This series is intended to be much more than just a review of the history of the rise and fall of powerful nations and kingdoms. It is also to confirm God’s sovereignty in dealing with those nations and kingdoms so we can get a glimpse of the future of the nations. All the nations are just puppets in the hands of the Almighty.
And never forget:
“Come near, you nations, to hear…for the indignation of the LORD is against all nations…” Isaiah 34:1-2
Back to the powerful nation of Babylon prior to its fall.
“In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah (605 BC), Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it.” Daniel 1:1
At that time many Jews were deported to Babylon to begin their 70 year captivity.
“Therefore He brought against them the king of the Chaldeans, who killed their young men with the sword…and those who escaped from the sword he carried away to Babylon, where they became servants to him and his sons…to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths. As long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath, to fulfill seventy years. 2 Chronicles 36:17a, 20-21
The duration and significance of the 70 year captivity is profound.
Israel had failed to observe the required Sabbaths of their land each 7th year for a period of 490 years. Thus, the deportation period was 70 years.
At the end of the 70 years, God would punish the king of Babylon for besieging Jerusalem and taking the Jews captive.
Included in the captives were four young Jewish lads, one of which was named Daniel. Nebuchadnezzar gave these four lads a daily provision of his delicacies; however, Daniel ‘purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies…’ Instead he ate vegetables and drank water instead of the king’s wine.
God gave the lads knowledge and wisdom, and in addition God gave Daniel understanding in all visions and dreams.
In the second year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, he had a dream that troubled him. He demanded that his astrologers and sorcerers confirm and interpret the dream for him, but he wouldn’t tell them what the dream was.
Nebuchadnezzar remained firm and told them that if they wouldn’t interpret his dream he would have them cut in pieces. And so the slaughter began.
When Daniel heard of the situation he asked the king for time to inquire of God. Then the dream was revealed to Daniel in a night vision.
Daniel was then brought before the king and he revealed his dream, and also its interpretation.
“You, O king, were watching; and behold, a great image! This great image whose splendor was excellent, stood before you, and its form was awesome. This image’s head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay.” Daniel 2:31-33
The four metals represented four kingdoms that would rule the earth, beginning with the head of gold which was Nebuchadnezzar.
Daniel told the king that God had given him power to rule the other nations. Following the kingdom of Babylon would be three other kingdoms which would be inferior to Babylon.
It is significant that the metals representing the kingdoms decreased in atomic weight from gold to silver to bronze to iron.
Thus while the atomic weights decreased in each subsequent kingdom, each became more brittle than its predecessor. As the kingdoms became more brittle they had more ability to crush its predecessor.
And consider that the fourth kingdom was represented by iron. The thighs and legs were just iron; however the feet and toes were iron were mixed with clay. Such a mixture would result in the ten toes of the final form of the Roman Empire being incohesive.
The revised Roman Empire will consist of five toes from the western leg, and five toes from the eastern leg.
Then Daniel summarized his revelations:
“The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure.” Daniel 2:45b
To be continued.