Arioch and Daniel are contrasts. The commander of the guard
lied, taking credit for finding the interpreter; Daniel gave
all the glory to God for what he was about to reveal to
Nebuchadnezzar. It is not stated whether the monarch saw right
through Arioch’s deception. Clearly, Daniel’s humility is
contrasted with Arioch’s boast.
must have sunk as Daniel spoke until the prophet uttered one
of those great “buts” of Scripture.
But there is a God
in heaven who reveals mysteries. He has shown King
Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come. Your dream
and the visions that passed through your mind as you lay on
your bed are these (Daniel 2:28).
confidence and skill, Daniel unfolded the dream while
informing the king that God in heaven has the whole world in
His hands and that it is He who rules the future.
Nebuchadnezzar might have been surprised at having his dream
revealed, but Daniel knew that God was able to reveal
mysteries. After all, Yahweh had declared through the prophet
Isaiah a century earlier:
I make known the end from
the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I
say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please
“To come” is the Aramaic tyrxa,
which denotes “end.” Hence, Daniel revealed “the days to the
end.” The Hebrew expression for this period is “the Day of the
Lord” or “that day.” The interpretation of the dream covers
the period from Nebuchadnezzar to Christ’s second coming.
You looked, O king, and there before you stood a large
statue—an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance.
The head of the statue was made of pure 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 baked clay. While
you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands.
It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed
them. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the
gold were broken to pieces at the same time and became like
chaff on a threshing-floor in the summer. The wind swept them
away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the
statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth
The enormous, dazzling statue (Mlu
tselem, image, form or idol) signifies the dawn,
duration, deterioration and doom of “the times of the
Gentiles” —a specification by Christ for the period covered by
They will fall by the sword and will be
taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be
trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles
are fulfilled (Luke 21:24).
The image portrays history
from man’s perspective. In chapter seven, the same period of
history is portrayed from God’s perspective with beasts. From
head to toes, the image reveals four trends that will occur
with each succeeding empire until Christ’s kingdom comes:
- Deteriorating power of the king
- Increasing power of the military
- Increasing size of territory
- Increasing duration of rule
The image depicts that the longer man attempts to rule
the world apart from God, the more that rule will be
characterized by military power. Therefore, we are not
surprised to hear Jesus predict that there will be wars
and rumors of war until the end (Matthew 24:6).
The dazzling appearance of the image speaks of the outward
glory of the nations in their worldly pomp and splendor
(cf. Luke 4:4-6). The enormous size of it equates to the
length of the “times of the Gentiles.”
this period is characterized as “awesome,” “excellent,” or
“terrible” depends on one’s own circumstances and
perspective; each of the meanings fit. Indeed, there is an
ruthless power and beastly ferocity that is
exposed in chapter seven, indicating that “terrible” is
the best choice.
The image or statue that
Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream conveys significant
information about the future from his day to Christ’s
kingdom. The following chart, The Times of the Gentiles,
reflects some of this information about this period.