Daniel 4.1: Nebuchadnezer’s Dream

Let’s take a closer look at the prophecies of Daniel. 

To do this we will have to step back in time to Babylon in 606 B.C.E. when Nebuchadnezzar has inherited the kingdom from his father while involved in wars in the Middle East.
He has inherited his father’s public servants along with the kingdom. He could not be sure that they respected him or that he respected them. So it is possible that the story in the first couple of chapters of the Book of Daniel might have been a depiction of the struggles between the King and the public service bureaucracy (You can read more about this in Chuck Missler’s book, Cosmic Codes at page 55). 

Whatever the explanation, Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that disturbed him and demanded of his advisers that they tell him what the dream was and what it meant. Daniel, who may well have been a junior officer in the Foreign Affairs Department gave the answer to both questions. 

Daniel described the statue seen in the dream. A statue of a man made of gold, silver, bronze and iron.
The feet of the statue represented its weakest point. They were made of iron mixed with 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 (Daniel 2:34).
Next the explanation of the dream. 
It was a premonition of the course of history. Each segment of the statue represented an empire that would conquer the preceding empire. The head of the statue represented Babylon, but it was only later that Daniel had a dream that revealed the identity of the other bits of the statue. In the later dream, the empires were represented by animals.

That dream left him in a state of great anxiety

 The beast with iron teeth really scared him. The angel Gabriel was sent by God to ease his fears with an interpretation of the vision.
Daniel chapter 8
Daniel chapter 7
Daniel chapter 2
A lot of scholars are troubled by the perspicacity of this dream and so assume the book of Daniel is a fake and there was no such person. If you go along with the idea that there are some people who have premonitions, who are given dreams and visions of future happenings, you may be more comfortable accepting the story at face value. Certainly Jesus seemed to do so (Matthew 24:15).
Regardless of what you think of the historicity of Daniel the man, you will have to admit that the book of Daniel provides a rather neat description of the rise and fall of the empires of Babylon, Persia and Greece.

And the Babylonian harlot she’s heading westward for the feast
She’ll drink the blood of nations as she nestles in that beast

As you will be aware, the Roman Empire conquered what was left of the Greek Empire after it had basically self destructed. 

So with that hindsight you can fill in the last block of the table.
You may be aware that the Romans believed they were the descendants of the city of Troy. These Trojans had escaped after the Greeks had conquered it by means of their Trojan Horse. The wooden structure in the shape of a horse contained soldiers ready to pillage and burn the city. You can get a feel for all this if you watch Brad Pitt in the movie “Troy”. If you want to get a bit more rigorous, try reading the Aenaed, written in 29-19 BCE by the Roman, Virgil, as a kind of propaganda exercise to make his countrymen act in a more dignified and righteous manner. That poem had a huge effect on another Italian poet. His name was Dante and he wrote his Divine Comedy – a travel guide to Hell, Purgatory and Heaven – in the years following 1300. Dante was so taken with Virgil and his poem that he co-opted his services as a guide around hell and purgatory).


Nebuchadnezer’a Dream: Four World Empires

The king awoke in a terrible state from a vision of the night
Said, “Tell me my dream and tell me what it means and you can keep your life”

Daniel said, “You dreamed O King, of a man with golden head
Shoulders of silver, torso of bronze and he stood on iron legs

And a stone not made of human hand rolled that statue all away
‘Cause the feet that statue stood upon were made of iron mixed with clay”

The head that’s the lion of Babylon, 

The shoulders, Persian bear

The torso is the leopard, heading east from its Aegean lair - Greek Empire

The legs the Trojan refugees ensconced in Roman soil
Their horse remade with iron jaws the nations to despoil