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. You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. (Daniel 2:31-35)
The Great Dream Of The Great Kingdom
Nebuchadnezzar was king over the vast empire of the Babylonians. He was a man of great stature, power and might. Like all men, he dreamed dreams and in the second year of his reign, he had some troubling dreams. Calling his wise men to him, he demanded they tell him the dream and its interpretation. Unable to fulfill the king’s command, Nebuchadnezzar began killing his wise men. A Hebrew slave named Daniel heard what the king had done and employed him to allow time to make the dream known. It was a marvelous dream. The Lord revealed the dream and its meaning to Daniel who then went to the king with a message that still resounds today.
The dream of Nebuchadnezzar was an image made up of different types of metals. Gold, silver, bronze and iron mixed with clay. Suddenly a stone came and destroyed the image and its four parts. The stone became a great mountain filling the whole earth. Daniel explained the dream was about five kingdoms. The head of gold was the Babylonian empire that Nebuchadnezzar ruled over and the chest and arms of silver would be the kingdom that destroyed the Babylonians. Persia, with its alliance of the Medes was the silver and they represented the chest and arms. Bronze reflected the glory of the Greeks under Alexander the Great who defeated the Persians. The Roman Empire came upon the world scene as a crushing army of iron. Four kingdoms ruled the world as no empire before them and after. Then a fifth kingdom came from nowhere. It destroyed the image and crushed its remnants to dust. That kingdom was the church of Christ.
Jesus said that He would build His church and that it would be an everlasting kingdom. He told His disciples that many would live to see the day when the kingdom would come. In the first century, the disciples taught the power of the kingdom was in the church of the Lord. Daniel prophesied six hundred years before the establishment of the church and the kingdom of God remains today two thousand years removed from its beginning. The church of Christ and the kingdom of God are the same. All of the empires of Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome have faded into the dust of history. Great powers have tried to destroy the church through the centuries but to no avail. The true body of Christ has been plagued with the apostasy of the Roman and Orthodox churches, denominationalism, humanism, political persecution and immorality but it stands pure today as the day it was born. Nebuchadnezzar has a prominent place in the providence of God revealing His divine will in establishing a kingdom that has filled the whole earth. His dream put in motion the prophetic completion of what was in the mind of God before time began.
The church is the eternal wisdom of God. Its structure is simple yet powerful. No army can crush it, no nation can subdue it and Satan himself cannot destroy it. The kingdom of God is a kingdom that cannot be shaken. Forged in the will of God before the world was created and bought with the blood of His dear Son, God has ordained the kingdom would remain until the last and final day of time. All the forces of men will seek to subdue it and fail. Every power under the might of the devil will assail it but will be crushed. The church of Christ is a kingdom that will always stand as the bastion of truth. Daniel offered to Nebuchadnezzar the meaning of a dream. You and I are living in the fulfillment of that dream.
It will remain as long as the sun – as long as the sun rises and sets: that is, as long as the ages of time shall roll, the church of God – the true body of Christ on earth – will not disappear. (Augustine, In Psalm. lxx, n. 8, c.415)