2006-09-11 - Daniel
Verses 31-36: First, in compliance with the king's demands, Daniel describes the dream. There were two phases to the dreams. The first was a giant statue in human form. It was made up of four distinct areas. The first was the head, which was made of gold. The second section was the chest, and it was made of silver. The third was the belly and the thighs, and it was bronze. The last was the legs, and these were made of mixed materials - iron and clay. We are discussing the times of the Gentiles, or as Jesus said:
" Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled" (Luke 21:24).
The second aspect of the dream was a huge stone carved out of a mountain by unseen hands and it destroyed the statue. The destruction was so complete that the winds scattered the dust and there was nothing left.
Daniel had certainly proved that he did have access to truth, and since he knew the content of the dream, it was safe to assume he could also interpret the dream. This must have been a source of relief to Nebuchadnezzar.
Introduction to the Interpretation: While there is disagreement over the understanding of the interpretation, the traditional/conservative view is consistent whether presented by the church or a Jewish understanding, at least until we get to the aspects that refer to future events, though - as we have seen - there is some similarity to our understanding. I will point out the differences when we get to each area of the statue. Also Showers notes:
" It is important to note that in the interpretation Daniel moved progressively from the top to the bottom of the image. This downward movement represented the passage of time. Thus, the upper parts of the image portrayed earlier history, and the lower parts portrayed later history." 2
The conservative approach then is the one that is most consistent with scripture. It isn't the only approach though. Longman states:
" ... nonconservatives have trouble with this approach because even they, for the most part, believe Daniel 2 was written before Rome was a major player on the world scene. Since (in their view) predictive prophecy does not occur, they cannot believe that the fourth kingdom is Rome. Typically, then, in the Greek view, the Medes and the Persians are treated as the second and third kingdoms respectively. The Greek kingdom is fourth. The mixed character of the toes then refers to the political situation in Egypt and the Levant after the death of Alexander, when the Ptolomies and Selecuids vie for control of Palestine." 3
To be continued.
Comments or Questions?