Nebuchadnezzar's Dream--The Death of His Dynasty
Following my departure from the Jehovah's Witnesses, I have done my own research using Preterism as a primary lens. I would like to share my understanding of Daniel Chapter 2:
31 "You looked, O king, and there before you stood a large statue—an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance. 32 The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, 33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay. 34 While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were broken to pieces at the same time and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth." —The New International Version
Daniel tells Nebuchadnezzar, “You yourself are the head of gold.” That is, you personally, and not his Babylonian "empire." Here, then, is my interpretation of the dream with its immense image: Nebuchadnezzar II (head of gold) (605-562 B.C.E)
Amel-Marduk (chest and arms silver) (562-559)
Nergal-sharezer (belly and thighs of brass) (559-555)
Labashi-Marduk (legs of iron) (556)
Nabonidus and Belshazzar (feet of iron and clay) (555-539)
Bible dictionaries tell us that the final “kingdom” of Nabonidus and his son Belshazzar was, in fact, divided and weakened due to Nabonidus’ attempt to promote the worship of an Assyrian moon god in Babylon. It is said that this act split the country of Babylonia in two. Other affronts to the Babylonian gods by Nabonidus deepened the unrest and weakened his Kingdom—such as being absent from a New Years Festival thereby making its observance impossible. That religious division left Babylonia in a weakened state and thus vulnerable to attack by the Persians. It is said that Babylon had also been weakened economically due to Nabonidus’ prodigious spending on building projects.
When did the stone strike the image on its weakened feet? I suggest during the reign of Nabonidus and Belshazzar. The event is recorded in Daniel Chapter 5. Strange ‘writing on the wall’ that only Daniel could interpret appeared during Belshazzar’s feast in honor of his Babylonian deities. The writing was interpreted thus: God, the Supreme Auditor, had numbered the days of Belshazzar’s kingdom [his time was up!], weighed it in the balance and found it wanting [he was worthless], and his kingdom was divided and given to the Medes and Persians [he was about to be conquered]. That conquest occurred that very night. The stone (an oppositional power led by God's "messiah" Cyrus) had struck the feet of the image. That Persian power vanquished Babylon and "filled" the earth (i.e., dominated the fertile crescent).
If you are interested in my other research, please let me know and I will share my website. Your comments are most welcome.
Bye for now!
I came to that same conclusion myself last year. Eden
Since I believe Daniel was written after the fall of Babylon this makes sence at what the writter may have been saying.
So what do the 10 toes represent?
Not the same as the ten horns of the Ram of Greece then?
Nabonidus and Belshazzar (feet of iron and clay) (555-539)
So in the days of those kings what kingdom did God set up that was never brought to ruin?
"And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin. And the kingdom itself will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite;
Thank you for your replies. EdenOne I'm so interested to know how you arrived at your conclusion. For me, the research was a hard slog (but uplifting, nonetheless!).
Crazyguy, I love how you say something "made sense." I'm interested in your perspective about the date of Daniel's authorship, if you have time.
Hi Bart (love that surname!). No, the ten toes have no significance, in my opinion. The vision is not the same as others in the Book of Daniel. Whereas in Daniel Chapter 4 Nebuchadnezzar is pictured as a "tree," in Daniel Chapter 2 his dynasty is pictured as an image. I think it was important for the Israelite captives to know when they could return home. Daniel's vision undoubtedly would have heartened them.
Hello Ablebodiedman. Great question. With your indulgence I will paraphrase Daniel 2:44:
"During the reign of those kings [Nabonidus and Belshazzar] the God of heaven [not a lifeless Babylonian idol] shall replace your dynasty with a government that shall never be brought to ruin [by foreign enemies, dynastic succession, or political intrigue]. That divine government [expressed through God's "anointed" King Cyrus] shall shatter your dynasty and continue to exert its power [on behalf of Israel] indefinitely." The "it itself" statement, then, would apply to God as Supreme ruler.
Given that Daniel had his own people, the exiled Hebrews, in mind, the subtext of his revelation was that God would re-establish His Kingdom in Judah. That kingdom would not be destroyed without His decree. The sovereign God had permitted the Babylonians to conquer Judah, and that same God would crush the Babylonian dynasty out of existence. As I mentioned above, such message would have greatly heartened the captive Jews in Babylon until they were repatriated to Judah to re-build the Temple. It seems to me that the message of Daniel was that 'the heavens are ruling,' notwithstanding what Nebuchadnezzar and his posterity imagined.
Bye for now!
A lot of people feel this book was written during the macabeean period, infact the first book of macabees put the book of Daniel in perspective. Also consider the chapters and verses found in the older Septuagint bible about Daniel defeating the Dragon. Keep on with your research.
As I mentioned above, such message would have greatly heartened the captive Jews in Babylon until they were repatriated to Judah to re-build the Temple.
Then why did God allow the Romans to ruin that same re-built temple, the city and destroy the people of that kingdom if it was a kingdom that would never be brought to ruin?
Chapters 2, 3 and 4 form a composite story, with the purpose of showing that all human authority comes from (Israel's) God. It starts with a 4-part idol, which Nebuchadnezzar makes a single part, with his gold continuing forever. The dream story is an instrument for arriving at the conclusion that God is fully in control.
The book of Daniel is composed of several traditions (note the different languages employed). It was produced in the 2nd century BCE as a means for strengthening the Jews whose existence was again under threat. The myths and fables did not raise suspicion by the Jews' tormentors under Antiochus Epiphanes but the Jews, with their mysticism, were aided through the belief that they too would survive, just as their forebears had against Babylon.
It is likely that the story tellers used the 10-year withdrawal of Nabonidus and his apparent illness, rewriting it for their own purposes, creating the dream sequence that now forms Chapter 4.
They expected that the coming Kingdom would strike their oppressors, just as the stone had struck at the foundation of the idol and hence would bring about the destruction of their oppressors, whether Babylon, Persia, or Greece.
Yes, please share your websight.