Daniel 2: Babylon to the Messianic Kingdom

Last Updated: 10/20/2023 11:20    | Print This Page | |

Visions of Daniel and John through time

This chapter of Daniel gives us an amazing view of the future of the main Gentile kingdoms who were over Israel at different points in history. It ties in with other visions and prophecies in Daniel 7, Daniel 11 and Daniel 9, as well as other books of the Bible, laying out Israel’s future from that point in time until the end times.

This first prophecy is revealed through a dream God interpreted through Daniel for the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar around 600 years before Christ that covers what we can now see as historical kingdoms from Babylon to the revived Roman Empire over the time from Nebuchadnezzar to an unknown future time.

I’ve excerpted Daniel 2 below without verses as it was originally. If you would like to read it with verse numbers and inline Hebrew definitions, read it at Blue Letter Bible.

Daniel 2
[The Unknown Dream & The “Wise Men”]
And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him. Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to shew the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king. And the king said unto them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream. Then spake the Chaldeans to the king in Syriack, O king, live for ever: tell thy servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation. 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. But if ye shew the dream, and the interpretation thereof, ye shall receive of me gifts and rewards and great honour: therefore shew me the dream, and the interpretation thereof. They answered again and said, Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation of it. The king answered and said, I know of certainty that ye would gain the time, because ye see the thing is gone from me. 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 shew me the interpretation thereof. The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can shew the king’s matter: therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things at any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean. And it is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can shew it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh. For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon.

[Daniel Shown The Dream]

And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain. 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: 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. Then Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would give him time, and that he would shew the king the interpretation. Then Daniel went to his house, and 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. Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: 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: He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him. 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. 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 shew unto the king the interpretation. 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. 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?

[God’s Glory Presented in Humility]

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, shew unto the king; 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; 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. 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.

[The King’s Dream]

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. This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. 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 Dream’s Interpretation]
This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king. Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. 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.


And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee,


and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.

[Roman Empire]

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.

[Partly Strong, Partly Weak Empire]

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. 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. 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.

[Kingdom of God]
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. 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.

Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him. 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. 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. Then Daniel requested of the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel sat in the gate of the king.

Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, captives from the Babylonian invasion and destruction of Jerusalem, were found to be 10 times wiser than all the magicians and astrologers of the king and so they were among the wise men that Nebuchadnezzar was going to kill for not being able to interpret his dream. They humbly asked God to be shown and Daniel was given a vision of the dream and he blessed God. What Daniel is given in this vision is a view of their future. What we are given is an amazing look at the past, with the benefit of the historical record, and pieces of clues to our future as well.


The dream is presented as a series of kingdoms. God takes credit for Nebuchadnezzar’s power, kingdom, strength, and glory, naming him as the head of fine gold. In this we have both the context of kingdoms and a starting point, Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom of Babylon. An interesting tie in to John’s visions in Revelation of the 7 headed beast, in Daniel 3, we see Nebuchadnezzar make an image of gold and anyone who didn’t bow down to worship it would be cast into the furnace. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused and were cast into the furnace and were not burned. This is also a hint at the future hour of temptation and how we should act when demanded that we bow down and worship the beast at pain of death.


The vision doesn’t give names for future kingdoms, just symbology or order. From history we know that Cyrus the Great, founder of the Achaemenid (Persian) Empire, conquered Babylon on October 12, 539 BC, although he didn’ t arrive himself until October 28/29. This is depicted in Daniel 5 when Belshazzar throws a feast and uses the temple instruments to drink their wine as they praised the gods of wood and stone. He sees writing on the wall and Daniel interprets it that Belshazzar’s kingdom was numbered and finished and that he was weighed in the balances and found wanting and that his kingdom was given to the Medes and Persians and that very night he was killed and Darius the Mede took the kingdom. Jeremiah 25:12-14

Through conquering the Babylonian Empire, Medo-Persia became the second kingdom over the land of Israel. It was this Cyrus who would end the prophesied 70 years of captivity in Babylon, Jeremiah 25:1-11, and allow Israel to return. In one of the rare times prophecy names names, Cyrus is called out by the prophet Isaiah around 150 years before his time. Isaiah 44:28-45:7


We aren’t given much on this third kingdom to follow the Medo-Persian kingdom, but with the benefit of hindsight, we know this to be Greece. In 336 BC, Alexander the Great became king of the Macedonian Empire and through a series of campaigns he conquered the Middle East until his death in Babylon in June of 323 BC.


The fourth kingdom is defined as strong as iron as it breaks in pieces and subdues all things. Similarly this kingdom would break in pieces and bruise. Again, it’s not a whole lot to go on, but from history we know the next empire that arose to dominate the Middle East. From 280 BC to 30 BC, a series of 13 wars between Greece and Rome were fought leading to Roman rule of Europe and the Middle East. At the time the Romans came to power Babylon had fallen, although Emperor Trajan did visit Babylon.

“Trajan learned of this at Babylon; for he had gone there (on his way southward) both because of its fame - though he saw nothing but mounds and stones and ruins to justify this - and because of Alexander, to whose spirit he offered sacrifice in the room where he had died.” | Dio Cassius - Roman History Epitome of Book LXVIII Loeb edition translated by Earnest Cary

In 63 BC, Roman general Pompey captured Jerusalem. In spring of 30 AD just before Passover, Yeshua prophesied Jerusalem’s destruction and until 70 AD it would remain under Roman control. Rome would continue for the next couple hundred years, splitting into the Eastern and Western legs, just as the legs of the statue.

Luke 19:41-44
And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things [which belong] unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.

Final Fifth Kingdom

Daniel 2:41-45
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. 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. 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. 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. 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 fifth kingdom listed in the statue are the feet and toes that are part iron and part potters clay. They are partly strong and partly broken and the KJV translation is “[they shall]H1934 [mingle themselves]H6151 [with the seed]H2234 [of men]H606, but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.” This passage (Daniel 2:43-44) has led to several different ideas about what it means.

The Kingdom of God

This view places the end of the prophecy back in the time just after Christ set up the kingdom of God on the earth. In this view, it is the period of time toward the end of the Roman empire where there was a lot of intermarriage to attempt to keep the empire strong, yet it was actually weak.

Yeshua, at His first coming, was the stone cut out of the mountain without hands. In His ministry, He brought the Gospel of the kingdom of God and through His death and resurrection, He conquered death and through Him mankind was saved. His kingdom is not of the world, but a spiritual kingdom outside the reach of mortal man to destroy and take over. While those who believe in Yeshua live in the world amongst the various kingdoms of men, we are part of that eternal kingdom and, through the promise of the first resurrection and catching away for those who are alive, will live eternally in it.

Mark 1:14-15
Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

Mark 10:13-16
And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and [his] disciples rebuked those that brought [them]. But when Jesus saw [it], he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, put [his] hands upon them, and blessed them.

Matthew 21:42-44
Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.

Mark 9:1-4
And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power. And after six days Jesus taketh [with him] Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them. And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them. And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus.

The interpretation of Daniel 2 says that in the days of these kings the kingdom will be set up and will never be destroyed. It will not be left to other people, but will break in pieces and consume the nations and stand forever. It seems pretty clear that in His ministry, the kingdom of God began and the stone that the builders rejected became the chief cornerstone. While Israel was blinded until the fulness of the Gentiles, the kingdom of God was preached throughout the world and spiritually consumed all the kingdoms through the population of those kingdoms becoming members of an eternal kingdom that will never end.

One view of this places the end of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream at the end of the Roman empire. While I agree this interpreted dream is speaking of the kingdom of God being established by Christ at His first coming and the statue being destroyed at the time of Yeshua, I believe Yeshua is the King of this eternal kingdom and after He ascended to heaven His kingdom was not left to other people, but continued to grow and spread in His absence, its citizens awaiting the final culmination of that great mountain of a kingdom at His return.

While the kingdom of God came with Christ, it is not yet completely fulfilled and that is for a time yet future. Until then, we grow in faith an relationship with God by His Spirit and His Word until that day of redemption.

Luke 22:14-20
And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide [it] among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake [it], and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup [is] the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

Luke 21:25-33
And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.

Cultural Assimilation

While the statue is destroyed historically and the kingdom of God grows until His return, I think we can still see the extension of this iron and clay mixing idea in the kingdoms of the world after Rome being partly strong and partly weak as well. From the Hebrew meaning of the words in question, this seems to be the correct view and would more accurately be written, “it will come to pass that the seed of men will join and mix together.”

How does this make them partly strong and partly weak? If you think about the progression through history, there were less people on the earth in the ancient past. From the time of Noah cultures developed out of families. As time went on they would inevitably grow, but early on even with nations like Babylon, the Medes, Persia, etc. there were cultural connections closer than those of other cultures and politically there were kings and emperors leading whole people who followed them as gods. In this way, like Nebuchadnezzar, he was the head of fine gold, the single ruler of all people. They were strong and single-minded empires.

History is replete with the rise and fall of kingdoms, but throughout time as nations are conquered and cultures assimilated, it’s natural that the bond of family is weakened the larger the kingdoms get and the more they mingle with other cultures. Politically, the influences of Greece and Rome and the ideas of republics and democracies was a natural evolution and from that time to today has grown to where strong governments are governing many people as wars have continued to be fought for dominance through history.

Without the kind of kings or dynastic empires of old, it’s become politics of the people and democracy in much of the West and some trying to hold onto the power old school. While governments have strong control, they have weakened in their dominations over time, leading to a more solidified map of the world that changes less and less nationally. However as we near the end, global governance grows, the cooperation of the various nations driven by political financial agendas, climate, etc. slowly solidify power to the ultimate end of being able to take control of that power and once again have a powerful and global king with power and authority to control the world.

There is another fourth kingdom from Daniel 7 that relates to this period. There are some debates as to whether the final kingdom is evolved from the Western and/or Eastern legs of the Roman Empire since it is comprised partially of iron. This view typically associates the number 10 with this kingdom only because feet usually have 10 toes, although toes aren’t actually mentioned in the scripture. This then is tied to the 10 horns because they are both 10. There are also views of it representing Mediterranean or Islamic nations.

At this time, I tend to view this in light of political changes over time and this kingdom of which the antichrist will rule over will seem strong in it’s might and actions, but underlying it is a cultural disunity that will also make it weak. How exactly that plays out I’m not entirely sure, but given what I’ve found in studying the combined visions of Daniel and John, I get the feeling that modern Israel will make an alliance with 10 nations, possibly it’s neighbors as is coming together with the Abraham Accords, and God will put it in their hearts to agree and give their power to the beast. Yet in the end they will hate Israel and when God has fulfilled His will, they will destroy Jerusalem. Revelation 17:12-17

Globally, we know the kings of the earth will give thier power to the beast and the stone that destroys these feet and toes is stated to consume all these kingdoms. Therefore the feet and toes are less about the antichrist’ s kingdom and more about the ultimate end of all kingdoms while at the same time the timing of that will be during the antichrist’s kingdom. Since he rules over the earth and they give him their power and participate in drinking the wine of the dragon’s wrath from the cup held by the harlot riding the beast in Revelation 17:1-4, then either/both could be accurate.

The Nephilim

Yet another more fantastical view is some group, “they,” who mingle themselves with the seed of men and that in order to mingle themselves with the seed of men, they must not be of the seed of men. This is then seen to be pointing to a recurrence of the days of Noah, beyond the rejection of God, to include the Nephilim of Genesis 6:1-9 and the genetic mixing of human and fallen angels once again in the end times. I personally do not hold to this interpretation.