Roman Empire; all the elements, the influences of Roman law, the things in the Roman Empire which survived from the Greeks, the culture, the drama, what the Greeks brought and continued from the Persians, mathematics, astronomy, algebra, things that the Persians got from the Babylonians preceding them in terms of astronomy and mathematics and some administrative organization, all that has continued, it never stopped in human history. And yet what this indicates is a complete and total cessation of the kingdom of man. It is going to be pulverized into fine dust and just blows away into nothingness.
Now it would help us to do a little word study on the word daqaq to see how it is used in other places. For example, in Isaiah 41:15-16 we read, God is speaking, He says, "Behold, I have made you a new, sharp threshing sledge with double edges; you will thresh the mountains, and pulverize them, and will make the hills like chaff." Now He's talking to Israel, He's using the term mountains and hills metaphorically in this context to refer to the other kingdoms around them. God is saying I will use you, Israel, to destroy these other kingdoms. Now has that happened in history yet? See, one of the things that so many prophecy teachers tend to take these passages historically. I'm not talking even dispensationalists; they would take this back to when Babylon was destroyed or when the Persian Empire was destroyed.
But let me suggest that if you look at the context in these passages, that these prophecies have not been completely fulfilled yet. When you look at the prophecies about the destruction of Babylon, there has been a continuous existence of a people on the site of the city of Babel since it was destroyed in the ancient world. It's never been completely uninhabited, yet the prophecies in Isaiah, Isaiah 14, Isaiah 13, that indicate the destruction of Babel indicate that it will be a waste land, that animals won't even inhabit the place. And yet there were, as early as the 1980s, there were three different Bedouin villages that were on the location of the historic Babylon. So these things have not been fully carried out yet. Not only that, it wasn't the destruction of Babylon, the destruction of some of these other ancient nations like Egypt and Syria, were not accomplished as a result of their relationship with Israel. So God is going to make Israel the issue ultimately in history and that's what happens at the Second Coming. These nations are coming on Israel and God is going to pound them against Israel, as it were, and it will pulverize those nations.
Isaiah 41:16, "You will winnow them, and the wind will carry them away, and the storm will scatter them," and the word that is used here in "winnowing them" is "you will pulverize them, and the wind will carry them away, and the storm will scatter them; but you will rejoice in the LORD, you will glory in the Holy One of Israel." See you never had that kind of redemptive nation of Israel after the Babylonian captivity. So this can not have been fulfilled yet.
Another passage, Jeremiah 51:20, I want to do a little survey to establish my point here as we look at this particular chapter; let's go to the middle and then we'll back up to the beginning. Isaiah 51:20, God is speaking to Israel, "He says, you are my battle-axe, My weapon of war, for with you I will pulverize," there's our word daqaq again, "I will break the nation in pieces, and with you I will destroy kingdoms,  With you I will break in pieces the horse and its rider," so He's going to use Israel as the weapon to destroy these nations. Well, that has not happened in history yet.
Let's go back to the beginning of this chapter and I just want to skim through it, pick up some salient points and emphasize some things. God says, "Behold I will raise up against Babylon, and against those who dwell in Leb-kamai a destroying wind,  And I will send winnowers to Babylon who will winnow her and empty her land." Now there are a lot of people who say this took place when the Medes and the Persians invaded Babylon. But wait, let's watch what it said the circumstances, "Against her let the archer bend his bow, lift himself against her in his armor, do not spare her young men, utterly destroy all her armor.  Thus the slain shall fall in the land of the Chaldeans, and those thrust through, in her streets,  For Israel is not forsaken, nor Judah by his God," notice the mention of Israel and Judah indicates an emphasis on both nations. Now all that you had after the end of the Babylonian captivity was the return of Judah but this is talking about the entire nation, the entire twelve tribes.  "For Israel is not forsaken, nor Judah by his God, the LORD of hosts, tough their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel." Despite their sins, despite their failures, despite their idolatry, despite their disobedience to the Law, God is saying I never deserted them. That's grace; God never deserts us no matter how much we fail, no matter how sinful we are, no matter how bad we have disappointed him, no matter how badly we have rebelled against him God never deserts us.
Jeremiah 51:6, he says, "Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and everyone save his life, do not be cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the LORD's vengeance," and that's a technical term for the Tribulation, the day of the Lord, "He shall recompense her.  Babylon was a golden cup in the LORD's hand, that made all the earth drunk; the nations drank her wine," it's talking about the glory of Babylon when she was the head of gold. Verse 8, "Babylon has suddenly fallen and been destroyed; wail for her." When did that happen? When Cyrus came in with the Medes and the Persians there was little destruction of Babylon. In fact, he ordered the army not to pillage and burn and destroy the city, he kept it there, in fact, he made Babylon his capital. Verse 9, "We would have healed Babylon, for she is not healed; forsake her, and let us go every one to his own country; for her judgment reaches to heaven, and is lifted up to the skies." This is the imagery that the Apostle John uses in Revelation 17 and 18. Now most prophecy scholars, and you may have been taught in the past that when you come to Revelation 17 and 18 that that's talking about political Babylon or religious Babylon, that's talking about the Revived Roman Empire but what I'm arguing here is that there will be a literal Babylon that becomes a political economic power in the Tribulation. Why do I argue that? Because these prophecies on the destruction of Babylon never fully took place…they never fully took place in history.
Let's skip down to Jeremiah 51:13, "And you who dwell by many waters, abundant in treasures, your end has come, the measure of your covetousness,  The LORD of hosts has sworn by Himself, saying, Surely, I will fill you with men, as with locusts, and they shall lift up a shout against you," a picture of warfare there; "filled with men" is an enormous army coming in to invade.  He has made the earth by His power, He has established the world by His wisdom, and has stretched out the heaven by His understanding.  When He utters His voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens; He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; He makes lightnings with rain," it's talking about the power of God, that God is sovereign and controls history.
Jeremiah 51:23, it's still talking about Israel, (we already read 21-22), "With you also I will break in pieces with the shepherd and his flock; with you I will break in pieces the farmer and his yoke of oxen; with you I will break in pieces governors and rulers,  And I will repay Babylon and all the inhabitants of Chaldea for all the evil that they have done in Zion in your sight, saith the LORD.  Behold, I am against you, O destroying mountain, who destroys all the earth and I will stretch out My hand against you, and roll you down from the rocks and make you a burnt mountain.  There shall not come from you a stone for a corner, nor a stone for foundations but you shall be desolate forever," now that never happened. In fact, Saddam Hussein has rebuilt the city of Babylon, they have gone in and they have used the stones that were there before, the rubble that was leftover, some of the original tile work that still had Nebuchadnezzar's name stamped on it, they have used that, they have repainted it and they are and have been rebuilding the city of Babylon since the mid-80s. So it has never been desolate as it is pictured here and as it is pictured over in Isaiah 13.
Now later on in the passage, if we skipped down a little bit, for example, in verse 28 it talks about, "Prepare against her the nations with the kings of the Medes, its governors, and all its rulers, and all the land of his dominion." And somebody might say well, that's what happened in the Medo-Persian Empire, but in the Medo-Persian Empire it wasn't the Medes that destroyed the Babylon, it was the Persians, it was Cyrus the Persian, Cyrus wasn't a Mede, he was married to a Median princess, and he had defeated the Medes, he's gone against Astyages and up to that point the Medes were in ascendancy and the Persians were a little known back-water people but the Persians came along under Cyrus and defeated the Medes and after that the Persians were the primary empire and it was the Persians that defeated the Babylonians, not the Medes. So this is talking about something that has not yet been fulfilled. Jeremiah 51:29, "And the land shall tremble and sorrow; for every purpose of the LORD shall be performed against Babylon, to make the land of Babylon a desolation without an inhabitant," that's never happened in history.
So it's a simple thing, this is talking about a future time when God is going to completely destroy these nations that were historically a problem for Israel, Edom, the Philistines, the Egyptians, the Syrians, not the Assyrians, the Syrians, the Babylonians, these will be destroyed in the future.
Another passage, Micah 4:13, "Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion; for your horn I will make iron, and your hooves I will make bronze, that you may pulverize many peoples," when has Israel ever pulverized many peoples? It's never happened; this is talking about an event in the future. "…that you may devote to the Lord their unjust gain and their wealth to the Lord of all the earth."
And then again, Zechariah 12:3, "And it will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured," there's our word daqaq, meaning crushed, they will be crushed, "and all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it." And notice, every time, in all these passages, Jeremiah 51:20; Micah 4:13, Zechariah 12:3, the crushing has been immediate; it hasn't gone on for three or four hundred years.
So the conclusion to all of this is that the crushing is something that is sudden. It is not something that is gradual, it is not something that is allegorical or spiritual, it is something that happens literally in a geographical location in space/time history.
Now we go on in Daniel 2:45, "Inasmuch as you saw that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold," notice it doesn't just crush the iron and the clay, it crushes the entire image, it is the kingdom of man that has continued through history that is destroyed by the stone that is cut without hands. It goes on to read, "the great God has made known to the king what will take place in the future; so the dream is true, and its interpretation is trustworthy." So Daniel concludes with his interpretation and the point of this whole analogy is that the kingdom of man, of which you are the head, is ultimately going to be destroyed. Yes, Nebuchadnezzar, your fears are legitimate, your kingdom is not forever, you are not a god, you never will be a god but there is a God of heaven and He will establish His kingdom and all that you and all the other empires develop will be destroyed and will blow away in the breeze, and that is the message of the image, that God will establish His kingdom. That's the emphasis, you go back and you look at the verses, you mark them out, more is said about the stone cut without hands, the destruction of the final empire and the establishment of the kingdom, the fifth kingdom of God, than any other kingdom, so that's where the emphasis lies. That God will establish His kingdom and destroy the kingdom of man; the kingdom of man is temporary.
Then look at Nebuchadnezzar's response starting in verse 46, "Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face and did homage to Daniel, and gave orders to present to him an offering and fragrant incense." Now what is going on here is that Nebuchadnezzar is not worshiping Daniel, he is worshiping the God of Daniel. There is an episode that took place when Alexander the Great had conquered the area of, traditionally of Israel, and when he came down the high priest of the temple came out with the books and the prophecies of Daniel and he met the armies of Alexander the Great and he came to Alexander the Great and he opened the scrolls to show him where Daniel had prophesied the coming of Alexander the Great in Daniel 7 and Daniel 9 and 10 and he wanted to see where they worshiped this God who was had so accurately prophesied the future, and they took him to the temple, and there he bowed down before the high priest at the temple, and one of his generals, Parminian, asked him why he had prostrated himself before this high priest, see, he was the greatest conqueror, this tremendous emperor of Greece that was prostrating himself before a high priest and Alexander replied it was not before him that I prostrated myself but the God of whom he has the honor to be high priest. That is the same thing that is going on here in verse 46, Nebuchadnezzar is not worshiping Daniel, he's worshiping the God Daniel represents.
So in Daniel 2:47, "The king answered Daniel and said, 'Surely your God is a God of gods and a Lord of kings" notice he's not saying king of kings and Lord of Lords, he's saying he "is a God of gods and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of mysteries, since you have been able to reveal this mystery." So he praises Daniel, and then in verse 48, "Then the king promoted Daniel" when Daniel is promoted it is God who is promoting him, it is not simply man, you are never promoted until God promotes you. "Then the king promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts, and he made him ruler" now here he's just about to graduate from his training school, he is just on the verge and we studied when we looked at the chronology at the beginning of the chapter, he hasn't graduated yet, this is in the spring, he doesn't graduate for a couple of months but he's already being promoted and he is made the "ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief administrator over all the wise men of Babylon.
Daniel 2:49, "And Daniel petitioned the king, and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego over the affairs of the province of Babylon, but Daniel sat in the gate of the king." See, he is a special advisor now to the king, God has promoted him. Here is this Jew who has remained faithful to the Law, faithful in applying doctrine, he has not compromised himself one little bit, and because of that God promotes him to a position of tremendous influence.
Next time we'll come back and we'll see how that influence affects things because Nebuchadnezzar…Nebuchadnezzar is not saved yet, Nebuchadnezzar has not come to a point, even though he says your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings, he hasn't recognized his need for salvation. And that's going to happen again in the next chapter. We're going to see his reaction. We're watching a man coming through God-consciousness coming to an understanding of the gospel, and he's going to react. He is at a point now where he recognizes God is sovereign, he's not but he's going to react to it in the next chapter and he's going to get himself in terrible trouble and it will not be until the end of chapter 4 that Nebuchadnezzar becomes a believer.