Daniel Chapter 2: Smiting of the Image

Nov 27th, 2009 | By | Category: Daniel, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

Daniel Chapter 2: Smiting of the Image

Dan. 2:1 And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him.

By comparing Scripture with Scripture, and by taking clues from the context of the first chapter of Daniel, we know that verse 1 should not read, “And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar.” The time sequence was as follows. Daniel was taken captive from Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, time was required to travel to Babylon, and then he was in training under the custody of Ashpenaz for three more years (Dan. 1:3-5). Therefore, Bible scholars who try to hold onto the King James translation say that when Nebuchadnezzar was fighting down in Israel, he reigned conjointly with his father, and therefore, this was the “second year” of his sole reign. However, such reasoning does not seem to jibe with other parts of history. Hence most scholars feel that the correct rendering should be the “twelfth year” of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar. There is also the possibility that it was the “fifth year.”

“Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled.” Why was the king troubled? First, the dream of a great image being smashed to pieces kept recurring. Second, he was disturbed because he thought the image represented him and his being blown off the scene. Therefore, the king wanted to know if his life would be cut short.

Q: In verse 5, the king said, “The dream is gone from me,” so how could he know that a great image was dashed to pieces?

A: We will discuss that question when we get to verse 5.

King Nebuchadnezzar’s spirit troubled him, so that “his sleep brake from him.” If we have a nightmare, we wake up with a start and sometimes in a sweat. Evidently, therefore, the recurring dream really affected the king.

Dan. 2:2 Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to show the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king.

Over and over again the king dreamed of a huge image that was shattered. With urgency, he commanded that anyone who could tell him the significance of his dream should be called in: magicians, astrologers, sorcerers, and Chaldeans. Remember, not only was Nebuchadnezzar cruel and autocratic, but he was shrewd. There was no democracy at that time, and as an absolute monarch, he was even stronger than the Persian kings, who were noted for their cruelty. Since he dreamed “dreams” (plural), it would be strange for him not to recall anything.

Therefore, his shrewdness is a factor, as will be seen.

Q: Who were the Chaldeans?

A: They were part of the Babylonian people. The Babylonian Empire consisted of many provinces with numerous diverse peoples and cultures. Chaldea was the ancient name for Babylon. Therefore, of the diverse peoples, the Chaldeans were native-born, as it were, and had been there for generations. They were the core of the Babylonian people, whereas others were captives from farther away.

Dan. 2:3 And the king said unto them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream.

When the king called in others to give him the understanding of the recurring dream, he said, “I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream.” The fact that he now said he “dreamed a dream” (singular) seems to indicate the dream occurred several times.

Dan. 2:4 Then spake the Chaldeans to the king in Syriac, O king, live for ever: tell thy servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation.

Notice that the Chaldeans took the lead in replying to the king: “O king, live for ever: tell thy servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation.” The Chaldeans had the most freedom to speak to this despotic king, and their reply seemed to be a reasonable request. From the portion of this verse that begins, “O king, live for ever,” through part of Chapter 7, Daniel wrote in the Chaldaic language. Before and after this segment, he wrote in Hebrew.

Because the experiences were very dramatic, the narrative goes back historically to discuss the characters involved: the magicians, the Chaldeans, and the captives from Judah, who were taken during the reign of Jehoiakim.

Dan. 2:5 The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, The thing is gone from me: if ye will not make known unto me the dream, with the interpretation thereof, ye shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a dunghill.

Here is a clue that the king probably remembered the dream. Observe what he said to the Chaldeans: “The thing is gone from me: if ye will not make known unto me the dream, with the interpretation thereof, ye shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a dunghill.”

They began to sense that, based on the king’s attitude, he knew more about the dream than he was admitting. In other words, he was testing the Chaldeans by putting them on the spot, for if when he said, “The thing is gone from me,” he remembered absolutely nothing, the magicians, soothsayers, and others could conspire to fabricate a dream and an interpretation. The king meant business. He wanted to know the meaning of the dream with no ifs, ands, or buts, and he was shrewd enough to prevent a deception. As with the Micaiah picture, the tone of his voice indicated more than his words.

“If ye will not make known unto me the dream, with the interpretation thereof, ye shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a dunghill.” The king’s cruelty and viciousness can be seen here. Casting the three Hebrews into the fiery furnace is another example (Daniel 3).

Nebuchadnezzar used this means of punishment for others in his realm as well. Some sadistic kings even got revenge by the abominable practice of cannibalizing the sons of their enemies; that is, they cooked and ate them.

Q: Did the king consider the others to be a threat to him? Since the dream showed the image being broken to pieces, did the king fear he would be assassinated, and thus he threatened to cut them in pieces?

A: Yes, the king’s suspicions are a part of this picture. He felt threatened, and only those in positions of influence and power could topple his dynasty. Therefore, if they could not both tell and interpret his dream, he would put them all to death. That way he would be sure to get the culprit.

Dan. 2:6 But if ye show the dream, and the interpretation thereof, ye shall receive of me gifts and rewards and great honour: therefore show me the dream, and the interpretation thereof.

The king was saying, “If you tell me the dream and give its interpretation, I will bountifully reward you with gifts and great honor.”

Dan. 2:7 They answered again and said, Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation of it.

The magicians, soothsayers, etc., responded the second time: “Tell us the dream, and we will give you the interpretation.”

Dan. 2:8 The king answered and said, I know of certainty that ye would gain the time, because ye see the thing is gone from me.

The king accused the Chaldeans of stalling for time in the hope that he would calm down and not execute them.

Dan. 2:9 But if ye will not make known unto me the dream, there is but one decree for you: for ye have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me, till the time be changed: therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that ye can show me the interpretation thereof.

“But if ye will not make known unto me the dream, there is but one decree for you,” that is, the decree mentioned earlier of cutting them in pieces and making their houses a dunghill.

“For ye have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me, till the time be changed.”

The king continued to accuse them of stalling for time until his attitude changed and he calmed down in regard to his hasty declaration and threat.

“Therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that ye can show me the interpretation.” Here is a hint that the king did remember something of the dream, for how could he know they were accurately telling him the dream unless he had some recollection? Also, if they could accurately tell him the dream, he would have confidence in their interpretation.

Dan. 2:10 The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can show the king’s matter: therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things at any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean.

Dan. 2:11 And it is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can show it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.

Dan. 2:12 For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon.

Dan. 2:13 And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain.

The Chaldeans said that no man on earth could meet the king’s demand, that no other king had ever made such a request, and that only a superhuman power could comply. Hearing these words, the king was “angry and very furious” and issued the command for all the wise men of Babylon to be slain.

Verses 10-13 are self-explanatory, but the end of verse 13 becomes revealing: “and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain.” Thus we know that Daniel and the three Hebrews were not summoned with the original magicians and astrologers and that they were being discriminated against. The Chaldeans, the old-timers, were jealous of Daniel and the three Hebrews, who were not only young but also foreigners. However, when it came to the slaying, the Jews were included. As we continue, it will be obvious that Daniel did not know what was happening.

Q: If Daniel was a teenager at this time, how old were the three Hebrews?

A: About the same age, roughly speaking. Because Nebuchadnezzar took captives “of the [enemy] king’s seed,” we feel that Daniel was probably of royalty, but his prominence is not emphasized lest it vitiate his role in prophecy (Dan. 1:3).

Dan. 2:14 Then Daniel answered with counsel and wisdom to Arioch the captain of the king’s guard, which was gone forth to slay the wise men of Babylon:

Dan. 2:15 He answered and said to Arioch the king’s captain, Why is the decree so hasty from the king? Then Arioch made the thing known to Daniel.

Dan. 2:16 Then Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would give him time, and that he would show the king the interpretation.

The thought would be that someone went in on Daniel’s behalf to inform the king, for later, when Daniel actually went in before the king to interpret the dream, Arioch introduced him (verse 25). Here Daniel’s message was that the king should not be hasty, for a solution was on the way.

Comment: Daniel was asking for a stay of execution.

Reply: Yes, he sought a delay at least overnight and perhaps for several days.

Dan. 2:17 Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions:

Dan. 2:18 That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.

Daniel informed the three Hebrews what he knew about the king, his demands, and the impending execution. His purpose was to enlist their prayers as well, for he did not feel sufficient to go to the Lord alone to ask for enlightenment. Daniel felt that four praying would be more effective than just him alone. Thus we get an insight into Daniel’s character: humility and common sense. The prayer was that they desired “mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon,” who had no answer and thus could not respond effectively to the king.

Comment: The lesson is that we should not always feel we can petition the Lord alone on our behalf, for there are times when we should ask the brethren to pray with and for us. Instead of “mercies,” Rotherham has “tender compassion.”

Dan. 2:19 Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.

The information requested was given to Daniel, not to the three Hebrews, even though they had all prayed. The answer came “in a night vision”—presumably that very night so that they and the wise men would not be executed the next morning.

Dan. 2:20 Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his:

Dan. 2:21 And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:

Dan. 2:22 He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.

Dan. 2:23 I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king’s matter.

What a wonderful prayer Daniel uttered! “I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king’s matter.” At the end of the prayer, Daniel brought in the other three, even though the answer went to him alone: “for thou hast now made known unto us the king’s matter.” Apparently, he felt—and this is another sign of humility—that the prayer of the four of them was effective.

Dan. 2:24 Therefore Daniel went in unto Arioch, whom the king had ordained to destroy the wise men of Babylon: he went and said thus unto him; Destroy not the wise men of Babylon: bring me in before the king, and I will show unto the king the interpretation.

Daniel was solicitous not only for himself and the three Hebrew children but even for the welfare of the other wise men of Babylon. The spirit of the Lord was evident in Daniel. Because of his innate tact and concern for others, he could win and gain influence in a relatively hostile environment. Daniel said to Arioch, “Bring me in before the king, and I will show unto the king the interpretation.”

Dan. 2:25 Then Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste, and said thus unto him, I have found a man of the captives of Judah, that will make known unto the king the interpretation.

For self-gain and self-benefit, “Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste” and said, “I have found a man of the captives of Judah.” Thus Arioch took the credit for himself. However, his words show that he had confidence in Daniel: “I have found a man … that will make known unto the king the interpretation.”

The fact that Daniel and the three Hebrew children went on a pulse diet was character-forming (Dan. 1:12). Hence Daniel spoke and made decisions with definiteness, much like the three Hebrew children, who said, “Be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up” (Dan. 3:18). In other words, “We will NOT compromise to either you or your god. If our God is not going to deliver us, so be it, but we will not be careful.” This spirit of decisiveness, which came from character training, assisted them in their stand. This spirit will become more and more apparent in Daniel as we continue.

Dan. 2:26 The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, Art thou able to make known unto me the dream which I have seen, and the interpretation thereof?

The king asked Daniel, “Art thou able to make known unto me the dream … and the interpretation thereof?” Nebuchadnezzar knew that if Daniel could tell the dream, then the interpretation would be true and certain. And the interpretation was his real concern, for that is what disturbed him.

Dan. 2:27 Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, show unto the king;

Daniel first emphasized that the other wise men could not answer the king. With all their wisdom and training, no revealment came from that source.

Dan. 2:28 But 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;

Dan. 2:29 As 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.

Dan. 2:30 But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but for their sakes that shall make known the interpretation to the king, and that thou mightest know the thoughts of thy heart.

While issuing a disclaimer for himself (“It is not my wisdom, for I am just the channel to give you information”), Daniel said of the king, “God has favored you. You will get the answer, the interpretation of your dream.” Daniel took the credit away from himself by saying, “There is a God in heaven who reveals secrets.” We are reminded of the Apostle Paul’s words on Mars Hill.

To avoid unnecessarily offending his hearers, he spoke of the unknown God. Daniel used similar tact—he was not derogatory about the Babylonian gods.

“This secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any [others who are] living, but for their sakes [for the welfare of those whose lives are at stake] … shall … the interpretation [be made known] to the king.”

Dreams are usually related to something that has just happened. A distorted word, picture, statement, etc., goes into the brain and triggers the dream. King Nebuchadnezzar was concerned about his future. He had great plans and was in the midst of building a wonderful city, and now he wondered if he would be able to complete the city. As far as he could see, the dream was all negative. It was a shattering experience.

Daniel not only told the king the dream but also told him what preceded the dream: “You have been thinking of late about your future, and then you had this dream.”

Dan. 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.

Dan. 2:32 This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass,

Dan. 2:33 His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.

Dan. 2:34 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.

Dan. 2:35 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.

In verses 31-35, Daniel told King Nebuchadnezzar the dream. As for appearance, basically speaking, the image was composed of various metals that were used in descending order to show a deterioration in value. The order was gold, silver, brass (or copper), iron, and clay.

We had suggested that the king probably had some knowledge of his dream but that his recollection was blurred or distorted. However, he remembered enough to know immediately if someone telling him the dream was speaking truth or a fabrication. The image in the dream, or vision, was awesome (“terrible”) in both form and size. In addition, a brilliant light was associated with the image. The pure metals—without alloys, corrosive elements, or oxidation—had a natural sheen that was startling in their brightness. Imagine seeing a shining golden head, silver arms and a chest reflecting light, and a brass belly and thighs with a sheen. Even the iron in the legs and feet may have had a brightness. In fact, everything would have shone except the clay—but in differing degrees of glory.

Not only was the image bright and awesome, but the dream kept reoccurring to King Nebuchadnezzar (he “dreamed dreams” plural), so he was agitated about his future (Dan. 2:1). With his undiscerning mind, it was difficult for the king to have this dream, let alone to try to interpret its various parts. What the king would have understood is that the image was destroyed utterly and blown off the scene, and to the king, this destruction portended his own assassination. This thought gives more credibility to his threat that if the magicians, soothsayers, astrologers, and Chaldeans could not “make known” unto him the dream and give the interpretation, they would be cut in pieces and their houses made a dunghill (verse 5).

For the king to make such a radical statement, even though he was impetuous, shows he was very disturbed about the dream. (If we have ever had a nightmare, we know how unsettling a dream can be.) When Daniel started to explain the dream and the appearance of the image, the king knew immediately that the words were miraculous. Something else is apparent in the narrative: the image was a statue. The king did not see a huge human being but a statue of a huge personage.

The dream must have been an overpowering experience for the king. The “brightness [of the image] was excellent” in that the statue was glorious in appearance—yet it was shattered. Thus there were two extremes: (1) The statue was awesome, but (2) it was completely demolished. In other words, the dream had wonderful portent but also a most ominous aspect that greatly disturbed the king.

The description of the statue is self-explanatory. The only somewhat questionable part is the statement that its feet were part iron and part clay. Some translations say “miry clay,” and others say “potter’s clay,” which is more accurate, for “miry clay” suggests quicksand.

Comment: The New International Version uses the term “baked clay.”

Reply: Yes, that is the correct thought, for brittle baked clay would completely shatter, whereas unbaked potter’s clay would just crumble. When baked clay is broken, it shatters suddenly.

The position of the feet of the image merits discussion. As is usually the case with myths, Roman and Greek mythology is based on distorted facts, or truth, and the Biblical explanation about the fallen angels’ producing progeny through human females provides the answer about the half-gods or demigods. “And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose” (Gen. 6:1,2).

When we first came into the truth and saw a chart with a beautifully executed color picture of the image in Daniel 2, we noticed that the feet looked peculiar because they were not separated, and we wondered how the artist came to that conclusion. The image ended with one form of a foot that had ten toes. In other words, the two feet were solid and appeared like mummified feet. For years, that drawing puzzled us—and even up to very recently. However, now we see that the artist knew more than was first realized. In Chaldaic, the word translated “feet” in the King James Version is singular all four times (verses 33, 34, 41, 42). Although the word is third person, masculine, singular, the translators thought it had to be “feet” for the account to make sense. “How could the image be smitten on only one foot?” they asked. The answer is that the two feet were one foot.

And we had trouble equating the ten toes of the image here in Daniel with the ten horns of the beast in Revelation 17:3,7,12,16 when there are definite tie-ins between the fourth empire of Daniel and the beast of Revelation. Almost all Bible scholars who think prophetically about the beast agree that the ten horns refer to Europe, and even more or less Western Europe.

Historically speaking, therefore, the ten could be identified in the past, although, of course, depending on what period of history is being considered, sometimes there were eight horns, sometimes 12, etc. What disturbed us is that the Roman Empire was divided into two parts, east and west. (To better position himself for a world empire, Constantine moved the capital to Constantinople, now called Istanbul, which was closer to Asia.) The division is shown by the two legs of iron and the ten toes on the image. Normally, two legs would be separate, and so would the two feet, with five toes on each foot. We were troubled in connection with Europe, yet other clues in the Book of Revelation and in history seemed to indicate the image pictured Western Europe. How, then, could the unification of the ten powers at the end of the age be pictured by separate legs and feet?

It has taken 57 years for the answer, or solution, which is as follows. The scholars cannot get around the fact that there must be two feet, so to make sense, they say the word “foot” in the third person, masculine, singular, is dual. In other words, they say the word “foot” really means “two feet.” However, the image is an “Osiride” figure. Osiris was a god of Egypt, and mythology speaks a lot about Osiris, the false messiah, Satan’s messiah, who appeared on the scene even before Jesus because as soon as Satan gets a hint from God, he is ready with a counterfeit. Mythology tells of the different deeds of Osiris—but mostly after he expired and was made the god of the underworld, the god of death. Before Osiris died, he had a flail, a crook, and a cross, but after death, he reigned in the underworld. The point is that in some drawings, the upper part of his body is pictured as normal, but the lower part is shown as being mummified, suggesting impending doom and death. (The same is true of King Tut. In his tomb, he assumes an Osiride figure.) In effect, then, while the legs could be seen as two, there was no air space between them. Some statues of Osiris show him clothed and having two legs, but the two feet are together.

Therefore, the stone will smite the image on its foot (singular)—on the Achilles’ heel, to be more exact. The fact that the image was glorious but it terminated in the strange mixture of iron and clay shows an obvious change from strength to weakness. It is interesting that very little is accurately known in history about the head of gold and King Nebuchadnezzar. The amount of historical knowledge increases downward on the image, yet the head was the glorious part. Thus more is known about the arms and breast of silver (Media-Persia) than the head of gold (Babylon), more is known about the belly and thighs of brass (Greece) than the silver portion, and more is known about the legs of iron (Rome) than the brass. Historians are way off base in not appreciating the role of Babylon as they appreciate the role of the Caesars, Alexander the Great, and Napoleon. From the standpoint of worldly accomplishments and power, King Nebuchadnezzar was one of the greatest.

Comment: For verse 35, The Jewish Publication Society of America’s translation of The Writings– Kethubim reads, “All at once, the iron, clay, bronze, silver and gold were crushed, and became like chaff of the threshing floors of summer; a wind carried them off until no trace of them was left. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.”

The words “all at once” are significant. Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible has, “Then were broken in pieces at once….

Reply: Yes, the suddenness is inherently shown in the context. That is why the Pastor used the term “Armageddon crash.” Today we would use the analogy of an atomic or hydrogen blast, which vaporizes its target, and wind is involved with the tremendous implosion.

As has been said, the king was probably in the twelfth year of his reign. Nebuchadnezzar was noted for his brilliant, skilled works of architecture, among which were the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. According to tradition, even Daniel was an architect. The prophet was supposedly responsible for the workmanship of a certain building that was still standing in the days of Josephus.

Now comes the interpretation, the main thrust of the vision.

Dan. 2:36 This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king.

Once again, notice Daniel’s native humility in saying, “This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation.” In giving the interpretation, he accredited the three Hebrew children, who had prayed with him. And in so doing, Daniel was also honoring the God of the Hebrews above the false gods of Babylon.

Comment: In connection with the prayers of the three Hebrews, verses 17 and 18 say, “Then Daniel … made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions: That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.” Now the plural “we” in verse 36 seems to imply that the three Hebrews were next to Daniel when he gave the interpretation.

Reply: The account does not so state, but we are inclined to think that Daniel asked to have the three Hebrews conducted in with him to see the king. His motive would be to have the others honored as well. However, he was the spokesman before the king. In writing this book, Daniel gave credit to the three as being on a level with him—except for the interpretation of dreams.

Q: In regard to Daniel’s being brought into King Nebuchadnezzar’s presence along with the three Hebrew children and giving the interpretation of the dream, does this whole scenario have a prophetic application or lesson?

A: That is an interesting question. If prophetic, the account would be another corroboration of the three classes of feet members at the end of the age. Similarly, Gideon had three bands, Noah had three sons, the Ark had three stories, three wise men were on the scene at the time of Jesus’ birth, and three Hebrew children were cast into the fiery furnace. The thought of the three Hebrew children also being on hand in Daniel 2 fits the other pictures, although their presence is not directly stated. Daniel’s use of the pronoun “we” implies their presence and makes the assumption reasonable. Daniel did not want to take credit above the other three, who had also participated in petitioning God for enlightenment.

Dan. 2:37 Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.

The king would have been very pleased with Daniel’s initial words: “Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.”

Incidentally, Daniel’s commendation favors this being the twelfth year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign instead of his second, for it took time for the king’s accomplishments to manifest power, strength, and glory and for him to make Babylon a great empire.

Q: Does verse 37 indicate the point in time when the Times of the Gentiles began?

A: The Times of the Gentiles are not shown in the image at all, and that is where the problem occurs. In this chapter, there is no hint whatsoever of seven or seven times. Moreover, even the mention of “seven times” in Daniel 4:32 does not apply to the Times of the Gentiles. That “seven” has a completely different meaning, as we shall see when we get to Daniel 4, Lord willing. The Times of the Gentiles are taught in Leviticus 26.

Dan. 2:38 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.

Verse 38 sounds like the commission given to Adam, who was the king of the animal creation.

The kings of Babylon are usually pictured as lions with a man’s head.

Egypt was a world empire prior to Babylon. In other words, the image in Daniel 2 begins with the Babylonian world empire and thus ignores Egypt. In 625 BC, which was the fourth year of Jehoiakim (originally called Eliakim), Nebuchadnezzar succeeded his father and became the king of Babylon. This period in history is hazy. The Bible gives both the third and the fourth year, so the year depends on whether the perspective is Hebrew or Chaldean. Therefore, the destruction of the city of Babylon occurred many years after Daniel was taken captive and even many years after he was honored.

Dan. 2:39 And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.

“Thou, O king, … art this head of gold. And after thee shall arise another kingdom [Media18 Persia] inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass [Greece], which shall bear rule over all the earth” (Dan. 2:37-39). In Daniel 7:4, the Babylonian Empire is portrayed as a lion. The two silver arms of the image picture Media and Persia. Greece is represented in the image by the belly and thighs, which are, appropriately, the more flexible and wiggly part of the anatomy. Being dexterous and agile as well as swift, the leopard is also a fitting symbol of Greece (Dan. 7:6). Noted for his speed, Alexander the Great conquered the world in nine years, but he died at the peak of his success.

Dan. 2:40 And 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 fourth kingdom [Rome] shall be strong as iron.” The Roman Empire was renowned for its strong, ironlike, rigid, inflexible rule and law. A Roman citizen had much advantage over others. With its “great iron teeth,” the Roman Empire broke in pieces, subdued, and devoured the whole earth (Dan. 7:7).

Dan. 2:41 And 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.

Dan. 2:42 And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.

“Whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided.” The sense in which the kingdom was “divided” was in the composition of the materials that constituted the foot of the image: “part of iron, and part of clay.” In other words, the division did not refer to the two legs, which were composed just of iron. Only the ten toes and the foot part of the image had a dual composition. They had the strength of iron but the weakness of clay: “there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay.” Clay is imitation stone.

For “broken,” the King James margin is better with the word “brittle.” “And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly brittle.” Inherently the toes and foot manifested a weakness. Of course the image was intact when Daniel first saw it, but the brittleness of the baked clay indicated a structural weakness.

Dan. 2:43 And 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.

In regard to “miry clay,” the clay had to be soft initially in order to be molded, but after it was baked, it was brittle. Therefore, the account is talking about the origin of the baked clay—it was a particular type of earth, almost like mud. The descending order of the materials comprising the image was gold, silver, brass, iron, and mud.

“Whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men.” Who are the “they”? The nominal Church, the false followers of Christ, the supposed Christian Church, mixes with the “seed of men,” that is, with civil governments. Just as the clay is compared to and mixes with the iron, so the nominal ecclesiastical element is compared to and mixes with the “seed of men”—politicians and civil rulers. “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4). This admonition was never really heeded by the nominal Church, for it was thought that the greatest favorable development occurred when Emperor Constantine became a Christian. Even though he subsequently killed some of his own family, the nominal Church glories in his supposed conversion.

Comment: The Revised Standard has, “As you saw the iron mixed with miry clay, so they will mix with one another in marriage, but they will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with clay.”

Reply: The intermingling is a political marriage. Revelation 17:1,2 shows the relationship of the harlot and the kings of the earth, the civil aspect. The Christian Coalition and others advocate the breaking down of the separation of Church and State as written into the Constitution of the United States. They urge the Church to vote and get into politics to improve the government.

Not only do they see nothing wrong with political activities, but they think it is a Christian duty to be the conscience of the world. They ask, “How can you better influence the government than to join it?” Many Christians have fallen and gotten contaminated on the very principle of joining, fraternizing with, and trying to help others in a worldly association.

Comment: Where the King James has, “They shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay,” Rotherham has even stronger words: “And whereas thou sawest the iron combined with the miry clay, they shall be combined with the seed of men, but shall not cleave firmly one with another,—lo! as iron is not to be combined with clay.”

What is a weakness—Church and State combined in the present age—the nominal Church sees as a strength. They will see the hour of power as a dire necessity to stave off complete anarchy.

“United we stand; divided we fall” will be their worldly philosophy. Instead we should stand with and trust in the Lord. Our union should be with him.

Q: What is the timing of verse 43? Is it past? Is it future? Or is it both?

A: First, we will repeat that the “they” class (the ecclesiastical power, the miry clay) mix themselves with the “seed of men” (the civil power, the iron). This mingling, this friendship of the clerical and the civil power, is forbidden by the Word of God. For the Church to get mixed up in politics is very dangerous, and it shows a lack of understanding of Scripture and of appreciation of principles. The disposition to mingle already exists today in various ways. For example, Pat Robertson and the 700 Club are trying to intrude in the Republican Party so that the conservative religious element will have a voice in the party. In recent years, he even ran for the Republican nomination for President.

The original question was, Where are we in the fulfillment of verse 43? At present, the mingling with the seed of men is still in the preparatory stage, but in the near future, it will be much more identifiable and demonstrative. Out of desperation to hold down anarchy, the State (civil governments) will welcome the (nominal) Church in its arms, and the Church will welcome the State. Revelation 17:12,13, which is primarily a European picture, tells that the governments (the ten toes) will give their power to the beast for one hour. However, the ten toes are so integrated in politics and finances that what happens in Europe will have damaging side effects in this country, where the image of the beast (especially Evangelical Protestantism, which is adamant with regard to the Trinity) will take the leading role.

Comment: Revelation 16:13,14 applies to this same future time period: “And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.”

Reply: Yes, that Scripture is treated at length as a second foreword in the Fourth Volume. We do not yet see one unified message coming out of the mouth of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet.

In a nutshell, then, the fulfillment of verse 43 is still future. When anarchy is a real threat, the union of Church and State will take place and be an obvious development. For instance, we have not yet reached the condition where only those who have the mark of the beast will be able to buy or sell (Rev. 13:17).

Q: In regard to the ten toes and the European Union, are there currently ten members?

A: The ten nations cannot be identified at this time. Of course the European Union pertains to commerce and currency, but these factors will drastically influence political and religious thinking. For example, if either the United States or the European economy went bankrupt, economies elsewhere in the world, such as in Japan, would likewise be shattered. The financial condition will be only one aspect of the great Time of Trouble.

When Daniel explained the dream with all its particulars to King Nebuchadnezzar, the king was satisfied. However, now, way down here at the end of the age, we are not satisfied with Daniel’s interpretation, for we see that much deeper truths are involved. Therefore, we start with Daniel’s explanation but then give an updated application and interpretation of the symbolisms involved. One such symbolism is the stone that smites the image (Dan. 2:34,35,45).

It is important to determine the true meaning of that stone.

Q: Other Scriptures show that the union of Church and State is future, but the image seems to be a timeline. Therefore, where are we in the timeline? If we are not at the point of the feet yet, of the iron being mixed with the clay, are we still in the “legs” period?

A: No, we are in the “toes” period, but it is like entering a room. We are zeroing in, but certain conditions have to develop before the stone strikes the image. The inherent weakness of Church and State can be intellectually seen, especially as we look back to the French Revolution, but the union in our day has not yet occurred.

Q: Is it possible that Daniel 2 and the hour of power are two separate pictures?

A: Such an interpretation would cause a problem because once the stone smites the image, the toes do not come together but, instead, are blown apart. In the Truth movement, there is a dearth of understanding on this subject. The prevailing thought is that the stone smote the image in 1914, but if that is the case, the toes should be gone. The picture in Daniel 2 is very dramatic, so to say that after the image is smitten, Church and State will come together is an anomaly. It is an incongruous statement that does not match the details of the vision. Our belief is that the smiting of the image is still future. The Scriptures do not equivocate. Once the stone smites the image, it would be impossible for Church and State to come together, for they will be blown apart.

There are perhaps 20 different reasons why the image has not yet been smitten. A statement in the First Volume, page 255, is significant: “The stone cut out of the mountain without hands, which smites and scatters the Gentile powers, represents the true Church, the Kingdom of God. During the Gospel age this ‘stone’ kingdom is being formed, ‘cut out,’ carved and shaped for its future position and greatness—not by human hands, but by the power or spirit of the truth, the invisible power of Jehovah. When complete, when entirely cut out, it will smite and destroy the kingdoms of this world.” The stone in Nebuchadnezzar’s vision corresponds to the Son of man in Daniel’s vision. Therefore, the stone represents The Christ. (See pages 260 and 261 of the First Volume.) The point is that the stone does not represent the nation of Israel initially, as some are now saying. Only later, after the stone has smitten the image and the Kingdom has been inaugurated, will the stone start to grow and thus picture Israel. The cutting out of the stone from the mountain represents the call of the Church during the Gospel Age. Psalm 45:10 refers to this calling out of the ecclesia of God from the kingdom of men: “Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father’s [Adam’s] house.” The call is shown in type by Rebekah, who forgot her father Laban’s house, and by Abraham, who forgot Ur of Chaldees.

The cutting out of the stone embraces the entire Gospel Age. The call began at Pentecost, and it has continued throughout the age. For example, the Apostle Peter refers to the Church as a Temple class, and the Temple stones are still being quarried, chiseled, shaped, and prepared for placement in permanence, in contradistinction to the Tabernacle condition, the temporary residence of God in the Christian Church in the Gospel Age. Earth is the quarry for the Temple stones. Thus the cutting out of the stone, which takes place during Rome, the fourth universal empire, is progressive.

What at first seems to be incongruous is not. Back in 1878, the sleeping saints were raised from death to earth’s atmosphere. These saints, plus any who have died subsequently, are attending orientation class, where they are studying the high points of the life of each individual who has died. This way the Little Flock will know all about the human race when the various individuals go before the court of judgment in the Kingdom Age. The raised saints are not reigning yet in any sense of the word. As the Apostle Paul said, “I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you” (1 Cor. 4:8). When the reign begins, it will be a joint venture with the entire Church, not a split reign with some saints beyond the veil and some down here. The raised saints are still in earth’s atmosphere, awaiting the future collective wedding in God’s heaven and before His throne.

Notice the Pastor’s statement again: “When complete, when entirely cut out [of the mountain], it [the stone] will smite and destroy the kingdoms of this world [the image of Daniel 2].” In other words, not until the stone is complete and entirely cut out of the earth can it do the smiting.

Has the stone been entirely cut out yet? No! Otherwise, the door to the high calling would be closed. The cutting-out process will continue until the feet members receive their change.

Basically speaking, the stone Kingdom is The Christ. When Peter said to Jesus, “Thou art the Christ,” the Master responded by saying, “Upon this rock [confession] I will build my church” (Matt. 16:15-18). As stones, the saints who comprise the Church are being built up on the Rock. They are being shaped and chiseled in the present age.

Comment: If the stone were Jesus alone, it was complete at the time of his crucifixion when he was cut out of the land of the living at his First Advent.

Reply: That is right. Isaiah 53:8 says, “He [the Head] was cut off out of the land of the living,” but the body members also have to be cut out as the ecclesia, the called-out ones. They are being shaped and chiseled in earth’s quarry. In the Temple picture, the quarry was where the stones were prepared so that when they were transferred to the Temple site, no further chiseling was needed. Just as Solomon’s Temple was put together without the sound of a hammer in the type, so it will be in the antitype beyond the veil. The antitypical mountain, or quarry, out of which the stone of Daniel 2 is being cut is the present evil world down here.

Comment: Also with the Great Pyramid, the stones were quarried at another site and then transported to the Gizeh Plateau and assembled.

Reply: Yes, they were prepared at the Mokkatam Quarry.

Comment: “The stone was cut out of the mountain without [human] hands”; that is, the stone was miraculously cut out by the Holy Spirit, not by man’s efforts or government.

Reply: Yes. The other metals in the image were worked by man. The gold, silver, brass, iron, and clay were all hand-manipulated, whereas the “stone,” being natural, as found in nature, was miraculously cut out of the mountain without human hands.

Comment: In regard to the point that the image seems to be a timeline, one issue is that the whole image is there and intact until the stone strikes. We might think the Babylonian, Media- Persian, Grecian, and Roman empires have long been off the scene, but the dream pictures all of these as being present, as still existing and influencing society and government. At a definite point in time, yet future, the stone will smite the entire image.

Reply: Yes, even though the world empire is in the past, the people, the lineage, is still here. Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar, “Thou art this head of gold,” but when did the king become the head of gold? This occurred at the start of his reign, which was 19 years before 606 BC, or 625 BC. However, the time period is not really in the image except in a broad sense. The Babylonian Empire, the head of gold, ceased at the time of Belshazzar’s Feast. And the date of the termination of the other empires can be ascertained, but we are more interested in the present time here at the end of the Harvest. In fact, there is no time element in this dream at all except that it does show a progression: head of gold, arms and breast of silver, belly and thighs of brass, etc. “And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth” (Dan. 2:39). The fourth kingdom followed, and the stone, the Kingdom of God, will become the fifth world empire.

Comment: Under the Law, an altar was not to be made of hewn stone (Exod. 20:25). That directive seems to fit here with the stone not being cut out with human hands.

Reply: In other words, the prohibition in the type fits the antitype with the stone, which received no human tooling. (Of course Ezekiel’s Temple, another picture, is an exception.)

Comment: In contradistinction, clay is imitation or man-made stone. The true stone will smite the false stone.

Reply: “Christendom,” meaning “Christ’s Kingdom,” is the clay.

Peter’s confession “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” prompted Jesus to say, “You are of that stone material.” Since the consecrated recognize Peter’s confession, they, too, are of that rock material. This class, rich in faith, who are called of God and come to Jesus, laying their little all on the altar, are of the stone that is being cut out of the earth.

The quarry is only one picture. Another is the jewel picture. The 144,000 jewels taken during the Gospel Age are rough in the present life, but they are chiseled and shaped by Christ, the High Priest, the Lapidarian, the Refiner. Of course God is in the picture too, but He uses Jesus as the more immediate Master Workman in connection with the Church’s development.

Even though we are told to work out our own salvation, we would be miserable failures if we proceeded according to our whims; hence we are God’s workmanship (Phil. 2:12; Eph. 2:10). He overrules our mistakes so that they can be stepping-stones. For any who become members of the Little Flock, the credit will go to God for His workmanship through Christ. Such individuals are truly suppliant under the Master Workman’s hands.

The entire cutting out of the stone occurs during the Roman period, so the stone is a later development in the dream. Notice the word “till” in Daniel 2:34, “Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands.” The Roman Empire, which existed before the Christian Church, developed slowly until it eventually got stronger than Greece and succeeded it.

Logic would say that when the stone smote the image in the king’s dream, it had to be lifted up in order to smash the image on the feet. The stone was lifted up and thrust with great force.

The cutting out of the stone occurs down here, and the extracting pictures the change to spirit conditions. Then later, when the stone does the smiting, it will come down on the feet. The point is that the cutting out is progressive down through the Gospel Age, whereas the smiting will be sudden. In the preparation of the stones for Solomon’s Temple, the stones were all cut out and prepared in the quarry and then later transferred to the new site for the erection of the house of God.

Dan. 2:44 And 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.

The expression “in the days of these kings” does not refer to the feet of the image but to the toes, the extremities, the last part of the body. (As used in Genesis 3:15 to refer to the last members of the Church, the “heel” is also an extremity of the foot.) Therefore, we could say, “In the days of these ten toes shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom.” The raising of the sleeping saints to spirit condition in 1878 is certainly part of this process, but the process will not be complete until the last members are taken. In the Chaldaic, the cutting out is even more dramatic, suggesting that the last members are whisked away. They are cut out suddenly.

When the stone strikes the image, the resulting despoliation will not be progressive. The breaking, shattering, crumbling—whatever term is used—will be sudden. Rotherham and certain Jewish Bibles clearly support this thought. The stone represents the stone class and, even more pertinently, not those who are merely tentatively called to be priests and kings, a royal nation, etc., but the complete Church beyond the veil, which is still future. The suddenness is also shown by Rotherham in Daniel 2:34,35. “Thou didst look until that a stone tare itself away not by the aid of hands, and smote the image upon its feet, which were of iron and clay, — and they were broken in pieces. Then were broken in pieces at once the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold, and became like chaff out of the summer threshingfloors and the wind carried them away, — but the stone that smote the image became a mighty rock and filled all the land.”

Isaiah 30:13,14 defines what the breaking of a potter’s vessel (that is, the “smiting”) means: “Therefore this iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall, whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instant. And he shall break it as the breaking of the potters’ vessel that is broken in pieces; he shall not spare: so that there shall not be found in the bursting of it a sherd to take fire from the hearth, or to take water withal out of the pit.” This text shows two things: (1) a complete shattering into small pieces and (2) a bursting—nothing gradual.

When a dried, baked clay vessel is smashed with a hammer, it does not gradually disintegrate but breaks SUDDENLY. It is interesting that Isaiah 30:14 mentions a “potters’ vessel.”

Comment: Isaiah 30:12-14 is helpful in the RSV: “Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel, ‘Because you despise this word, and trust in oppression and perverseness, and rely on them; therefore this iniquity shall be to you like a break in a high wall, bulging out, and about to collapse, whose crash comes suddenly, in an instant; and its breaking is like that of a potter’s vessel which is smashed so ruthlessly that among its fragments not a sherd is found with which to take fire from the hearth, or to dip up water out of the cistern.’”

Another interesting point is the promi se given to the church of Thyatira: “And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father” (Rev. 2:26,27). The last portion “even as I received of my Father” means that the privilege of the breaking, or shattering, is given to Jesus but that the Church will be identified with him in the work of breaking the potter’s vessel “to shivers.” “Shivers” is an old-fashioned word that implies even the sound of the sudden shattering. While the promise was given to the church of Thyatira, all of the promises to the seven churches are future. The marriage is future, the receiving of the divine nature is future, the Church sitting in Jesus’ throne is future, having power over the nations is future, etc. Therefore, if the promised privilege of breaking the nations like a potter’s vessel is future, the smiting of the image also has to be future.

There are about 20 reasons why the smiting is still future, only several of which have been presented here. For anyone to carefully consider the reasons and then persist in giving the smiting a past application is going against all considerations.

Comment: What we see happening today is not the smiting and can be likened to conditions before the Flood of Noah’s day. The years of lust, violence, and evil being in men’s hearts continually were interactions between man and Satan, whereas God’s judgment, the Flood, was immediate, not a process. The same principle applies to God’s destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, which was also immediate. Everything that preceded is comparable to conditions that exist today.

Reply: Yes, the fall of Jericho is another example of suddenness. The breaking of the earthen vessels of Gideon and his band of 300 also occurred quickly. Giving the smiting a past 1914 application has inhibited the understanding of prophecy. That is why we rarely, if ever, hear the details of prophecy discussed from the platform today. In fact, we have felt so strongly on this subject for the last 20 or so years that when a speaker has tried to emphasize a gradual, progressive application, we have not been able to contain ourselves. Page 255 of the First Volume states the matter so clearly—that not until the stone is entirely cut out and raised to power will it smite the nations. Brethren with the past view think they are so loyal to Pastor Russell, but actually they differ on certain points—as we do too when we feel Scripture differs. The Bible is the bottom line in understanding truth. A “thus saith the LORD,” properly understood, should answer the question.

Comment: Revelation 19:11-15 is related to the promise to the church of Thyatira read earlier: “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.”

Reply: Yes, that text is very much to the point, but we must understand the time setting. Jesus’ garments are stained with blood, so he is returning from the destruction, from treading the wine press, and the Church, the “armies … in heaven,” are with him. Since we do not yet see Babylon destroyed, this setting is future, as is Isaiah 21 with the train of camels and the train of asses matched. When the watchman saw the paired animals, he said, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen,” meaning Babylon is destroyed, for the animals and their riders were coming back from the destruction (Isa. 21:9). If the stone truly smote the image in 1914, we should see some evidence down here of its growth. When the stone smites, it will displace the nations suddenly. Of the various theories with regard to 1914, one is that the concept of the divine right of kings was shattered at that time. However, the smiting is not the shattering of a theory but the shattering of Gentile powers. As Daniel said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “Thou, O king, art a king of kings [the head of gold]: for the God of heaven hath given thee [not a paper kingdom but] a [real] kingdom, [with] power, and strength, and glory” (Dan. 2:37).

When the stone is prematurely defined as natural Israel, the date 1948 is given, but throughout the Gospel Age, it is the stone class of spiritual Israel that has been in process of being cut out.

Spiritual Israel must be entirely cut out before the stone can smite the image. After the image is displaced, shattered, and blown away, then the word of the Lord will go forth from Jerusalem.

Comment: If one has the prevailing thought that 1914 marks the time the stone smote the image, then the explanation more or less given is that the general upset among the nations and the tearing down of the social order and kingdoms are an evidence that the stone is growing. However, the emphasis of the dream is that the stone replaces the earthly kingdoms. The stone, which replaces and grows, is the fifth universal empire. Therefore, while we might see different nations falling apart and others springing up, they are all evil nations.

Reply: Yes, the nations doing the displacing at present are evil governments themselves, not the fifth universal empire, a righteous empire. What we see now is simply a different form of man’s government.

Comment: What we see happening today is comparable to the general turbulence and iniquity of mankind that existed before the Flood and before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Comment: Verse 44 says, “The kingdom shall not be left to other people.”

Comment: A past or 1914 application of the smiting of the image is incongruous with the thought of an expected future hour of power and a unifying of Church and State. The incongruity is emphasized even more when we return to Daniel 2:34,35 because after the stone smites the image, “no place was found for them [that is, for Gentile nations].” “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. 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.” The destruction of the image is permanent and complete. Once the former empires are knocked off the scene by the fifth universal empire, there will be virtually no place for them. One cannot say that out of the ashes will arise the Church-State union.

Reply: Instead of using the word “place,” some translations say that no “trace” was found. For example, the Revised Standard reads, “Not a trace of them could be found.” Sometimes an item is displaced, but a mark remains on the floor or rug, showing where it had been. “Not a trace” means not only taken away but nothing visible at all remaining.

Comment: It was mentioned that the stone would be cut out and then lifted up to crash down on the toes. On an accompanying picture, the artist used streaks to show that concept.

Reply: Revelation 18:21 says that an angel will lift up Babylon like a millstone and then cast it into the sea with violence. “A mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.”

Q: Will the current Israeli polity be among the kingdoms that are replaced by the stone?

A: Yes, although the smiting picture of Daniel 2 is basically a European picture. The present Israeli government is earthly, so it will be replaced with God’s appointees.

Comment: For Daniel 2:35, the American Revised reads, “The wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found.” Psalm 37:9,10 states, “Evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. For yet for a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.”

“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom.” What “kings”? The ten toes—in other words, the ten toes correspond to the “[ten] kings.” (Depending on context, “kings” in Scripture can refer to either individuals or kingdoms.) What does the term “set up” mean? God will “set up a kingdom.”

Comment: The Kingdom of God will be established in power, authority, and glory, and that is when the reign of Christ will begin. God will set up the Kingdom of stone.

Reply: Yes, the Kingdom of stone first has to be extracted from the mountain, changed, and elevated. While the Kingdom class has been in process of development throughout the Gospel Age, it has to be raised to spirit power. In 1878, the sleeping saints were raised, but saints still in the flesh, as well as those not yet called, must finish their course before the stone class will be considered fully extracted from earth’s quarry, the “mountain.” “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming [Second Presence] of the Lord shall not prevent [precede] them which are asleep” (1 Thess. 4:15).

With the thought being “in the days of these ten toes,” we see that even without specific numerics, the image has a time feature in that it is progressive. The head of gold preceded the arms and breast of silver. The silver preceded the belly and thighs of brass. The brass preceded the iron legs, and the iron preceded the mixture of clay and iron. At present, we are in “the days” of these kings, but they are not yet operating with power in the sense of the hour of power. Revelation 17:12 tells that the ten horns will unitedly give their power to the beast (Papacy) for one hour. In this time of extremity and dire trouble yet future, the Church-State mixture will be very pronounced especially in Europe, the focal point. With the number “ten” being a symbol of completeness, the arrangement between government and religion will be obvious and more or less universal throughout the Western world, including the United States.

Currently in this country, the separation between Church and State is eroding. Although the fulfillment of Revelation 17:12 has not occurred yet, we can see that it is almost on the horizon, about to happen. The setting up of the Kingdom will take place contemporaneously with the hour of power of the ten horns, or ten toes. Some of the Little Flock will still be here in the flesh during the first half of the hour of power, that is, until end-time persecution takes them off the scene. At that time, during the second half of the hour of power, the Kingdom will be set up beyond the veil. Those who have already been changed still await the marriage, so they are not exercising power or authority at the present time but are continuing to undergo an orientation or preparatory phase. When the last members receive their change, when the body is complete, then the Kingdom will have been set up.

The image remains intact today, for the stone has to be completely cut out of the mountain before it can do a smiting work. One might ask, “If the image has not been smitten, where is the kingdom of Babylon?” The answer is that the lineage, the people, are there but under another geographic name or national polity. The ten toes are in existence while the last part of the stone is being quarried; they are contemporaneous for a little while. The Kingdom will be set up “in the days [plural] of these kings.” The ten toes will be distinct when the stone smites the image.

Q: Please clarify the relationship of the stone being cut out of the mountain and its growing following the smiting of the image.

A: When the Kingdom is “set up,” it will be set up in POWER, as shown elsewhere in Daniel where this term is used. All down the Gospel Age, the stone has been in process of being cut out, but the final part of the stone will be whisked away suddenly so that there will be no one last individual, no one last saint. The feet members are a class. Elijah will be caught up as a class in the near future. The John the Baptist class will rebuke Herodias and then be beheaded. After Gideon and the 300 broke the vessels and their lights shone forth, the Midianite host experienced confusion and panic and was put to flight. The various end-of-the-age types all harmonize, but no one type gives the whole picture. When the types are combined, great understanding results.

The point is that the ten toes must be in existence before the stone smites them, but how long before is the question. At most, it will be only a very short time, and then the feet members, the last portion of the stone, will be suddenly taken away (“whisked out” in the Chaldaic).

Q: Is the stone’s smiting the image the same as the setting up of the Kingdom?

A: No, for the setting up of the heavenly phase of the Kingdom must precede the smiting. The Christ must first be glorified, or set up in power in heaven. Not until the stone is fully cut out and glorified will it smite the image.

Q: How can Revelation 19:11-15 be harmonized with Isaiah 63:1-3, which says that Jesus will act alone? “Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winevat? I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment.”

A: No one picture shows all of the details. Isaiah 63:1-3 says Jesus is alone, but the saints in white garments are right behind him. The armies are with him. Jesus will get the credit, but the entire stone, The Christ, smites the image. Revelation 2:26,27 shows clearly that the stone includes the Church: “And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations [the image]: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.” This text, a direct reference to the smiting picture of Daniel 2, shows the Church will be involved.

Comment: Psalm 149:5-9 furnishes helpful details: “Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a twoedged sword in their hand; To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; To execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the LORD.”

Reply: Yes, this Psalm indirectly supports the smiting picture, as do many other Scriptures. The stone has to be fully cut out and empowered before it can hit the image. To give the smiting a past application, many have tried to say that when the sleeping saints received their change in 1878, the Kingdom was set up and, therefore, the smiting could take place. However, such an application confuses the picture, for how could 90 percent of the stone be complete in heaven and 10 percent of the stone still be down here in the flesh? How could the Kingdom be set up in power in heaven while some are still here? Not until the stone is fully cut out can it even begin to smite. To say the stone smote the image in 1914 is a fallacy, a confused picture. The original picture, so simple and clear, harmonizes with many other Scriptures.

Comment: The word “kings” helps to foster the 1914 date for the smiting in regard to the divine right of kings. However, verse 44 does not have to be speaking about the divine right of kings, for the word “kings” is used liberally throughout the Bible in many different contexts.

Reply: Yes, those who hold to the 1914 date try to say that the First World War shattered the theory of the divine right of kings, but it did not, for a number of countries still have Church and State together. Examples are Sweden, the Netherlands, and England.

Comment: A while back, but long since 1914, nine kings or queens attended a funeral.

Q: If the stone has smitten the image, where is the evidence it is growing and filling the earth?

A: When the stone smites the image, it will replace the present kingdoms. Moreover, when this event takes place, it will be a sudden occurrence.

What is the significance of the stone’s smiting the image on its toes? As the toes and the heel are extremities of the body, so the smiting will take place at the end of the age. In other words, the image picture has a time allotment. The world empires were successive and sequential, and, as shown elsewhere in Scripture, the lease of power to the Gentiles (that is, Gentile Times) did expire in 1914. Therefore, legally, the nations should be evicted, but just as in everyday life, the expiration of the lease is one thing and the eviction of the tenant is another.

Comment: Daniel 7:12 is pertinent here: “As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.”

Reply: That “season and time” is not 360 days (years). A time period is inferred but not specifically mentioned. The time period of the image includes the eviction, which will mark its end. Leviticus 26 shows the legal aspect of Gentile Times, whereas Daniel 2 shows the eviction, or demolition, of the image.

Comment: Along another line, the death sentence was given to Adam, but time was required for it to take effect. The same principle applies to the judgment pronounced on the earth in Noah’s day, which was 120 years before the Flood.

Reply: Yes, the illustration of Adam is a good one. He was told that in the “day” he ate of the forbidden fruit, he would die. However, from God’s standpoint, that “day” was a thousand-year day, and Adam, who died at age 930, had to expire within that time period.

The point is that the entire Church smites the image. Those who claim the image is already smitten say that it is being ground to powder and that the smiting occurs in stages: (1) the image is smitten, (2) the image is ground to powder, and (3) the wind blows the chaff away.

But instead of a progressive picture, the smiting is likened to a sudden EXPLOSION.

Comment: If the image was smitten in 1914, a number of the Little Flock were not even called, let alone conceived and born, by that date. Therefore, it would be impossible for them to share in the smiting work as promised in Revelation 2:26,27.

Comment: For the end of verse 44, “it [the stone Kingdom] shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever,” the word “consume” is the Hebrew suph, which means “end,” not a process. The stone will break the kingdoms in pieces and end them— period!

Comment: Aside from the chronology or timeline aspect showing that the stone hits the feet at the end of the age, the stone will strike the weakest part of the image, which is the iron and clay mixture representing Church-State union. In 1914, the Church-State relationship was not destroyed. Furthermore, since that time, the papal beast has been rising out of the bottomless pit to greater ascendancy. In recent years, we saw the papal influence working in conjunction with Western governments to successfully topple communism.

Reply: The sentiment of the United States in 1914 was strongly anti-Catholic. However, in Mussolini’s day (1927-1929), Papacy began to emerge from the bottomless pit. At present, not only is Papacy out of the pit, but it is doing a lot of talking and is flexing its muscles. And then, from a practical standpoint, the image could not have been smitten yet, for the governments are still here. Babylon (the present-day Iran), Media-Persia (which embraces Syria, Assyria, and Arabia), Greece, and Rome are all involved in one way or another. The image will be destroyed at once. Therefore, since we see the image still in existence, how could the smiting have occurred? How can it be smitten and yet still be standing? As has been said, their lives are prolonged for a season and a time (Dan. 7:12).

Q: If the theory were true that the image is being ground to powder, wouldn’t the Roman Catholic Church be the first element to disappear of the Church-State union?

A: Yes, as clearly shown by other Scriptures.

Comment: From 1914 to 1997 is a period of 83 years. If the image truly were smitten in 1914, then the little evidence we see indicates that the entire smiting process would seemingly take forever, far into the Millennium.

Dan. 2:45 Forasmuch 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.

“The stone was cut out of the mountain without hands”; that is, the stone is cut out by the Holy Spirit, the invisible power of God, and not by human effort. After being entirely cut out, the stone will break “in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold.”

Notice that while the stone smites the feet, Daniel 2:34,35 describes the image in reverse order, from bottom to top. “Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet…. 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.” The general thought is that the stone smote the image in 1914 and that ever since, the image has been gradually crumbling and going down, but the Scriptures show an instantaneous explosion upward. The explosion occurs all at once, starting at the feet and going upward to the head of gold and outward, so that the image is blown away. The components of the image are “broken … together,” not in sequence.

Comment: In the 1977 study, the statement was made that the setting up of the Kingdom will have a distinct and real beginning. It will not be gradual. Then the following verses in Daniel were cited because they use the term “set up” or “stand up,” clearly showing in context that they mean reigning in power and authority.

1. “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” (Dan. 2:44).

2. “Be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up” (Dan. 3:18).

3. “And for the majesty that he gave him, all people, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before him: whom he would he slew; and whom he would he kept alive; and whom he would he set up; and whom he would he put down” (Dan. 5:19).

4. “Now will I show thee the truth. Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia. And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will” (Dan. 11:2,3).

5. “From the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days” (Dan. 12:11).

Comment: From a practical point of view, after Daniel interpreted the dream to King Nebuchadnezzar, he said, “The dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.” In other words, “This will surely come to pass.”

Reply: We can see the character of Daniel. Knowing the king would be stunned, he finalized the interpretation in this manner.

Comment: In the July 1, 1915 Reprints, page 5716, the Pastor plainly said, “The smiting of the image, which will grind it to powder, will come not from the church in the flesh, with carnal weapons, but from the church in kingdom glory, backed by divine power.” It is hard to understand why so many brethren hold to the 1914 date.

Reply: The Pastor did make statements that have since caused problems because he thought that in 1914, the Little Flock would be complete, the nominal Church would be destroyed, etc.

Therefore, when the First World War started and the United States subsequently got involved, he considered that to be the end of Gentile power. For several months, he wrote as if the Armageddon crash, the smiting of the image, was then happening. These statements were not technical explanations but more or less off-the-cuff remarks. However, he later corrected himself on those very points. Moreover, when all of the Pastor’s writings are considered, the future view of the smiting is favored. But what really matters in the final analysis is what the

Scriptures say. To say we should be Bible students more than Pastor Russell students does not demean him as the special messenger to the Church at the end of the Gospel Age. We must put first things first.

For Daniel to end with “the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure” is dynamite. In other words, the dream is DEFINITE.

Dan. 2:46 Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him.

Dan. 2:47 The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret.

Stunned, King Nebuchadnezzar “fell upon his face.” Any pride was momentarily shattered. In addition, he “worshipped Daniel” because he realized Daniel had told him the truth in declaring that the interpretation came from the God in heaven and that he, the king, was being favored with understanding. Therefore, the king worshipped Daniel as an ambassador or representative of the great “God of gods,” and Daniel did not have to tell him to get up on his feet.

Nebuchadnezzar’s attitude was proper, for he said, “Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret.”

Daniel was merely the channel through which the information came.

Dan. 2:48 Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon.

King Nebuchadnezzar greatly elevated Daniel, giving him many great gifts and making him ruler over the whole province and chief of the college of the magi. In other words, Daniel was given civil as well as religious honors. Although at the time, the other wise men were humiliated, the religious honors became a thorn in the flesh to them as the effects of Daniel’s interpretation subsided. Jealousy became a definite factor.

Comment: For the moment, the wise men were thankful that Daniel’s interpretation had spared their lives.

Dan. 2:49 Then Daniel requested of the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel sat in the gate of the king.

We see Daniel’s humility that in this moment of adulation, he calmly requested honor also for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego for their part in the interpretation. Daniel’s attitude is one  reason why he was “greatly beloved” by God (Dan. 9:23). The understanding was mechanically given by God, but Daniel’s making a vow to eat pulse, his requesting honor for the three Hebrew children, etc., were of his own doing.

King Nebuchadnezzar’s homage to Daniel has a spiritual application. As the head of gold, the king was part of the image and hence represents Gentile government. His giving honor to Daniel and the three Hebrews pictures giving honor to the Jewish people. Spiritually speaking, after smiting and demolishing the image, the stone will represent Israel, and it will grow. That growth will be Israel outward. The New Covenant will be made with the nation of Israel, and the other nations of earth will come into that covenant through Israel. Thus the honor shown by Nebuchadnezzar to Daniel and the three Hebrews pictures the nations of earth saying, “Come, … and let us go up … to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem” (Isa. 2:3).

This second chapter of Daniel is comforting and enlightening because it shows there is a definiteness to God’s character, time, plan, and purposes. Daniel’s manifesting faith in saying, “The interpretation is sure,” was later copied by the three Hebrew children in their refusal to bow down to the golden image on the Plain of Dura. “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up” (Dan. 3:17,18).

“Daniel sat in the gate of the king.” In other words, Daniel handled the more difficult problems from the king’s court. In this picture, Daniel represents Israel, “the children of thy people” (Dan. 12:1). Unlike the honoring of Daniel at Belshazzar’s Feast, the account here does not state that Daniel was given a change of garments (in the antitype, he does not receive a change to glory). Rather, the worship of Daniel and Daniel’s God represents the honor and deference the Gentile powers will ultimately give to Israel. Daniel’s sitting in the gate of the king pictures Israel as the earthly representatives of Zion, the Church in glory, the heavenly authority. It shows the radical change in rulership that will take place at the inauguration of the Kingdom.

Comment: It is interesting that God planned, or permitted, all these Gentile empires and then gave the dream to Nebuchadnezzar and allowed Daniel not only to interpret it but also to write down this prophecy for us.

Reply: Yes, we appreciate God’s Word as a lamp unto our feet, and we also appreciate the faithful messengers of the past.

Comment: In regard to Daniel’s sitting in the king’s gate, Scofield says, “Compare Genesis 19:1, Lot the compromiser, with Daniel the inflexible.”

1997

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