Many ancient rulers made statues of themselves to symbolize
their dominion. The golden image fashioned by King
Nebuchadnezzar, however, was not just a statue or image. It
was an enormous golden idol—sixty cubits (ninety feet) high
and six cubits (nine feet) wide. The Colossus of Rhodes by
comparison was seventy feet high.
The image would have
looked grotesque, since in normal human proportions, the
height is four to five times the width, whereas in this image,
the height was ten times the width.
The king’s idea
for this idol appears to have come from his dream of dreams.
On the other hand, it does have links to Babylonian worship
since Marduk was the god of gold. In any case, the idol is
definitely meant to represent a god, since people are
commanded to worship it.
Overwhelmed by pride,
Nebuchadnezzar’s thinking became futile and defiant. He made
the image of gold to express what he considered his own power
and glory. In doing so, the king rejected the God of heaven,
who had bestowed greatness on him (cf. 2:36; Romans 1:21-23).
Nebuchadnezzar realized that the dream forecasted his
kingdom would end in a short period. Filled with pride, he
rejected the image from his dream, with only a head of gold,
and made this one entirely of gold. Perhaps he rationalized,
“Why should my great empire end with the head? I will make it
gold from head to toes! Babylon will be the everlasting
If the Septuagint’s date (“in his eighteenth
year” (586 B.C.)) is correct, the Babylonian army burned both
the city and Temple of Daniel’s God to the ground the same
year Nebuchadnezzar erected the golden image. From the king’s
viewpoint, it turns out that Marduk is stronger and greater
than Daniel’s deity is—if his God exists at all! One can
understand the king’s rationale, but he is unequivocally
Behind the scene of every event in Daniel,
there is Yahweh! And of course, on the opposite side, there
are demons, working in the events to promote the Babylonian
religion. Even though man is the maker of the idol, and the
religion associated with it, all idolatry is demonic (Isaiah
44:6-20; Revelation 9:20). Ultimately, the worship of any
image is the worship of man and demons.
the golden image portrays humanism, materialism and religion
wrapped up in one package. The image was extremely costly for
it was very large. It would not have been solid gold, but
overlaid with gold plates (cf. Isaiah 30:22). Set on the plain
of Dura in the province of Babylon, the golden image would
have been a dazzling sight in the sunlight and seen for miles.
Much like Adam, who typifies both fallen man and
Christ (cf. Romans 5:12-19), Nebuchadnezzar typifies Jesus
Christ—the King of kings—in the previous chapter, and in this
chapter, the Antichrist—the man who will attempt to unite the
world by force under one religion (Revelation 13). Like
Nebuchadnezzar, the Antichrist will set up his image and those
who do not worship it will be killed (Revelation 13:15). Jesus
calls this image “the ‘abomination that causes desolation,’
spoken of through the prophet Daniel” (Matthew 24:15; Daniel