Blueprint Of The Ages - Part II
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

Open your Bibles, please, to the book of Daniel as we review briefly chapter 2 as a preface for what we will be thinking about together.

Nebuchadnezzar's Dream

You will remember that King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream which troubled him exceedingly. Immediately upon awakening, he forgot the dream. He called in all of his wise men and wanted to know what the dream was as well as the interpretation. They thought that he was being unreasonable. They said, “If you will tell us what the dream was, we will be glad to tell you what it means.” He said to them, “If you don't find out the dream and the interpretation, off go your heads!” So the command went out to kill all the wise men of Babylon.

Daniel, the man whom we met in chapter 1 of the book which bears his name, a man of God who was taken captive into the land of Babylon when Nebuchadnezzar invaded the land of Palestine, received this news with surprise. He was not among those wise men who had been called to the palace and he knew nothing about it. As soon as Arioch, the captain of the king's guard, informed him, Daniel said, “Give me a little time. I'll spend some time in prayer; I'll spend some time seeking the mind of God. You go back and tell the king that I'll be able to tell him what his dream was and what it means.”

So Daniel and his three friends spent all night in prayer and God gave to Daniel the dream and the interpretation thereof.

When Daniel stood before the king, Daniel was careful to give God all the glory. He said to the king, “I don't know any more than your wise men know. I have no secret powers which would make it possible for me to tell you what this is all about. All I can tell you is that I prayed and God revealed to me the dream.”

Now this may seem like a strange thing to some of you if you don't believe that all things are possible with God. It may seem like a strange thing to some of you, if you don't believe that God is omnipotent and omniscient and nothing is too hard for Him. We who believe that God can do anything find no difficulty at all in understanding that God could give Daniel the dream and the interpretation thereof.

Revealing the King's Dream

We want to notice the dream and the interpretation in Daniel, chapter 2, verse 31:

Daniel 2:

31Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible.
32This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass,
33His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.
34Thou 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.
35Then 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.
36This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king.

Interpreting the Dream

Did you notice the certainty with which Daniel spoke? He did not say to the king, “Is this the dream that you dreamed?” He said, “This is the dream.” Did you notice that there was no word of disagreement from the lips of the king? We believe that he sat upon his throne and trembled as his mind was refreshed concerning the dream that he had dreamed so vividly, and he waited with real expectancy for the interpretation of the dream. In verse 36, we read:

Daniel 2:

36This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king.
37Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.
38And 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.
39And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.
40And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.
41And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters' clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay.
42And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.
43And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.
44And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
45Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.
46Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him.

Dealing with Future Happenings

We have read the dream which Nebuchadnezzar had, and we've read the interpretation that Daniel gave. It is our purpose to try to understand the interpretation which Daniel gave to Nebuchadnezzar.

I am going to suggest that we notice the theme of the dream. After all, what was the dream about? You say, “Oh, that is simple. It is about a great image.” If that were all the dream was about, there would have been no need for an explanation, but there was need for an explanation. We need to know what the theme of the dream actually was.

You have dreamed, haven't you? I suppose that all of us have. Most of our dreams—perhaps all of them—are related to things that we think about immediately before retiring or something that occurred during the day. The next morning when you awaken and think about the dream, you say something like, “I wonder what made me dream that?” Then maybe your wife or your husband will say, “Oh, I know why you dreamed that. We were talking about it.”

That is exactly the reason Nebuchadnezzar dreamed the kind of dream that he dreamed. Notice verse 29 of this second chapter:

Daniel 2:

29As for thee, O king, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter: and he that revealeth secrets maketh known to thee what shall come to pass.

Do you get the picture? Nebuchadnezzar was lying on his bed before he went to sleep, and he was thinking, as you and I think a great many times, “I wonder what is going to happen in the future? I wonder what is going to happen after I'm gone?”

Nebuchadnezzar was a world ruler. He probably was thinking in terms of the world, wondering who would succeed him, wondering what the world would be like a hundred years after he was dead. All of those things were going through his mind. When he fell asleep, God was pleased, as He often was in the Old Testament, to give him a revelation of what the world would be like, not only a hundred, but two thousand years from the time that he actually lived.

That the dream dealt very definitely with the future cannot be denied if you notice several verses of Scripture which verify that fact. Notice verse 28:

Daniel 2:

28But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these;

This dream was related to the latter days. This phrase, “latter days,” is a phrase with which you should become familiar, if you are not already, in your study of prophecy. We have examined it before, and we will not do so in detail now. Suffice it to say that the latter days is that period of time which began when the Jews were sent into the Babylonian captivity and will continue until the Jews occupy their homeland again.

History Of The Times Of The Gentiles

The Lord Jesus Christ, in Luke, chapter 21, referred to that period of time as “the times of the Gentiles.” Actually, this dream was a vision of the history of the times of the Gentiles from the days of Nebuchadnezzar until the day when the Jews will return to the land of Palestine. Look at verse 29 again:

Daniel 2:

29As for thee, O king, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter: and he that revealeth secrets maketh known to thee what shall come to pass.

Three times already in this chapter we have been told that this dream is related to the future. If you will look at verse 45, you will read:

Daniel 2:

45Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.

Surely, then, we will have to agree that this dream was related to the future.

The World Governments

If we examine this thing more carefully, we will see that it was not only related to the future, but it was related to a certain aspect of the future—namely, the governments of the world from the days of Nebuchadnezzar until the day when the Lord Jesus Christ will return. That becomes evident if you will look at verse 37 as Daniel begins to give the interpretation to the king and says:

Daniel 2:

37Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.
38And 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.

What did Daniel say to the king? “King, you are a world emperor; you are a world ruler.” Immediately we know that this is going to be the subject of the dream because the next statement in verse 38 is:

Daniel 2:

38…Thou art this head of gold.

This image with a head of gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and thighs of brass, his legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay, was a picture of the governments of the world.

Daniel 2:

39And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.
40And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron:…

In verse 44:

Daniel 2:

44And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed:…

The particular aspect of this dream which Daniel was interpreting for the king was related to the future of the governments of the world.

Deterioration In World Governments

If you are thinking, you realize that the dream described the trend of the governments of the world. We have already noticed that this trend was presented in a great image which Daniel describes as bright and frightening and terrible. Does that seem unusual to you? Well, it should not!

I think it is significant that the description of the beginning of the latter days is presented in the form of an image in Daniel, chapter 2, and the description of the end of the latter days is presented in the form of an image in Revelation.

Let us examine what Daniel has to say about the governments of the world as they are portrayed by this image. I would like to give you some mental pegs upon which you can hang some of the thoughts that I want to leave with you. The first word that comes to my mind is the word deterioration. This is not a description of the advance of world governments; it is a description of the deterioration of the governments of the world.

Picturing the Deterioration

Look at the image with me again. What was the head? It was gold. What were the breast and the arms? They were the silver. What were the belly and the thigh? Of brass. What were the Legs? Of iron. What were the feet? They were part of iron and part of clay. Look at it! Gold, silver, brass, iron, and clay. There is a definite decrease in value in the very metals themselves, indicating that it is not advance, but deterioration.

I am told—I do not know, as I have no experience in this sort of thing—that the specific gravity of these metals decreases as we go from the top of the image to the feet. If you will keep in mind that the feet of the image are of iron and clay—the Spirit of God is very careful to tell us in verse 43 that it is not a mixture of iron and clay because that is an impossibility; it is simply part iron and part clay—you will recognize that the image is top-heavy. It begins with gold and it has feet as weak as clay.

If you follow through this image, you will realize that the first kingdom was a unit; it had a head of gold. The second kingdom was divided; it had two arms. The third kingdom was even more divided. There are enough ingredients in this section of the image to represent the four parts into which the Greek empire was divided. When you get down to the legs, which are the longest part of the image, you'll find a government divided first into two parts and eventually into ten parts. Do you see the deterioration all the way through?

If there is any doubt in your mind in relation to it, notice in verse 39 that Daniel said to the kingdom:

Daniel 2:

39And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.

Inferior in Quality

The word inferior stands out. One government is inferior to another. Let us pause and emphasize something. When we speak of one kingdom's being inferior to another, we are not thinking of size. The second kingdom was geographically larger than the first kingdom, but it did not measure up to the first kingdom in quality and in strength and in riches and in glory.

I want to give you another word, and that word is distinctive . This vision not only represents the deterioration of the governments of the world, but it presents the story of the governments of the world in a very distinctive fashion, painting all the details so minutely that there is no question in our minds about the meaning of the dream.

Let me present some of these distinctions to you. Look at Daniel, chapter 2, verse 34, where the king was told:

Daniel 2:

34Thou 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.
35Then 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.

Only Five World Rulers

Get this! The image about which we are thinking remains intact until it is completely destroyed by the stone cut out of the mountain without hands. What does that mean? Simply this: In chapter 2 of the book of Daniel, you have a blueprint of the governments of the world from the day of Nebuchadnezzar until the day when the Lord Jesus Christ will return to this earth. What does that mean? It means that God has planned for the world only five rulers. Only five, and nothing is going to upset God's plan. The last ruler this world will know is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. He has planned and named them before they were ever born.

Why do I emphasize this? Because all down through history, certain men have tried to upset the plan of God and have failed miserably. Napoleon decided he was going to be world ruler, and it looked for a while as if he would be. Anybody who knew the Word of God did not need to be alarmed about the exploits of Napoleon because Napoleon could not succeed; God did not intend for France to rule the world. Napoleon failed!

Hitler came upon the scene. He is more closely related to most of us. For a while, those who were cognizant of the activities of the world during the time that Hitler was alive were concerned that perhaps he would rule the world. Our faith was in the Word of God. Though we were concerned, we were not depressed to the point of despair because we knew that God had no plan for a German to rule the world. Hitler failed and failed miserably.

Communism Will Not Rule The World

I want you to listen carefully to what I am going to say because if you don't, you may misunderstand me and go out of here and quote something I didn't say. I am glad that you are doing everything you can to oppose Communism. I think we ought to oppose it with every fiber of our being. But Communism will not rule the world. The Word of God declares it.

Once again, don't misunderstand me. Keep up the fight against Communism. Even though it may not rule the world, it may rob us of the liberties which we hold dear right here in this country. Don't lie awake at night and wonder whether a Communist dictator is going to be the next world ruler; he won't be. God has laid a blueprint very plainly in the Word of God, and we do not need to be worried about it. This dream is full of distinctions.

Nebuchadnezzar Given A World Empire

Let me give you another word—the word description . Let us look at the description of this image as far as interpretation is concerned. We do not need to wonder in this chapter what the gold represents because we are told in verse 38 that the head of gold is Babylon. The Babylonian empire was the first world empire.

You say, “Now wait just a minute. I know the geographical description of the Babylonian empire, and the Babylonian empire did not cover the entire world.” That is right. It didn't. But in verses 37 and 38, God gave the dominion of the world to Nebuchadnezzar, and he could have taken it if he had wanted it. God declared him to be a world emperor. Look at verse 39:

Daniel 2:

39And after thee shall arise another kingdom…

The Media-Persian Empire

What was that kingdom? In Daniel, chapter 8, we have another vision, and if you will look at verse 21, you will notice the identification of that kingdom. This time it is related to animals. If you compare the animals to the image, when you get to the second animal, you will find it is described in verse 20: “the ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia.” The second kingdom that ruled the world, then, was the Medo-Persian empire. Daniel, chapter 8, verse 20, declares it. Look at verse 39 again:

Daniel 2:

39…and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.

The Kingdom of Greece

The third kingdom, represented by the belly and thighs of brass according to chapter 8, verse 21, was the kingdom of Greece.

We have three world empires—Babylon, Media-Persia, and Greece. We have identified them from the Word of God. If we did not have the Word of God to which we could turn, we could open our history books and we could declare that what Daniel prophesied (and here is the marvelous thing about it) before these kingdoms ever came into existence was proven true. For history declares that the world was ruled first by Babylon, then by the Persian empire, and then by the Grecian empire under Alexander the Great. Look at verse 40:

Daniel 2:

40And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.

The Roman Empire

If we had time to read the entire 9th chapter of the book of Daniel, we would discover that the fourth kingdom is the Roman Empire. If you want a verification in the Bible as far as names are concerned, you could read the gospel of Luke, chapter 2.

But again, we need not depend solely on the Scriptures. History stands with us. The fourth empire that ruled the world was Rome; and Rome, you will remember, covered Europe, North Africa and Asia. If you are acquainted with history, you will know that the Roman Empire broke up into various kingdoms and various democracies. If you will look down at verse 41, you will discover that, as far as the blueprints of the governments of the world are concerned, we are now in the feet of the image, for there we read:

Daniel 2:

41And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters' clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay.

Babylon represented the head of gold. Media-Persia represented the breast and arms of silver. Greece represented the thigh parts and the belly. Rome represented the legs which were of iron. Down at the ankles of the image, Rome disintegrated into kingdoms and democracies. We have been living history for the last several years as it is represented in the feet of the image, wherein there are democracies and kings and queens ruling together in the world, kings and queens becoming fewer and democracies becoming more numerous.

Ten Toes Represent Ten Nations

If you will look closely at the representation in verse 42, you will read:

Daniel 2:

42And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.
43And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.

Daniel said, “Don't jump to conclusions. I don't mean that they were adhering one to the other. I mean they were existing side by side.” You have represented in the feet of Daniel's image totalitarian governments and democracies side by side.

Look at the image again. What is the next thing we will see in the governments of the world? Somebody says. “We will see Russia ruling the entire world.” We will not. The next thing we will see is the nations—five of the nations typified by iron and five of the nations typified by clay. We will see five totalitarian nations, five dictator nations, five Communistic, Godless nations ruling the world along with five democratic nations.

The stage is already being set. On each foot of the image were five toes. We may not be in total agreement, so we will not make the effort to name them. If you think for a moment, you could think of five big nations that are known as the democratic nations of the world. They are all together on one foot. And if you think further you could think of five other nations on the other foot that are dictator nations. The reason we don't name them is that nations rise and fall, and by the time this is put into print, the nomenclature of the nations themselves may change.

Mark what I tell you. That is what is going to happen. Five nations that are free and five nations that tread men down will be ruling the world at the end of this age; that will be the condition of the world.

A Kingdom That Will Last Forever

What do we read in verse 44?

Daniel 2:

44And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.

You will remember that in the description of the dream itself, the establishment of this kingdom was brought to pass by a great stone that was cut out of the mountain without hands. It came suddenly crashing against the feet of the image, knocking it over and grinding it to powder until there was absolutely nothing left of it. Then that stone gradually took control of the whole world.

If you are a careful reader of your Bible, you know already that that stone is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. If you want verification of that fact, we suggest that you read Isaiah, chapter 8, verse 24, I Peter, chapter 2, verses 7-8, and Acts, chapter 4, verse 11.

Do you see where we are? Do you see how close we are to the end of the age? The head of gold has faded into oblivion; Babylon is no more. The breast and the arms of silver are forgotten unless you take time to read in your history books about the exploits of the Persian empire. Alexander the Great serves to remind us only of an individual who lived for the flesh instead of for God. The Grecian Empire has passed away, and the Roman Empire, dividing itself into the east and west, has faded into oblivion and is no more.

End Of The Age Is Near

But listen! Daniel uttered all these things before they ever came to pass. If this much of the image has been fulfilled, how dare we think that the rest of it will not be? The toes are in the end of the feet. If we are in the feet of the image in the day in which we live, that is how close we are to the end of the age. The stone is nearly ready to fall out of the mountain and crush the toes and the whole earth.

Can a thinking person, willing to accept the Word of God at its face value, believe other than that we are living at the end of the age and that the coming of our Lord is near?

I always pick up the newspaper in the morning with a feeling of excitement. I am always anxious to see what nations are going to be added on the right foot and what nations are going to be added on the left foot. It is thrilling to watch the nations line up, not as men think they are going to, but as God has already ordained that they will.

When I see all the five nations on the left foot and all the nations on the right foot, I'm not only going to pack my suitcase and keep it packed, but I'm going to hold it in my hand because it won't be long until the Lord will be here.


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