Chapter 5: The Prophecies of Daniel Unsealed - Part 2
Mystery Babylon and the Stone Kingdom, part 14 —Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and Daniel’s interpretation
The book of Daniel has numerous mentions of historical figures contemporary with Daniel. Proofs of the veracity of the book of Daniel using that method have been done by scholars in the past, but we are going to leave those aside for the sake of time, and just focus on what we can find elsewhere in the Scriptures.
First, you should know that Daniel was a contemporary of both Jeremiah and Ezekiel, but not merely contemporaries; they knew each other. Apparently, all three were in Jerusalem when Daniel and his three friends were taken to Babylon as boys in their early teens (Daniel himself was about 16.) Ezekiel would have been in his early 20s and Jeremiah in his mid-30s at the time.
Let’s turn to the book of Ezekiel first. Here we will find testimony that Daniel was not some mythological character, some later writer’s fictional invention. No, Daniel was a real person because some years later, as Ezekiel had monitored how Daniel was faring in Babylon, …
Ezekiel 14:12 The word of the LORD came again to me, saying,
13 Son of man, when the land sinneth against me by trespassing grievously, then will I stretch out mine hand upon it, and will break the staff of the bread thereof, and will send famine upon it, and will cut off man and beast from it:
14 Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD
And drop down to verse 19,
19 Or if I send a pestilence into that land, and pour out my fury upon it in blood, to cut off from it man and beast:
20 Though Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness.
Now turn to Ezekiel 28. If Daniel was indeed a real person, then maybe it was just a legend that he was one of—in fact, the most brilliant and wise counselor in the court of Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar.
In chapter 28, Ezekiel—actually, God through Ezekiel—is mocking the Prince of Tyre for his egotistical claim of wisdom. In these opening phrases, God is basically saying: “Oh, so you think you are God? and that you are wiser than Daniel? Well, we’ll see about that.” The actual verses read:
Ezekiel 28:1 The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying,
2 Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God:
3 Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel [?] there is no secret that they can hide from thee [?]
So whether the phrase—thou art wiser than Daniel—was a statement of fact, a question, or a sarcastic statement—only the latter two are likely, in my opinion—which is why I added the question marks in brackets. In any case, it is certainly another reference to the reality of Daniel, a man who was already famous for his God-given wisdom.
Turn now to Matthew 24, because the real clincher about not only the existence of a literal Daniel, but that the words of Daniel were recorded accurately, the real clincher comes from the mouth of the Savior Himself.
Matthew 24: 14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
So it is clear that Jesus Himself endorsed the veracity of the book of Daniel. And believe me—or if not, do your own investigation—and you will find that all of the accusations by the Higher Critics—all of their pronouncements and objections can be refuted and exposed for what they are.
They are designed to cast doubt on and tear down the Scriptures, and especially to take away from the Bible all supernaturalism, especially the supernaturalism of prophecy. These men are tares sticking up their heads so as to distinguish them from the wheat as the harvest approaches. As it says in Jude 4, these are
… certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
Earlier I asked, is it possible there could be more than one so-called “time of the end?” I proffered that because I am quite familiar with the preterist position which holds that Matthew 24 was fulfilled in A.D. 70 when the armies of Titus destroyed Jerusalem.
And to give them their due, they make a good case in many ways. But there are certain debatable points which I believe expose the fatal weaknesses in preterism in general. But again, the purpose of this series is not to give a full-blown exposition of preterism vs. futurism vs. historicism.
But in the context of our current topic, our Lord mentioned the prophecy of Daniel in Matthew 24 and used the phrase, “and then shall the end come.” My position is that the end of an age did come around 70 A.D., and we have been in another age from that time until the past decade or so when again we are at another “time of the end.”
Undoubtedly, many believers in the early church heeded our Lord’s warning and fled Jerusalem and Judea just before the Roman armies cut off all chance of escape. And the vast majority of them left the Holy Land altogether never to return. But as we stated at the outset of this message, it says in…
Daniel 12:9 Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.
If the preterists were correct, then the early Christians, the 70 A.D. generation, should have understood not only about the abomination of desolation, but also about the Stone Kingdom and the little horn and the ten toes prophecy and so on.
But the ten toes of Daniel’s image did not even come into existence until centuries after 70 A.D., so there is no way they could have understood its meaning. Therefore the book of Daniel remained a closed book and I believe it has generally remained a sealed book until this “time of the end.”
With that much as introduction, let us now begin in Daniel, chapter 2, to expound Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and Daniel’s interpretation thereof. We will begin in verse 31.
Daniel 2:31 Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible.
32 This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass,
33 His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.
Let’s pause there for a moment, just to make a few preliminary comments. Daniel informs Nebuchadnezzar that the dream he had forgotten was a dream wherein he saw a great image. The Hebrew or Aramaic word is tsel-em’ which could also be translated as a statue or an idol.
It says its form was “terrible,” and that means not merely awesome, but also dreadful or fearsome, fear-inducing. It was a fear-inducing statue of a man. It was not a statue of a goat or a sheep or a horse; it was a man. In the next few verses, we will see that this statue represents a series or a succession of empires.
The rule of these empires would span many centuries. So let’s put this much together: it was an idol—which implies that men would worship it. It was terrible, which means that the people under its jurisdiction would have great fear of it and be subject to it. And it was a statue of a man.
So it represents not divine government, but man’s government over many centuries—governments which would have great power…power to cause men to worship it, to fear it and to be subject to it. Does that make sense so far?
We often hear, and I myself use the phrase that it was a succession of “world-ruling” empires. Technically, of course, the jurisdiction of ancient Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome were not global in extent, but I think most of us understand that since the Bible is about how God uses His chosen people Israel to accomplish His Plan, then the world being talked about is the world that concerns and affects Israel down through the ages.
Now when we get to our day, we shall see that Mystery Babylon is indeed a global empire, but that also fits that same criterion, because our Israel people today are scattered all over the globe—from “dee olt” countries in Europe to North America to Australia, New Zealand, South Africa with pockets of Israel people virtually everywhere. Continuing…
34 Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.
35 Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.
36 This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king.
37 Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.
38 And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold.
Let’s pause here and consider this our first pass on this passage. In other words, we will have much more to say on it later in the series. We (mankind), by our very nature, are social creatures. Very few of us want to live as Robinson Crusoe, alone on a desert island.
Therefore, wherever men dwell together, there must be some kind of, some form of, and some amount of government. Otherwise—and as we discussed in an earlier chapter—there will be chaos and anarchy.
When you boil it all down, there are really only two major kinds of government: one is man’s government, and the other is God’s government. Man’s government can be subdivided into many forms—and we discussed that in some detail previously in this series. But in all cases, man’s government is where men try to govern other men according to the laws, forms and institutions that mortal men devise.
Divine government is where men govern other men according to the laws, forms and institutions that God ordains. To repeat, “Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” All men desire to live in peace and freedom—well, except for street criminals and would-be tyrants.
In 1447 B.C. God brought the Israel people out of Egypt and at Mt. Sinai a couple months later He gave them His blueprint, His design, His form for perfect government. It wasn’t just a religion; it was a way of life…a way of government which would provide maximum liberty and maximum peace for all the people.
It was God’s will that His chosen people, Israel, be the example for all the world. Unfortunately, our ancestors, the Israel people, failed miserably in being obedient to the divine law and government. However, though their failure was against God’s will, their failure was all part of God’s Plan. In other words, it was God’s Plan for Israel to fail. After that planned failure had run its course for about eight centuries, God then brought in another part of His Plan.
Just to be clear, God’s original Plan has never failed in even the tiniest detail; and that Plan will see Israel being the example for all the world in terms of a righteous and prosperous nation with a perfected divine government, which Israel will then administer in love to the rest of the world under the kingship of Jesus Christ. That is the Stone Kingdom.
Meanwhile, as I was saying, after Israel’s planned failure had run its course over about eight centuries, God brought in another part of His Plan. That part was to demonstrate to Israel, and to the world, by actual experience how it would be if man were left to his own devices.
- It was as though God were saying,
- If you don’t like this, try that.
- If you won’t obey My law and receive the blessings, then you will reap the curses of the law.
- If you don’t perceive My great goodness, then you will surely perceive, by painful experience, the great wickedness of your fellow man.
- If you don’t want My perfect government, then see how it feels to be under the boot of tyrants. Over the course of the next 2,520 years, I will give you over to man’s government. I will cause you to experience different kinds of man’s government, different types of tyranny.
First, I am giving you over to Babylon. So see how it feels now to be under the rule of Nebuchadnezzar. And thus it came to pass, throughout 2,520 years of the succession of empires seen in the vision.
The 2,520-year period is a prominent biblical time measure. It originates way back at Mount Sinai in the terms and conditions of that perfect government. God essentially said: If you won’t obey and receive the blessings, then you will reap the curses. That verse reads thusly:
Leviticus 26:18 And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins.
We won’t go into the details at this point to prove it, but that term seven times, when used in a long-term prophetic sense, calculates out to 2,520 years. As you keep a marker in Daniel 2, turn to the gospel of Luke, chapter 21.
This chapter is a parallel to Matthew 24. It is our Lord’s so-called “Olivet Discourse”—called that because he was sitting on the mount of Olives as He taught. In speaking of the coming destruction of the city of Jerusalem, Jesus told his disciples this:
Luke 21:24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
The word gentiles is a confusing word to most Christians. Therefore, we have posted a copy of the late Pastor Ewing’s excellent little booklet on our website. It is called “A Study into the Meaning of the Word ‘Gentile’ as Used in the Bible.”
To explain very briefly, here in Luke 21:24, “gentiles” is the Greek word ethnos, which simply means nations. It can refer to either Israelite or non-Israelite nations, and its meaning must be determined by the context. Here Jesus is referring to the “times of the nations,” and He is referring to that same seven times, or 2,520 years.
The seven times or the times of the nations was that period of time in which the succession of empires prophesied in Daniel would tread down Jerusalem. It began when Jerusalem was trodden down by Nebuchadnezzar’s armies. Here Jesus prophesied that it would remain in the hands of “the gentiles,” until those seven times would be fulfilled.
By the way, there are no “time outs” on God’s game clock, as the dispensationalists, futurists and many evangelical, pre-tribulation rapture-teaching churches would have us believe. There is no gap in Daniel’s 70 weeks. God’s time clock did not stop for the past 2,000 years, while God works with the gentiles.
No, instead, just as one would expect in the natural flow of time, that period of seven times marched straight on through history, from ancient Babylon to the early 20th century. The terminal year of that 2,520 years was 1917. In that year, the British General Allenby captured the city of Jerusalem from the Turkish Muslims.
That fact, however, doesn’t mean a thing to the vast majority of our Anglo-Saxon, (etc.) Christian brethren because they are blinded to their own identity as Israel. But to those of us who see that Britain and America are Joseph, the birthright son of Jacob-Israel, it fits perfectly that Allenby represented Israel regaining control over the city of Jerusalem. The times of the gentiles to tread down the city of Jerusalem had run its course of 2,520 years.
And I know what you’re thinking…James, are you trying to tell us that from 1917 to the present, it has been a utopia over there? No, of course not. Rather than utopia, it has been a nightmarish dystopia in that sandbox in the Middle East.
So does that mean God’s prophecies through Daniel have failed? …because we did not see the Kingdom of God arise in its fulness immediately after 1917? Not at all. As serious Bible students have learned, the Father often seems to have some new part of the Plan playing out which no one could have understood until we have the benefit of hindsight. Let’s pick this up in the next one…
I have toyed with the idea of putting together a Bible lecture sometime which I would call “This is That.” It is a reference to Acts 2:16 where Peter says:
Acts 2:16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
The point is that although hundreds of prophecies had been in the Scriptures for hundreds of years, that through those centuries, the Israel people in general, and the disciples at the time of Christ, often did not understand exactly how the prophecies would manifest until they had the benefit of hindsight. “Oh, now I get it; this is that…” which was spoken by the prophet so-and-so.
In that same vein, we also recall the case of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, who still did not understand until Jesus personally opened their eyes. So, too, in our day, we see that the year 1917 did not usher in utopia, the Kingdom of heaven, but we were in World War I. And so we seek the answers to that puzzle. Do we have enough hindsight of history to make sense of it?
And even when the facts of history are there, sometimes it takes the unction of the Holy Spirit to have that “aha” moment of “Oh, I get it; this is that!”
In this case, we now understand that although the 2,520 years has elapsed, a great economic slavery system arose at just about that time in the U.S.A. It is still not common knowledge among American Christians, but most of us here recognize it as Mystery, Babylon the Great.
And you will notice that while ancient Babylon is the first of the empires in Daniel, that Mystery Babylon the Great is not mentioned in Daniel. However, with the benefit of historical hindsight, and by God’s grace and Holy Spirit, we can now say, “aha, this is that!” And some are thinking, “Okay, spell it out, James. This is what?”
Well, I will tell you the overview answer to that question now, and we will fill in details later in the series. Reprising our sports game analogy, I stated that there are no “time outs” on God’s game clock. However, there is an overtime period…. And we are in it. In fact, as best as I can tell, we are near the end of overtime.
You see, Father sold Israel…, our Father sold our people—the Anglo-Saxon, Keltic, Scandinavian, Germanic and related peoples—He sold us into bondage, into captivity. And in the divine contract, our captors were to legally have dominion over us for an allotted time. But when that time was up, Father caused Mystery Babylon to keep us in bondage into an overtime period. Why? So that Father would have a legal case against them, to penalize them, while we are being set free.
So I don’t know whether God is going to call a clipping penalty, or a block in the back, or a face mask penalty, or unnecessary roughness—or perhaps all of the above, but I do know our Father and I do know that justice will be done. Well, I am almost into overtime on this blog. This is a good enough place to stop, so we will pick it up here in the next installment.